Short Story Sunday: Slut

Yesterday I was driving home. We’ve just had the first rain of the year. A full rainbow, the complete arc, from end to end was in the sky before me. And I don’t know what it was, maybe something on the radio, a flash memory, or a song, but I thought about all of the times I’ve been sexually harassed, assaulted, and otherwise bothered, hurt, or whatever by predatory assholes. I was suddenly so depressed. I flipped through the radio looking for a song to distract my brain. No such luck. Nothing to distract my brain or my heart. I hope with the stories coming out in the news that everyone, women and men, will stop this kind of behavior, and stop turning a head to this kind of behavior. Then I arrived home and saw the man who loves me standing on the front porch with a smile. 

This story was first posted here in 2015, but I’m posting it again today. Maybe that rainbow was a sign that things will get better. I can only hope that the younger generatin of men and wiomen  won’t put up with expectations that they’ll be weak, and voiceless. ~ Juliette

 

Slut

One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change. 

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole and tell him that Beth and Bart say hello.

~ end

Cults – Real Monsters

There are real monsters in our world and you need to talk to your children about them. You need to tell them where the phrase “Drink the Kool Aid” came from.

I hate cults. Be it religious or some other sort of group who blindly follow a crazed charismatic leader, I loathe them.

They don’t fascinate me as much as I am appalled. I am appalled by the people who start and run them. Most of all I am applied by the people who join them. And of course there is a very special place in Hell for people who bring their children into them.

The same goes for con-artists, so called psychics and clairvoyants  who tell those who mourn that they can contact the dead. It isn’t going to happen. They’re nothing as horrible as predators   who prey on the emotions and desperation of others.

If you’ve read any of my other work you’ll find patterns where I bring up cults, and those who claim to speak to the dead, hear angels, and other bull shit. I have the same opinion for those who say they’re prophets, or have a direct line to God, or lead others on religious journey’s and enlightenment – which really means control of assets, power, sexual abuse, and assorted other bull crap.

When I think of anyone from Branch Davidians and David Koresh, to Bo and Peep of Heaven’s Gate, to Jim Jones, and Elizabeth Clare Prophet, and those like them,  it makes me sick. And don’t think it is just religion. Many multi level marketing groups work on the cult model. Far too many political groups work on this model. They all break down potential members then bring them up in a sick and twisted feel good way – taking away the free will of the new member and replacing it with a perverted sense of belonging, awe, and fear of not belonging.

The leaders take away the member’s money, they isolate them from their families and friends, and they demand complete obedience.

Sex and sexual abuse seems to be a huge part of most cults and cult-like organizations.

It isn’t always on a grand scale. There are far too many small groups and organizations that we never hear about. They also prey on the innocent, lonely, and those looking for answers.

Often they use someone of the opposite sex to luer young people in, disguising their hunt as romance, or a connection with a kindred spirit.

When kids go off to college, or out into the world on their own for the first time it isn’t always easy. They will get lonely. They will have times when they feel like they don’t fit in. This is when the preditors go on the hunt after your children.

The preditors hunt the college campuses, often disguised as smiling peers just sharing information. My mind goes back to a girl I met in the late 70’s on a large college campus. She sat smiling like a bride on her wedding day, at a table, giving out information about “The Young Spartins.” This was back in the cold war days. She was from a communist group. I questioned her. She was all glassy eyed wonder. I didn’t have the heart to ask her if she’d ever heard the word “Gulag.”

Another story I’ll never forget is from a sweet young man who had his heart broken by one of the preditors. Fortunately he was smart enough to follow his head and heart, and not his dick. My young friend, a twenty one year old man in his forth year of college, had met a beautiful young woman at a party. They talked all night and watched the sun come up together. He was floating head over heels in love. He’d met his soul mate. Then two days later he was home early from his next date with her. She wasn’t intersted in him. She was only interested in him joining her “religion.” Her religion was something he (a Catholic) didn’t even consider a religion. He was horrified and heart broken. She didn’t give a crap about him, just about making her quota of converts and mindless followers.

Soon after that I was persued by several men of the same cult. They’d always ask me what I wanted to change about myself. I’d tell them “nothing.” They were total losers. I also met someone who had escaped from that same group that claims to be a religion, only after everything he loved had been taken from him – including his musical talent which he gave up for the cult. One is always expected to give something on loves up to prove their loyalty.

I’m not against religion or belonging to a group. I’m not against anyone having strong beliefs. What I am against is those who prey on the innocent and the young in the name of religion or political group, or other sick and twisted belief.

I tell my kids to question everything. I tell them to be skeptical. I tell them not to follow. Even when they don’t want to lead they should never follow, and never do anything blindly. Blind faith is a dangerous thing. Nieveity is a dangerous thing.

Cults are like abusive relationships. They will take everything from you until you are nothing. And they want to own you – both physically and mentally.

Discuss this with your young adult children. If anyone convinces them to stay away from their family and friends they need to RUN. If anyone tells them their family and friends don’t love them they need to RUN. Anyone who wants to break them down, then bring them up is BAD. They are evil.

Cults, con-artists, abusive assholes – it is all the same. They want your children.

I don’t know what else to say about this. Just continue to talk to your kids, even your older children about preditors. Your kids grow up but stranger danger is still an issue.

I speak from experience. A long long time ago I worked for someone who was trying to start a cult. It was scary. It was sick. It was sad. I saw first hand how the leader manipulated his followers to the point of blindness and deafness to reason and the outside world. I hate those people. I hate it when people are so weak that they follow such people.

That’s all. For now at least.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: College Daze

Ninety percent of my time as an undergrad was spent in weird Dr. Harrison’s biochemistry lab. The other ten percent of my time was living vicariously through my roommate Tony, who partied and got laid enough for an entire frat house full of horny guys.

Mavis stood up and stepped away from the keyboard. Earlier in the week she’d dropped her eighteen year old son Axel off at college – the same college she’d gone to. Now she was starting notes for her seventeenth novel in the popular Detective Star Landers Mystery Series.

She didn’t want her son to be like either one of the characters in her novel. She knew he wouldn’t be like Tony, but then again you never really knew what your kids were up to when they weren’t with you.

Axel was the youngest of her three kids. Jared and Zoe were also in college at opposite ends of the state. Axel was in the middle. She went outside with her coffee cup and looked at the backyard the kids had played in for years. Two dogs of unknown breeds were sleeping under the shade of the trees. Both animals were from the county shelter. The kids were helped pick them out. A lot of memories were in that yard and with those dogs.

After making more coffee Mavis sat down at her laptop again. She looked outside through the window and thought of her own college days. She didn’t think about it much. She didn’t keep in touch with anyone. After taking a sip of coffee she started to write again.

He did make time for Darcie. All he had to do was show up at her door and she’d screw him silly. She never expected love. Just friendship and sex. He was always up for that. One night he’d shown up at the little house she’d rented behind a bigger house. It was really more of a shed with a kitchen and bathroom added on to it. Anyway, it was 2:00 a.m. and Darcie was wearing a robe. Her face was red and swollen. It looked like her hands were covered in blood. 

She told him that she’d been attacked by a guy named Clayton Jones. Sure everyone knew Clay. He thought he was God’s gift to women, but slutty Darcie would never sleep with him. Clay called her a whore. She shrugged. 

Darcie had been to a party that night. Clay had tried to get her to fuck him. As always she said no. About twenty minutes after she got home Clay came to call. He beat her up and raped her. When he was done she hit him on the head with a lamp. 

Mavis looked up and rubbed her eyes. Then she started in on her notes again.

He was bleeding. He called her a bitch. She said she’d take him to the hospital. Down the road, behind a warehouse, she covered his car with lighter fluid and dropped a match on it. Poof. It with up in flames with Clay in the passenger seat. She walked home, and that is where I found her, sitting in her robe, covered in blood. 

Mavis saved the file. Then she deleted it.

She sipped her coffee again. Earlier in the week Axel had asked her about her college years. She’d told him it was sort of boring. She liked the classes but didn’t get into the social life part. Then her youngest son asked her if she knew that guy Clay who’d been murdered. She told him no. She didn’t know anything about it.

“You met dad in college. Did he know that guy Clay?” Axel had asked.

“He might have,” said Mavis, then she changed the subject.

She started a new page.

I never told anyone what Mavis did. 

Then she erased that line, and called her husband. Not for any reason. Just to tell him that she loved him. That was all

 

~ end

 

 

 

Musings and Conversations with my Millennial Vampire

Between my summer road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska (and the great Western US Adventure), and my trip up to Oregon for the total solar eclipse, I spent time with Garrett.

He is my first born, a late millennial Vampire, now a fourth year college student (they no longer use the terms Freshman – Senior.)

One night we sat together on the back deck watching the bats fly around the tops of the trees. The cats were underneath the porch light catching moths.

He changed his major from some sort of Environmental Science to Music Composition with maybe a minor in Film and Media Studies. He has the talent and the drive to be successful. Plus he has the advantage of being a Vampire. And his Uncle Andy (my bro) is musically gifted in astounding ways, and supports Garrett in every way.

Garrett is still interested in Environmental issues, along with fine art, but his heart is in music, as well as his talents.

Sometimes I am in awe of the remarkable young man who appreciates his talents and gifts. He also appreciates those around him.

“My friends and I,” he tells me, “we don’t take our donors for granted. We never take needlessly or aggressively. We’re not into that.”

I’m proud of my modern young Vampire son. He is by no means a pansy assed wimp. He is strong, and smart, and coming into his own powers. He is also kind, and sensitive, and full of humor. He can compose a jazz, or classical piece of music, then a few minutes later write a love letter for a friend, then go watch a science lecture just for the fun of it.

I worry about the future, but then again, I look at my kids and their friends, all new adults, and I’m not so worried.

As parents we need to teach them the knowledge of the past. In turn, they will create the knowledge of the future. Even as they grow older and lead their own lives, we are still parents. Appreciate their success. Don’t dwell on their failures. Enjoy them. Treasure them. Share yourself with them. And know you’ve done a good job (and if you haven’t it is never too late to turn things around.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Vampire Maman

 

Embracing Ignorance (and Other Parenting Thoughts)

If your child is a senior in high school you’re no doubt like us and finding dozens of mailers, catalogs, and letters in your mail box from colleges you’ve never even heard of. In our case my daughter is getting dozens of invitations from small private religious based colleges. Alright, I’ll come out and say it – she is getting a lot of invitations from private Christian colleges.

I’ve nothing against religion, and I am by no means an atheist. I do have problems with exclusive education where children and young adults learn only one view of the world.

Obviously, those who know me, know my view of the world can be a bit different. But my views on parenting, I feel, are based on raising a child to be an adult and see the “big picture” of the World they’ll go out into one day. I want my kids to go above and beyond my own experiences, and beyond what I can teach them.

I would NEVER send, or encourage my child to go to a college where everyone is the same, and encouraged to be the same.

I always like to think that my children were exposed to those with a variety of lifestyles, religions, and traditions – because from that they learned that not everyone is like them.  But more so they learned that we all have a lot more in common than we have differences.

Sure I could have sent my kids to school where everyone was like us. But why?

Another thing that worries me about a lot of faith-based education, or those who are yodeling about it on the news these days, is that the curriculum is anti-science. To me that is dangerous.

Considering the way Star Wars, and Star Trek are now so much part of American culture, and our own mythology, I don’t understand how anyone can be against science, discovery, or free thought. And the very lessons of these stories is about different people coming together and trying to understand each other. It is the fight between good and evil, and sometime the thin line between the two. But it is also about the promise of space and the existence of others out there in the universe we call home.

Science keeps people healthy. Science keeps our environment healthy. Science makes us comfortable. Science lets us know who we are. Science is knowledge about our world, and ourselves.

I will never understand the cult of ignorance which demonized science in the name of religion. If you love the Earth your God made, wouldn’t you want to protect it? Wouldn’t you want to protect God’s creatures rather than kill them and their habitats? Wouldn’t you want to use the brain that God gave you and discover the wonders of our Earth and universe? Wouldn’t you want all people to be able to spread the message of love, and to love each other? Seriously folks, I’m a Vampire and I have more compassion than (warning I’m going to get political) all of the so-called Christian bible beating bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, assholes who claim to be good people.  What bothers me the most is how willing so many are to embrace ignorance. Not only do they embrace ignorance, but they reject anyone who isn’t dumbing themselves down. Maybe being dumb might be safe, but it is morally wrong.

I’m always being asked if Vampires and Werewolves fight each other. Seriously? Who has time for that? We’re different. We might not get alone. We annoy each other. But we can also be friends, or at least friendly. And over the centuries we’ve learned a lot from each other.

One of the best things about college, or being young, is sitting up all night with others and solving the problems of the world, learning about each other, sharing personal stories, sharing hopes and dreams, building dreams for the future. Think of how much they would miss out on if they were all of the same background, same mind, and same heart. College isn’t just about classes. It is about growing up and discovering who you are – outside of your home, parents, and childhood. Part of the experience is learning from others.

I have to admit that a lot of the students at our school are just like my kids, but, well you know, a lot of them aren’t. That’s a beautiful thing.

Tell your kids that they can reach for the stars – and they won’t be alone.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Beware of Ignorance

 

School… Check list please.

This morning at the dog park I was talking to a teacher and the husband of a teacher.

Teachers don’t drop out of the profession because of the kids. It is the parents and administrators who make them sick and tired of the crap.

Most of my readers know what parents I’m talking about. It is the crazy ass mom who constantly complains that the teacher is unfair to her little darling (evil monster.) It is that mom who argues with the professor during a field trip to the planetarium saying there are aliens living on Mars. It is those parents who teach their kids to lie, cheat, stalk, and generally act like assholes, then complain loudly about their poor little darling being treated unfairly. It is that parent who thinks her child is the most brilliant child in the world and therefore the only one who matters. You know who this mom is. She is the one who stands up at the yearly parent information night in the school multipurpose room and states how her eight year child should be talking college level math, and she wants everyone to know how special she (the mom) is.  Once my kids moved onto high school I noticed the teachers and administrators shut these parents down – or at least it seemed that way. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way… Really, those hyper crazy moms are the people who suck the joy out of elementary and middle school out of the rest of us. So many times I’ve just wanted to yell, “GO THE FUCK AWAY,” but school authorities don’t look too kindly upon that sort of behavior…but they put up with…oh never mind. Anyway…

School is starting again. Summer was way too short this year.

My kids are awesome. I’m going to assume if you’re reading this your kids are awesome too (even if they aren’t Vampires.)

One of mine is getting ready for her senior year of high school. The other is a junior in college and getting ready for his upper division courses.

One says she doesn’t have time for boys. The other can’t think of anything but girls.

So I made my official 2016 back-to-school check list.

  • School supplies (Target)
  • Tell Dad what day school starts.
  • Tell Dad again what day school starts.
  • Ask kids if there is anything else they need.
  • Ask kids again if there is anything else they need.
  • And for the third (but not the last time) ask the kids if there is anything else they need.
  • Check emails for last-minute information from the school.
  • Ask the college junior why he is packing up a chain saw, and a 1968 set of the Encyclopedia Britannica to bring back to school with him.
  • Ask the college junior to please return the two pairs of panties (different sizes) to their owners when he gets back to school.
  • Tell Dad what day school starts.
  • Get extra batteries for calculators and other small magic boxes.
  • Give them both Dutch Brothers cards just because you’re the best mom ever.
  • Remind them that there are clothes that are not band shirts.
  • And last of all remind them again that their white trash thermos is ok for summer, holidays, and weekends, but not in the classroom unless it has a lid, and maybe not even then because glass shatters if dropped (a WT thermos is a large mason jar containing morning coffee when one has lost his/her travel cup.) Also remind them that it is not Mom’s fault if she knocks over the damn thing in the car because it won’t fit in the cup holder and has no lid. It is the child’s responsibility to keep their own coffee safe.
  • Ask the kids if they need anything else.
  • Tell them not to stress out. Tell them they’ll do great – even with the hard classes.

I’ll be checking my email over the next week for more information from the school. This is our last year in high school so I’m going to savor it all. I’m going to try not to get sad because, well, you know.

As the school year starts the one thing that I can stress it to listen to your kids. Let them know that it is safe to talk to you, their parent. Talk with them. Don’t take shrugs and grunts for answers. Engage them. Listen, listen, listen to them. And let them talk. Really let them talk. They’ll tell you a lot. You’ll learn something too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

backtoschool