False Starts and Finding Love – Things that we’ll never be able to explain.

False Starts, Lost Dreams, Finding Love and an Ancient Tabby

As a child Bronagh would get up each morning and go to school. There she’d figure out ways to escape through day dreams and long lone walks around the school ball field. In her more lucid and social moments she’d be trying to ignore the nonstop bullying from the group of smirking thugs who ruled the school. Having a different name in a universe full of Debbies and Nancys and Susans made one stand out. It made one get picked on along with being small, plain and quiet. Her family was also considered weird.

Her father was a large loud Irishman with a thick accent and her mother was a small pale elf like German woman who’d lost her family in a tragic accident, then ended up in a group home for unclaimed children. The Irishman and the German girl met in a bar, got married, moved to America and had too many children and didn’t do things like other families. They’d sit up all night and play cards and smoke and drink too much. Then they’d tell stories of ghosts and werewolves and violent relatives who didn’t come to America. They’d sing loud songs and walk around their backyard in their underwear. Sometimes the intensity of the couple frightened the other families of their normal middle class community.

Bronagh was never mistreated at home but she never felt too connected to her family either. She loved them but she didn’t want to live with them or be like them.

She struggled in school but in her secret world she was smart and would one day be beautiful and successful. Nightmare sessions in front of the class unable to do a math problem while other children jeered made her imagine a different life. At that point she started to keep secrets.

Nobody ever knew what she was feeling or thinking. She gave away nothing by her expression or words. She lived in two worlds – one on the outside and her own world inside.

She grew up, went on to high school, made friends, grew into a beautiful young woman, made straight A’s and never looked back.

Then she went to college and found herself on too many long walks alone, but that was OK. She was used to that. Friends came and went. There were always good times to be had but she never stayed close to anyone. She graduated and had plans but her life seemed to be one big black hole that sucked the life out of every idea, every relationship and every job prospect. All of her choices sucked. It was as if everything she touched turned to garbage. It was garbage that couldn’t even be recycled. It was toxic waste.

Time passed and roadblocks grew higher and doors slammed in her face. She found herself with a college degree, a shelf full of books, a stray one-eyed tabby cat she named Toulouse, and nothing else.

One day she decided that one of two things needed to happen. She either needed to die or fall in love. Nobody would ever love her she decided, so she set a date to end it all, that is if nothing happened.

She grew numb.

One day she forced herself to go the large university library to research jobs and graduate schools.

On the first floor she ran into an old party friend Cindy. Beautiful lucky Cindy was going off to her dream job in Los Angeles. A huge engagement ring sat on Cindy’s finger. Cindy’s clothes were beautiful and obviously expensive. Joy radiated out of her, not for material reasons but because she was just where she wanted to be. Then again Cindy had been born where every girl wanted to be.  Cindy was that kind of girl. Bronagh gave Cindy a hug and wished her the best.

Then she saw a guy she’d had a one night stand with talking to a biology professor she’d had. Ditching them she went up the stairwell to the second floor to take refuge with some art books.

On the second floor, as she left the art section, she ran into a man she’d been in love with. He was glad to see her. He was glad to tell her that he was getting married – to somebody else.  He asked her if she still had the cat. She thought he thought she was an idiot. She lied and said she had a boyfriend and great job prospects. Someone she really liked had dumped her the week before. She’d been fired from a job she’d held for a week. It didn’t matter. He’d cheated on her anyway. Being young and miserable with no prospects is no fun even when you don’t feel bad about telling lies.

Feeling numb she looked at college catalogs, made notes about graduate school requirements then go up to walk and distract herself. It was time to look up poisons or just sit down and die and turn into a mummy that someone would find in 50 years or so behind a stack of books nobody ever read.

In the deep darkness of the ancient basement stacks she accidentally tripped and fell into the arms of a man. It wasn’t that kind of fall into your arms. It was more of the kind of “I noticed you were looking up poisons,” kind of falling to his arms. He noticed in a big way. Poisons were not the kind of things pretty girls, or anyone not doing medical research or writing crime novels usually looked up. She said she was writing a story. He knew she was telling a lie but he let it pass. He told her he was doing research for a class he was teaching in creative writing. That wasn’t a lie. Well, not a complete lie.

She had iced herbal tea with him in an earthy crunchy little coffee shop and they talked about all sorts of things. His name was Valentine, yes, that Val, my brother. His friend Alonzo joined them.

That was 36 years ago. She still remembered the purple skirt and white lace top she was wearing. On her feet were gray flats. Val was wearing jeans and a black tee. Alonzo wore a red vest and a white button down shirt. His dark hair curled around his ears. It was weird how she remembered the details. She clicked with Val and Alonzo. They didn’t judge her. But they were not like the predators she’d met who wanted to lure her into schemes and religions and cults and plans that she didn’t want to be part of.

They became friends and she became one of them – one of us. A Vampire.

I know it sounds weird but she tells such a glum story. Bronagh is the funniest Vampire I’ve ever met. Yes, we have a sense of humor. You can’t live as long as we do and not.

Bronagh thinks about things too much – old things, things that happened, the guy in the library, the guy who dumped her, people who had been to her, a friend who died when they were young. But then not really, not lately. She used to sometimes wonder what life might have been like had she not become a Vampire.

Becoming a Vampire wasn’t what solved her problems. Having some support and encouragement and sheer tenacity is what got her out of her gloom. Long story. Hard work. Creative thinking. Love. Humor. She shrugs it off.

She’ll laugh and talk about how handsome Alonzo is,  but she’ll be quick to tell everyone that she married him for his sense of humor. She’ll tell you about how he proposed to her while they walked under the stars on a windy beach. She won’t tell you about the times she was so unhappy and lost before that day in the library. Those dark times were such a small portion of everything but still, it makes a mark.

Alonzo had a past so full of nightmares that he was glad to become a Vampire and live in a world of calm control and find some measure of peace. I’m just glad to have them in my life. Maybe I’ll talk Alonzo into telling me a few stories.

Valentine’s Day is almost here and all kinds of ghosts of relationships past are coming out of the woodwork. Let’s just keep most of them tucked away. We don’t need to deal with them or let them bother us.

Alonzo just shrugs and laughs off anything from his past. Bronagh does the same for the most part. They’re just like any other couple, only they’re Vampires. They believe that what they is due to divine intervention and it happened for a reason. Maybe. Maybe not. I’d like to think it was meant to be. OK it was meant to be.

And the odd thing about this story is that the old one-eyed tabby cat Toulouse is still alive at 43 years old. Of course, cats aren’t supposed to live that long but sometimes, well, all Vampires know that there are things we’ll never be able to explain.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Modern Problems

Dear Diary,

Over 300 years ago when I was King of the Vampires no one wanted to come into my country. I did not care except for one bad winter when my people were going hungry. I antagonized the ruler of a neighboring land. He sent in a large army of hot blooded men. My people were well fed for the rest of the winter and saved.

I miss those times.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Why was I not told that putting a blow dryer in the sink would cause me to be electrocuted? Until four years ago I did not even know what the word or the very concept of electrocution was.

The blow dryer is an amazing invention that I could have never imagined in my previous life before I was locked in a crypt for 300 years. There has been so much I have missed out on.

There is so much I still do not understand. How was I supposed to know about the dangers of electricity? Why did not anyone tell me of this?

Gillian, my Vampire lover, had left her blow dryer out in my bathroom. A bathroom is another modern marvel that I shall go into sometime in the future. My hair was wet. It is winter. I used the blow dryer.

Several hours later Gillian was shaking my shoulder and calling my name. I was on the bathroom floor. Apparently I had the water running in the sink and somehow the blow dryer became wet.

“Had you been a normal person you’d be dead,” Gillian scolded me.

“By what do you mean a normal person,” I asked her.

“Not a Vampire. I swear Vlad you must be more careful,” she said. “Water and electricity do not mix. EVER.”

“Thank you for telling me,” I said as she helped me up.

She scowled at my sarcastic tone. Women are like that. They give one that look. The look is not a modern thing. It has been going on since time began.

“How does my hair look?” I had to ask.

“Perfect. Your hair always looks perfect,” she said, then she left the room.

I do not understand women anymore than I understand electricity.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I find myself locked out of everything. Not with a key. No, not a key. I am locked out with passwords that do not work.

At one time I, as the King of Vampires, gave out secret passwords for the safety of my kingdom. If I gave one of my subjects a special word I would not then tell him that the word was wrong and that he could not use the same word again and that I would lock him out for thirty minutes no matter how desperate he was to get inside.

No, in this insane world I find myself in I am forced to live in what they call a VIRTUAL world. That means a world where everything is invisible to me. There are no people. There is no help. I am forced to do all of my business in a maze of darkness in which I have no control.

My bank said I had to change my password for my own security. I changed it. Then they said I could not use the new password. Then they said I must have 8 letters, at least one capital letter, and several symbols. I could not use an old password. I put in a new password. They said it would not work and locked me out.

My friend Randolpho said all of his passwords are “Fuckyousuckdick!”

I told Randolpho that he was vulgar and it would end up haunting him. He then told me that he never has problems with his passwords. I find that difficult to believe.

Each time I get on the Internet I must change passwords. Security questions ask things I know nothing of. I did not go to high school. It does not believe my first pet was a unicorn. It asks me questions of things I do not know or have no experience in. Or it will not believe my answers. It. What is it?

One day Randolpho attempted to explain that the brain in a computer was dots and dashes. What are dots and dashes I asked. He could not answer. I think he is, what do they say, pulling my leg. He is telling lies. It is like alchemy. No man can make gold out of nothing. Something is going on that I do not understand. One day I shall find the answer. Maybe not.

I have to admit that a small plastic card is easier than carrying around several pounds of gold coins.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I was out one night, my heart pumping new blood, having a glass of wine when someone caught my attention. Some men were discussing floppy disks in one of those games where they remember their childhood.

“Is that a kind of Frisbee?” I asked. I do know what a Frisbee is. I have friends who have dogs. Dogs love to play with Frisbee disks. My friend Randolpho plays Frisbee Golf in the park with his odd friends.

One of the men laughed and said, “You Millennials are all alike.”

I am 675 years old a far cry from being a millennium old. A thousand years. Yes, it is creeping up on me but I do not look that old.

I asked my love Gillian if I looked ancient or worn out.

“Vlad you always look amazingly good,” she told me.

“Do I look like I am a thousand years old?” I asked.

“No Vlad, you look like you’re about thirty, maybe thirty-two at oldest. You could even pass for younger if you wanted to.”

“Then why,” I asked her, “why did someone call me a millennial?”

Gillian smiled the kind of smile she reserves for children, and for me when I say something wrong.

“Vlad,” she said, “a Millennial is someone born at the turn of the 21st Century. Someone born more or less between the years 1980 and 2000.”

“Have we come to this where we are judged by the years in which we were born. Is this some sort of sooth saying like those who read stars? I thought we were beyond that sort of thing in the 21st Century.”

“It has nothing to do with that. Society and technology changes so fast. Since the Baby Boomers each generation has had their own name.”

“Baby Boomers?” What fresh Hell was that? She did not answer. I think she was done with me. I still found this slightly confusing and somewhat annoying. “So I know nothing,” I said.

“You know more than you give yourself credit for my darling, sweet, precious Vampire,” she said and then kissed me. “There is hope. You are now by default part of the generation that will make things better.”

“Better than what?”

“I’m not sure yet, but they’ll do the right thing.”

I did not argue. I am a Millennial with the soul of an ancient relic. I can only attempt to learn and teach others to learn from the mistakes of history.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Today I learned that some people do what is called living off of the grid. That is without the Internet or many other modern marvels. They do not wish to be found or seen. They wish a simple time.

I lived in a simple time, but it was not all that simple. People smelled bad, which was awful for Vampires like me. Now our food smells a lot better.

I could go on and on. My point is that when life is good for people then life is good for Vampires. I shall be a crusader for social justice if that is what it would take for all Vampires to have safe and reliable blood sources. You see, I have the mind of a leader for my people, even though I am no longer King of Vampires.

Without the duties of a leader, aside from feeding my cats, I have few beings who depend on me anymore. It is lonely at times, even for a Vampire.

Only to you Dear Diary do I admit this because I am admitting it to just myself.

In the meantime I have made of list of things I must try to understand.

  1. The meaning of the word cute.
  2. Avocado toast.
  3. Fusion in reference to everything
  4. The Dark Web
  5. Bone Broth
  6. Soundcloud (that is thunder or maybe not)
  7. Beard wax
  8. Helicopter Parents
  9. Blue hair
  10. What is a Nickleback and why do people seem to despise it?

I should try to stop this torture in my brain and read a book or just turn on Netflix.

Netflix is something we did not have in my old Vampire castle. Maybe change is good. Like cats. Cats are good.

Cats are always good, no matter how old one is. Especially if one is a Vampire.

~ Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Savor

As I walked downstairs from my bedroom I wondered how many tons of cat vomit is flushed down toilets each year?

At 4:12 a.m. the dog had asked to go out. As I made it to the entryway I saw that the poor thing couldn’t wait. She had tummy troubles and made a huge mess. She is a large dog at 85 pounds, so believe me it was a huge mess. After taking a large bag full of the mess out to the garbage I sprayed the carpet and now I’m waiting to scrub it. Fortunately for me the carpet is being replaced with hardwood floors soon.

So what does this have to do with parenting, vampires, or having an empty nest?

My nest is not so empty. Since there are no children in the house the animals are all more aware of MOM. We are all adjusting. The cats are eating quicker and barfing because the dog is trying to eat their food. The dog is eating cat food and getting huge runny poops. I’m trying to give all of them extra attention.

In the meantime my adult children, young but still adults now, are keeping in touch this week though the magic of the smart phone.

I just received photos of costumes from Paramount Studios, and last night photos from Griffith Park Observatory (yes, the one in LA LA Land.)

Then photos came of Pike Place Market and a friend’s new beard. This is the first beard of the group. It is well groomed, blonde, and a new trendy hair cut. Looks good.

They’re on winter break from school and off with friends, one north, and one south.

When I was that age I also tumbled into adventures, and unfortunately more misadventures. If I had the resources, and the wherewithal kids had now… Yes, I think how different it might have been, but does that matter? I’ll let my alternate universe self deal with that. I’m just happy beyond words to see I’ve given my kids the tools they need. Yes, they have those phones, but there are so many more tools one must have.

They’re curious, and full of adventure. They smart. They’re cautious. They’re playful. They’re young and without fear of the unknown.

The other day Nigel the Ghost, who left his body, ok died, around the age of 26 or 27, told me to tell my kids to treasure their youth and make the most of it.

I was feeling snarky so I said, “we’re Vampires.”

Then he said, “then treasure it all the more.”

He is right. And so, no matter who we are, what we are, or how we live, we should treasure everyday, and every experience.

I thought about all of the adventures I’ve been on with my children. There will be many more to come, and I am glad they are having their own adventures as well now. They’re building their libraries of wonderful memories. Yes, I wish I was there, but like I said, we will have our adventures too.

A new lesson for our adult children should be to savor the moments. Plan fun. Continue to play. Take breaks. Watch for falling stars. And to continue to treasure those you love.

Tell them, as they grow older, they should keep an open mind as well. My mind is much more open now than it was when I was a clueless eighteen year old.

Just remember, and this is coming from an old Vampire, to savor all moments. Even if it is just petting a cat who leans against your leg, or the quiet of a cold winter night.

xoxo

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Male Bonding

Male Bonding (a family story)

Hot flashes. Andy’s girlfriend had been having horrible hot flashes. When you date Vampire women you don’t have to worry about that. On the other hand Vampire women were, well, a bit cold. He laughter at his own joke. Damn, there was nothing sexier than a smart middle-aged woman.

Unfortunately Shawna of the Hot Flashes wasn’t at his house this weekend. This was a weekend of male bonding. This was a weekend of cold powerful Vampire testosterone.

Coffee – check. Bacon – check. Cats fed – check. A man screaming…

Was that glass breaking? Someone yelled, “HEY. What the crap?”

Andy ran upstairs to find his nephew Garrett in the hallway. They look at each others with wide eyes and ran together into the bedroom room his other nephew Logan was in.

Wild colors spun around the bed – a crazy halo of nasty creatures with big eyes and transparent wings.

Logan lay on the bed batting his hands at the onslaught.

“Stop. NOW,” yelled Andy.

The creatures stopped mid-air and lined up on the footboard of the bed. They crossed their little legs and smoothed out their skirts. One of them giggled. Andy gave her a death look then she slapped her hand over her mouth and snorted. Then they all started to giggle.

“Damn Fairies.”

The night before they’d gone out to a rave the night before. His sister would kill him for bringing her almost nineteen year old son along but he’d take his chances. The kids needed a night of dancing, booze and blood. Logan, at the ripe old age of twenty-four was an experienced Vampire and officially an adult. Sure, his mom would be pissed off too but Andy really didn’t care. The boys needed to live and be men – Vampire men.

All females had been banned from the house that weekend. Sure it had been tempting to bring a few home last night but Andy had resisted.

Now he stood in front of a line of sixteen giggling little sickening sweet females, with glossimer wings no less.

“Ladies, you need to go,” said Andy.

“Andy, you’re so cute when you’re angry,” said one of the fairies, a lovely vision in a yellow dress.

“Sing us a song Andy,” said the one wearing pink.

“And coffee,” said the one in sparkling white.

“No coffee,” said Andy.

“Coffee,” they all screeched and then swirled around Logan again trying to bite him with their sharp little teeth. Andy and Garrett jumped in trying to knock the fairies away but they continued to bite and scratch.

Andy threw up his hands, “FINE but you have to share cups.”

The fairies stopped and flew downstairs to the kitchen.

Andy looked at his nephews, “I hate fairies.”

“They seem to like you,” said Logan who was inspecting the scratches on his arms.

“Lucky me,” said Andy.

Downstairs they found the fairies drinking coffee out of antique Dresden china cups.

“If any of those cups are broken there will be consequences. Do you understand ladies?”

The fairies scowled at him in unison. Then they demanded bacon and cookies. He didn’t have any cookies so they got apples. Damn fairies.

As the guys settled down for basketball Andy set the fairies up in his office. They all sat in front of his computer screen yelling in their high little voices, “The Notebook. Play the Notebook.”

It was always The Notebook.

Back in the den with baseball was on Logan looked up at his uncle. “So Andy, what’s the deal with the fairies?”

“I don’t know. They like me. Don’t ask me why.”

So much for being the big macho alpha Vampire male. On the other hand girls liked hanging out with him. His nephews should be so lucky…well, maybe.

Death is in my garbage can

I see ghosts. Of course I do, because I’m a Vampire.

That said, I have never seen the ghost of a wild animal or at least that of a wild creature who met death in my yard.

Yesterday my lovely delicate little light as air calico cat grabbed a squirrel by the neck, almost decorated it, then at out the heart, lungs, liver, and whatever else was above the intestines.

I found the bloodied squirrel spread eagle, gutted, with tiny white ribs exposed to the sunlight. Not a drop of blood was on the cat.

I only mention this because whenever I have found a dead animal in my yard I feel unease. I don’t know what to do with them so I put them in the garbage can. Then every single time I have to go out to the garbage can in the side yard I know a body is in the bottom of it.

The largest animal was a huge male turkey who was dead on the ground underneath a broken tree branch in my front yard. A female turkey walked around him feeding on whatever she could find in my flower beds. Think of the largest Thanksgiving turkey and add about ten pounds to it. That was the dead turkey in my yard.

It died on garbage day. For a week two turkey feet stuck up almost to the top of the garbage can, a reminder to me every time I took something out to the trash that life is a frail thing indeed.

Another time I found a beautiful dead little squirrel in my front yard, still warm from a fall. I scooped it up and wrapped it carefully in a bag and put it in the garbage can.

Birds, snakes, squirrels, and turkeys all go in the can. My house is built upon rocks so digging is out of the question. And if I did bury an animal in my yard by the next morning another animal would have dug it up, no matter how many rocks I put over the hole.

Anyway, there is something uneasy about having the body of an animal, not food, but just an animal who visited my home come to a violent death and end up spending a week with me (or until the next garbage day.)

I do not see their ghosts. I do not hear tiny animal banshee voices in the wind. All that is left is fur and feathers.

This is an unreasonable discomfort of mine, but anyway… it is what it is.

You’d think as a Vampire I wouldn’t care, but finding a tiny warm squirrel in my yard, with no life in it’s tiny body is just so sad. A rat, not sad at all. A turkey – not that is just weird because they are so darned big. With smaller birds all that I ever find left are feathers and maybe a random foot. You can ask my cat about that. Luckily it has been years since I’ve had to deal with dead possums or skunks. I don’t know what I’d do if I found a coyote, a raccoon, or heaven forbid a bobcat or a mountain lion dead in my yard.

Garbage day won’t come soon enough. It is Friday and death is in my garbage can.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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Short Story Sunday: Witching

Sophia hated October. The closer Halloween came the more all of the wanna-be witches came out of the woodwork like so many Stevie Nicks fans dancing around in their long flowing black frocks. It made Sophia cringe.

Being a real witch wasn’t always easy these days, especially with all of the misinformation, myths, and stereotypes.

“Thinking about Stevie Nicks again?”

Sophia looked over at her cat. “Unfortunately yes.”

“I know how her music gives you headaches dear. Try not to think about it, or her witchy wanna-be fans,” said Virgil the cat.

“Thanks Virg. It isn’t just the stupid music connection and the flowing black dresses. It is the way they try to do spells and act like we’re all in some goddess infused mania. I’m an individual damn it. I’m not a cliché. I can do magic. I AM magic.”

“They’re just having fun,” said Virgil the cat. “Deep breath Sophia, deep breath.”

That cat licked his forearm rubbed his face then continued. “Just think of cats this time of the year. Every other girl is trying to be a sexy kitty with silly cat ears and tails. And those poor zombies. They’ve got a serious medical condition and people are making fun of them by dressing up in rags and staggering around like drunks. Don’t even get me started on the bull shit vampires have to deal with. The fake blood is enough to make them want to go on a feeding frenzy just to make it stop.”

Sophia rubbed Virgil under his neck. “Thanks sweetie. I know. I know. I shouldn’t be so sensitive. It is all just for fun. It still bugs me.”

“On a good note,” said Virgil, “people are going to dress up as something really scary.”

“What is that?” Sophia couldn’t imagine what the cat would say now.

“Politicians. Big elections coming up right after Halloween.”

Sophia felt a cold chill that gave her the shivers right down to her bones. “You have a point there Virg. Awwww man, I can deal with witches. I don’t even want to imagine those political ghouls.”

Virgil rubbed his head against Sophia’s arm.

“It isn’t easy being different baby,” said Virgil. “But you’re doing great. It’s Halloween. We’ll have fun tonight.”

Sophia poured a big bag of candy into the pumpkin shaped bowl. The neighborhood streets would be full of tiny monsters, princesses, kitties, and witches. That was a good thing. She’d make sure to send them all home with a safety spell and good dreams of a safe world and a future where they could make a difference for good.

~ end

Tangled Tales