Vampire Hunters, Staying at Home, Online Learning, Keeping in Touch, and Rolling My Eyes as Usual.

My brother Aaron called me. “We need your help,” he said.

“No. Absolutely not. You need to hire a professional. I am not doing this.” I was not going to do this.

“I am hiring a professional. I’m going to see Durant right now. Will you go with me?”

“Sure,” I said.

We were on our way to see Austin Durant, History Professor, restorer of historic buildings, and Vampire Hunter.

Aaron is an attorney and, well, it is a long story, but he deals with rogue Vampires. That includes Shadow Creepers, who are those who no longer have a trace of a soul and are loathsome creatures. The others are Vampires who are over the top predatory,  cause violence against others and kill. I wish this list included bores and total jerks but unfortunately that isn’t a crime, just bad manners.

Let me clarify, Aaron takes care of ridding the world of Rogue Vampires. We could do it ourselves but that would too much bad juju for us. After all, Aaron and I are also Vampires. If you’re new here and don’t already know it go back and read my older posts. I’ve been blogging about it since 2012.

Anyway, we hire Vampire Hunters to help us. Not just any Vampire Hunters. We hire those who are experienced, friends (if you can call it that) of the Vampire community, and aren’t just hacks who’ve been watching too many old Hammer films. Seriously some people grow up seeing Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee movies and think they’re ready to go out and save the world. They know nothing and are more likely to get themselves killed or at least in serious physical and emotional trouble. Jeeze they’re already fucking nuts.

Austin Durant is from a long line of Vampire Hunters, who’ve been taking out Rogue Vampires for centuries. He has a second sense about this sort of stuff and knows how to deal with the world in which Vampires and others who are not like him live. But enough of that.

I told Aaron that I was tired of crawling under floor boards and getting rid of dusty old  dried up Vampires. I’ll work with Austin but I’m tired of hearing, “You’re the smallest Juliette and you’re so good at talking to them.” Ugh.

Our current situation involved a group of nasty disgusting Vampires who’d camped out in an old abandoned ranch house in the foothills, right smack in the middle of the old Gold Country, along highway 49 in the California Gold Rush country. They’d taken advantage of people sheltering in place and self quarantined, especially those who were alone. They’d already gone into Stockton and were working their way up to Sacramento. It was ugly. They were making people sick. Not sick with Covid 19, but we were sure they were carrying it. They were endangering people and of course they never treated their food sources with respect.

That wasn’t so eloquently said, and it isn’t even the point of this story. I’m a mom. Mom stuff  is mostly why I write this blog.

We got to Austin’s house only to discover he’d taken in several students to shelter in place with.

Two were undergraduates. Grace was a third year English Major. Allison was a third year Engineering student. They were sharing Austin’s downstairs bedroom with the twin beds and their own bathroom. Kayden was a graduate student in History. He took the small spare upstairs bedroom.

For one reason or another they had found themselves without housing. Classes had all gone online, but other aspects of student life, like a place to sleep, had become more problematic.

Austin lived in a rambling five bedroom Arts and Crafts home he’d restored a while back. It would be a perfect place for out of place students looking for comfort and a bit of security while they were taking online courses and away from their families and friends.

When we arrived Aaron and Austin immediately went to Austin’s office to talk about the Rogue Vampires and bull shit about whatever it is they talk about. I went to the kitchen for a drink of water.

I overheard the students talking in the family room.

Grace: “Would you change your religion for someone you love?”

Kaden: “Like convert to her religion even if I didn’t really believe in it? No.”

Allison: “Fuck no. Holidays maybe but no, I’m not going to convert to some weird ass religion for some guy.”

Grace: “Would you become a Vampire for someone?”

There was a pause.

I walked into the room. “Vampires?”

“Would you become a vampire to be with someone you love?” Grace asked the question as if she was auditioning for the role of Elizabeth Bennet.

I answered, as if I was auditioning for the part of a warm blooded human. “It depends. Would they become a Vampire for me? What brought on Vampires?”

“Austin was telling us about the raise of religions and cults in 19th and early 20th century America. Then he told us about a group of Vampires who came to California during the Gold Rush to get away from the oppressive culture of the East Coast and Europe.”

“He said he was thinking about writing a book about one of them and her brothers. She’s a Vampire mommy blogger.”

“Really?” I said, then quickly changed the subject. I didn’t change the subject because I wanted to kill Austin Durant right at that moment, or at least rip his throat out, but because I was looking at three young people, the same age as my own children.

Because I’m not some shadow creeping undead ghoul I am also staying at home during the Covid 19 outbreak. I don’t know if I can get this thing. What I do know is that I can carry it. I’m a physical being so I can carry it around until it does land on some unsuspecting soul. Like everyone else I, and those like me, need to be responsible.

I also miss my own children to the point I sometimes feel physically ill. I know they’ve been successful at being adults despite their age. I raised them to be successful adults. I did my job. Bingo. I succeeded beyond expectations. Yet, no matter how much I pat myself on the back, and no matter how proud I am, I worry about them. I love them beyond anything I could ever imagine. That is one thing about parenting that one is never prepared for.

I talked more to the kids about their families, their classes, and their concerns. They made me laugh.

When I could hear the older boys were done with their discussions I invited myself into Austin’s office.

Of course Austin had to ask the one burning question that every Vampire Hunter must be wondering about. “So what are you doing for food these days?”

“Dave’s Bottle Shop is open with a good supply. We also have our regular donors. Don’t worry about it Austin. It isn’t any of your business,” I said.

Then I stepped closer. “Austin, if you ever write about us, or even THINK about writing about us the consequences will be extremely ugly.”

I could almost hear him thinking so I went ahead and answered his internal fear. “Yes, Austin, I would turn you into a Vampire so fast you wouldn’t even know it. Your worst nightmare would be a reality.”

“Juliette,” said Aaron. “Don’t say things like that.”

After rolling my eyes at my brother I just gave Austin a slight smile with the smallest bit of fang.

We’re still figuring out how to deal with the Rogue Vampires. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime if you’re not with your kids keep in touch. Text, FaceTime, FaceBook, Zoom, call, email, or whatever works for you. Don’t just do this for your kids but for everyone you know. Also please check in on the elderly and those who need a little bit of extra help. Keep in touch with those who might be alone and experiencing anxiety or depression.

  • Shelter in Place
  • Wash your hands
  • Keep in touch
  • Write
  • Be creative
  • Get sleep
  • Read
  • Be careful
  • Be nice
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Don’t take any chances. I want you to be here this time next year.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Allegory of Art and Life and Whatever (and College Students and Vampires)

I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about art.

Yesterday I stopped by my brother Val’s office/house downtown. I’ve always loved this large stick style home. He purchased it around 1910 and has done a remarkable job of keeping it up over the years when so many Victorian and Craftsman style homes went into disrepair.

Val’s office is on the bottom floor. The second floor is a comfortable space where Val keeps his official home address. On the third floor is an apartment occupied by a couple of college students.

Neither one of the young men, now in their third year of college, would have been able to go to school away from home without the horrible nightmare of college loans had it not been for Val’s Home Away From Home (so they call it.)

I’m not completely sure where he found Colton and Luke. I think Val met Colton studying in the old cemetery or something along those lines and the other kid came along. Colton was worried he’d have to move home and transfer schools and majors, or maybe just drop out. In exchange for rent they watch the place when Val is gone, do yard work and house cleaning, and keep their grades up.

The boys aren’t Vampires either, and they have no idea about Val. All they know is that Val is exceptionally cool and a little different.

Anyway, I was at Val’s thinking about art. Luke showed me some sketches he’d done of some friends of his on his way out to classes at UC Davis (a short trip across the causeway.) The kid is good. I’m ready to beat the crap out of anyone who discourages him.

Val was at his big desk with his computer checking all kinds of financial stuff I know nothing about. I looked up on the wall at his Maynard Dixon painting. It was of a woman wrapped in a shawl looking in profile towards a gold and orange landscape.

“You should donate that to the museum,” I said. “It is a hidden uncatalogued gem.

“Maybe. I haven’t had it that long.”

“You bought it from the artist. How old can it be?”

“Sometime in the 30’s. A mere matter of days for the typical Vampire.” He smiled and gave me that amused look that makes the girls all melt. Well except me because I’m his sister and I know his tricks.

“Why don’t you donate some of your art Juliette? God knows you’ve got it coming out of your ears.”

“I can’t. Not yet. I’m too attached. And I need more. I always need more art.”

Val laughed. I continued. “I bid on something for the art auction, you know the one for public television. I’m spending at least one day a week at the museum. Clara is taking an art history class so we’re talking about a lot of art. That isn’t a bad thing mind you. I’m also working on my art again. I’m also reading a book about art. My house is full of art. I’m going to go into an art coma.”

“Is that a bad thing?” My brother looked at me as if I’d lost my mind.

“No Val, it isn’t a bad thing. It is a good thing. I’m just kind of overwhelmed. And I don’t have a Burning Question for Saturday.”

He told me to make it about art. We thought about it and threw around a lot of really stupid ideas, which is par for my Burning Questions feature.

I’ll think of something, or use one of our ideas.

Around that time Luke came rambling downstairs to say hello to Val. He was a typical twenty year old male with that sort of cute and, always together, always smart, and always on the verge of some sort of disaster look. It was charming.

“The outside lightbulbs are out, on the front and back porches.” said Luke. “Do you have any extras?”

“Sure. In the second story hall closet, next to the laundry room.”

“Thanks. Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Go ahead,” said my brother.

“You kind of like the dark don’t you. I know you aren’t cheap so it isn’t the electricity bill you’re worried about,” said Luke.

“Good observation,” said Val. “Glad you asked. My eyes are sensitive to the light and I just need to rest them.”

“Makes sense. OK I’ll change those bulbs, then I have to study.”

“On a Friday?” I asked.

“For a bit. I’m going out later. There’s a movie at the Tower, Sisters Brothers or something like that. I’m going with Madeline.” Then he gave a shy smile.

Val slipped him a couple of twenties. We talked for a little bit longer.

Val and I are very old. It is always good to be around the very young.

But now my old brain must think up a Burning Question for October 6. It will be something about art – that thing which has twisted up my heart and soul for as long as I can remember.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Allegory of Painting

Allegory of Painting, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA