Gasoline and Tiger Maple

Andy had dined with his friends Ramon and Sophia. They were always a treat. Tonight there was an interesting mix of high blood alcohol levels mixed with a slight after taste of cocaine and a hint something he couldn’t quite identify. It might have been Morphine.

Hell, it could have been chocolate for all he cared. It was good to come home to friends who were funny and smart and oh so accommodating to his needs.

After two weeks out of town playing Don Giovanni he was ready to become himself. It was good to be Andy again. It was good to be home in San Francisco where he didn’t have to worry about snow.

He parked in the garage and threw his vicuña overcoat on one of the kitchen stools. The pile of mail was already on the table where the neighbor had left it for him. It was the usual bills and magazines. A postcard from his girlfriend Shawna was on the top. She was in Chicago lecturing on flying dinosaurs. He smiled. The postcard was Van Gough’s self-portrait from the Art Institute. She’d remembered that he’d told her about it when they’d first met. One of the reasons he loved her was because she remembered the little things.

Smiling as he poured a shot of Bourbon he quietly sang “La ci darem la mano” thinking of Shawna. There was a sudden warmth in the air that wasn’t from the Bourbon or thoughts of love. Someone else was in the house.

Andy made a mental note to call the alarm company. Son of a bitch.  He walked to the living room and saw them – a man and a woman dressed in black. They had guns, silver crosses and knives. Vampire Hunters.

“Andrew Todd.” The man said his name as a fact, not a question.

“I’m sorry the show is over for the night you have to leave before the stage manager throws you out.” He laughed at his own joke then downed the Bourbon. “What the fuck are you doing in my house?”

“You’ve lived your lie for too long.”

“What lie? Do you put everything about yourself out to the world? Well?” Andy was going to make a joke about putting it all on Twitter but thought the better of it.

The woman held up the cross. “Oh please,” said Andy, “that isn’t going to harm me. We’re all God’s children around here.” Damn Vampire Hunters. They didn’t know a thing about Vampires, much less hunting them.

The woman looked surprised. Very surprised. Andy just smiled and calculated what he’d do about the situation.

Suddenly the man poured gasoline against the antique buffet against the wall.

“Hey, no. That’s tiger maple. Awww man, don’t do that.”

The man spun around to face the Vampire. “We’ve been watching you Todd.”

“I’m feeling really violated here. If you burn my house down…I mean, really, in this neighborhood?”

The man poured more gasoline as the woman pointed a gun at Andy.

“Do you really want to do this? What good would it do killing me?”

The man started to talk of evil and darkness. It was some sort of mumbo jumbo sort of spell or chant. From the bowels of darkness, cursed undead, blood of our ancestors spilled by your unholy trinity of death, blood and carnal desires. Unrelenting evil…

“Oh come on,” said Andy. “That isn’t going to do anything except make you sound even more stupid than you already are. Look at me.”

“Don’t look at the Vampire in the eyes,” screamed the woman.

Andy walked towards the man then quickly grabbed his neck. “Look at me. I’m just like you. We even have the same eye color. We’re not that different. Look at me. Look at my eyes or I’ll tear fucking your head off. Now let go of the gas can before you hurt yourself. Besides, you’re tired. Close your eyes, fall asleep, dream of warm tropical breezes and sweet kisses from a woman so hot that she’ll burn your skin.”

The man collapsed onto a large wing back chair dead asleep.

Andy looked at the woman. “You want a glass of wine? A cocktail perhaps? Help yourself. I’ll just be a minute. One more thing, put the gun down and stand still, right there. If you don’t I’ll kill you. Capisce?”

The Vampire sank his teeth into the man’s neck for just a minute. Enough time to keep his prey in sweet dreams for a few more minutes, and in nightmares for a few more months.

“I’m done drinking for the night Jenna. Yes my dear, I know your name. I got it from your friend here.”

He took her hand and led her to the formal living room. Music started. His hand went to her waist. “Dance with me.”

Jenna attempted to pull away from the cold grip of the Vampire. “No, I won’t dance with a Vampire”.

Andy pulled her closer. “Then just dance with the guy who can sing.”

“Please spare me from a fate worse than death. I will die a thousand deaths before I become one of the undead.”

“Oh cut the Gothic melodramatic crap. I’m the one who was born in the 1851. You don’t hear me talking like that. Jesus, I’m not going to turn you into a Vampire. Have you ever met a Vampire before tonight?”

“No.” Her voice sounded small, more like a child than a grown woman.

“Jenna, dear, you have a good heart but the enemy you need to be chasing isn’t Vampires or Werewolves or whoever you think need chasing. The enemy is ignorance and bigotry and hatred.  Fight for the equality of women and the rights of children. Fight for those who don’t have a voice. Fight for the freedom of expression and art. Fight for a cause that matters.”

She looked into his hazel blue eyes and swayed as if she was going to faint. The man, still slumped on the chair croaked out “don’t listen to him Jenna.”

Andy shot a glance at the man. “One more noise from you and I’ll rip your heart right out of your chest with my bare hands. Do you understand? And I’ll send you the bill for the damage to my furniture and floors.”

He went back to the woman. “What am I going to do with you? You’ve broken into my home. You’ve damaged a valuable and beautiful piece of furniture. You’ve invaded my privacy. You’re lucky you didn’t touch my piano. What I should do is call the police.”

“You’re a Vampire.”

“So tell me something I don’t know. I pay taxes. I own a home. I vote.”

“But…”

“Jenna, stop.  I’m not happy about what you and your boyfriend have done here tonight. Plus you’re a bigot who got nothing what so ever from my speech to you about bigotry and ignorance. What the hell is wrong with you? Honestly?”

Andy ran his hand through his hair and took a deep breath. The house reeked of gasoline and fear. The morning sun just started to come through the windows. He turned back to Jenna.

“The only reason I’m letting you live is because I don’t want to deal with your bodies. I already have enough of a mess. The reason I’m not calling the police is because I’d rather not have to deal with a trial. In the meantime every Vampire on the West Coast will know your names and what you’re up to. You can’t hide. You will never be able to hide from us. So if you’re smart you’ll stay as far away from any Vampires or Vampire Hunters as you humanly can. Now, I am going to take my bags upstairs. When I get back down I want you gone.”

After they left Andrew surveyed the damage. He’d have to call the furniture guy and the alarm company. Someone would have to take a look at the rugs and the hardwood floors.

But before he did any of that there was someone else he needed to call. Andy dialed the number he knew so well. She picked up on the first ring. He closed his eyes and sat down. “Hey Mom. I’m home. Can you come over?”

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This was first published here in March of 2014.

Coffee and Swine: A weird tale of romance (and it is ALL TRUE)

For the past hundred years, maybe a bit longer, my brother Val has owned a beautiful Victorian in downtown Sacramento. Occasionally I use it as a meeting place, or working space. Occasionally he lives there. For the past few months he has lived there.

Most of the 4,000 square feet is beautifully restored but most of it isn’t used. The kitchen is in working order, he has an office, a spectacular bedroom taking up a good portion of the top floor, a bathroom, and a small sitting room with a huge TV. The rest is empty.

So anyway, I met him there for coffee this morning. Yes, Vampires drink coffee. Yes, my brother and I are Vampires. Most of our family and friends are too.

I got to his house and he was playing some Mario Brothers on the Wii. Oh man, I hadn’t played that for years. I was Princess Peach. He was Yoshi. We’re always Princess Peach and Yoshi.  We played a racing game with steering wheels. Val won two games. I won three. Not bad considering I’m the little sister.

After we played for a while then Val gave me a serious look. “There’s something I want to tell you about. I’ll make coffee,” he said.

As we stood in his kitchen, coffee cups in our hands he told me about something really weird.

“You know that woman I was seeing, Madison?”

“Sure,” I said, “she’s the one who teaches Animal Science classes at U.C. Davis. Right?”

“Right. Animal Science. She works with swine.”

“Swine. Like Pigs?”

“Pigs are her speciality. I was over at her place last night. She lives in the country, on kind of a farm. Her house is really nice, comfortable, clean. She, um, has a couple of Black Lab mix sort of dogs, some chickens, and pigs. She has some pigs she said she’d rescued. She isn’t going to eat them. They’re huge, maybe six hundred pounds each.

We had a couple glasses of wine, and she suggests we go out to her hot tub. Juliette, she wasn’t kidding when she said hot tub. It was a large old fashioned bath tub that she’d converted into a hot tub.  We stripped down, got in the water, started to fool around, then she told me to turn around. She said she wanted to give me a back rub. She started to scratch my back. I though she was scratching my back with her fingernails. I could feel her hot breath on the nape of my neck. Then she snorted. I turned around and, Juliette, I couldn’t believe what I saw.”

“What Val?” I asked.

“I was sitting in the tub with a pig. Madison had turned into a pig. She is a shape shifter. I already knew that but I thought she was a Werewolf.”

“You thought you were sleeping with a Werewolf and you knew it? Oh my God Val. You thought she was… does she know you’re a Vampire?”

“Yes, we both went into this knowing we were, you know, different, not regular humans. Madison is smart and funny. You know, I thought I’d take a chance. I knew it would never get serious. But I thought she was a Werewolf, not a Shape Shifting Swine.”

“Your girlfriend is a pig.”

“When I saw her she squealed. It was like the voice of death. Then jumped out and ran away. I got out, dried off and went into the house. She was standing in her bedroom in a robe, still transforming. It was horrible. I can’t even describe it. Now I know why she had so many weird stretch marks along her sides.”

“Oh Val. What are you going to do now?”

“I’m not sleeping with her again. That’s for sure. She told me that she’d dated a guy who was a Werewolf in the past but when the moon was full she was always afraid he’d eat her. Then she told me that she is still seeing him.”

“Wow, that is brutal.”

“It got me off the hook. Weird. I never drank her blood… just sex. It got me thinking. I have to be more careful.”

We had more coffee and talked more about relationships and other things, but it always came back to Madison, the Shape Shifting Swine Woman.

Val put his hand up to my neck and touched my necklace. “Cute. I’ve never seen it before.”

I was wearing a necklace made of puffy Victorian heart charms my husband Teddy and the kids had given me for Mother’s Day about ten years ago. My children had crawled into bed with me. The had a pretty pink box all tied with a bow. I still treasure the memory.

Maybe one day Val will find someone. Hopefully someone who isn’t a pig.

We made more coffee and watched the squirrels from the kitchen window as they ate all of the food out of the bird feeder. We didn’t stop them. You never know, they could have been someone we knew.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Wake up!

Thank you for reading my entry for  The 2018 Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever.
For contest information and rules (check it out for a laugh and for this thing to make more sense) https://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2018/01/28/the-fifth-annual-contest-of-whatever/

Last year I was the WINNER of the Contest of Whatever with an installment of Shelf Critter Theater. Click here to see it.

Or check out all of my past Contest of Whatever entries below:

Vampire Diary: Shelf Critter Theater

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

Vampire Diary: Game Day

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrations

 

 

 

Morning at the Vineyard (Fooled you once…)

Morning at the Vineyard

(In honor of April 1st. This is a favorite of mine – near and dear to my cold un-beating Vampire heart.)

Andrew didn’t remember much when the door opened with blinding light waking him from his sleep, much less the voice that said “You aren’t dead.”

“Of course I’m not dead.” Andrew lifted himself up on his elbow and looked around at the bedroom.

“You were so cold. We couldn’t hear your heart.” A slim woman with long slightly graying hair stood near the bed.

“That’s what all the girls say.” No response. “That was a joke.”

“Oh. Ha ha ha. Good one.” Uncomfortable laughing.

There was the taste of blood in his mouth, but not his own. It must have been a Hell of a night. He looked at the woman again. She was pretty but not young, standing there in a flowing sundress and pretty light summer sweater. Nice. This would be fairly easy staying here for a few days, but he would still be cautious. Sometimes the most easy ones turned out to be the most dangerous.

Andrew started to get up and realized he was naked under the sheets.

“Your clothes were soaked and also covered with blood. We thought about calling the police but my husband Ian said to wait until morning. My husband Dennis said the same. I don’t agree with them. We should have called the police as soon as we found you.”

“Where was I?”

“In the vineyard, face down in the dirt. Your car was in a ditch with four flats and the front end smashed in. We pulled it out.”

The Tesla. Quiet and fast and expensive. Then he thought about what she said. “Husbands? You mentioned two husbands.”

“We practice polyandry. Two husbands, one wife, one family. It isn’t legal or common or accepted by most people but…”

“I don’t have a problem with it. As long as it works for you.”

“It does.”

She took a stack of clothing, jeans, a shirt, etc, from the top of the dresser and gave it to Andrew. “Clean clothing. Breakfast will be ready in about a half hour. And we’ll discuss who you are and why you’re here and where all the blood came from.” Then she turned and left the room.

What a night. The fog started to clear from Andrew’s brain. He staggered up out of the bed and closed the window shades. Damn sunlight. Looking in the mirror the reflection looked back showing a well built man with alabaster skin, long chestnut curls flowing down his back, a classically handsome face and hazel eyes the color of the blue green southern seas. His mouth twitched showing fangs. He quickly gained his composure and hid the teeth and rubbed his tired eyes.

“Shit. What the crap happened to you Andrew,” he said to himself. There was wine, a lot of wine. There were women. There was a guy named Brant and his friend Chet. There was the girl Ginger…she had AB + blood, Chet had O. Oh no. Why didn’t he remember? And how’d he end up face down in the middle of a vineyard? Zinfandel. He knew what kind of grapes they were.

Taking a 3 minute shower, he towel dried his long locks, pulled on the clothes the woman had left him and went down the stairs. He could smell food cooking and coffee. He gripped the banister to prevent himself from throwing up everything inside of his stomach. He’d over done it for sure, blood and wine. Wine and blood. Sex too but that was a blur. Food might do him some good.

In the kitchen were two men and the woman, along with half a dozen kids in who ranged from about 8 to 17.

He looked at the men. A large blonde man who looked like a former football player introduced himself as Ian. Dennis was shorter with the look of a History Professor or some sort of thing like that. They called the woman Carrie. One big happy family.

Ian poured Andrew coffee and welcomed him. They all welcomed him. This was getting creepy. Then again, Andrew was the Vampire, but he was sitting in the home of a farmer and wine maker and her two husbands and six kids. It was weird. But hey, he decided to make the best of it.

They made small talk. He thanked them for taking him in. Carrie put plates of eggs and fried tofu and toast and fruit and bacon and mushrooms on the table.

The teenage girls thought Andrew’s hair was great and asked him if he was in a band. He smiled minus fangs. He must have had at least five cups of coffee.

“Last night I thought you had some nasty scratches on your face,” mentioned Ian.

“I, uh, heal fast.” Andrew said that then wished he’d kept his mouth shut. He healed fast because he wasn’t like them. He took the blood and energy of regular normal people and in return, he made them feel good – like a rush that would last at least a week. Well, if he liked them and made a connection.

“Where’d all the blood come from? Except for the scratch on your face you didn’t have a mark on you.” As Carrie said that she gave him a long cold look.

“Blood? On me? I guess I drank too much. Too much of everything and threw up. I don’t know. My friends drank a lot and someone was doing some sort of recreational drugs or maybe prescription pain killers, I’m not sure, but I over did it. Listen, I’m so sorry about this and I really appreciate your hospitality. I’ve imposed on you. I wish there was something I could do to pay you back. Let me know.”

Ian gave him a pat on the arm. “We know what it is like to be different.”

“You’re a Vampire aren’t you?” Dennis asked as the kids all looked on.

Andrew brushed a damp lock of hair out of his face and suddenly felt a little warm. “Yes, but…”

“How long have you been a Vampire?” Carrie was asking now.

“I’ve always been one. My parents were Vampires. Um, I was born just down the road from here. October 22, 1851.”

The children were transfixed.

“We don’t have a problem with Vampires. Some food might settle your stomach Andrew,” said Carrie. “And you’re welcome to stay as long as you like. We found your phone and called your sister. She’ll be here in a couple of hours.”

This was all too strange for Andrew. He’d spent the past 100 years or thereabouts avoiding families and any kind of normal human lives. Years had passed traveling, and performing and enjoying wine and women and wild nights. But now he sat with a nice family with no pretenses. And rarely had he ever met humans who knew or even knew about real Vampires. It was so unusually weird.

“I sing opera,” he said to the kids. “Mainly opera but I can sing just about anything. Just got back from Patagonia and learned a bunch of folk songs. I can do metal too. That comes naturally.”

“I can imagine you do a great power ballad,” Carrie said with a smile, then she told the children to leave the room.

Andrew had to smile. This as so weird but he could get used to this. He looked at Carrie’s golden brown eyes. A positive blood, just like his. She’d make a good Vampire, or even just a snack.

He thought about his sister. It had been forever since he’d seen her or her children. It would be nice. More than nice. Maybe she’d get another husband too. He might suggest it. He smiled. That would be funny.

“What happened to my friends? Did you see any of them?” Andrew looked from Dennis to Ian then to Carrie. “Did they say where they went?”

Carrie looked him in the eye as Dennis and Ian flanked her side. “We buried them in the garden behind the carriage house.”

“Don’t worry,” said Dennis “Nobody ever found the other bodies we’ve buried, so they won’t find your friends.”

Andrew took another gulp of coffee and hoped his sister would arrive soon.

And that was the entire truth just as my brother Andrew told it to me

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Morning at the Vineyard available on amazon.com 

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrations

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrationshorror banner011

Tale #1: High School Horror

This morning as I dropped sixteen year old Clara off at school I saw a girl walking across the parking lot. I know I shouldn’t have, since I am the parent, I said, “She has that geek walk. You know, very fast and deliberate.”

Then Clara looked at me in a cold chilling manner. “She is sooooo weird. Her finger nails are really long.” Clara made a hand motion showing four to five inch long nails. Yikes.

My child proceeded to recount a short list of weirdness. Then she said, “She never shaves her legs. Her skin is super dry. And then she scratches her legs during class. It sounds like this.”

And my daughter scraped her nails against the woven upholstery of the car seat – a loud, heavy, scraping noise. To imagine that was a human leg made me wince.

Then Clara scraped her nails along the pebbled plastic dash board of the car. “Just like this.”

Then she got out of the car with her hundred pound pack full of text books (no lockers for these kids) and headed off to her first class.

On the way home I thought of The Tell Tale Heart.

I know, I’m a parenting blogger. I should have said, “it is ok for a girl to have hairy legs if that is her choice.” But I didn’t. Deal with it.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

 

Tale #2: The Rat

Once upon a time, back before the life I’m living now, for a short time I lived alone in a small shack of a house in the woods.

I was sleeping and awoke to the sound of crashing, and two sets of four feet running through the room.

My small long haired tabby cat Eureka was chasing a rat.

Eureka was named so because I found her. The name is on the seal of the great state of California. It means “I have found it.”

The rat and cat both ran into the storage room, and I closed the door.

There was more crashing and banging. Then it stopped.

Then mewing noises came from behind the door. I opened the door. The cat had the rat trapped between a wall and my sewing machine case.

Now what?

I kicked the sewing machine against the wall, once, twice, three times.

On the third kick the rat flew out and landed dead on the floor. This rat was huge – half the size of the cat.

Disgusted I went back to bed. I’d deal with the rat later.

About an hour later I was awakened by a sound.

“Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.”

Eureka the cat was by the side of my bed, eating her rat. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

I’d deal with it later. I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep.

When I woke up again there was no fur, no tail, no bones, no rat at all except one foot, something that looked like a kidney, and the head of the rat staring up at me with dark black beady eyes.

 

Tale #3: Not Dead Yet

juliette armadillo010

The last time my son was home from college he was going through some boxes in the attic looking for vintage vests and ties he could take back to school. He found something else, something I’d forgotten about. What a treat. It was almost like Christmas again.

I will never forget when he looked at me holding the box and asked, “Mom, what the hell?”

My parents traveled to California in 1849. It was the year the great California Gold Rush Started. Among their party were two young women, Martha and Leyna.

Unlike my father, and pregnant mother, Martha and Leyna were not Vampires. Martha had been a young slave who’d been purchased (at the age of thirteen) in 1848 by my mother, and immediately given her freedom. Martha was smart and sweet girl who liked baby blue ribbons and anything to do with roses. Leyna was a sturdy one eyed teen with a black eye patch, and a head full of long blonde curls and pale blue eyes. She was to marry a man in his 40’s but she’d have none of that. She ended up in the service of my mother who appreciated her common sense and sense of humor. The contrast between the small dark slender girl and the Amazon like pale girl was almost extreme, but the two became inseparable friends.

By 1866 my parents had produced five little Vampire children. My brother Andy’s Italian music master was falling in love with Martha. Leyna was happy to be her own woman and running the kitchen. Both were still working for my parents.

Yes, we had a kitchen, for Vampires do eat food from time to time, especially with growing children. Another reason (which has a lot to do with the whole point of this story) is that my parent’s entertained a lot. None of their fine Nineteenth Century friends had any idea that Jeremy and Samantha and their five darling children were Vampires. It was all about appearances.

So during the party season of 1866 strange things started to happen around town. Even the illustrious households like the Standfords and Crockers reported disturbances of the most disgusting manner.

Women reported they’d feel something pulling at their large skirts, only to hear running, and a hissing laugh, followed by a cloud of flies and fleas. Sometimes they’d smell horrible fart like gas, or feel the brush of soft fur against their legs.

From fine homes, to local bars, alcohol supplies started to run low. Someone or something was getting into the supply.

Even our house was not exempt from the strange bad smelling visitor. I could hear my mother talking to my father about it. She said she’d heard of such event near St. Louis.

All the while my brothers and I were watching for whatever being was causing the disturbance. There were rumors of a dwarf escaped from a circus, or Werewolves, or ghosts, or even trained devil dogs.

Then one day we saw them walking along the edge of our house. A large greasy possum, his fur slicked back, and wearing one of my father’s ties around his neck, crept along with his teeth showing, and his dark eyes darting around. He was followed by a small creature who staggered along like a drunk. It looked like a small armadillo. The possum was disgusting, like the drunken dandy Werewolves who thought they were God’s gift to women. The armadillo creature was small and sweet.

Soon all Hell broke loose. The possum was trying to “romance” our cats. Alright, he was trying to mount them. That led to a possum face full of bloody scratches. Our dogs barked but he just flipped him off. Next we chased him into the house where we lost him for a few hours. We found the armadillo creature in a corner curled up around a bottle of whiskey.

The sound of scratching claws could be heard against the hardwood floor. The rank smell, and trail of my mother’s lacy unmentionables, led us to the kitchen.

“Look what that demon spawn has stolen from Samantha’s room,” we heard Leyna yelling.

Martha ran down the hall telling us to help her pick up the mess.

Then my mother appeared in the doorway. She was not happy. “It is called Buster. Martha, Leyna, we must eliminate it. NOW.”

Of course my seven year old brother Val and I started to scream at them not to kill it. We wanted to put it in a cage and tame it. We wanted to have it as a pet. We’d wash it and train it. We’d teach it tricks. We’d be famous.

Mother said NO.

The creature put his head up and looked at my mother with his shining black eyes, then hissed out the words, “Want some tail between your legs beautiful?”

The was a collective gasp, even from the Vampires in the room.

Martha, in a whirl of blue ribbons and lace, grabbed a broom. Leyna grabbed a large cast iron frying pan.

The creature hissed again. “Love it when the bitches get all fired up.” Then a cloud of fleas, flies, and fur swirled around the room.

Martha, Leyna and the possum thing called Buster disappeared into the kitchen. My mother followed, slamming the door behind her.

We stood with our ears to the door listening to the carnage. It sounded like a bar brawl.  When the door opened my mother came out, her hair falling in messy curls down her back, her hands covered with scratches and blood. Martha and Leyna stood in shock.

A possum jaw was stuck in the back of the door, teeth sunk into the wood like nails. The rest of the animal was on the cutting board, a mash up of fur and a long rat like tail. Blood ran off of the surface onto the floor.

“Is it dead?” I asked.

My mother started to laugh. Then Martha and Leyna laughed too, until the three of them couldn’t stop.

“May I have the fur?” Asked my brother Val.

My mother smiled. “Whatever for my darling?”

“I’d like to make a doll out of it for Juliette.”

Val was a darling child.

Then Leyna spoke, “My sweetheart can do taxee-dermy. He’ll make you up a nice dolly for Juliette.”

Val and I jumped up and down clapping our cold little Vampire hands. We couldn’t have been more excited.

A week later Buster came back gutted and stuffed. His eyes had been replaced with shiny black buttons. His jaw and other loose parts had been sewn and wired back on. He was as good as new. And to make things even better Layna had made Buster a fine dress of green silk, with tiny yellow bows. Eventually my mother got tired of Buster’s stinking dressed up corpse and put him away.

As for the armadillo, he turned out to be a rare pigladillo. I would sit with him purring in my lap for hours. He lived to be almost forty years old. Such a sweet thing, even when he was drinking.

buster012

~ End

 

So what prompted me to write three such disgusting and random tales? It is part of the Evil Squirrel’s Third Annual Contest of Whatever.

Thanks Evil Squirrel.

I just won the 2017 Fourth Annual Contest of Whatever. Woo Hoo. Click here for that entry.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Third Annual Contest Of Whatever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

unicorn

Yes it is complicated (almost as much as a unicorn, a squirrel and a possum going into a bar…)

When you belong to a Vampire family the dynamics with other people, creatures, living things in general can get complicated.

My brother Andrew is staying at our house for a few days. He’ll be performing at one of the larger clubs with a semi-well known band (they get some radio play) later this week. Andy is an opera singer but he’ll sing anything in any style with just about anyone if asked.

Last night was a lovely clear evening so we (Andy, my husband Teddy and I) went out on the deck for a glass of wine. Aside from Andy being my brother he is also close friends with my husband. They grew up together back in the days before Teddy even knew what a Vampire was (but that is another story.)

I always had to smile at Andy and his personal sense of style. He was in a velvet vest, white shirt with french cuffs and jeans. His chestnut colored hair fell straight to his shoulders. Of all of us siblings (all 5 of us) Andy was the one who held on to the 19th century we all grew up in more. But that wasn’t always a bad thing.

To make a short story even longer… it is February so the conversation turned to romance. Well sort of.

I wondered how he was getting along with his new girlfriend Shawna.  He’d met her when he’d stumbled upon her camp in Patagonia (yes, THAT Patagonia.) She was digging for dinosaurs. I’m not exactly sure what he was doing there. Andy tends to just wander the world at times when he feels, well, like he needs to. By the way, Shawna isn’t a Vampire. Yes, it is complicated. And yes, she has met our mother which makes it even more complicated.

I asked about Shawna so Andy vented.

“Shawna knew why I’d gone out. It really wasn’t any of her concern. But when I got home she wouldn’t touch me. I assumed she’d understand that I can’t live off of kale and tofu. I need human blood to survive. She couldn’t get past the idea of me drinking blood then kissing her. For God’s sake by then I’d brushed my teeth and we’d had a couple of glasses of wine.”

He looked at us expecting a response but we let him continue to vent. “It isn’t as if I’d had blood dripping down my chin.”

“Give her time,” I gently told him then thought how stupid that sounded.

“I even had a baby unicorn but that ended badly as well,” said Andy.

“What were you doing with a unicorn? Oh my goodness Andy.” It has been years since I’ve seen a unicorn.

“Keeping it for James.” Andy said. James is a friend of Andrew’s. James is sort of nuts but he does lead an interesting life.

I have to admit that one of the cutest things in the universe is a baby unicorn. They’re like tiny iridescent donkeys or maybe a cross between a fawn and a pony, with all of that tiny baby sweetness. Their little hooves look like white mother of pearl. And there are few things as soft as a baby unicorn nose. Oh my goodness they’re precious. Best of all they smell good – like jasmine and roses.

Andrew continued his sad story. “As soon as Shawna walked in the room the unicorn started to cry. I’d forgotten that they’re afraid of humans. And forget the bull crap about being pure at heart. It doesn’t matter. There she was standing in the room with this baby screaming at the sight of her. It was a disaster.”

Yes, love is rare, but not as rare as a screaming baby unicorn. Sigh.

“I can understand Shawna’s fears,” said Teddy.  “I know how repulsive we seem to humans.”

Andy gave Teddy a glare. “Repulsed? How could she be repulsed? I’ve been nothing but wonderful to her. I’ve literally swept her off her feet. I’ve made her feel things she thought she’d never feel.”

Teddy patted Andy on the shoulder. “You’ve made her feel fear. Remember I used to be like her.  It took me weeks, actually years to accept the reality of Vampires and the fact that we’re not completely evil or completely dead. The very idea of a Vampire is more terrifying than, well, than she was to that baby unicorn. Maybe even more so because humans know we’re on the top of the food chain over them. It puts fear and disgust in them like cannibals or serial killers.”

“But if they tried to understand…” said Andy.

“What we do is morbid and disgusting,” said Teddy.

“They drink coffee that has been pooped out of a cat. What can be more disgusting than that?”

“Civets. The coffee is expelled by civets.”

“Whatever Theodore. Humans don’t know anything about us or what we do,” said Andy.

“And we need to keep it that way. I don’t know why you let her know you were a Vampire in the first place. It was a bad move on your part Andy.”

“But…”

Teddy gave Andy one of those looks. The kind that teenagers dread. “Andy, you can’t expect someone to suddenly embrace something they’ve feared their entire life. I don’t care how many times you tell her that you love her. We’re the undead evil, just above zombies and ghosts.”

“Not to mention ticks and werewolves,” I added in.

The soft sound of moving branches distracted us. Climbing up the Italian Cypress to the deck rail came another nocturnal creature. It was Teddy’s possum. For the past year the possum had been making nightly visits and Teddy had decided to make friends with it. He spoke quietly to the soft gray creature and handed him a few raw peanuts he’d put in his pocket earlier. The Possum sat still while Teddy brushed its beautiful coat. She looked at us with her black possum eyes and showed a little bit of primitive sharp toothed possum grin.

Possums are gentle and often misunderstood creatures. Nobody ever hears of a possum attack but people still fear them. Sure sometimes they might have rabies or fleas but for the most part they’re harmless. I wouldn’t recommend you try to pet one or pick one up, but Teddy has a gift with animals and he is a Vampire. And like our possum friends we (Vampires) are also misunderstood.

“You can’t keep a possum as a pet Andy, just like you can’t keep a human as a pet,” I told my brother.

“Shawna isn’t a pet,” Andy said. He scratched the possum between it’s ears as it sat quietly.

“Maybe not, but she isn’t a Vampire. I know you lived with Aurora for almost 50 years, but that was the exception. That was something extraordinary. She never feared us. She never saw us as unnatural,” I said.

Andy looked out at the night sky as if he was looking for Aurora, a woman he’d lived with until her death from old age. She stayed with her until the end, never pressuring her to become a Vampire, never leaving her side. We all loved Aurora. Maybe too much. Despite the heartbreak she was a gift, like all of our dear human friends. We’re sad for her passing but we wouldn’t trade the sadness because of the love.

We all knew Shawna was warming up to the idea that she was living in a world populated by bizarre creatures and strangeness that she could never have imagined. Then again, she studied dinosaurs so she knew about strange creatures that defied imagination, logic and all reason. Time would tell.

I said good night (good morning to us) around 4:00 am to Teddy and Andy. The kids were sleeping due to school and their daytime schedules.

Around 7:00 am, just as the sun came up I was in my dining room, laptop open, glancing out through the windows at the trees. The Possum had gone to her bed, but on the deck rail was a squirrel. This particular squirrel is always out in the morning doing a little dance with jerky movements while his squirrel friends jump through the oak trees like circus acrobats. He stands in the sun and eats from the window box and from the bowl of nuts and seeds I leave for him. He’ll turn his head and look at me but he isn’t afraid – at least not unless I open the door for a closer look or try to take his photo. When I go outside sometimes he barks at me with his odd almost unearthly squirrel voice. I call him my friend, but he’ll never consider me to be in his inner circle. But that’s OK. He’s a squirrel. That is all I need him to be. And he never needs to know I’m a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

everybodylovesapossum

So what inspired you to write this odd little story Juliette?

This was my 2014 Entry to the Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever.

A unicorn, a squirrel and a possum go into a bar… to find out what inspired this post in which every single word is absolutely true:
http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2014/02/03/you-may-already-be-a-winner/

And if you aren’t following the Sharp Witted, Brilliant and Talented Bill Brown and The Evil Squirrel’s Nest you ought to be. 

Squirrels Rock the Goggles

Squirrels Rock the Goggles

For the official back story on Andrew and Shawna go to the links below:

Innocenzio Dantonio

Innocenzio Dantonio

gothic design

http://evilsquirrelsnest.com/2014/02/03/you-may-already-be-a-winner/

Personal Hygiene, Vampire Hunters and Real Friends…and don’t forget the Marx Brothers

I live in a pretty crazy world full of interesting people and challenges that hit me like either flying fried eggs right out of the pan, or a giant fist. But I’m a mom so that means I have stay calm and in control. I’m the mom. Always the mom. You know what I mean.

First posted January 11, 2013 – this one pretty much says it all.

Dragon Lady from Terry and the Pirates (some say this drawing was based on me. Maybe. Maybe not.)

Dragon Lady from Terry and the Pirates (some say this drawing was based on me. Maybe. Maybe not.)

Personal Hygiene, Vampire Hunters and Real Friends…and don’t forget the Marx Brothers

The other day I picked up my kids, then had to stop by my warehouse to pick up some paperwork. 13-year-old Clara was talking with her 16-year-old brother Garrett (recently ungrounded) about donors. Clara has just recently started taking live donations. Oh yes, and for those of you who aren’t from our community, and new to this blog – we’re Vampires. Modern Vampires. Forget the nasty black capes, the sleeping in coffins, the ripping out of hearts…we don’t do that. We’re just like you…well, maybe a little older, a little colder and a little more forgiving of those who are “different”.

So Garret was telling his sister “If you get greedy and take in too much blood from a donor all at once you get blood breath”.

Clara squinted up her eyes and nose. “What it smells like copper or something?”

“No”, said Garrett, ” it smells like rotting flesh. It’s gross.”

I had to add in “And if you’re not neat your entire house smells like a stockyard.”

“What’s a stock yard?” asked Clara. Which surprised me, but then again, she has no reason to know about stockyards.

“Mom means a slaughter-house. That’s where cows are killed and butchered,” Garrett told his sister.

“Gross.”

“Not to mention the farts.” Garrett had to mention the farts. What is it about boys and farts?

Clara looked at me in disgust. “Mom. Farts? Really?”

I shrugged and smiled, “Nothing worse than being in your most elegant evening gown, fresh from a kill at some grand party and then rip a big one that the entire party can hear. And if you think it is loud just imagine the smell. Like death warmed over.”

“Rotted flesh on a hot summer day, swarming maggots, skin slipping off of bones” added Garrett.

Clara covered her ears. “Stop it. You two are so disgusting.”

“Just trying to get a point across,” I told her.

“I get it,” said my daughter.

“Good hygiene is a key to survival with Vampires.” I added as we came to the end of the long hallway in the Victorian era building and I took out my key to the last door.

“Juliette.” I heard a voice behind me and turned around. It was Jack, my attorney and very human friend. “I saw the light and thought I’d drop off this paperwork to you.” He greeted the kids and we had some nice small talk. Jack has been a family friend for years, and his kids go to school with my kids. We’re all good. And as long as he doesn’t figure out we’re Vampires it will remain good.

We’re getting ready to leave, talking about maybe a trip to the snow park or maybe the movies (none of us have seen Lincoln yet) when we hear someone else in the warehouse. My senses perk up. The kids can sense something. I feel protective over Jack all of the sudden and even more protective over my two children.

A the end of the hall are three figures all in black.

“I’m sorry, it’s after business hours. You’re going to have to leave.”

They continued forward. I recognized one of them. “Bryan?” I said. My past won’t stop haunting me. Bryan Gould, still handsome but 30 years older than the 24-year-old I knew back then,

“Juliette.”” He said this with a deep breath voice that caught even me off guard.

“The Vampires have brought children with them. We’ve caught them feeding?” Said a woman dressed in head to toe black like she is trying to channel Emma Peal from the Avengers.

“Oh for Pete’s sake. What are you doing here and why did you bring your crazy girlfriend?” I asked Bryan in a deadpan voice.

“You know why Juliette,” he said.

“No, I don’t. Honestly after all this time you’d think I’d get a hello how are you after all this time and considering our past history.” This blog is rated PG-13 so I won’t go into that.

“You drank my blood,” Bryan said.

“Leave now or I’m calling 911,” said Jack. My dear friend Jack.

I now recognized the three in black, including my old friend as Vampire Hunters. Pretty piss poor Vampire hunters but often they’re the most dangerous. Yes, I could read their minds and they were dressed in black with knives and crucifixes and I’m sure they’d all eaten garlic etc etc etc. Idiots.

“They’re idiots Jack.” I turned to Bryan.

“You need to go, NOW.” I was pretty pissed off by now.

“Give me the children,” Bryan yelled at me.

“Put one hand on my kids and I will fucking rip your heart out of your chest.” It was on. I wasn’t taking any crap from him.

Needless to say my kids looked shocked and so did Jack.

Bryan raised a gun at me.

“Don’t hurt my mom.” Yelled Garrett showing his fangs.

“You turned them into Vampires.” Screamed the woman in black.

“They were born that way. And you know what? There is NOTHING wrong with who they are or what they are. What the hell is wrong with you people?” I wasn’t yelling but I was cold and clear.

Poor Jack. I wanted to keep him in the dark but I had to protect him and my children. I stood my ground. “Bryan, we had a lot of good times. It was fun. I wanted to keep those memories good for both of us.”

“Too late Juliette.” My former friend still pointed the gun at me.

“Fine, have it your way.” I walked close to him motioning for my kids and Jack to stay back. Jack started to come forward. “Stay where you are Jack. I’ve got this.”

Byan’s friends came closer. I snarled at them, fangs and all. The jumped back. Then I looked at Bryan and pulled his free will right out of his brain. He dropped the gun then sank to the floor. I took a breath then turned on the others. The man started to run and then fell screaming holding his head. I walked up to the woman. She was breathing hard. I put my hands on her shoulders and got close to her face “You can’t mess with a Vampire if you have evil in your heart. Bother me or any of my friends or family again and I will eat your soul.” She tried to push me away and I kept her frozen, unable to move.

Yes, but what about Jack. Poor Jack.

“Jack, I didn’t want to tell you this, but we’re Vampires. All of us.” I told him. I finally told him my secret. Damn, I hate it when I have to do that.

“I thought…there is no such thing as Vampires.” Jack looked at me all shocked and confused (I mean, wouldn’t you be shocked and confused if this happened to you?)

“There are Werewolves too.” Said a deep voice. There at the door was my friend Adam, the Werewolf, and best photographer in Northern California. “I heard Bryan was on his way over. I tried to stop them. I swear I had no idea what he’d gotten himself messed up with.

“What the Hell happened here?” Said a voice I didn’t know. Behind Adam was a small woman in a really cute tweed coat and flaming red (natural color too) hair. “Oh, Juliette, Clara, Garrett, Jack, I’d like to introduce you to my girlfriend Brandy.”

Poor Jack was totally confused by then. He knew Adam. They’d known each other since high school and both went to UCLA together (Adam in Art, Jack in Political Science and Law) and ended back up in their hometown.

“Adam?” Jack stared at his old friend in shock.

I walked up to Adam. “Do you think you can talk any sense into Bryan or am I going to have to mess with his mind. I’d rather not, but I’m not taking any chances with my kids or Jack.” I turned to Jack. “Jack, I hate for you to have to deal with this but there is a whole big world out there you know nothing about.”

Jack looked at me, still in shock “You’re telling me there are really Vampires?”

Adam answered him. “Yes and I’m a Werewolf, so is Brandy. But don’t flip out on me friend. We’re cool. We don’t hurt people. In fact we help more people than we ever hurt in the past. We’ve got a bad rap.”

“You said you’d rip his heart out?” Jack motioned to the Vampire Hunters on the ground.

I answered him gently. “If he’d touched any of you I would have, but it was mostly a bluff. You know the mother wolf in me, no offense Adam.”

“None taken.” Said the Werewolf.

“Mom”, said Clara “What are you going to do with these people?”

I really didn’t want to tell her what I should do with them. In the old days I wouldn’t have thought twice of draining every drop of blood in their bodies and ripping their hearts out but I just don’t like doing that sort of thing anymore. I never liked it. But then again, I never had children before either. I didn’t want these goons or their leaders to come after them again.

Then I noticed she had been crying. That was it. Nobody makes my child cry.

Garrett spoke up. “It’s like that movie Shallow Grave.”

“When did you see that?” I asked surprised even for a Vampire mom. He wasn’t supposed to see that one yet.

“With Dad.” Said my son.

What goes on when I’m not home I’ll never know.

Jack seemed to be in shock. I’d have to calm him down. Adam and Brandy looked at the Vampire hunters in disgust. They could have well be Werewolf hunters. The door opened again. Who was it this time? I hoped not the police.

There were the elder Vampires Tellias and Eleora . He was dressed in a long black coat, an old fashioned tuxedo shirt and red pants. His pale blonde hair was tied back in a black ribbon. She wore a red mini skirt, high black rubber rain boots and a red coat with huge shoulder pads with a large white fake fur collar. Her red lipstick had sort of a weird uneven outline like one of the girls from Terry and the Pirates. Both had goggles around their necks and snorkels. They were both wearing straw hats, the kind people wear out gardening.

They came in and fussed about in their usual manner, showering my children and I with hugs and kisses. They were so lovely and frail, almost more like Fairies than Vampires.

“What are the goggles for?” I asked.

“We were going to go swimming in the river,” said Tellias.

“That’s nuts” said Jack “you’ll drown. The currents are too strong and the water is too cold this time of year.”

“We won’t die,” said Tellias in almost a whisper.

“We’re undead.” Elora told Jack in a whisper and tone that matched Tellias.

“So Vampires are dead”, Jack asked looking straight at me.

“No, we’re very much alive, meaning we’re undead,” I answered in all truth.

“You’re soulless ghouls,” Jack gasped.

“We have souls only unlike you our souls belong to us and us alone.” I tried to get him to understand.

“So my soul isn’t mine?” Jack asked now clearly confused beyond return.

I took a deep breath. “Jack, your soul is yours and you can do what you want with it including selling it. Vampires can’t sell their souls, not to anyone. Needless to say unlike humans we’re impervious to the forces of evil. Of course we can be tempted and we do bad things, but we can’t sell our souls to control fate or whatever. In turn angels and the like ignore us but it is what it is. They’re the ones missing out if they don’t get to know us.”

The oddly dressed elder Vampires studied over the prone figures in black.

“They’re bad people.” Eleora said as she stepped around them making a circle.

“Bad indeed,” said Tellias.

“Indeed,” said Eleora.

“Who are they? They can’t be over 21.” Jack gasped looking from them to me.

“They’re elders. They’re over 2000 years old.” I answered.

“We were born in BC.” Tellias said stepping towards Jack.

Eleora took Jack’s hand. “Not Canada, Before Christ. A long long time ago.”

Tellias ecoed, “a really long time ago.”

“We just look young,” said Eleora.

“We’ve been around a long long time,” said Tellias.

Jack pulled his hand from Eleora. “How old are you? Juliette?”

“Jack, you don’t need to know.” He really didn’t.

“Juliette, tell me. Please.” He was begging now, well almost.

I took a deep breath. “I’m 153. Teddy is 163. We’re young as Vampires go.”

“We’re going swimming,” said Eleora.

“And we’re good swimmers and we can see under water” said Tellias.

“We’re very good swimmers,” sad Eleora.

“Yes, very good,” said Tellias.

“Do you have your suits with you?” Garrett asked this question.

“We’re going to go naked,” said Eleora.

“Completely naked,” chimed in Tellias.

I do love my old Vampires. They’re sort of odd, well, sort of is an understatement, but I love them.

“So what are we going to do with these three?” Asked Adam.

“We’ll deal with them Werewolf. Don’t worry about a thing. We’ll wipe their memories clean and send them on their merry way,” Tellias said with a lovely white Vampire smile.

“We’ll deal with them.” Eleora said as she kissed Adam on the cheek. Adam smiled then looked slightly uncomfortable at being approached by a Vampire so ancient.

Bryan groaned. Brandy nudged him with her foot. “Shut up or I’ll rip your throat out,” she growled at him.

I wanted to tell her “Good Dog” but stopped myself.

Then the door opened again. In walked a couple dressed in skinny jeans and stylish jackets and of course scarves. One must have a scarf these days.

The Elders danced over to them and embraced and introduced their friends. Poor Jack was ready to pass out at this point with all the weirdness.

The elders introduced their friends. LeRoy and Jasmine were young and hip.

“We saw your car and thought we’d drop in,” said Jasmine.

“Are you Vampires too?” asked Jack.

“We’re vegans. But we’re cool if you’re a vampire. If you’re born a predator it’s your nature. That’s just the way you are and we accept that. I mean, like, my cat eats meat,” LeRoy answered.

This was starting to remind me of that scene in Night at The Opera (Marx Brothers) when about 100 people crowded into a closet size state-room, then someone opened the door. You know what happened. If you don’t see the clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZvugebaT6Q

The Elder Vampires, LeRoy and Jasmine removed the bad people in black. Adam and I made a list of 100 people we needed to track down and find out what happened (or it seemed like 100). He and Brandy also helped me explain to my kids just what happened. We’d talk more on the way home and I’m sure for the coming weeks. Of course I know my children won’t talk about this except maybe to their Vampire friends. Everyone who needs to be informed will be.

Then there was Jack. He was shocked to know that his wife had known we were Vampires for years. She thought it was exciting. Jack still needed convincing. But I let him know that he was always safe and protected as long as he was my friend, which would be for always. That is how Vampires are. Once a friend, always a friend.

So the moral of this story is that you just have to roll with things but first and foremost:

  • Protect your children at all costs.
  • Surround yourself with friends you trust.
  • Keep those friendships strong.
  • Keep your elders in your life.
  • Don’t judge your friends by their eating habits.
  • Don’t put up with jerks.
  • Always bring a towel along if you’re going swimming (well, ok, according to Hitchhikers Guide always have a towel.)
  • And if you haven’t seen them already, make sure you see “A Night At The Opera” and “Duck Soup”. Marx Brothers. Don’t worry, they aren’t communists.

That’s it for now.

Have a great week.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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