Short Story Sunday: The Box In Dave’s Basement

“I was just going out for coffee,” said Austin as he looked at the carnage surrounding him.

Coffee with the crossword puzzle, and a little bit of fresh air sounded good. Then Dave, who lived three houses down called to him as he waked by, “Hey, Austin, there’s something weird in my basement. Take a look.”

Austin was both a history professor and a general contractor specializing in historic restorations, so of course he’d check it out. Dave lived in the oldest house on that street, built in 1888. It was a fantastic small Queen Anne, painted shades of blue and cream.  Dave led the way to the back of the dark space to an oblong box.

“I was measuring the room and moved away some lumber that had been here since I moved in and found this,” said Dave. “It looks like a coffin. Do you think I should call someone?”

“Let me take a look. I’ve found these before,” said Austin, taking out his penknife. He slid the knife around the edges of the box to see if there was a latch or any loose spots.

Then all Hell broke loose. Two men, dressed in long black coats, carrying guns and large knives appeared at the door.

“Hey,” yelled Dave. “Get the fuck outta here. I told you guys to stay away from my house. I’m calling 911. I warned you.” Then he turned to Austin. “The bastards were out last week. I told them…”

The men moved closer. Dave continued, “Out NOW.” Dave was a medium sized silver haired average family guy his mid fifties, with some sort of upper management job with the Department of Water Resources. His wife was wife away on a girl’s weekend. His kids were away at college. He’d been working on making the basement into the ultimate man cave over the past few weekends. He wasn’t in the mood for Vampire Hunters.

“Damn it. I said GET OUT you crazies,” Dave yelled.

“Just let us have the box,” said one of the men, a tall shaggy haired guy with some sort of unidentifiable accent.

Austin took a step forward, getting between Dave and the vampire hunters. “No can do guys. You have to go.”

The other man, a bald guy with huge shoulders pointed a gun at Austin and Dave. “Move aside gentlemen.” He then shoved them out of the way and with a swift kick popped open the box.

Inside was the perfectly preserved body of a woman in an old fashioned lace dress. She looked as though she was made of fine leather. A bunch of dried roses were in her hand.

The shaggy haired man lifted a huge wooden stake. Dave and Austin both yelled, “NO.”

Dave jumped on the back of the bald man. Austin knocked the shaggy haired man out of the way.

Suddenly a blinding flash of light and a blast of cold air knocked them to the wall. Two more men appeared at the door, also in black but without the coats. One carried a knife, and the other a whip. The smiled, showing fangs.

“Holy shit,” whispered Dave.

The vampires grabbed the men in the black coats by the scruff of their necks, like small children, and threw them back out into the sunlight. One of the vampires uttered a string of long strange sounding words, and the vampire hunters ran down the street.

The woman in the coffin sat up, and moved her head around.

“Stiff neck?” Austin asked.

She looked at him, surprised. Then she smiled with a slight show of her own fangs. “Yes, thanks for the concern. How long did I sleep?”

“From the looks of your dress, maybe ninety years,” said Austin.

“I guess I missed that party then,” she said with a slight laugh.

“This is too weird,” said Dave as he got up, and crossed the room. He turned on the overhead shop lights and got a good look at his company. “You mean to tell me you’ve been in that box for ninety years?”

The woman just blinked against the light. The two Vampires stood out of the shadows.

“Hey, Austin,” said one of them. “I thought that was you.”

“Pierce,” said Austin. “I had no idea you were a vampire. Small world. Dave, this is Pierce, he guest lectures for me sometimes on nineteenth California government issues.”

“And this is Max, he…”

“Max,” said Austin as he held out his hand. “Good to see you. Thanks for helping out.”

“Austin,” said Max.

Dave looked at the Vampires then laughed. “Pierce. I know you. You were teaching American History at UC Berkley in the late 70’s. I took a couple of classes from you. You look like you haven’t aged a day. How old are you?”

Pierce smiled and shook Dave’s hand. “I’m 171, but who’s counting.”

“I was just going out for coffee,” said Austin as he looked at the carnage surrounding him. “You’re all welcome to come.”

The woman’s name is Lily. She had a lot of catching up to do so Dave gave her a pair of jeans and a shirt out of his wife’s closet, and they all headed out for coffee.

That’s all.

~ end

First published here in 2016

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Outtakes (from a parenting/vampire blogger)

These are the recent outtakes (the absolute real reason I’ve started so many blog posts lately and not finished a one, hence all the dead space and reruns.)


I received my 11th telemarketing weirdo freak call of the day and I tell the guy, “Hey, you know what, go suck your own dick.” He tries to say something. I continue. “And while you’re at it go to a dark room and close the door so nobody can see you. Just do it you fuck head.” Then I turn around and see my daughter’s sports coach looking at me in a somewhat shocked manner.


From the truth is more disgusting than fiction files… this morning a kid in my daughter’s English class accidentally left a window in his car cracked. Someone broke into his car, crapped on the seats, then smeared it all over the car. He had the car towed because he couldn’t drive it. He said he could smell it about five cars down. If the kids who did it are caught they won’t be able to graduate, and if it isn’t a seniors they’ll be kicked out of the school. Ugh. The poor kid with the car can’t figure out who could hate him so much. Of course every kid in the school knows about it now so I’m sure they’ll find the criminal crappers soon.


It is International Women’s Day and….


A question for my advice column: Dear Juliette, an agent requested I send her my vampire romance. I haven’t heard from her in two years. Now what? Do I keep sending it out to agents? Do I self-publish? Do I go back to law school? ~ Writer in Waiting.


My daughter is graduating from high school on June 2. And this is where I started to cry and couldn’t think of anything else to write.


A few weeks ago I went on a high school field trip with two bus loads of advanced art students. It was fun. The kids were great. A crazy guy said one of the girls assaulted him in Golden Gate Park. My mind just went totally and completely blank.


I’ve filled my twitter feed with political rage. Maybe that wasn’t the right branding choice.


St. Patrick’s Day is coming up. Snakes. Ireland. Vampires. Drinking. Small children… Actually, I might have a story here…


The frustrations of training a 13-month old German Shepard Dog. Let’s just start cussing NOW.


Why I HATE Cover Reveals and fifty other ways to offend other bloggers.


I was going through some old photos the other day and I found a couple of CIA Operatives.


I’m not getting enough sleep. I have a lot of demands and shit like that. Seriously, I am not getting enough sleep and I’m losing my mind. Wait, I lost it a long time ago, I think. Maybe…


Why are so many people reading my story The Travelers?  I’ve posted the story quite a few times, but this is the original 2012 post. This is traditionally a Christmas story. But seriously, the traffic for this story has gone through the roof for about six months. I thought people were coming here for love letters. They’re coming here for love letters and THE TRAVELERS. WHO ARE YOU??? I even put a note on the end of the post and nobody will get back to me about it. Please let me know if it is on a story list or what/why/who.


I got nuthin.


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman




Night Terrors and Horrible People

Vampire Wisdom

Now that my children are older, adults really (16 and 20) I am happy that I am out of that period where we have to deal with those awful parents from Hell that seem to litter elementary school, middle school, and kids sports. You know the kind who act as if they are their precious children are perfect and without fault. They constantly complain about teachers and coaches. They go so far as to get people fired because their little darlings are soooo unhappy. They usually say “God bless” to all they see. At the same time they lie, backstab, and their children tend to be bullies. On social media they act like victims, when in fact they are the predators. They move from school to school, from sport to sport, from club to club, spreading their brand of poison. You know the type.

Then I thought about writing about our state’s two university systems (California) and how HORRIBLE the administration is (Click here for just one example.) I could rant about how the leadership is unqualified and grossly overpaid for their jobs. Hey Jerry Brown give me the job. I’d do it right. Anyway, I am beyond disgust and my heart goes out to the students, professors, instructors, and parents.

Then my brother Max dropped by and I was off the hook, because I was distracted by his shit-holery.

Max is one of those alpha Vampire guys who is so full of testosterone that he can hardly function. OK that isn’t totally true. He is in full control of everything he does, or at least gives that impression. Of all of us kids (there are five of us) Max is the least likely to hang out with “normal people.” With women, and sometimes men, he acts as if he is in control, which means he is either making a fool out of himself over someone nobody else likes, or it means he is being an asshole to someone he ought to be treating with respect.

I know, I have an attitude today. Just a teeny tiny bit of attitude. Anyway…

Max is also part of our (Vampires) enforcement group, our version of the US Marshalls, who keep the world safe for everyone.

So he shows up last night with one of his newest guys. From time to time, when he is in town I let them stay at my house. I have a huge attic I’ve converted to a suite for visitors. Most of the folks he works with are friends of mine. Max is also my husband’s best friend.

Max introduced us to Charles the newest member of his crew. Charles is charming with movie star good looks (he looks sort of like Chris Pine.)

Charles is one of those good-looking guys who knows he is good-looking, but at the same time is charming, yet so full of himself. His life has always been charmed. He can do no wrong, even when he is doing wrong. Charles is what my daughter and her high school friends call an F-boy – short for Fuck Boy (look it up on urban dictionary.)

All Vampires have that power of attractions, but he is such an alpha like my brother. Charles has Max’s favorite protégé. Vampires have an old expression “sleeping in the same coffin.”  They are like that. Not lovers, but too close for the comfort of others – a little too much favoritism. I hate the way he has always showed blatant favoritism in every aspect of his existence. He would have been a horrible teacher.

Max loves his new puppies. But as someone living with a real puppy, I know that the new puppy gets old, and bites, and craps all over the carpet, and chews up everything. Yes, you still love the puppy, and adore it, but it is nice when your husband brings the puppy to work with him, so you can get some work done. So, yes, it was like the new puppy deal, in a way…anyway…

I’ve always worried about Max and his tendency to show favoritism to one staff member over the others. His group is tight. Most of them have known each other since the 19th Century, but when he is training someone it is like, well, a teacher with a pet. A new puppy. I just want to yell get a room, but I don’t.

The women who work with Max give him crap about everything. I’m glad they do.

To be honest Charles was lovely and polite to a fault. He really was. But there was something about him that was too glossy, too shiny, too perfect to completely trust.

Max was in good humor too. My brother even smiled a lot, which is a rare thing. He has such a beautiful smile too, especially when his fangs are out.

Maybe it was just a bad time. I’m trying to potty train a four-month old German Shepard who is always hungry, always chewing, always active, and poops and pees three on my carpet times her weight every single day. Did I mention she seems to double her weight almost every week? She is also exceptionally sweet, but a lot of work.

A lot of other stuff is going on as well and I can’t seem to dig myself out of my hole of stuff that never gets done so I wasn’t really feeling the hostess thing. That is why you haven’t seen may blog posts lately.

Thank goodness my husband Teddy was home, along with my teenager Clara to be social.

At one point I went to the kitchen for a break, and a glass of water, and maybe open a bottle of wine.

Leaning against the counter was Nigel, the ghost. Vampires and Ghosts, as a rule, don’t get along. Vampires are undead, but Ghosts are really dead. They covet what we have to the point of seething hate and loathing. They’re so insecure.

“I see Max is here with his new boy toy,” said Nigel with a smirk. Today his black hair was styled like Steve Perry’s in the height of Journey’s popularity. He wore the black suit he was buried in.

“Charles isn’t Max’s boy toy.”

Nigel rolled his eyes.

“So what is this tonight? Are they planning on going out and taking down a bunch of crazy Vampire Hunters, or are they just lurking about?”

“I don’t know what their business is Nigel. I hear a clutch of Shadow Creepers was found earlier this week, so he might be there for that. I didn’t ask.”

“Why not? Don’t you care? Aren’t you curious? Don’t you wonder what two leather clad alpha Vampires are up to?”

“No really Nigel. I have a headache, and I’m tired, and I just want to go to bed.”

I looked up from the wine bottle I was opening and saw Charles standing there.

He looked horrified. Of course he did. I had a Ghost in my kitchen.

Nigel stepped towards Charles. “You were such a weasel.”

“You’re alive,” said Charles. “I thought you were dead.”

“No, Chuck, I’m dead. I’m a fucking Ghost.” Then Nigel faded in and out of transparency.

“You were murdered.”

“No shit Sherlock. When did you become one of the blood sucking undead?”

“1988. When did you die? 1987?”


They knew each other from way back when. They were teens and young men running in the same circles. Small world. One was now a Ghost who would have been 56 years old. The other was a 58-year-old Vampire who looked like he was twenty-nine. Don’t try to do the math and say I’m wrong. They were both born in October.

I sat there as they caught up. It was exceptionally weird. Nigel had been my Ghost. He’d been my annoying Ghost friend. Now there was some F-boy in my kitchen talking to him. I didn’t stay annoyed too long. It was sort of nice to see two old friends now in lives that most people would consider exceptionally weird catching up.

I wished I had some moral to this story. I wish I had an allegorical message. I don’t. It was just nice to see two old friends catch up, even if I found both of them exceptionally annoying. I was happy for them. Plus it was interesting to listen to them.

Leaving them alone I went back into the other room and put my arm around my brother’s waist. Max put his arm around my shoulder and kissed the top of my head. He was telling Teddy about a Vampire woman he has been on and off with for years. She’d been dealing with keeping Demons in line.

I thought of mentioning that my kids were out of Middle School so I didn’t have any demons to deal with but I kept the thoughts to myself. Then a glossy dark shape with a long think tail curled up on my feet and closed her precious puppy eyes.

That could segue into a story about how creatures who are so different can get along and live together, but that is for another day.

Now I’ll just say, have a wonderful night, and I wish you all well. I’m feeling a lot better now, and not pissy whatsoever.


~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman


And as usual this post was written in under 30 minutes…I think about 15. Whew. The cats were not good editors.







Friends and Family and Frustration

Obbie – short for Obsidian Reed, the second person I turned into a Vampire. My mother never approved. Then again she doesn’t approve of much of anything I do.

I don’t want to be like my own mother.

She was there and sacrificed for us but she never understood who her children were.

She wasn’t someone I could look up to. She wasn’t someone I wanted to be or be like. Granted she is brilliant and accomplished but she is cold. I know, cold isn’t a bad thing if you’re a Vampire, but it just isn’t my cup of blood.

Don’t get me wrong, there was no abuse, no horrible unspeakable things, just nothing in common with her younger children. No understanding of who they were or who they wanted to be. She could never understand. It is the way she is wired.

She is lovely and all the Vampires adore her…

When she calls I cringe. I was having a good day, then her voice. Then negativity. Never asking me how I’m doing or what I think.

My brother Val marvels at how our mother can put a negative spin on anything.

Things are ok, but I don’t want to be that kind of mother for my own children. I’m not that kind of mother. I want to shower them with feelings of joy.

I must watch to make sure I don’t become that woman… the one who finds negativity in everything. I don’t want to be judging my children. Of course my mother never judges my children, only the younger three of her five children, the three who in my opinion are doing the best. We’re the most boring and non-vampirish of her brood – that is in her opinion, which is the only opinion in her world.

She adores her grandchildren. The grandchildren get all the trash talk about their parents,  my brother Aaron (the only other sibling with children) and me. No use asking her to stop. The kids are old enough to think it is hilarious.

You know, I’m talking care of my kids, my marriage, my job plus the elders and my siblings messes so I don’t need anyone to give me advice. I’m handing it all as best as I can, which is better than most.

So the other day I was trying to decompress from a phone call my old friend Obbie showed up at my door like a bright and shining moonbeam.

“You’re always doing interesting things with Samantha.” Obbie tells me. “She isn’t that bad. At least you have a mom.”

“I just wish…”

He smiled with his charming Vampire-next-door way. “You think about it too much.”

Maybe I do. There comes a time when we all have things we just have to let go of and accept – even if it takes 100 years or so.

It would be a busy night. Obbie and I took my kids out to see the Elders, two ancient Vampires who often are in need of company and help with little things. They are frustrating, the ancient ones, but always so sweet and loving. They look at the world through a crystal that shines many colors. They understand me. As much as I can, I understand them as well.

Obbie also understands me as only a dear friend can. Family is important but there are some things that only our friends “get” about us. They know us in a different way, a new way that isn’t out of a sense of obligation or blood.

The first time I met Obbie was at an art show in 1889. We started to talk and talked and laughed all night. About a week later he said, “I wish this could last forever.” I told him it could. My mother did not approve. But that’s ok. Obbie adores her and I guess… well that is just weird, but that’s ok. Most things in my life are weird. And you know, sometimes weird is good.


Have a good week everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman