Our First Feast

“I doubt if our parents care what we do, or anything about us at this point,” my brother Val told me. It was November of 1878. I had just turned nineteen and he was twenty. They’d moved to San Francisco, leaving us behind in Sacramento. The house they’d left for us was like a rabbit warren of rooms. Our brother Aaron, aged twenty five, was married and living a mile away in his own brand new Italianate mansion (where he still lives). The eldest two (Max and Andy) had long moved on and were now in San Francisco setting up their glorious careers.

They’d sold the big house we’d grown up in, which burned down as soon as we’d cleared out. I often wondered about that, considering we had been a large family of Vampires and didn’t always do things the same was as everyone else. Our (mine and Val’s) house was built in 1869 with a lot of rooms with no purpose and tall stairs from the sidewalk up to the front door in case it flooded. We had a front porch, a back yard with a few rose bushes, and not much else. It was plain and un-charming.

Val and I were determined to give this house charm. We decorated our modest home with used furnishings and a lot of green and cream colored paint.

After that we decided to do what most young people would do and have a party.

“Should it be all Vampires?” I had to ask.

Val shrugged, “No. We can invite others. We will have to warn our fanged friends to keep to themselves and only drink from bottles we planned to keep well hidden in our kitchen.

I told him not to invite all ladies and he started to argue with me.

“NO,” I said. “You are not going to turn my home into your own personal whore house.”

My brother looked at me as if I’d slapped him in the face. “I would never,” he said. “Never.”

I held my shoulders back and my head high. “Valentine, I will never judge you or be like some warm blooded prude, but I expect a certain amount of modesty and decorum from you.”

“Fine. I will allow you to see my guest list, as I expect you to show me your guest list.”

“Agreed,” I said. “What about food?”

“We need food?”

“Of course we do.”

“We don’t cook. We hardly eat. We don’t have domestics.”

“We could hire a cook,” I said.

“We could.”

“Where would we find one?”

“We could put out a post. Cook wanted for fashionable party. Or we could find Constantine. He knows everyone.”

“And he is always fashionable.”

Constantine was both a Vampire and extremely fashionable but he had just jumped on a train to travel east, then take a boat to Europe to buy art. So we put up our flyer and waited. Soon a small man named Orlando George St. Cloud came to our door. He said he had cooked for the royalty of Europe, the Emperors of China, and the highest of Sacramento high society. We didn’t really believe him but we hired him on the spot.

The night of our party Mr. St. Cloud fixed:

Stewed Eel

Filet of Sturgeon with brown butter and tarragon

Curried Crawdads with spinach

Roasted Capon with creamed trout sauce

Roasted potatoes

Rat tail soup

Onion and walnut tart

Fried chicken feet with olives

Orange milk pudding

Apple pie

Fried frog legs with smoked trout and fiddle head fern sauce.

Roast beef

Head cheese

Blood pudding

Wild lettuce salad

Tomales Bay Oysters on the half shell

Fried eggs with wild mushrooms and boiled wheat berries

Pears poached in wine and honey

Toast points with river clams and fresh butter

Meatballs with wild dill made with ingredients of unknown origin. 

Marrow bones with sage and sherry sauce.

We also managed to acquire copious amounts of alcohol.

Fifty four guests arrived. Nobody went hungry. Twenty were female. Thirty four were male. Twelve, including Val and I were Vampires.

Of course the party was a success. Val did not sleep alone. I watched the sunrise with a dozen people in my garden before going inside, drawing the curtains and sleeping for the next two days. Mr. St. Cloud brought in a crew to clean and lock up.

For the next thirty years Mr. St. Cloud cooked for us when we needed it. He also taught us to cook. He told us, “One day I shall be gone and you will be at a loss.”

I learned to cook everything except the rat tail soup. I never cared for eel. Many of the dishes made me sick but I learned to cook them anyway. Eventually Val also learned to cook, and he even attended classes. We both became experts in cooking for Vampires such as us. We don’t live on blood alone.

From then on Val and I have both welcomed guests of a wide variety to our homes to celebrate friendship and love.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving and welcome in the holiday season (which started on Halloween.)

Cheers to all,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Chuck the Elf (a holiday tradition)

This is one of my absolute favorite Christmas stories EVER – of ALL TIME. For a 7th year, I am honored to share a Christmas Story from my friend David. Prepare yourself for a real Christmas treat with this Holiday Classic! David’s work is featured in the WPaD anthologies. ~ Juliette

Chuck the Elf

By David X. Hunter

I was born in the Bronx way back in 1902.

St. Anne’s orphanage was the only home I ever knew till I went north years later. The place was crazy; a lotta little midgets running around makin’ a lotta noise. I guess I was one of ‘em, except I was no midget – I was an elf. I stayed in that place for 30 years until they figured out I wasn’t no kid! So I packed my shit up and hit the road. I joined the army for a while, got into some action at Omaha Beach even. After dat, I never trucked with the military much.

I joined the circus for a while – but the bearded lady and I didn’t get along. The fact was, I couldn’t stand life on the road livin’ wit all them freaks – I was longing for a fambly, if you get my meanin’.

One night, Christmas Eve if you gotta know – I was on the roof of my tenement building because my landlady didn’t like my cigar smoke. She always whiffed it through the vents and complained so I went up on the roof. I was feeling lonesome as hell too, wit the snow fallin’ and all streets quiet and empty. To be honest, I crawled out on the ledge. I was thinkin’ of just ending it. I was just a lowly Elf, livin’ off racetrack bets and scroungin’ for handouts.

I was a Bronx kid, though. I couldn’t do it. Plus, that street looked like it could hurt a guy real bad falling from dat height.

I went back on the roof and finished my stogie, lookin’ up at the twinklin’ snowy sky. It was damned cold. I never felt so bad in my whole life.

I saw sumpin’ then, over the East River. Looked like plane or some kinda flying object. I tracked it for a while and realized it was comin’ right towards me! I ran back and ducked behind a ventilator shaft.

I heard bells, and some guy yelling. I heard da soft thump of somethin’ landing.
Now don’t get me wrong – I ain’t no pansy or nuthin’ – but this was strange. I can deal with stormin’ a beachhead and all, but the unknown always unnerves me, y’know?

I peeked around the corner an I saw animals or somthin’, shakin’ snow off themselves. Everytime they did that, bells would jingle. There was some fat shmoe sittin’ in a red sled too. All of a sudden I hear my name!

“Charles! Charles! Come out from behind there!”

There was a silence as I was trying to figure out what to do.

“Who wants ta know?” I said after a while.

I peeked over my hiding spot and saw the lard-ass comin’ towards me. He was big – triple my size – but I figured if I bit his knee caps the odds would be evened out.
He stuck his head around the vent, and stared right at me.

“Charles! I found you!” he said. He had dis soppy smile on his face, what you could see of it anyway with that friggin’ large white beard.

“Listen Mack …” I started to say.

“Charles! You must come with me! You don’t belong here. You belong up at the North Pole with the others!”

I looked at dis guy and thought he was nuts. “You shittin’ me?”

He straightened up and crinkled his nose.

“I’m afraid I’m not! You are an Elf, of the elfus smallicus genus. All my staff up at the North Pole is comprised of Elves. You see, you were given up for adoption by mistake.”

I looked up at the guy, and I could see he was tellin’ da truth. Others like me? Elves? For true?

Dat was the one and only time I cried – at least since that time I pooped my pants back at the Orphanage and the sister swatted me a good one.

“Come! You can help me give out presents tonight, then we can take you home,” he said. He wedged his large ass back into the sled, and I followed. There wasn’t much space between his girth and all them sacks’a toys for me to sit, but I managed.

He tole me about his toy making racket and all the right-offs he got for it. Pretty slick, I had to agree. We shot up inna sky and I was dubious about them moose things haulin’ us up into the stratosphere and all, but they maintained a good speed, except for the turbulence which I didn’t care for.

All night long we delivered them friggin toys, all over the damned world, Australia, England, and places I never hoid of, like ‘Canada’. I was so tired by the end, I thought I’d collapse. But this guy, Santa, he had a mini bar in his sled and I had a few shots of whiskey. We delivered our last toy to some kid in Montana – a train set. We went down the chimney (I still couldn’t get over goin’ down them tings!). I was placin’ it under the tree when I heard a noise. I look over and see the kid peeking around the corner at me.

“Ain’t polite to stare, kid,” I said. “Murry Christmas.”

Da kid scampered off.

Not even ten minutes into our journey north I was out like a light.

So, I went to the North Pole. I met my mom! Saw all the udder elves like me. It was a happy homecoming, I gotta say. Still, I miss New York sometimes, even though I visit occasionally. I miss the smell of the Hudson, the rude people, the street vendors selling junk, Coney Island hot dogs, the racetrack, all of it. But it ain’t so bad up here; got lotsa snow, plenty of fresh air, and the pay is good. Made foreman a few years ago; I’m in charge of making them iPad thingies. Big responsibility. The uniforms could use some revamping, but y’can’t have everything, am I right?

I guess I didn’t do so bad after all, y’know?

The End

God Rest Ye Merry Werewolves, and Ghosts and Vampires too. With muffins. We can’t forget the muffins.

Today I stopped by my friend (dare I say friend) Austin’s house to drop off muffins for his Grammy. She loves muffins, especially the ones I make. Austin and Grammy are Vampire Hunters, but they only go after the bad ones. I’m not a bad one. In fact I’ve had them help me out a time or two but that is a different post.

I know you might think it odd that I’m making muffins, being a Vampire and all, but I DO make the best muffins. I don’t eat them but I love the smell and I love the joy they bring. Just like my husband Teddy becomes the cookie baking king this time of year.

When Teddy was a child, a long long long time ago, he would make cookies with his mother and their cook. Now that he is a Vampire (since 1875) he still bakes cookies this time of year. Hey, we’re spreading the joy.

Next I stopped by my friend Adam’s house to drop off muffins for his 88 year old mother. She loves a good muffin. Aside from being a scary talented photographer, Adam is also a Werewolf. Sure were friends. Why not. You know all the peace on earth goodwill to all thing. Why shouldn’t we be friends.

While I was baking my kitchen filled with Ghosts who just wanted to smell the muffins as they came out of the oven. I put a few on the plate so they could sit next to it and bask in the goodness, imagining what it would be like to eat one. Always let Ghosts smell your cooking, and your coffee. That keeps them from throwing stuff around and haunting you in the middle of the night. Good cook are never bothered by Ghosts.

God rest ye merry Werewolves
Let no howling in the fray
Remember I made muffins
For now and Christmas Day
To save us all from growling
And that you won’t be a stray
Oh tidings of Vampires and joy
Vampires and joy
Oh tidings of Vampires and joy.

Blueberry Lemon Muffins
Best Muffins You Have Ever Had

Juliette’s Recipe
Makes 10 muffins

Ingredients

Muffin

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar (this is just regular white sugar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil (don’t be tempted to be overly healthy and use olive oil – do not use olive oil – use some sort of vegetable, canola, or corn oil)
  • 1 egg (chicken egg – do not be tempted to use an emu egg or a dragon egg, or fish eggs) If you want to go vegan or whatever substitute a 1/3 cup of smashed banana or apple sauce for the egg.
  • 1/3 cup milk. I’ve used almond milk and it works just fine.
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Topping (Optional)

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (add nutmeg too if you feel so inclined)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. In fact, seriously folks, don’t even bother with greasing the muffin tin, just use muffin/cupcake papers.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with flour mixture. Don’t over mix – just make sure it is all mixed in nicely then STOP.
  3. Gently fold in blueberries.
  4.  Fill muffin cups a little bit over the top (nobody likes flat muffins), and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.
  5. Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup COLD butter (chopped up in squares), and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork (or your hands), and sprinkle over muffins before baking. You should end up with small peas sized bits of butter covered in flour/sugar mixture.
  6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

I usually fill 10 muffin cups.

Variations: If you don’t have blueberries, or don’t feel like blueberries chop up an apple (no peel) or pear (no peel), or add fresh cranberries. You can also add chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and nuts if you feel like it. I’ve even made these with well drained finely chopped fresh nectarines and strawberries. Add anything you want (I don’t recommend meat or beans.) You can also use frozen berries but make sure they are room temperature and well drained. You may also exchange the lemon zest for orange zest.

Wishing you all comfort and joy,
And muffins!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Red Muffin Tin

Yes Virginia, Santa is a Vampire

All Animals Love Santa

All Animals Love Santa

December is FINALLY here! Time for glorious trees, holiday cheer, jingle bells, stories of old, Santa Clause, AND VAMPIRES!

So you know what that means…

Winter is here with enough bite to freeze the slow beating heart of almost any Vampire.

My mom used to say to us “Don’t stop your heart or your blood will freeze.”

It is one of those things we have to think about, sometimes. I don’t recall ever telling my own children that, or any other “new” Vampires.

Funny how one thinks of those sayings.

The first bat of the night is a wish. The next is a kiss.

Bad blood is only in the soul.

Dance from dusk to dawn then sleep as if there is no sun.

As a mother (in the 1850’s and 60’s) with a rather large brood of young Vampires (four boys and one girl) my mom took advantage of the holidays in a big way. It was her time to celebrate and bring out the cheer. She was glad to get rid of the musty old gloom of the old days and embrace the Modern Vampire movement.

At the same time a young artist named Thomas Nast created the iconic image of the American Santa Clause. Old Saint Nick was pretty awesome, but Santa was one of our own.

Jolly Old Vampire

Jolly Old Vampire

Yes, Santa Clause is a Vampire – that is a fact:

  1. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you are awake.
  2. He only comes out at night.
  3. Nobody ever sees him.
  4. He has been around for centuries.
  5. He can see in the dark.
  6. Red is his favorite color.
  7. He is jolly (hey, Vampires are jolly).
  8. He likes kids.
  9. He is an icon of popular culture.
  10. He knows who has been good and who has been bad.
  11. Despite his size he can get in and out of any building.
  12. He can make animals that normally live on the ground fly.
  13. Dogs and cats like him (all animals like Vampires because we understand them.)
  14. He makes people happy (don’t argue this point. Check my previous posts.)
  15. He rocks the red suit!

An interesting fact that all teens should know (and their parents): Thomas Nast was only nineteen when he started to create illustrations for Harper’s Weekly. Let that sink in. He was only nineteen.  Let that inspire you.

Plus Thomas Nast rocked the facial hair.

Thomas Nast rocking the facial hair

Thomas Nast rocking the facial hair

So if you see that jolly old elf this Christmas season shake his hand and know that it isn’t the weather that is making that hand cold.

xoxoxo

Happy Holidays, Happy Christmas, Happy Night,

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Old St. Rick

Old St. Rick

I completely forgot about Frozen or the Democratic Debates or other items in the news. I’ve been on the verge of a panic attack (really, no kidding, no snarky remarks about me not understanding whatever…I understand more than you’ll ever know) and everything in my small corner of the world seeming to be like the proverbial Vampire in the mirror, while all the while everyone around me is telling me otherwise.

A day or two ago I was pondering what I’m going to do next. Not like who I’m going to bite, but what I’m going to DO. You know DO like work or meaningful activity or creative genius stuff. Then as a brilliant idea or two came into my mind my computer died. I kind of spiraled for a few days, but it was nice to take a break from the machine until the new hard drive was put in. A new year is coming up soon after all.

With the computer fixed I sat at home, with the computer closed, on my red couch, pondering a lot of things when a knock came on the door.

It was my friend Richard. Oh my goodness it had been a while since I’d seen him.

Women found him irresistible. Men found him intriguing. Children adored him.

I opened the door, gave him a hug and let him in.

Rickard looked at his blurry refection in the entry way mirror then caught himself in the eyes. The mirror cleared and he found himself looking into his own hazel eyes. He looked good after four centuries. Almost too good. The right description would be devastatingly handsome.

I took his Ferragamo overcoat and noticed the beautiful silk Hermes tie, that complimented his black Armani suit. He always was a sharp dresser.

“You look as gorgeous as ever,” I told him.

He kissed my cheek, “And you’re as beautiful as ever Juliette. Do you mind making some coffee? I’m absolutely beat, but I have to tell you what just happened to me.”

He followed me to the kitchen as I made coffee.

He flashed me a million watt smile. “I made my list and checked everything twice except the weather report. Yes, I was caught in the snow, but I had the most interesting night. It was pretty amazing.

I’d turned off the highway on a clear road. It wasn’t like I was in the middle of nowhere, and even if I was that shouldn’t have bothered me. Anyway, I was driving along with only one other car on the road. I was at a safe distance behind a midsize sedan. No problem. I’m singing along to the radio to that St. Motel song Cold Cold Man, and suddenly BAM. We were both, the car in front of me and I were both hit by a truck. The truck kept going. I went into a ditch and rolled. The other car spun and went off the side of the road into the snow.

A woman was in the other car. I could tell by her voice as she called to me. The snow started to fall as she helped me from my car. I was trapped. This small woman rocked the car until I could push the door open. It was amazing. She led me about a half mile down the road, through the snow to a cabin. There was no cell coverage and it was starting to get dark.

She was middle aged. You know just an average woman. Brown hair, a little overweight, pretty enough face, nose red from the cold. She got a fire going and lit an oil lamp, then started a kettle for tea. I just stood there like an idiot watching.

The more I watched the more I thought I recognized her but I couldn’t wrap my mind around her.

She told me to sit. She told me to take off my wet jacket and shoes. She wrapped a soft blanket around my shoulders and gave me tea. It wasn’t one of those nasty scratchy disgusting blankets people tend to have in cabins but a nice one.

She looked at me and said: This is my place. My escape. I was here for a few days trying to rewind. Looks like it might be a few more. I can’t get a phone connection right now but I left a note on my car. Somebody ought to be by tomorrow, if not tonight. You look familiar. Like a guy I used to know a long time ago.

I asked her who she thought I looked like. She said something about someone she knew a long time ago. Then she said she was old enough to be my mother and so we’d never met.

She said she was fifty-seven. I told her that I was four hundred and thirty one. And she just stared at me. She didn’t call me a smart ass or get weird. She just looked at me.

Then she said You’re THAT Rick. Oh my God. Fuck.

I’m a Vampire. I just blurted it out. I NEVER do that. I never tell anyone what I am unless they figure it out on their own.

I should have figured that, she said.

Thirty years before we’d had a one night stand. Then another one night stand. Then one more. She was beautiful but not in a conventional way and sexy as can be. And there she was.

Why didn’t you ever call me? I asked.

Really? She said. I could tell, like you, she had teens in her house.

Really. Why didn’t you call? I asked again.

You know why. I would have just made a fool of myself. How old are you? She asked.

Four hundred and thirty one. I said.

I could see the wheels in her brain turning as she looked at me.

You’re lovely. I said. Yes, I read her thoughts. Society is so cruel to middle aged women. She thinks she is horrible looking and invisible. You’re beautiful.

She leaned against the back of the couch and closed her eyes. I kissed her.

Your lips are cold. Just like back then. She said. So are you going to drain my blood? I’m diabetic so you might get a mouth full of drugs and a bad after taste.

No, but hey, I could turn you into a Vampire if you want. You’d look the way you looked thirty years ago. You’d…

Stop. She said. I have kids in high school.

You could be young and live for…for a long long time.

She shook her head and gave me a sad smile. Oh Rick. Sweetie. I have to get my kids into college. Then maybe I’ll have time to sit on the beach and write poetry.  I have a husband too. Twenty five years ago, thirty years ago the answer would have been yes, but now not so much. Boy, this is weird. I knew you were different but this is weird. And I’m not beautiful. I look like a troll.

Don’t say that, I told her. You don’t look like a troll. You’re beautiful. She was beautiful.

So to make a short story longer we talked for two days straight. She was worried about her family worrying about her but I told her it would be ok. The phone service wasn’t dead, it had come back on right after we settled in the first night. I just made it seem like that. I called her family when she dozed off. I also set up a college fund for her kids. Whatever they need they’ll have.

Oh it was grand those two days. She made me laugh harder than I’d laughed in years. She made me feel more alive than I have felt, well, since I was alive. You know, like warm again. And she didn’t judge. She wasn’t afraid of me. She was curious. She didn’t treat me like a freak. I hardly find a human who treats me like I’m normal and just a little different.

Before her husband made it up to pick us up I gave her something personal, just for her. I gave her my ruby ring. You know the pinkie ring I always called my Vampire ring. It fit on her middle finger. I guess that is fitting considering how I acted thirty years ago. She actually cried. I made someone cry tears of joy. God, she was beautiful back then. She still is, she just doesn’t believe it. I want her to believe. I’ll keep working on it.”

v_swirl

I looked at my friend Richard and suddenly realized that there was more to the centuries old party boy than I had imagined. He’d given his three day lover a ring that was worth at least fifty thousand dollars and made sure her kids would get through college.

“Hey Juliette, let’s go for a hunt tonight, just like old times. We can bring Teddy along,” he said.

“Nothing like a little holiday blood lust.”

“Exactly. And hey, the reason I stopped by was to ask you a favor. I know a guy who wants to be one of us. He is ready and will make a good addition to our community. Will you help me. You’re the best. I don’t know anyone I’d rather help me with … and what’s wrong?”

I stopped to compose myself. “You’re so sweet.”

He kissed my forehead. “Merry Christmas Juliette.”

“Merry Christmas Richard.”

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy holiday season with friends, old and new.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Yes, I know, all of my posts sound the same. That is life… Merry Christmas. Go have some egg nog, look at Christmas lights, call an old friend, and take your dog for a walk.

A Vampire’s Guide to Cold Weather Cocktails

vampire cocktail guide

Vampire Cocktail Guide with Juliette and Teddy

Cold weather is here. Cocktails are in order.

From time to time, especially on weekends my husband Teddy likes to make cocktails – lovely mixed drinks for adults.

Vampire Coffee

The Irish Cream is a splurge – leave it out if you are concerned with extra sugar (as many Vampires are)

  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Irish cream liqueur (try the hazelnut flavored)
  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Irish whiskey
  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Blood
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 tablespoon whipped cream (we prefer unsweetened)
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg

Note: if you are not a Vampire leave out the blood.

Mix together in large mug. Serve hot. One serving.

Vampire Hot Tropics

  • 1 fluid ounce dark rum
  • 1 fluid ounce coffee flavored liqueur
  • 8 fluid ounces hot coffee
  • 1/2 fluid ounce blood
  • ½ fluid ounce half/half
  • 1 maraschino cherry

Note: If you aren’t a Vampire leave out the blood.

Mix together in large mug. Serve hot. One serving.

Hot Teddy

  • 2 fluid ounces boiling water
  • 1 1/2 fluid ounces whiskey
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 slice lemon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • A teaspoon of honey to taste

Mix all together in mug. Serve hot. One serving.

Vampire City Cocktail

  • 1 fluid ounce sweet vermouth
  • 3 fluid ounces bourbon whiskey
  • 2 fluid ounces blood
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 2 maraschino cherries

Note: Leave out the blood if you aren’t a Vampire.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in the sweet vermouth and whiskey and splash on 2 dashes of bitters. Shake while counting to 30. Pour into 2 cocktail glasses, garnish each with a cherry and serve immediately.

vm_party time

Cheers!

As always never drink and drive. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Call an Uber, Lyft, friend, or taxi, or take the bus.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman