A Drive With Marilyn

 

9871c2b44251e614bbcbdfe303921464-1

I’m a little under the weather (even Vampires get under sometimes) so rather than trying to make up something fictional for today, or talk about parenting (my kids are grown now,)  I’ll just tell you a story about my brother Val and me, then give you some high-minded moralistic opinion about the state of American culture.

It was October 1963 and we were driving Val’s black 1962 Corvette down Hwy 395, along the back side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We stopped in the small town of Lee Vining at dusk, wondering if we should stop for the night or keep going.

I got out of the car and looked up at the mountains. After I took off my scarf I held it up and let the breeze make it into a flag. Everything smelled so fresh. The mountains were so beautiful I couldn’t take my eyes off of the sight.

Val came up to me and took the scarf. He put it over my hair and wrapped it loosely around my neck. “You look like Marilyn Monroe tonight. She was buried in a dress almost like yours, with a scarf like yours.”

Removing the scarf again I looked down at my green dress, then brushed a bit of blonde hair out of my face. Yes, it was blonde at the time fixed in sort of an over teased should length flip. I’ve taken my false eye lashes off as soon as we left Las Angeles earlier that morning.

“How do you know what she was buried in?” I had to ask.

“A friend of a friend went to the viewing,” answered my brother. “She was murdered.”

“Does the friend of a friend know who murdered her?”

“No. He wouldn’t tell me. What a shame. We’ll read about it later. Jewels, she was having sex with everyone named Kennedy and all of their friends. All of them.”

“Does it matter? Does it really matter Val? It isn’t like we knew the woman.”

He ignored my comments. “I feel like I’m in a movies set out here. The obvious choice would be a Western, but it seems more of a mystery tonight. Do you want to stay the night or move on?”

We agreed to stay.  At first we got a skeptical look from the woman at the desk of the Motel when we told her we were brother and sister. Neither one of us wore rings on our left hands. What should she think when two fashionably dressed young people come into a hotel in a mountain town? Plus we came in a sports care. That would be a recipe for immoral behavior in anybody’s book. A man, the owner of the establishment, came in and gave us the key, saying it was obvious how much we looked alike. Some people always have their mind in the gutter.

We went to the cafe next door to get a feel for the place. The view of Mono Lake from our table was unreal as the sun settled down over the mountains. The waitress was friendly and took our orders of coffee and rare burgers. When she came back she told me that the cook thought I looked like Marilyn Monroe. I was polite. Val kicked me underneath the table.

“As soon as we get to Reno I’m finding a salon and switching back to brunette.”

“You’d better get rid of the eyeliner too,” said Val with a wink. “I think she was murdered for sleeping with the Kennedy brothers. Think about it.”

“I’d rather not Val.”

“Do you think Marilyn would have made a good Vampire?”

“The Beatles would make better Vampires. They don’t seem so needy. Honestly would you convert someone as needy as Marilyn Monroe into a Vampire? It would be a disaster then you’d be stuck with her.”

“That might not be such a bad thing.”

“Stop thinking with your…”

“I’m not.”

“Are too.”

“Am not.”

“Val, to be a Vampire one must be fairly independent and strong-willed. You have to be disciplined at all times. I mean, I didn’t know the woman but she wouldn’t have made a good Vampire.”

We picked our way through the food and finished our coffee, then went for a walk down the road. Stopping in a bar we picked up our real dinner for the night. After all, Val and I are Vampires.

The next day we took a leisurely drive with the top off of the car. Once we arrived to Reno I became a brunette again. A month later President Kennedy was assassinated.

I used to get angry at Val for his temporary fascination with celebrity. It started when we where children and he’d pick up bits of information in Harper’s Weekly. From there it snowballed. He couldn’t seem to get enough of gossip and sorted stories about people he’d never met. I’d tell him to read a book and he’d just get pissed off and close up to me. He has backed off but occasionally I’ll catch him catching up on celebrity gossip.

I don’t understand the current fascination with people who are famous for having an unnaturally large number of children (and their disgusting self-serving exploits), or for rich women who are unnaturally made up. If your only claim to fame is the fact that you have a big butt and a rich father why should you get so much time in the news. It isn’t news or even entertaining. It is just stupid and annoying. When I see a movie I don’t want to know about the actors, I want to know about the characters they are playing. That is all.

But it seems the spirit of P.T. Barnum live on in the worst way possible. Some people say there are no more freak shows but it isn’t true. There are plenty of people who are glad to put themselves in the spotlight as freaks.

Thank goodness that isn’t what Vampires do. We might read the gossip but we refuse to be the gossip.

Have a good week everyone. Stay classy.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

090-P74810

Mono Lake

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

A Tale of a broken down car on a not so lonely road.

It was 1932 and my brother Val and I were driving home for the holidays. We decided to drive rather than take the train. It provided us with more freedom and a chance to see some of the back roads of America. In 1932 almost everything was a back road compared to now.

Let me back up a bit. I told a version of this story, about six years ago, without as much detail.

Anyway, we packed up and took our Packard Dualcowl Pheaton on the road. What possessed me to wear silk and fur is beyond me now, but that is just how we did it in those days. Val as always looked dapper and totally relaxed. Val and I are less than two years apart in age and act and look too much alike to be taken as anything other than brother and sister.

Over the years Val and I have had a lot of adventures together, starting when we were children. In the 1860’s and 70’s we pretty much ran the streets as young Vampires anytime we could get away. Sometimes our brother Aaron would be with us. Rarely would our eldest brothers Max or Andy be with us. We saw people nailed to floors, public hangings, fights, and acts of violence that made no sense what so ever. We spied on artists as they painted or had affairs, or did both. We saw dog fights, cat fights, rode on trains and horses, and tried to do things that, as Vampires, were nothing but trouble for us but well worth the effort. We saw Werewolves, Ghosts, and some things we still haven’t been able to explain. We helped the helpless and even exacted revenge where it was appropriate. We kept secrets that we still keep.

So there we were, in 1931, driving on an dirt and gravel road with no name, across the edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, on trails that are older than old when something in our beautiful car blew smoke and sputtered and stopped.

It was night, which is no big deal for us. We could see the eyes in the woods. No big deal. Woodland creatures respect as they respect all predators. A couple of bears came cautiously close, black bears. We started to sing and the animals left. No need for bear spray.

“Now what?” I asked my brother. I was absolutely starving and needed food badly. Sure in a pinch an animal would do but human company would be nice. More than nice.

We walked down the road for a mile or two when we could smell the scent of human kind in the air and saw lights through the trees.

Then sounds. Mournful singing. Singing in weird monotone voices, pitched high and ancient sounding.

There were old songs handed down from generation to generation without benefit of written music or any written word. I was sure most of the singers couldn’t even write their own names. I remembered ancient ones singing songs like that when I was young. They were songs as old as the mountains and older than the memory of men.

These were people who had mined, and farmed, and settled the remote edge between California and Nevada. It was a place of unmatched beauty, wonder, and mystery. It was also a place where it cold snow any minute, a face I reminded Val. I did not want to be stuck in the snow and have to wait for someone to dig me out in the spring.

We came to a white washed clappard building, not a church because there was no steeple or cross. It was a meeting house. In neat black script above the door was written Oak Hall – Welcome All. The door opened and an arm motioned for us to come in.

The room was full of folk, plain folk of all ages, singing with unified voices songs of the hills. They sang of life. They sang of lust and greed. They sang of love. They sang of  the spirit that is deep in us all. They sang of all that they knew.

Then they looked at us in their basic work clothing. We were rich city folk, like two people who’d just come off of a movie set. We might have well been John Barrymore and Greta Garbo.

The man who waved for us to come in took us to a table near a stove with a pot of coffee, and a table with cakes and cookies.

“Our car broke down about a mile back. Is there a mechanic in the group who can help us? I can fix a tire or replace a belt but this is beyond my expertise,” said Val.

“The fancy Packard?”

“Yes, that is us. Wrong car to take on a cross country trip.”

“Mrs. Jeeter over there, the one in the blue dress, said she saw you and your wife drinking from a flask when you were pulled over earlier today, between here and Bodie. She said she was surprised you weren’t driving all zigzaggedly. Don’t worry about her, everybody around her partakes every now and then. We don’t care what the government tells us what to do.”

“My sister. This is my sister, not my wife. This is Miss Juliette Todd. I’m Val Todd.”

The man held out his hand, “John Cutter. Glad to meet you. Now that I look at you a bit more I can see how you look alike. Come on in and warm yourself up. We’ll have someone come out and look at your car in a bit.”

Another man, a giant of almost seven feet tall came up to us. He was wearing a black suit with worn work boots. “Don’t be afraid,” said the tall man who was obviously one of their leaders. “We know what you are. You’re people of the night. Show us your fangs.”

Val and I froze as they gathered around us. Then when our fear built up they started to sing.

We are all different
Children of the Earth
God’s blessing
On us all
God’s blessing
On us all
There is no evil
Only fear
There is no evil
No evil here.

Then they sat us down and offered us their wrists. They told us stories of Vampires and Werewolves, of Demons and Ghosts. They told us of all creatures and of their vision of all living in unity. Two of them admitted to being Werewolves. They all had stories of Vampires who’d rewarded those who had helped them.

They said they’d welcomed us because we were lost. They invited us to join them at their Thanksgiving table. There would be fresh turkey and greens, cornbread and black eyed peas. There would be pie and root vegetables found in the forest. There would be kinship and understanding.

We stayed for the feast. And we talked of their kin and traditions. We also told them of our family.

They all wanted to touch us. They all wanted to share their blood with us. We sang the songs with them into the night. We learned their songs and they learned a few of ours – or at least some popular songs of the day.

Val and I slept through the day, and when night came again they walked us back to our car, which started just fine.

I think about those people with their calloused hands and bright eyes. I think of their mismatched untrained voices that sang in unison like an unearthly wind or a chorus of lost angels.

And to this day Val and I are thankful. We never could find that road again and nobody we ever talked to knew of these folk we spent our Thanksgiving with. I’m sure they were real and not just ghosts in the woods. I’m sure this Thanksgiving one of their great grandchildren is listening to the story about the time those rich Vampires came to visit.

Thanksgiving isn’t just about who you want to be with, but maybe who you need to be with. We’re thankful for all of them. And thankful for the haunting memories of music and fellowship. Most of all we’re thankful for good intentions.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Stories for the Holidays (from Arbor Day to Christmas, to Halloween to Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and more)

The end of the year holiday season is here. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, then on to a new year with even MORE holidays.

To get you in the mood I recommend the following holiday themed anthologies. The stories range from hilarious. to sentimental, to frightening, to romantic, and more.

Both books are great for someone wanting a quick fix, a new tradition, or just a damn good story. Did I mention cheap thrills?

These are from the creative minds of WPaD (Writers, Poets, and Deviants.) Proceeds to to MS Research to help support our fellow writers and friends who have MS.

Both books are available on Amazon, B&N, and with other online book sellers. Both are available in digital and paperback versions.

 

Tinsel Tales

1378486_560790237327097_1982820501_n

Experience the holidays through our eyes…
the magic, the memories, some warm and some bittersweet…
in this treasury of holiday-themed stories and poetry from the writers of WPaD.

Tinsel Tales 2: Holiday Hootenanny

51T+cBnaAkL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

It’s a Holiday Hootenanny! In this anthology, you will find more than just Christmas stories. WPaD is proud to present our favorite fiction from holidays all year round, from Halloween to Arbor Day, ranging from sentimental to a bit on the dark side. An entertaining read for any season.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

wpad poster.jpg

Little Hagrid, being a Vampire at Halloween, and Friends who aren’t Vampires

Despite the fact that I have become she of the empty nest and have no children at home for Halloween fun, I’m finding myself extremely busy this October.

I’m retelling a story from 2015 today. Last year my husband and I went as Simon and Garfunkel for Halloween. It was absolutely the best, but I’d almost forgotten the time we went as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Maybe this year I’ll finally go as Little Hagrid.


creepies

Little Hagrid, being a Vampire at Halloween, and Friends who aren’t Vampires

“Teddy and I have been invited to a Harry Potter Party. Why in God’s name our friend chose that theme I’ll never know. Anyway, I was thinking I could find some ugly baggy old sweaters and we could go as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. What do you think?”

He looked at me with shock. OK almost shock. He looked at me like I was the weird kid asking him is he ever ate cat brains, or something along those lines.

“I thought about going as Little Hagrid. Get it? Little Hagrid because he was huge and I’m only 5’4″ and Hagrid was about seven feet tall.”

I've got the moves like Hagrid

I’ve got the moves like Hagrid

I could hear the gears turning in his brain. Vampires going to a costume party? Vampires dressing up like Harry Potter characters? Little Hagrid? WTF?

“It is always funny when a woman wears a beard,” I said as I put more drawings out on the table. “Here are the rest of the sketches. If you like them I’ll finish them up.”

Oh right, this is where I back up and tell you what is going on. Dr. Austin Durant, history professor and sometimes weird Vampire Hunter, but all around normal guy, had hired me to create some drawings for him for a book he is writing. He likes my work, plus I lived back then, in the middle of the 19th Century, granted I was a child at the time.

I shouldn’t have asked him about the costumes. Back to the drawing board, literally.

“The Weasleys would be funny,” he finally said. “I could see that. It would be easy too.”

I smiled minus my fangs. We both turned at the sound of a tap on the door.

Standing there, as impeccably put together and flawlessly handsome as ever, was my friend Jack.

“What are you wearing to the Harry Potter party?” I had to ask. He and his wife aren’t Vampires but they’re going too.

“We’re going as Dobbie and Malfoy,” he said with a wink. Damn, that man was handsome, with blood like the finest Cabernet. Obviously Jack isn’t a Vampire, but a dear friend. I’m his Vampire.

“Oh my God, that is brilliant,” I said.

“I’m going to be Dobbie,” he said. Then we both laughed. You have to admit that is funny. Jack is six feet tall after all.

I introduced Austin and Jack. Austin intuitively knew that Jack wasn’t a Vampire. Austin knows a lot of things, but as cocky as he can get he has never really come to terms with the fact that Halloween has come to his life every single day of the year.

About five years ago Austin Durant started restoring historic structures (old buildings) and has since run across all sorts of nasty old things like dead bodies, dried up old shadow creeping Vampires, and ghosts. My brother Aaron, who is an attorney and a Vampire, is Austin’s attorney and in turn hires Austin for various tasks, like removing unsavory things from buildings.

Anyway, enough of background material and back to Halloween.

Jack fawned over my sketches and marveled at my talent. My stomach started to rumble (nobody could hear it but I could feel it.) I’d have to wait for lunch. Lunch was Jack.

Life is full of such moments.

Halloween is almost here and I have yet to figure out costumes, put up decorations, figure out logistics of parties, and most of all think up a yearly Halloween theme for this blog.

In the meantime you can read these wonderful horror anthologies. Available at fine online booksellers.

 

 

Or you can cut and color paper dolls for Halloween.

Ghostie Fashion Paper Doll. Color an Cut Fun.

Ghostie Fashion Paper Doll. Color an Cut Fun.

Or go look for Halloween Hotties.

Pin-Up-Halloween

Jack had to get back to work. Austin looked at the drawings for a bit more. His next class wasn’t until 2:00.  I watched him look at the details I’d added, just small things like a cat sitting in on a roof, or a style of hat.

He looked up and straight into my eyes, a dangerous thing if I’m in the right mood, which I wasn’t. “You could offer so much. You were there. You have gone through history. You’ve seen it your own eyes.”

“Do you think anyone would listen?” I asked him that obvious question. “Nobody cares about history. They would rather keep making the same mistakes over and over. They’d rather do what is easy. They’d rather not know the truth.” I locked his eyes with mine. I could feel him feel a slight panic. That was intentional. He brought out the Vampire in me. You know, I can’t be all touchy feelie nice all the time. “Dr. Durant, I don’t want to end up a dried up husk of a Vampire underneath one of your buildings so I will continue to keep my thoughts to myself.”

Then I thought about my blog… HA HA HA. But I don’t have to worry about you. Out of my seven regular readers at least two of you are Vampires and I’m sure at least one is a Zombie.  Anyway…

“You could share with me, just me,” said Austin.

“Yes, I could. I’ll draw it for you. I’ll tell you my stories so you can get a better understanding, as long as you only use my words for a stepping off point, or for inspiration.”

“Thank you Juliette,” he said to me. He looked calm and cool. I could feel him wanting to sweat it out.

“So what are you going to be for Halloween?” I had to ask.

“I don’t know, maybe a Vampire.” He flashed a dimpled smile. I knew why the girls all liked him.

So that is it for now. Have fun and well, have fun. That is the goal for today. And do something creative. And hug your kids. And talk to them. Always talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Oh, one more thing. For more about Austin and his story see the side bars for the Austin and Elizabeth story links. For more about Jack just search for his name. Yes, this is the old back story ploy not that anyone will really look.

creepies

Burning Question #41: Let it snow! (Maybe not)

As I write this post, just a few weeks before Christmas, I am looking out onto my backyard filled with orange and lemon trees. Roses and succulent plants are blooming in my front yard. It still feels like Christmas time with lights all a glow and the steady parade of mail, Fed-X, UPS, and Amazon trucks. We’re even wearing sweat shirts and sweaters.

Snow is something we (people who live where I do) drive to see. It is only about an hour to get to the first patches and then thick blankets of higher up the Sierra Mountains towards Lake Tahoe. From where I live we await the first look at snow covered mountains in the distance.

I’ve never had a White Christmas in all of my 159 Vampire years.

 

tree and snow

Some of you reading this have your good Christmas snow memories. Feel free to share your stories or comments after doing the poll.

Burning Question #41: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

Feel free to leave additional comments about snow, holiday songs, cover songs, Vampires, or anything else you care to talk about.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Silver Webs and Silken Bats

Silver Webs and Silken Bats

Oh right, I do have a husband. I write about kids, my brothers, other Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, cats, short stories and all sorts of things. I don’t say much about my husband or marriage.

Today he is helping the Elders decorate for Christmas.

He found old netting of silver spider webs and long strings of red glass beads to add to the old fragile ornaments they put up every year.

Over the past few years they stopped decorating but Teddy (my husband) decided they needed a tree.

In the attic he found boxes of hand blown glass owls, small wooden elves from Germany, tiny little bats made of beaded black silk and a large hat box full of shining stars and crescent moons with smiling faces.

Just because you’re old doesn’t mean you need to stop celebrating.

“But who will see the tree?” The ancient Vampires looked confused.

“You will see it,” said Teddy. “I will see it. Your friends will stop by and see it. You need to pick up the phone and call your friends, both Vampires and humans. Call your old Werewolf friends too, I don’t care who you like. If they’re old let me know and I’ll give them a ride here and I’ll give them a ride home. I’ll make them egg nog. I’ll help you make it happen for everyone.”

Tellias and Eleora look young but they’re ancient. They’re older than Christmas, so sometimes they get confused or feel isolated. Sometimes they forget everything outside of their own house.

Teddy always hounds me to call my friends and people I know who might need a friend. We all know what it is like to spend a holiday alone or without cheer of others. Even a little tree or a wreath or a shining star on a string can make a difference. More than that a hug or a call.

Christmas time is about the promise of peace and hope and love. After 2019 years the human race still hasn’t gotten it right, but maybe one day. The smallest acts of kindness can move us closer in that direction.

Wishing you all a season of peace and fellowship.

And about that husband of mine…I’m glad I married him. I always will be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

time for christmas