Midweek Summer Reading: Tropical Treats that will have you laughing out loud

Today I’m taking you to Florida for two of my favorite books. Both will take you on a wild ride with characters you’ll never forget.

Favorite is an understatement. I’ve read one of them four times and plan to read it again this summer. The other is a book I discovered in 2013 and might also add that to my reading list again.

Warning: These are both laugh out loud, pee your pants, spit out your coffee funny.

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As a parent I knew all about the fun books for younger readers by Carl Hiaasen – Chomp, Holes, Hoot, and Scat. I had no idea he also wrote even  more books for adults.

Bad Monkey
by Car Hiaasen

Andrew Yancy-late of the Miami Police and soon-to-be-late of the Monroe County sheriff’s office-has a human arm in his freezer. There’s a logical (Hiaasenian) explanation for that, but not for how and why it parted from its shadowy owner. Yancy thinks the boating-accident/shark-luncheon explanation is full of holes, and if he can prove murder, the sheriff might rescue him from his grisly Health Inspector gig (it’s not called the roach patrol for nothing).

But first-this being Hiaasen country-Yancy must negotiate an obstacle course of wildly unpredictable events with a crew of even more wildly unpredictable characters, including his just-ex lover, a hot-blooded fugitive from Kansas; the twitchy widow of the frozen arm; two avariciously optimistic real-estate speculators; the Bahamian voodoo witch known as the Dragon Queen, whose suitors are blinded unto death by her peculiar charms; Yancy’s new true love, a kinky coroner; and the eponymous bad monkey-who just may be one of Carl Hiaasen’s greatest characters.

 

Where is Joe Merchant
By Jimmy Buffett

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

Where is Joe Merchant? That’s what his sister, Trevor Kane, the hemorrhoid-ointment heiress, wants to know. For Desdemona, Merchant is the missing link in her ongoing communications with space aliens. Tabloid journalist Rudy Breno only cares that Merchant gets bigger headlines than Elvis. And for renegade seaplane pilot Frank Bama, the mystery of the presumed-dead-but-often-sighted rock star is turning his life upside down.

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Now all you need to do for a perfect summer reading experience is to sit back on the deck with a Margarita, or an ice cold beer, and escape with Carl Hiaasen and Jimmy Buffett.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

Burning Question #16: In Honor of the 2018 World Cup

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Women’s Team USA wins GOLD 2015

American’s are protective of their sports. They’re sort of protective over Canadian sports too. But hey, what do I know.

This is the list of sports I watch live and in person:

  • Artistic Roller Skating
  • Baseball – Go Giants. OMG they have the most beautiful ball park in the world.
  • Basketball – I’ve kind of given up on the Kings, but the draft pick just happened and you never know.

And what I’ll watch on TV:

  • Ice Skating
  • Ice Hockey – GO LAS VEGAS
  • Baseball
  • Olympics stuff, odds and ends like three minutes of the Scottish Games, Lumberjack Games, Naked and Afraid, Dog shows, Triple Crown Horse racing, etc.

I also like to listen to baseball on the radio. There is something so soothing about it.

BUT…

We’re (USA) just isn’t a soccer kind of place. Our Football is well…FOOTBALL. I don’t watch THAT either.

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My brother Aaron’s kids played soccer when they were small. We went to all of the games. It was great fun. They graduated up to other sports when they got older.

I’ve played soccer. It is hecka fun to play. I’m good at it. I never had the opportunity to be on the team.

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Is it ballet or is it soccer? This guy knows the real answer.

It isn’t as if I don’t like soccer. I just don’t have any feelings for it. I’ll glance at a baseball game, or even football in a bar but I won’t glance at soccer. OK if cats are playing I’ll glance at it.

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I’ll watch anything with a cat.

And that brings us to the World Cup Game which is famous for wild fans, South African’s with weird horns, and all kinds of crazy shit. It is pandemonium unlike anything even Pablo Sandoval could ever imagine.

Which brings us to a question that many a suburban dad asks…

Burning Question #16: Is Soccer a Real Sport? 

 

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Yes, it is a sport! Ice cream and Jello shots for everyone.

Why soccer this week? The original Burning Question #16 was a scrape the bottom of the barrel silly post about Werewolves. That one might resurface as Burning Question #37. My darling husband said, “You can’t ask that.” Oh ye of little faith in my readers. So HE came up with this question about soccer. Blame it on Teddy. He’s a Vampire so you can blame a multitude of things on him. Please, feel free.

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Excuse me but all of this silly talk about soccer is going to make my head explode. Cheap laughs woman. Just cheap laughs is all you care about. For God’s sake ask them about Werewolves.

I have to admit that the parks, once completely filled with children playing soccer, are now filling up with Lacrosse players. My kids roller skate and surf. I just walk around the park with the dog. But that said, soccer is pretty popular and there is always talk of a pro team coming to town. But would anyone go watch? Maybe. Maybe sort of not. Is it a sport? A real sport?

If you haven’t already, please click on your answer on the poll. Spout out your opinions in the comments below but don’t be too mean or snotty. If you have a suggestion for a burning question let me know. You know how to reach me (look on my about page if you don’t.)

Have fun. Play hard. Stay cool.

For more Burning Questions CLICK HERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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After Circe turned the men into swine they found themselves quite bored. To pass the time they invented soccer. But is it really a sport?

Burning Question #10: Humorous Byproducts

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This week I want you to make sure your thinking caps are secure. It is time for Burning Question #10.

We’re going to be conscious about the seriousness of this question today. We’re also going to try to stay awake, which is another type of consciousness. We’re going to try to keep our humor about ourselves. And we’re going to all get along or something weird with Vampires might happen and you don’t want THAT.

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Excuse me, um yes, we’re going to be philosophical today. On a personal note, true story, I used to date a guy who knew everything about Kant. On a parenting note tell your kids not to date philosophy majors. But I Kant* talk about that now…

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Burning Question #10: Is a sense of humor a byproduct of consciousness or something else entirely?

 

 

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And then there are cats but they aren’t part of this question. That is another question entirely. Dogs are included in that as well. But are cats and dogs even conscious of their own existence? Do they have a sense of humor? The answer is YES and YES on both, at least for cats. OK for dogs too. Cats are just such assholes that they don’t give a shit what anybody thinks but they’ll eat your byproducts (so will dogs.)

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This has been the 10th of 50 Burning Questions. Only 40 more Burning Questions to go. See you next Saturday for #11.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

*Kant didn’t say any of this and is no doubt now rolling over in his grave right now, or he might be laughing. You never know. His name just makes for a great pun. 

 

 

Real Men

From my husband (exact quote): “Real men wax their cars, not their chests.”

I'm not Juliette's husband. I'm another Vampire guy with a hairy chest and a great set of wheels. Let me drive you all night baby.

I’m not Juliette’s husband. I’m another Vampire guy with a hairy chest and a great set of wheels. Let me drive you all night baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Crawl Space

Crawl Space

I took off my sweater and handed it to my brother Aaron. There was no way I was going to crawl on my stomach under the crawl space of a house with it on.

“So tell me again why you can’t get the bodies out from under the building first?” I had to ask.

“They’re not quite dead yet and they might attack Austin. He’s human, a Regular Human,” my brother told me. Austin by the way is a Regular Human and sometimes Vampire Hunter and usually just a guy who does a great job restoring old buildings that seem to be filled with scary shit like ghosts and old musty Vampires.

And of course Aaron was wearing a $5,000 suit of course he couldn’t crawl under the house.

“You might know them”, added Austin, meaning the creatures under the house.

I almost gave him a fang filled snarl but I just gave him a weak normal girl smile.

Wearing garden gloves I crawled on my  hands and knees over bare dirt.Even in the dark I could see assorted bugs and cobwebs. Rat droppings were scattered around. Why the crap would any Vampire want to sleep under floor boards?

About 20 feet into it I was the boxes. OK they were coffins.

I thought back of when I was a kid and always the one to crawl under houses and into tight spaces. It wasn’t because I was small. It was because I pretend to be fearless and now it is because I don’t take any bull shit from Shadow Creepers and dusty old Vampires who can’t deal with the modern normal world. We’re not having a Nosferatu and Dracula Hoedown kids, this is the 21st Century.

The lids were on the boxes. I managed to kneel on my knees without banging my head on something and pushed one off. Inside was a male in a pinstripe suit. His face was waxy looking and pale. I noticed sunken cheeks and lips that seemed a little thin. He hadn’t fed in a while. The box next to him contained a female. Skin stretched over her face, a hint of teeth including fangs showed beneath parted lips. Oh come on, all Vampire girls know not to sleep with their fangs exposed. She wore some sort of black dress thing. The scent of rotted roses and cigar smoke came from her box. In the third box…nothing jumped out. It was another male. I recognized the face. His eyes open a bit, yellow green rolls to stare at me. I see recognition in his face; a fact that was once handsome and could be again, but he was so strange, so weirdly in the shadows and cold, not like Vampires I associate with, but like a dead fish.

Then my butt vibrates. My phone. I pull it out. Garrett, my darling 18 year old son is calling from college. I’m a mom. I must answer.

“Hey mom, what do you call two ducks and a cow?”

“What?”

“Quackers and Milk.”

“Good one. What do you call an Englishman, two ducks and a cow?”

“Graham Quackers and Milk. Love you mom.”

I hear a groan from one of the box. I slap slap it hard with my hand and hiss at it. The noise stops.

I keep my eyes on the yellow green orbs that watch me as I talk to my son. He rattles on about classes and girls he knows and sings me a song he wrote. He says he goes to the beach almost every day and is going to go surfing on Sunday. He says it is the perfect college for Vampires. He is so excited about school. My heart melts a little.

Then he asks me what I’m up to.

“I’m under a building with three boxes full Shadow Creeping Vampires. You know me, everyday is Halloween.”

“How’d you end up there?”

“Helping your Uncle Aaron and a friend. Long story, but the short version is that I was the only one wearing jeans and I’m smaller than they are so I got elected.”

Old Green Eyes started to sit up. “I gotta go Garrett. I’ll call you back later today.”

“Love you mom.”

“Love you too sweetie pie.” I looked at my old friend. OK he wasn’t a friend. I’d met him before, a long long time ago. “What are you doing here?” I said trying to keep myself from sneering at him.”You look like a fucking Zombie. What is wrong with you people? Have you lost all self respect?”

“Juliette,” he whispered my name in a dry voice, like old coffee grinds and gravel.

“Jasper. That last time I saw you was…1923, New Orleans. What are you doing here?”

He started to tell me something in French that I couldn’t quite make out when I stopped him. “Listen, you have three choices. The first is that you agree to live like Modern Vampires and stop this nonsense of lurking around like you’ve just come out of some creep show. The second is that I leave you to the Vampire Hunters. The third is that you let one of my friends, and I use that term loosely, take you to San Francisco where you can be with others of your kind. But you can’t stay here. We have enough problems in Sacramento without your kind.”

“My kind?” He opened his eyes wide and showed his fangs.

“That is exactly what I mean, you giving me the evil eye and trying to scare me with your ugly mug. You used to be handsome and well, you were never charming but you used to be, well, not THIS.”

I crawled back into the sunlight which was no cup of tea, believe me. I might spend time during the day but the sunshine, especially after the darkness under a house, always comes as a shock. I pulled out my sunglasses put them on then took a deep breath and brushed off my pants. Filling Aaron and Austin in on the situation I told them that I’d let them decide what to do with Jasper and his friends.

I had to go home and take a shower and scrub my skin off with steel wool, or at least that is how I was feeling. The image of his eyes stuck in my brain like Poe’s Tell Tale Heart story.

“It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He had the eye of a vulture –a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees – very gradually –I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever.”
― Edgar Allan Poe, The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings

His eyes will haunt me for sure. Maybe I’ll check on him in a few months time, out of morbid curiosity. That is, if the Vampire Hunters or other creatures don’t get them first. There are Shadow Creepers who seem so vile, but then there are other Vampires who I don’t even dare name or ever seek out for any reason.

Like I’ve said, Halloween is never far from my reality.

I called Garrett back. He listened to my story. I didn’t make it into some cautionary tale or anything like that. We just talked. He told me that I was the most awesome mom ever.

So anyway, that is what I did today.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Stumped

Short Story Sunday

Stumped

 

I just got done removing a stump from the back yard and I’m sitting down to a beer and the game when the doorbell rings.

My wife is out shopping and the kids are off with friends. I’m enjoying a little quiet time, just me and the TV.

I answer the door, and there is a guy about my age standing there. He looks like he just came out of GQ Magazine with a jacket, perfect jeans, wearing shoes that costs as much as my house payment. His features are like an Italian Model or a Movie star, that sort of pretty but manly look that women go nuts over. His hair is perfect, thick and silver. He’s wearing a Rolex Submariner. Nice.

He gave me a pretty serious look then said, “I’m sleeping with your wife.”

All right, I wasn’t expecting that one. He then looked me up and down like he was waiting for me to beat the shit out of him. I’m a big guy. Not big and fat, but 6’4″ with a lot of gym time. I used to play football. This guy wasn’t small but I had a good five inches on him and maybe sixty pounds. He looked like a runner or one of those freaking guys who rides a bike in neon colored spandex shorts.

Honestly I should have beat the shit out of him, but that isn’t my style. I just went numb. Heather and I had been together for 20 years, married 17 of those years. We have two kids and a house and friends and … we were one of those perfect couples. You know, we laugh a lot and say the same thing at the same time. That sort of perfect. We hold hands and … I thought things were fine.

Sure she’d put on some weight and had a hard time dealing with her body image. Sure she was over worked with her job and the kids and with me. Sure she was stressed, but who isn’t? But… this handsome, obviously wealthy guy was standing here telling me that MY WIFE was sleeping with him.

He started talking about passion… her passion. Sure we had passion. That morning I’d almost been late for work because of her passion, our passion. But he got into details of fetish stuff he’d do with her and how he made her scream the way I never could. I had no idea she ever wanted any of that stuff. I sure didn’t want it.

Then, as I stood stunned, he talked about her beauty and how smart she was and how I could never ever appreciate her. He said the kids didn’t need her as much anymore, he said she loved him.

I could feel my body start to shake. My world was imploding around me. My throat was tight. I thought I was going to vomit on his expensive shoes. Finally I said something. “Does she know you’re here?”

Mr. GQ glared at me and said, “I’m taking her away to live the life she deserves.”

“Do you love Heather?” I asked. I had to know. I knew the answer but I wanted him to tell me.

His eyes opened as big as dinner plates. “Heather?”

“My wife,” I said.

“Your wife isn’t Allison?”

“Heather.” I grabbed the wedding photo off of the hutch in the front entryway and put it in his face. “Allison lives next door.”

“Uh, sorry. I’m so sorry.”

He didn’t go next door. He just got in his car and drove away. About 20 minutes later the front door opened and I heard a familiar voice, “Honey, I’m home. Did I miss anything?”

“No, just got the stump out and I’m watching the game. Hey, Heather, did I tell you that I think you’re beautiful?”

“Sure. Thanks for getting that stump out. Will you help me with the groceries?”

I follow her outside and she gives me a little smile, the kind she always does when she has something smart to say. “You know, you’re the only man I ever loved.”

I grab a couple of bags. “Good to know. Love you too.”

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman