Short Story Sunday: Too Hot To Wear Black

Damn. At 107°F is was way too hot to wear black.

It felt like 250°F inside because the air conditioning had gone out the day before. It was Sunday and nobody could come out and fix it until Tuesday or maybe even Wednesday.

Elizabeth looked in the closet and grabbed a blue and yellow sundress. Screw wearing any kind of bra. It was too hot for that. She slipped on a pair of black flip flops and small diamond posts. It was even too hot for dangling earrings or hoops. Earrings in this weather tended to get hot and burn her neck.

She threw some extra clothes, her laptop, the book she was reading, and whatever else she’d need for the next few days in a backpack.

In the kitchen two dogs were laying on the tile, which was still cooler than anything else in the house. Sage, an extremely large black and tan German Shepard was snoring. Jack, an old yellow Lab mix with a black tail and white feet was wagging his tail as he hoped his cuteness would bring treats.

After packing up dog bowls, toys, treats and kibble she called the dogs out to the car.

When she opened the car door the blast of hit air was like a friggin furnace. The dogs jumped in the backseat. Elizabeth turned on the air conditioner and headed out.

Damn it was hot. The radio played some Fleetwood Mac song. Damn she hated Fleetwood Mac. How could anyone listen to that crap. She flipped through the stations and got an awful live version of Jimmy Buffet singing Boat Drinks in front of an obviously stoned crowd, then she got some whiny girl singing about her boyfriend. She’d had enough with annoying female vocalists. She turned on the classical station but someone had decided it was a good day to play brass band music. It reminded her of Monty Python. Finally she stopped at Oh My My by Blue October. Finally something that she could sing along to and wouldn’t make her want to scream every cuss word she knew.

At a stop light both of the dogs started baking at a car with three barking dogs. All tails were wagging. It was just a hey hey hey we’re all riding today.

The dogs had been fed before they left but Elizabeth’s stomach growled. It was so hot lately that food wasn’t a priority and frankly it was a hassle. She’d eaten the day before when she went to her friend Jax’s house. He’d cut her hair for her and she’d had lunch there. Nine inches off. She shook her head and let the new layered bob swing against her cheeks. She loved it. It had been a long time since she’d had sort hair. This was fun and sort of messy and perfect.

Passing the cemetary Elizabeth glanced over at the crypts under the trees. Even in the shade it would be over 120 inside those things. She could almost hear bones cracking and dried flesh splitting underneath suits and lace dresses. How could anyone think Vampires lived in crypts. Not only was it too hot in the summer but there wouldn’t be anyplace to put your books or clothes, or anything else. There’d be no guarantee of any Internet connections. It would be nasty and uncomfortable even in a large family size crypt. Where did people get the ideas about Vampires living in crypts. The ghosts alone would drive anyone mad.

Arriving at her boyfriend Austin’s house Elizabeth hearded the dogs through the front door. She looked into the large family room where two college aged girls were watching a movie. Since the pandemic Austin were letting them stay there. They’d been kicked out of their campus housing. He was a professor living alone in a rambling old Arts and Crafts style house so he had room for the girls and a male graduate student.

Austin was in the kitchen cutting up vegetables.

“It is soooooo hot,” she said, kissing him. She didn’t bother with social distancing. This was a safe spot.

“Oh wow,” said Austin. “I love your hair like that.” He ran his hands through it and kissed her again.

“Thanks. Damn it is hot today. My air conditioning is out. I’ll be here a few days if you don’t mind.”

She opened the freezer and pulled out an ice tray. Then she filled a tall glass with red frozen cubes and topped it with ginger ale and rum.

“That looks disgusting,” said Austin. He let her keep frozen human blood in his freezer. When a man is in love with a Vampire he’ll let her keep just about anything in his freezer.

“It is lovely. You should try it sometime,” she said.

The dogs danced all around Austin.

“Where’d the dogs come from?”

Elizabeth smiled. “Sage and Jack. Their owner died. They’re Covid Orphans. They would have gone to a shelter so I took them. What? Don’t look at me like that. I’ve had dogs before.”

“When was the last time you had a dog?”

“I don’t know. 1937. It was 1937. I had a beautiful sweet Afghan Hound named Bosco.”

Elizabeth filled a plastic bag with ice. “I’m going up to your room for a nap. I didn’t get any sleep last night. Do you think the girls will mind if the dogs hang out with them?” She didn’t wait for an answer. Austin had said something about waking her when dinner was ready but she hardly heard him. That would be in about three hours.

Austin’s bedroom was cool and dark. She dropped her dress to the floor lay on top of the comforter with the ice under her neck.

Oh my my. She closed her eyes and slept dreaming of a good foggy beach and a warm handsome man.

It was summer and way too hot to wear black.

~ end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Driving at Night – Cover Songs, Ghosts, and Not Much Else.

The subject was bad cover albums.

“The Backstreet Boys doing Pink Floyd. Any album.”

“Ariana Grande doing the entire soundtrack of Oklahoma.”

“Jimmy Buffet doing Rolling Stones Start Me Up.”

“Sammy Hagar could pull that off.”

“Maybe.”

“Lorde doing Abby Road, the entire album.”

“Oh my God that would be awful.”

“Sir Paul doing Poison’s Greatest Hits.”

“You’re killing me.”

“You’re safe baby brother. You’re safe.”

I was driving. My brothers Andy and Val were doing one of their “lists.”

Andy, the eldest of the two, is a professional singer. Val is just a judgmental hipster, and extremely good at it. He is also a finance/money guy. No he does not accept bribes, or do disgusting things with underaged girls, or go out of his way to profit off of breaking laws or hurting people. I love them both to the ends of the earth.

Another voice chimed in. “Stevie Nicks doing Jimmy Buffets Songs We Know By Heart Album.”

“That is brilliant and horrible…what the fuck?” My brother Val slid to the door and almost let himself out as we drove down the freeway at 70mph (maybe 75.)

“What? I’m a ghost but I have an opinion,” said a voice as a body appeared next to Val in the backseat of my car.

“You guys, this is Nigel. Nigel, my brothers Andy and Val.”

“Jewels, there is a Ghost in your car,” said Andy.

“I’m Juliette’s Ghost. Well, not HER ghost, because she is a Vampire, and she isn’t me, but I am a ghost and I am in her car. What of it?”

“It’s OK. Chill out. Nigel is annoying but he’s fine. Everything is fine.” I said, trying not to run off of the road or into anyone.

By the way, Vampires can see ghosts but that doesn’t mean we like them, or at least not usually. We usually do not like ghosts. I just happen to have one who hangs out with me more frequently than I’d like.

Three Vampires, and a ghost, in a car, on the freeway, at night.

We continued on down the road to my house talking about cover songs, uncovered songs, and the state of men’s fashion. Well, they talked, I just listened and drove.

Just another night.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

Alternate Routes

My kids love to laugh about my driving, or at least the many times we’ve taken the scenic route due to wrong turns and missed turns and complete turn arounds.

Years ago I was traveling across England by myself. I was going from I believe Banbury to Bath. When I stopped at my connection I had no idea which train to get on. None of the signs said Bath. None of the signs looked like any English I’d ever seen. So I asked a man in  the window, the ticket man, where I should go. He asked me to repeat myself. I just assumed he couldn’t understand my American accent. Then I asked him to repeat his directions to me three times. I couldn’t understand a word he said. The accent was local but I wasn’t even sure where local was. The connection name sounded long and I was going to Bath, which is short. So I took my chances on a train that was going to a town with a 34 letter name (or so it seemed.) The only other people on the train was a happy group of Italians who spoke no English at all. At the time I only knew a few words in Italian. What I did get from them was that they were not sure where they were going either. I could have ended up anywhere. At that point it didn’t seem to even matter. It was a happy ride despite the bitter January cold. The train finally stopped, in Bath.

I think of all the wrong turns I’ve taken in my life. Some have been scary, some frustrating, some filled with wonderful surprises.

I wanted to be an actress, a writer of children’s books, a clothing designer, an illustrator of Gothic fantasy, a stand up comic, a writer of best selling novels and so many other things, but ended up taking wrong turns.

Then again, I write an odd Vampire blog, my short stories have a following, I’m an illustrator, an artist, a lover, a wife, a mom, and someone who is about to yell at the cat for sticking his fuzzy face in my coffee.

The detours, be it to a giant hole in the ground, a park, an unexpected view or a new friend are worth those wrong turns. Maybe not so much wrong turns as alternate routes.

The destinations in life are great, but I do love the journey, even if i don’t know where I’m going most of the time. I’m a good traveler on this road of life.

Join me. It will be fun and I always like the company.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

vsi

 

 

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/wrong-turns/

Roadkill… I um, mean, where are we going to eat while we’re traveling?

roadtrip

Vampires usually don’t do fast food but sometimes we find a nice diner or a nice owner of a diner…

We’ll be taking a roadtrip across California and the American Southwest (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico).

I gotta tell you, everything in my life has been so stressful lately, never mind the Zombies, it has all just had me over the top and to the edge so I am so looking forward to getting in the car and driving across four states (four BIG states).

When Vampires travel we have all sorts of things to take into consideration that other folks might not think about. During the next couple of weeks I’ll try to bring you tales from the road and travel tips for Vampire traveler.

What are we going to eat?

My daughter keeps asking this one. Of course we’ll have water and snacks in the car but…we’re Vampires so the question is WHO are we going to dine on while we’re out on the road.

Well…there are a lot of options

This guy looks interesting. Let's show him something REALLY scary!

Hitchhikers. But watch out for Zombies and Aliens. But if they look scary, just remember…we’re Vampires. Bahahahahaha.

Bikers are a good option because there are a lot of them and a varied menu.

Bikers. Bikers come in all shapes and sizes. There are the yuppie accountants and orthodontists bikers on their Gold Wings, there are the James Dean wanna bees, there are the hairy old grizz bikers, there are the Hell’s Angel types. And they’re easy. We like that. Good for those eat and run times.

Clueless Bimbos driving alone across the desert also make for a quick snack. I hope she has on sunscreen!

Bimbos. These gals are usually going to LA to be stars or Las Vegas to be strippers or breaking up with husbands or doing something sketchy. They’re fast and easy and usually have some interesting story. Vampires love these gals.

Truckers. HA. This one is just for fun - but you know ones like this can't run too fast and are an easy and fast snack.

Truckers. Truckers are like Bikers – there are a lot of different kinds. What makes them great is that they’re generally friendly and have their own trucks. That makes it especially easy for a nice evening sit-down dinner. And those truck stops brings them all together sort of like a grocery store for Vampires. It is pretty great.

THIS TRUCKER. Yes, this is more like it and fits in with a healthy diet.

Finding a baseball team on a bus is like a good casino buffet! Loads of yummy stuff and you can keep going back for more!

Baseball Teams! This time of year a traveler can look forward to busses FULL of healthy, young, good looking men. It is like one of those big all you can eat buffets at the casinos! What more could a Vampire on the road ask for? Not much except when we’re traveling out West…

Cowboys are always mighty tasty and a fun ride!

YES INDEED… what we’re really looking forward to are the COWBOYS! Just look at the picture. Need I say more. And if you’re lucky maybe he’ll take you for a ride or show you how he can tie things up.

Panic" at the Disco tour bus! We're heading for Las Vegas but we'll be happy to meet you on the road!

Wait, one more thing. This has to be the best. A Rock Band Tour bus. Everyone is on the road with tours this summer and we hope for a private show or two. My daughter hopes we see her favorites and pull them over for a little bite! Always a treat!

lizard

We tend to stay away from highway patrol men and women. They’re healthy and perfect for our needs BUT we have to respect the badge.

Also, stay away from lizards. If you get hungry eat a burger without the bun or bring some trail mix or cheese with you. Lizards are nasty.

We also stay away from old folks in motor homes and families in mini vans. Please don’t make me explain why.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Musings on Opera, Driving and Mom Time

I remember when my kids were babies I used to read blogs and articles that gave useless advice to busy moms. They’d say things like “take a bubble bath” or “have a date night” and I’d wonder who the crap they were writing for. Spa days? Really? I mean it. Get real. And while you’re at it F-off.

None of those writers ever said “Watch Pulp Fiction for the 50th time” or “Have a stiff cocktail with good booze.” One night when I was at the end of my rope I watched The Hangover” all by myself. Yes, I love movies as much as I love making stuff up.

On Friday nights we’d have Friday Night Opera Bath. I’d turn on the Public Radio and we’d listen to opera. To this day the kids still don’t like opera. They think I’m quaint. But one day they’ll thank me for it.

I still listen to opera when I’m driving late at night alone.

So why DO mom’s drive their kids around so much, even moms who work full-time (like me) and don’t seem to have a moment to spare?

Driving is our alone time. It is our time to think and unwind and let our minds go free.

If I’m in a tub full of bubbles someone, a child, a husband, a cat, will come in wanting something. When I’m in the car, in the driver’s seat I’m in control. It is my time.

It is also quality family time. It is time that kids and parents can talk and nobody can say “I gotta go”. One can’t just step out on the freeway going 65 or 70 mph.

Dad’s’ need time too. Don’t expect your man to be around 24/7 building things and fixing things. He needs his time too (even if it includes opera or sports or whatever.)

And since it is a myth that Vampires turn themselves into bats…I know I can sit outside with a book and in the quiet of the night watch the little guys fly around behind my house. Books and bats usually do the trick…until everyone shows up, but I don’t mind that. The conversation is always good, at least around my house.

But walks and gym time work the same way. It is time away. We all need our own away time, even if it just in our minds.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

kayN

 

Take a deep breath and…just stuff

Time is of the essence around here…something rare and precious…because there are now teens in our lives. Every single moment counts. There is homework, dances, skate parties, school, more homework, sports, college applications, clubs, friends, friends, friends, music, concerts, take a deep breath…and family time.

A lot of family time is just driving around in the car between all of these events, catching up, talking about “stuff”. Stuff is the best stuff to talk with teens about because it is about everything and nothing. We solve the problems of the universe or maybe not. We get serious. We laugh. We say stupid things to make each other laugh. We just talk.

Family time for us is also night walks. Sometimes we do Vampire stuff and sometimes we don’t. And remember this “Musings of A Vampire Mom”. A very very very very busy Vampire mom who has a lot going on aside from teaching her children to be good Vampires, citizens of the world, good students and of course teaching one’s child how to live in a diverse and ever changing and insane world.

So parents and teens:

  • Turn off your phones (or at least put them down)
  • Say something silly
  • Laugh with or even at each other
  • Talk about stuff
  • Pull out your old evening clothes and get your teens to try them on. Just for kicks and grins.
  • And if you’re a Vampire (or not) go on a night walk to see the stars, the bats, maybe find a night biker with a nice neck to bite…

Just spend a few minutes together. It’s important. You’ll thank me later.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

pretending with gloves