Shared Memories and New Adventures – Savoring the Moment

This week I’m in Southern California visiting my kids.

When your kids are grown shopping trips are different. Today we went out to get gardening supplies, ant bait, a cork screw, an air mattress someone can actually sleep on, sheets, drinking glasses, a lamp, and a front door mat.

Last night we, went for a long walk and saw tiny wild cottontail bunnies in the park near my daughter’s apartment complex. The wonder and cuteness overload was still there, maybe even more so.

Tuesday night my kids Clara, Garret and I, went to the beach. Only a few locals were out. The smoke in the air gave off a strange pink glow. Beach fires glowed in the distance.

We talked about how their father is handling the 21st Century. We spoke of the fires. We talked about the insane political situation of our country and the pandemic. We talked about our favorite beaches and trips we’ve made together in the past. We updated each other on friends and family. We laughed about a lot of things. That was the best part. We just let go and laughed at stories old and new.

It is amazing that when we are with those we love, and I mean real love, we just fall into a comfortable pattern no matter how long we are apart.

That can be with family or friends. We just take up from where we left off.

Forget romance and falling in love. That is fine and well, but it is those long term relationships with kids, dear friends, and hopefully family, that keep the soul alive. Those shared memories, and the ability to make new ones is something that we take for granted. Those positive relationships are precious and to be treasured and savored.

  • So dear reader, you know what to do:
  • Stay safe
  • Be kind
  • Wear a mask
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Pet a dog or cat
  • Keep your bird feeders full
  • Kiss a Vampire
  • Check in on those who might be alone or need extra help
  • Talk to your kids.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Urgent Emergency…but everything is alright…all things considering…because, you know, we’re Vampires.

Pandemic. Protests. Election. Fires. More fires. More smoke. Online school. Online work. My computer is off kilter and hardly working. My not so smart phone is also broken and limping along. Then yesterday I fell and smashed my nose, which thankfully isn’t broken, but I feel like I’ve been in a bar fight or maybe hit be a baseball bat.

Other than that things are pretty good.

We just returned from five days in Aptos, California, on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It was wonderful and cool. While fires burned around us we were safe. Now that we are home the sky is still hazy and it is hot as hell but we’re safe.

The dry Oak Forest near my home where I walk my dog.

I have an ear worm. It is an ear worm with the wrong lyrics but I can never hear it with the correct lyrics.

You play tricks on my mind
Your underwear is so hard to find

That would be “Urgent” … the song by Foreigner. You know it.

My great great great great grandmama Lola is by for a few days. After social distancing with her current younger Vampire lover she decided he was too stupid to keep company with and has stopped by my house for a few days.

At six hundred and seventy six years Lola looks all of twenty six years give or take a few.

“So what happened with Frank?” I asked.

Lola stretched out her long legs and kicked off her sandals. “He is a picky eater. That is horribly unattractive in a warm blooded man, but in a Vampire man, and now during these times, it is downright stupid. You know how I hate stupid men.”

“Picky. Like what?”

She scowled. “He said he would only drink the blood of dark haired women with blue eyes who were virgins. I called him a disgusting sexist homophobe creeper. I should have known he was weird when he kept going out and coming back hungry. I told him that if he starved to death it would be fine with me. When I wouldn’t let him touch me anymore he admitted he would feed from other sources, but by then I was done with him. I should have known, but he was handsome and seemed like a lot of fun at first. The tip off should have been his fondness of some night elf girl on that World of Warcraft game. I thought someone who was two hundred and twelve who’d been a Vampire for the past hundred and ninety years would be a little more mature.”

“Yuck,” I said and sat down on the couch next to her. “Do you want to watch a movie?”

She smiled, then jumped up to find my husband and my brother Val.

We saw First Cow. It was a sweet movie and a quiet movie. You’re wrong if you think Vampires sit around watching horror and slasher movies.

Lola and my brother share a three bedroom cottage out in the country near the river delta, on the property belonging to Eleora and Tellias. Sometimes they stay there, sometimes in Lola’s house in San Francisco, and sometimes in Val’s house in Sacramento. I can’t always keep track. They watch out for each other. That means one less person I have to watch out after… but I still do watch out after them.

So that’s what we’re up to. I have to mention that when we got home our animals (a dog and two cats) went nuts and are still attached to us like leaches. It is good to be loved.

All this and I didn’t even mention politics. Nope. I’m not going there today.

From Scott Metzger, one of my absolute favorite cartoonists

Oh, yes, one more thing. I saw a new mural by my husband’s business. I’ll post photos of the two murals on the side of the building that houses the art gallery next door. I love them.

  • Stay safe
  • Wear a mask
  • Social Distance
  • Don’t be a dick about it
  • Check in on those who might need extra help or might be lonely
  • Talk to your kids
  • Kiss a Vampire
  • Don’t let the bullshit get to you
  • Turn off anything that has to do with politics for the next

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Aptos, CA

Delivered To Your Door

Delivered to your door…

I looked at the muscular, almost beautiful, naked body on the bed and the folded up sheriffs’ uniform on the chair. The badge seemed to sparkle saying “look at me, look at me.” A white and pink orchid flower was behind his ear.

Holy crap, this wasn’t how I’d planned on starting out my week.

I was three years old and he someone throwing me up in the air and I laughed so hard I could hardly breathe.

His hands are warm and I cling to him to put my ear next to his chest and hear his heart. I hold him tight feeling the heat radiate from his body. I keep laughing. He is so different from everyone else I know.

Thirteen years later, he takes my hands, I laugh. Then my best girlfriend says “He’ll marry me and I’ll be his wife forever.” No way would she get the most handsome man in the world to marry her. I laughed in her face and everyone yelled Happy New Year. Someone lit up lights to spell out 1865. We were in California and in love with men we have silly school girl crushes on. Who cared about the war? We were safe.

I woke in a cold sweat, on the back deck, my book on the ground, the cat staring at me. I heard my son’s voice.

“Mom, Uncle Val is on the phone.” My son Garrett stood at the sliding glass door holding my phone out at arms length.

My brother Valentine, thirteen months my senior said I have to come right now. It was an emergency. Nobody else could come. None of our three older brothers could make it. Everyone else had suddenly vanished off the face of the earth.

I arrived at the farm house, my two teens in tow, slamming the door as hard as I could when I got out of the car.

I’m usually pretty calm but I lit into my brother when I saw him walking towards us. “Nobody ever consults with me. I’m the one with the kids and the husband and my own business. I’m on fucking call 24/7 for everyone in this family and nobody ever asks me what I want or need. Nobody.”

“Are you done?” Val asked this in an uncharacteristically sarcastic tone.

“No. What is going on?”

My brother scowled at me and shook his head. “Why are you yelling?”

I went into the house leaving him in the yard. I could hear my son saying “Bad day to mess with my mom.”

Dealing with the sick and elderly is something we do. We do it for love or obligation or family bonds or whatever the reason it is usually on autopilot fueled by guilt and frustration. I’m so saint but sometimes I want to play that saint card so much it hurts.

Eleora stood at the door in a yellow bikini top and a tie-dye skirt, her brown curls done up in red bows. She fluttered around then kissed me on each cheek. Tellias gave me a big hug. He was wearing a green shirt with yellow parrots embroidered on the back. A patch on the front said Dave in large script letters. His white blonde hair was pulled back with a green ribbon.

They look like they’re 19 or 20 years old but they’re ancient – two of the most ancient Vampires known. They were pioneers and founders of the Modern Vampire movement. It is hard to see them like this. It literally breaks my heart.

Steel guitars were hissing away on a scratched up old record playing on a wind up phonograph in the corner.

“We can’t find the car keys,” said Tellias.

“We’re being tropical tonight,” said Eleora as she danced around and put an orchid flower behind my ear.

I was ready to scream. “Again? Where did you last have them?” I asked slowly and calmly.

“If we knew that we’d be driving,” said Tellias, as he took the ribbon out of his hair and shook it out on his shoulders.

“We’d take a road trip to Montana and Maine and Michigan and Maui!” Eleora sang as she danced around again.

“How long have the keys been gone?” I asked.

“Two or three weeks. Val won’t let us use his car,” Tellias said.

“He says we drive too creatively,” Eleora giggled.

“Yes, he said we drive too creatively,” added Tellias.

“Creatively,” said Eleora, this time more seriously.

“Creatively. That was a nice way to put it,” I said more to myself than to the Elders. “What about food? Is Val bringing you food?”

Tellias patted my hand. “Val has been a darling but we like delivery. We call and they come to the house. Amazing. We should have done that a long time ago.”

Delivery? What in the world were they doing? I looked at the hanging chandelier in the entryway. “Nice fixture. Is it new?”

“A couple of nice men came and installed it,” Tellias told me. “It should last for years. The old one was fitted for gas and ugly. Remember?”

“We had them for lunch,” Eleora proudly told me.

“You shouldn’t do that. They’re help,” I told them.

Eleora just smiled. “We liked them Juliette. We wanted them to stay.”

“Are they still here?” I asked not knowing if I wanted to know the answer.

Tellias answered this time. “No, they left. Then we called the County Sheriffs and asked them to come out. We said someone tried to break in. Eleora sounded scared. They sent two good-looking strong young men right to our door.”

“Right to our door. Good looking healthy young men,” Eleora echoed.

I glanced out the window and saw the black and white car on the side of the house. Oh no.

“Where are they?” I asked trying not to panic.

They both looked to the ceiling. I ran up the stairs.

In a bedroom done in high Victorian style, I found a golden haired well-built man face down and naked on the bed. His uniform was neatly folded in a chair. He was alive but in a deep sleep. The name badge was Murphy, as in Officer Murphy.

Another handsome muscular young man was in the next bedroom over, shirtless on his back, asleep. I noticed a wedding ring on his finger. The name badge on his shirt had the name Garcia. His sleeping eyes moved a little under long dark eyelashes.

I called down the stairs. “How long have you had these guys here?”

“Since yesterday. We jammed the GPS on their car.”

I sat down on the top step, almost in tears. They couldn’t find their car keys but they could jam a GPS signal. I thought about the guy with the wedding ring. His wife must be sick wondering where he is.

In most popular novels ancient Vampires are powerful creatures of the night. In my life they are silly creatures that forget all rules about consequences or right and wrong. They act like senile teenagers, with occasional flashes to the wise, powerful leaders they once were.

Tellias sat down next to me. “We thought about keeping them for a while. Then you and Val wouldn’t have to worry about us.”

Eleora slid down on the other side and stroked my face with a cool hand. “Why are you so upset? Everything will be fine. It always is.”

We dressed the nice handsome patrol officers and positioned them in less provocative poses. An hour later another patrol car and an ambulance arrived. Two officers had become ill with an unexplained illness. Not knowing what to do a young couple took them in to their home. All was well. The officers recovered with no memory of what happened. Both mentioned an overwhelming calm and sense of well-being. Imagine that.

Tellias took my hand, like he did when I was a child. “Juliette, my dear child, we weren’t going to turn those young men into Vampires. You know we wouldn’t do that.”

“I just worry about you two,” I told him.

“You care too much for those Regular Humans,” said Eleora. “You have to distance yourself.”

“I’m married to a man who used to be a Regular Human,” I said quietly, but ready to scream.

Tellias squeezed my hand again. “And if it wasn’t for Eleora and me he would be dead.”

I went back to the bedroom where the married officer had been. Years ago my husband lay in that bed, a phantom between two worlds, that of the humans of the light and those of us who favor the dark. An unwanted conversion that had turned those warm hands cold forever, but given me…

“Mom?”

I looked over to kids standing next to me. A 14 year old daughter and a 17 year old son. They shouldn’t have to see all this, but I don’t believe in sheltering them. I never have.

I guess I should do my famous parenting blogger bullet points but there is no point in this story. It is just one of those things, on one of those nights.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

First posted in 2013. If figured since we’re all getting so much take-out and delivery these days that I’d post it again.

When You Grow Old

It is hot today. I believe it is over 100°F where I live. In light of that hot sizzling fact I’m going to take you with me to a nice cool beach.

When You Grow Old

A short story by Juliette Kings

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Josh had fixed dinner.  A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, I the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.  “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars shine over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

 

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: 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.

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Masks

“Did you ever go to Ancient Egypt?”

“No, I didn’t. I guess I should have. The generals going to Britain requested that I go there with them as a form of protection or some sort of nonsense. I didn’t want to go. Not really. Then I started thinking that it was north of Rome, so maybe, just maybe I’d get some information about where I’d come from, you know, originally as a toddler.”

“Do you remember your parents?”

“Not really. I remember I was at a place that was home, there were a lot of trees and people who looked like me, then I remember I was someplace else. You’ve asked me all of this before. I know it seems extremely interesting but I’d like to talk about something else now.” He put his hand on Val’s shoulder. “How are you holding up these days? I see you’ve shaved off your beard. Did you do that on your own volition or did a woman put you up to it?”

Val smiled. “It was my idea. I don’t have a woman in my life right now.”

Tellias patted my brother’s knee as he stood up, “Oh you will, you will. You’ve got a good face. Women like good faces.”

The old Vampire, who looked like a nineteen year old kid, stretched his arms from side to side then, looked over at me. “Don’t you think your brother is handsome without the beard?”

“Indeed I do,” I said.

“Indeed he does look handsome as ever,” said Eleora as she danced into the room carrying a basket full of what looked like colorful scraps of fabric. “And now we shall cover you up. Completely up.”

“Completely,” said Tellias.

He took the basked from Eleora, then danced her around the room. “My love, forever. You are why I’m glad I did not go to ancient Egypt and decided to go with the Romans north. When I saw you dancing on the edge of the cliff with the sound of the waves in the background I knew.”

“You knew,” said the brown haired young women who was really over two thousand years old. “I knew. Now we all know.”

“Yes we do,” said Tellias.

“Now, we shall cover up,” she said grabbing a daisy patterned face mask out of her basket. “I made these yesterday.”

“She made them,” said Tellias.

“Two dozen,” said Eleora.

“Yes, two whole dozen. Twenty four,” said Tellias.

“Twenty four,” said Eleora as she hooked it over Val’s ears. “Now you look quite dashing Valentine. Just be careful not to hook your fangs in it.”

“I’ll do my best,” said Val. “Thanks. This is great.”

“You look good in daisies,” said Tellias. “Here Juliette, take the one with roses on it. Pink roses. It suits your hazel eyes.”

We spend the rest of the afternoon, my brother Val, the elders, and I, over iced tumblers of blood with a squeeze of lime and fresh rosemary sprigs. It was over 100°F but we remained cool and happy to be in each other’s company.

In these times of uncertainty make sure you check in on your elders, and those who might need extra help. Even if you can’t see them in person please make that call, or call their caretakers. Just a few moments of your time can make the world of difference to someone isolated or out of touch.

Be aware of your actions, and that even though you might be alright, there are those who are fragile and by wearing a mask you can help prevent their memories and stories from being lost forever.

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Call those you love and check in on them
  • Be cool, even in the heat and again, wear your mask.
  • Help others
  • Talk to your kids
  • Be concerned
  • Take this seriously. We’re not all so lucky to be Vampires. Take it seriously.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman