Short Story Sunday: Driving Home With Superheroes

For some reason graduate students seemed to be decades ahead of undergraduate students, especially freshmen and sophomores. At the ripe old age of twenty three Randy had discovered that the first day of school.

He’d also discovered a small following of younger Vampires who looked up to him like they would their favorite ancient Vampire Uncle.

They also liked Randy because he was unique and exceptionally hip and trendy in his vintage clothing and wavy longish blonde hair.

Before he left home after Christmas break, wearing his favorite Levi big bells, a Heart concert shirt from 1979, and a vintage fringed leather jacket, his dad called him “Fucking Flowers.”

Randy asked what that was all about. His dad laughed and told him that now he was an adult he needed to read John Sanford books starting from the beginning and work his way up to the Virgil Flower books. Randy made a note of it and a plan to stop by the bookstore when he got home.

Being the nice guy he was, Randy had volunteered to give three young Vampire students a ride from Sacramento back to Long Beach. Two, Josh and Winslow were Freshmen. Katie was a sophomore. They’d all packed their clothes, Christmas stash, care packages from their moms, and other gear in the back of Randy’s 2012 Range Rover and headed south an hour before the sun came up.

Randy decided to impart a bit of his wisdom upon the younger minds. “Being a good Vampire is like being a good parent. You must stay relivant. You can’t get behind or you’ll be left behind.”

“I think we need to be like superheroes,” said Winslow, a dark haired young Vampire with bright blue eyes and friendly round face.

“Superheroes? Whys that?” asked Randy.

“You know, because we can do things other people can’t do. Like see in the dark, and make people forget shit, and we’re super quiet, and shit,” said Winslow.

Randy turned down the radio. “The only super hero Vampire that I can think of is Morbius. He was kind of an asshole and not even a real Vampire. Come on guys, you can do better than that. You don’t need a superhero. You just need to be yourself. You already rock at being Vampires. Come on leave the tights to Katie. Girl you rock the tights with those boots.”

“Thanks,” said Katie. She was a small girl with brown hair and freckles. Nobody would ever pick her out for being a Vampire. “I got the tights for Christmas from my grandma. Just like what you said about being relevant. My grandma is relevant. She knows what I like.”

Randy smiled. “If I was a girl I’d wear tights all the time but it has nothing to do with being a superhero.”

“We were thinking about getting some costumes made,” said Josh, a tall kid who spent a lot of time at the gym.

“Dude, you don’t need costumes. Just wear black and jeans that fit. You’re already rocking it. I know you. You don’t need to pretend. You’re already living the secret life. You don’t need to make it more complicated with daytime cosplay. You’re already superheroes.”

As they drove on the subject changed to music, favorite podcasts, dog beach stories, and spilling the tea.

Being a Vampire in the modern world carried certain responsibilities including the usual truth, justice and all of that good stuff. They didn’t need tights or capes. They just needed to keep their mouths shut and do the right thing. That was all anyone could do.

Yes, being a graduate student included being a role model, especially if you were a role model for young Vampires, or anyone else who was just a little bit different, or a little bit confused about growing up and finding their place in the world.

Maybe a trip to the vintage clothing store was in order when they got home. Randy would take all of them. They could find costumes that they could live with. The thought made Randy smile. Fashion was his superpower. That was cool with him.

~ end

 

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

Tangled Tales: May Your Days be Foggy and Bite – OR – Hark the Herald Vampires Sing

 

Just before Christmas. She’d broken up with him. Why? Did it matter? Of course it did and she’d made a list of a dozen items, written out in fountain pen no less.

  1. Too young
  2. Too immature
  3. Too happy
  4. Too cute
  5. Too much of a comedian
  6. Blonde
  7. Not serious enough
  8. Likes dogs too much
  9. Dresses funny
  10. Laughs weird
  11. Glass always half full completely full.
  12. Vanilla sex

The last one hurt. The fact that he didn’t like being hog tied or bitten didn’t make it vanilla. It was normal and nice.

And WTF? How could anyone like dogs too much. He didn’t have his own dog. Sure, he’d pet and make cute talk with almost every dog he met but who didn’t do that?

She never seem to have any problems with his age. Randy had just turned twenty three. That wasn’t too young. She was fifty, but that was also young for a Vampire. Since he was also a Vampire he didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. Apparently it did. To her.

Randy walked along the beach, his blond hair hanging in his face, and pulled his bright red and green Christmas cardigan closed. His jeans were black. At least she couldn’t say that was weird.

As he stood in the fog looking out over the waves breaking on the beach he thought about his now ex-girlfriend. She was gorgeous and elegant and serious. She was an extremely serious Vampire. On the other hand he was starting to feel like that writer in Sunset Boulevard, Joe Gillis. She, Karen, his girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, had been his Norma Desmond. Oh boy, she was always ready for her close up. Crazy controlling yesteryear bitch.

Damn, Karen was gorgeous and smart, and fascinating. He watched the waves and tried to talk his heart out of grieving for what he thought he had with her.

No wonder all of the memes were about Karen. Ugh.

He was shaken out of his reveries by a voice.

“Hey Randy. What are you doing here?”

There stood the odd girl Alexis he’d met two years before when they were going to UCB. She had been in his Organic Chemistry class. She was really weird. But she was also a Vampire, and in a world where Vampires are few between he could put up with weird every once in a while. They had coffee together from time to time then both graduated and lost touch.

She was wearing a big oversized cream colored sweater with black leggings, black work boots, and a black scarf. She had a headband over her black hair. It plastered her bangs against her forehead so that they made a straight dark line across her eyebrows. On her lips was burgundy colored lip gloss and on her nails was matching burgundy polish. She was one of the strangest girls he’d ever met but he liked her, as a friend.

“Alexis. Wow,” he gave her a hug. “I’m at Long Beach, graduate school. Getting my MFA in writing. What are you’d doing here?”

She smiled. “I’m getting my MFA at CSU Long Beach in Art. I paint, you know, like on canvas. What’s going on? I mean, you know, you’re standing here in the fog? Did you break up with someone or something? You’re looking kind of lost.”

“You can tell?”

“Dude. Really? Of course I can tell. It seems like overtime I see you you’ve broken up with someone, or more likely she has broken up with you. You’re standing there looking like you lost your last friend. You have a death grip on your sweater, and your shoe is untied.”

“Oh.” Randy bent down and tied his shoe. “Um, you just taking a walk on the beach?”

“Yeah. I love the fog. It’s kind of mysterious. Like the holidays.”

“What makes the holidays mysterious?”

“I never know what’s going to happen. Last year I went home to my parent’s house and nobody was home. I waited for three days and found out they were trapped in a castle in Germany. A bunch of monks were forcing them to make fruit cakes and…”

“Are you making this up?”

“It’s the truth. Cross my heart and swear on a bat. The year before last I got home and my parents were dead. Vampire hunters had gotten to them. My parents even had presents under the tree for me. Damn, I pulled stakes from their hearts and brought them back. It was hecka scary. I’m an only child so they’re all I’ve got. I mean, my parent, they’re really old fashioned Vampires, like some film noir, or even worse, think Boris Karloff or Vincent Price, but I love them. You know I was bullied as a kid, but I worked it out. I did OK. They did their best.”

“Alexis. I am so sorry.”

“After I found them, and got the stakes out of their hearts, and got them some help, I had to do something. Some friends helped me go after them, the Vampire hunters. We dumped the bodies in the desert near Joshua Tree National Park.”

“Oh. That’s brutal.”

“You know, it wasn’t that bad. I was with my friends Olaf, yeah, like Frozen but not Frozen. Olaf is a hecka hot Vampire. And my friend Collette. She is at UCI going to Med school right now. Collette is sooooo smart. She knows how to, well, get rid of people. It wasn’t a big guilt trip. The Vampire hunters were hired organized thugs from Las Vegas,  or at least that is the last place they lived. You know, organized crime and icky shit like that. So, we just buried the bodies, three of them, in kind of shallow graves and piled rocks on the top of them. We used those little folding camp shovels, but that was fine. The coyotes were going to get them anyway so I wasn’t too worried about it.

But we’re walking back to the car and I look up. Oh Randy, there were a million stars in the sky. We just stood there and all started to smile. Then there was this one really bright star. Olaf said hey it’s just like Christmas. Damned if it wasn’t. It was just like Christmas.

We all broke out in a chorus of Hark the Herald . Oh it was wonderful. Then somebody started to clap and we turned around and saw a couple of park rangers. They said we sounded like angels singing under the Christmas star. It was so special. So special.”

“Wow,” said Randy, honestly not knowing what else to say.

“It was great. We sang a few more songs, then we got some blood from the rangers. Don’t worry, they didn’t know. We left them chocolates and wine. Always have chocolate and wine in your car this time of year for people you get blood for. The chocolate helps them recover from the blood loss and the wine is just nice. Make sure it is good chocolate and good wine.”

“So your parents, are they OK now?”

“They’re doing great. I’m headed over to see them tonight.”

“I’ve never had anything like that happen to me. Wow. That is frightening.”

“You’re lucky. My mom and dad are so old fashioned. I keep telling them to stop living like old Hollywood Vampires. Then my dad will say,  but honey we live in Beverley Hills. He is so weird. But he’s my dad so I gotta love him.”

Alexis traced a V in the sand with the tip of her boot. “It was weird growing up as a Vampire. How about you?”

“We lived in the suburbs so it was OK. Nobody knew. Nobody bothered us. My parents were pretty cool.”

“So what’s up with your girlfriend?”

Randy showed Alexis the list.

“What a bitch. You’re better off without her. Seriously dude, you don’t need someone like that. You need people in your life who appreciate you for who you are, not for who they want you to be.”

“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind,” said Randy.

“Hey, you wanna get coffee or something. There is a great little place just up the street. No pressure. Olaf and I are an item so I’m not looking to take advantage, but I like you. It’s good to see you again.”

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun that was starting to show through the fog. Well, stranger things had happened. Thank goodness for that.

~ End

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Tangled Tales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bringing Down the House

Tonight Teddy and I went to the Crest Theater (a beautiful 1940’s theater) and saw 85 year old John Mayall bringing the house down with the blues.

I looked around at the audience and noticed all of the gray hair. At least 80% of the audience.

I over heard a man telling his companion that he saw John Mayall in 1972 opening for Eric Clapton.

I thought about all of the old people in the theater who used to be the young people who changed the world with their music, and tie dye, and radical ideas.

Now they’re ending or retired from professional careers but the music never dies.

These old ladies were the young women who sat on their boyfriend’s shoulders and lifted up their shirts and exposed their naked breasts to bands they liked.

They are now still listening to loud music, and signing along, and dancing, and feeling good vibes, and all is good, at least for a few hours at the Crest.

I’m not saying to tell your daughters to lift their shirts, or tell your kids to smoke wheel barrows full of pot and drop acid. I’m just saying that old folks were not always old, or wise. They were once wild and free. Wild abandon. Appreciate that when you see someone with gray hair.

Tell your kids that they’re cool, but they’ll have to try harder to be THAT cool. The cool that started it all. Also tell them to thank an old person for their music. Tell them to do it now, then share that music. Share it. We should all be so lucky to have someone to turn up the volume with no matter how old they are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Stories We Shall Never Tell

In the dark

We ran through the streets

Slick with rain

Back alleys

Darkened windows

Broken glass

Rats

The smell of decay

And death.

Then into grand mansions

We’d fly

Cloaks off

The rustle of silk

A white tie

A flash of fang

The smell of wine

Cigars

And blood.

We were young

Carefree

With stories

We shall never

Tell

Our own

Children.

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Let them fly

In the past I frequently blogged about teaching your children to be independent because one day they’d be like little birds and fly.

I discovered that my children are not like little birds. They’re like hawks and eagles. They’re raptors.

They are fierce and strong with the majesty of those who soar the sky, taking ownership of all they see.

On the other hand they’re like otters. They always make me laugh.

They’re like dogs who are always loyal, brave, and always there with a kiss.

Like cats they can keep a secret. And like cats they don’t put up with bullshit.

So they fly like the great birds of the sky but they know they always have a place to come home to. No matter where I am it will always be home. My nest will always be warm and safe.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

red shoulder hawk

The red shoulder hawk who lives behind my house.

Short Story Sunday: A Werewolf’s Train to Nowhere

In honor of last night’s full moon…

A Werewolf’s Train To Nowhere

 Right after I’d graduated from college (the first time) from one of the rare Universities (now a well respected and famous school) that accepted women I took a trip across country on a train to meet my brother Val. He’d gone to New York City without me, leaving me, a young woman, unescorted. I would have done fine on my own but back then, in 1881 young women, even Vampires, didn’t travel alone.

I got on the train on a dark full moon night and made my way to my car. I was to share a car with several other students and some sort of chaperone. What I found was three young men dressed in rather garish suits of the latest fashion (or so they thought) and nobody else. Two had short beards, again, the style of the time. I recognized one from school. The train started to move. There was no getting off. OK I could have jumped, but I was in a long dress with a bustle no less and jumping wasn’t a practical option. Contrary to popular belief I couldn’t turn myself into a bat and fly away. So I stayed. They were horrible the entire time making crude jokes and being as vulgar as they could be. They insulted me for being a Vampire, calling me dead and cold and well, they were vulgar to say the least. I was in Hell and ready to get off of the train.

I sat took claim to a settee with a small table and tried to ignore my garishly dressed companions. A young woman climbed aboard and the three men cheered. She was dressed as garish as they were in the most stylish of gowns but it was a bright orange color with brown beaded trim. Her hair was as orange as the dress and piled high on her head. That included a lot of fake hair to go along with her real hair.

She eyed me up and down. “Who invited the Vampire?”

“I’m Juliette,” I said to the Werewolf girl. Holy crap I’d been stuck for a cross-country trip with four Werewolves. Every muscle and bone on my body tightened up. I wanted to scream. Instead I just kept my place in my corner while my companions made as much noise as they could laughing out loud and of course the alcohol and drugs came out. Of course.

Just as the parting whistle blew the door opened again and in stepped my friend Pierce. Finally, another Vampire had arrived, and a strong protective one at that. His father owned the train car and I didn’t even put the two together. Pierce was a friend of my brothers Max and Andy. At age 28 (born in 1848) he was the oldest of our group. We made quite a contrast in our highly fashionable yet subdued attire compared to the flamboyant brightly dressed Werewolves. We were also a lot quieter.

The Werewolf girl who was named Phoebe gave Pierce a long hard look then smiled and licked her lips. Pierce is attractive with a narrow face, a sensuous mouth and dark heavily lashed eyes. Of course she noticed him. She’d no doubt try to have his clothes off, have her way with him then tear his throat out. Well, maybe not, but I didn’t want him to get her claws into a friend who was almost like a brother to me.

The males were Luke, Seth and Eldon. I’ll never forget their names. They were rude and loud and young. Had they been Vampires I might have thought they were fun, but since they were Werewolves I thought they were disgusting. Phoebe was just as bad with her crude laugh and dirty jokes.

Pierce and I played cards and stood on the back of the train in the night air. We mostly talked. I asked him about people we knew who’d gone out into the world – the young Vampires we’d grown up with. Pierce was on his way to New York. I was on my way to New York as well to meet my brother Valentine. After that we’d board a ship to London.

Conversations with the Werewolves were in bits and pieces of insults and crude jokes. Pierce’s father did business with their families. To keep the peace and keep favors in check he’d offered to let the young adults of the pack to ride with us. Also, by being with Vampires the Werewolves were more likely to behave themselves. At least that is what everyone thought.

On the second night, after a half of case of Champagne, the young Werewolf men, Luke, Seth and Eldon stripped naked right in front of us and said they were going out for a run. Phoebe decided to stay in. They ran out and I could hear them up on the roof of the train car howling, then down a side ladder and they were gone. Phoebe sat by the window looking at the full moon. She’d taken off her jacket and bodice down to a short-sleeved lace covered blouse. Long dark hair sprouted on her arms and hands. Her fingers grew claw like. Fur grew down the side of her face. She ignored us as a low growl came to the back of her throat as she watched for her pack mates.

Peirce and I watched three huge wolves run along the side of the train. The moonlight reflected off of their silvery gray fur. They were beautiful.

Then we heard horrifically loud shots. Our fellow passengers a few cars down were shooting at the wolves. Pierce ran out of the car. I could hear him shouting for the men with the guns to stop. Phoebe started to scream and scream and scream.

The next day we heard news of three young men found dead by the side of the tracks. The story was they had been drinking and had a fight on the top of the train and fell off after shooting each other.

I will never forget holding Phoebe in my arms and rocking her, trying to tell her that everything would be alright. I knew it would never be alright but I said it anyway.

For the next week as we made our way across the country she’d howl mournfully at night. The passengers said the train was haunted. I knew they’d brought on their own ghosts when they killed the wolves for no reason.

Werewolves and Vampires are predators but even we don’t partake in the senseless of killing animals for no reason other than target practice.

Pierce and I related the story to others but over the years we’ve kept a lot of the details to ourselves. It seems like so long ago. It was a long time ago. A long long time ago.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Tangled Tales