Short Story Sunday: Motorhome

Motorhome
An Austin and Elizabeth Story

Austin grew up knowing that Grammy didn’t have many filters. She’d say anything she wanted to anyone. Austin’s mother said Grammy had always been rude. Grammy said she was giving out good advice that might make people want to do something about their situations. Everyone was in a situation so everyone was told what they needed to do.

Grammy’s caretaker, a lovely woman named Kayla, had texted Austin the following:

“Just a warning, Grammy is in a mood today. Completely speaking with no filter. We talked to Tom across the street. Grammy asked how they were doing and before he could say anything she said, “well it looks like you and your wife have completely given up on loosing weight.” I nudged her in hopes she would stop but it didn’t work. She then went on to say, “I thought you guys were dieting. Looked like you’ve completely given up on losing weight. Tom was so red embarrassed. I said he is healthy and happy and always smiling, so I told him to have a nice day and closed the door before Grammy could say anything else. I then said “OMG Grammy u can’t ever tell people that they are overweight. Ever. Men or women. It is not to be discussed. Don’t tell women they look pregnant. None of it. She said “Well maybe if I say something that will make them want to lose weight.” I said, “NO. NO. NO. Nothing you say will change them. You’re just being terrible at that point. No more ever.” Grammy’s mind is in it’s own place sometimes. Tomorrow is a new day. I told her she is the cutest sweetest little Grammy in the world. She has to stop thinking and saying such negative things.”

Austin was mortified. Tom had been a good friend for years, and would do anything for Grammy. But sweet little Grammy had a dark suspicious side. She’d grown up in the Deep South where people generally have fewer filters than those from other regions of the country. She’d also grown up in a family of Vampire Hunters. It was in their blood, no pun intended.

When Austin arrived at Grammy’s house he wondered who the old motor home in the driveway belonged to.

Kayla, a rail thin brown haired, blue eyed woman in her forties came out to meet him. She and her college student son Colt live with Grammy and took care of her in her great big family home. At one time Austin had tried to get Grammy to sell her house and move into a smaller house in his neighborhood, just three houses down from him, but she’d have none of it. She’d rather complain about money and upkeep than move out of the house she’d lived in for sixty-two years.

“Is someone visiting?” Austin looked toward the motor home.

“I bought that last week. I’m going to take Grammy on a road trip.”

It was a small 1981 motor home complete with faded orange and red stripes on the outside.

“Wow, look at this thing,” said Austin.

“Come inside. Take a look,” said Kayla inviting him in through the back door.

Grammy was sitting on an orange couch that could fold out into a double bed. There was a table, a small kitchen, four captain’s chairs, and a tiny bathroom complete with a toilet, sink, and a shower.

“Hey, Grammy,” Austin said bending down to kiss her.

Grammy was small, and still quite pretty for an eighty eight year old lady. Her white hair had been done up the day before with pink foam curlers. She wore bright pink lipstick, a pink flowered shirt, and matching pink pants.

Grammy took his hands, “Austin. What do you think of our new castle on wheels?”

“Great,” said Austin. “The orange and red carpet is pretty ugly, but otherwise it’s great.”

“I don’t see any problems with the carpet. It looks almost new to me,” said Grammy. “Now, Austin, are you still seeing that Vampire girl?”

Austin was in love with a woman who just happened to be a Vampire. He knew it wasn’t exactly the right thing to do but…

“But,” he said, “Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t a shadow creeper, or one of those ghoulish undead types. She lives a pretty normal life. You know the kinds of Vampires I help get rid of, and Elizabeth isn’t one of them.”

“You know those Vampires aren’t right. They do nothing but cause problems. Austin you’re an idiot for getting involved with one.”

“Grammy, Elizabeth isn’t that different from us.”

“That’s what you say. But the next thing you know they’ll be coming out of the shadows. I bet you the first thing they’ll do is call the ACLU and get a bunch of lawsuits in place against us normal people asking for rights and then some. Then they call AARP because they’re all older than dirt. You can’t trust them Austin. Listen to me. You are going to have nothing but trouble ahead of you. Nothing but trouble.”

“OK Grammy, I get your point.”

“I hope so. I don’t want you marrying one of those things. You haven’t have sexual intercourse with that Vampire of yours yet have you?”

“Grammy, I’m not going to talk about this anymore.”

“Are you still killing Vampires?”

“Only the ones without souls.”

“Well, how do you know if they have souls? They’re all a bunch of fanged faced liars.”

“Grammy, I know. I’m a Vampire Hunter. I can tell. It’s in my blood.”

“Well, your blood will be their blood if you don’t watch out.”

Kayla, who’d gone inside to make iced tea, came back out with three tall cold glasses full of iced tea with fresh mint. This wasn’t the popular sweet tea, but strong freshly brewed black tea with just a hint of lemon and mint. Grammy wouldn’t allow anyone to ruin her good tea with the addition of sugar.

Grammy took a sip of her tea and said, “I don’t know why your mom and dad had to name you after a city.”

Kayla smiled. “Be nice Grammy. You know Austin was where they fell in love.”

“Well, maybe. But it sounds like a character out of a trashy cheap romance novel,” said Grammy.

And she wasn’t kidding.

Austin had dinner with Kayla, her son Colt, and Grammy. They’d dined on garlic coated shrimp in a pasta, along with mushrooms and more garlic. Grammy always made sure she had garlic in all of her food to keep the Vampires away now that she had retired. Austin knew for a fact that garlic didn’t keep Vampires away.

Conversation became pleasant and without any caustic remarks. Grammy was charming and full of joy. Kayla looked relieved.

As Austin left his Grammy gave him a hug and a kiss. Then she said, “I wish you’d find a normal girl.”

Austin smiled and said, “Normal girl? Grammy, you of all people should know there is no such thing.”

Grammy just said, “pasha,” and closed the door in her grandson’s face.

 

~ End

Read all of the Austin and Elizabeth Stories (The Hunter Series) from the start.  Click here for the full set.

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Swiss Chard Recipe for Thanksgiving (and my Vampire Brother)

Before you (yes, you) go anywhere and brush this off as a “weird Vampire story” full of blood…DON’T. No blood or gore. Just good food and a  little romance and family adventure AND a recipe that EVERYONE (except maybe Werewolves) can and WILL enjoy! Even kids like it. Yes KIDS!

But before we get to food…a little adventure and romance.

Explaining to your kids the dangers of the world is already confusing and difficult – especially when you have a family member on the front lines.

My eldest brother works in the intelligence field and he is a Vampire. As always secrecy is the law.

I am the youngest of five Vampire children, the only daughter with four older brothers.

Maxwell, Aaron, Andrew, Valentine and Juliette.

For the first time in years we’ll all be together for the week of Thanksgiving.

I frequently see Andrew and Val. Andy lives in London but visits several times a year. Max loves us but sees us when he can due to his somewhat dangerous profession.

You see, Maxwell is in the Vampire intelligence and enforcement business working for the Circle.

Max is the classic brooding dark alpha Vampire, the avenging angel so to speak. He is the guy in the black leather that sleeps during the day and hunts at night. He is the one who reeks of testosterone and speaks in hushed whispers. He gets that from our mother (the fearless part, not the testosterone). Maxwell’s job, which is more of a calling, is to keep all of Vampire society safe from rogue Vampires and even more importantly, safe from Vampire Hunters. He is a hunter, then again so are we all, he just does it for a higher purpose.

For a short while, before I was involved with him, my husband worked with Max. They hunted the rogue Vampires who turned Teddy from a regular human into a Vampire. After that they went after nasty posse of Vampire hunters. All in a day’s work. The kids love to hear these stories, not in glee but in awe. They know it isn’t easy. War stories.

Over the years Max, Teddy, our mother and other vampires have been involved in this field. For Max it is a calling and he is one of the best.

As children, Max and my husband Teddy were best friends. When Max found out who’d turned Teddy into a Vampire he hunted them down. Max was a Vampire but he knew it was not a choice Teddy would have taken. He avenged his friend, loyal and true to the end.

Max called me a few days ago. “May I bring a guest? A woman.” He asked.

“Of course.” I said wondering if it was a wise thing to agree to.  A guest? He had his affairs and had no trouble attracting women, but he never brought them home to the family.

“Remember Roxanna Jones?” His tone of voice was deep and quiet.

Of course I remembered her. They met on the Titanic – the only two Vampires on the ship.  For my eldest brother, the result of the ill fated voyage, other than the ship sinking, was a short lived but passionate and fiery affair.  They parted as friends (other places to go, things to do) and went on with their lives.

Max continued to do his never ending job saving our kind and others. He had many affairs with others, Vampire and otherwise but more or less stayed alone. He was considered a catch with his sexy brooding manner, tall, dark haired, handsome, but Roxanna spent 40 years with Alex Price (a well known Vampire historian) who was killed by Vampire hunters.

I have to admit Max has had some unfortunate choices in girlfriends. This includes the woman who brought a basket of kittens for dessert to one dinner party (we don’t do that anymore).  Needless to say, when he says he is going to bring someone to meet the family, a rare event in itself that is something to look forward too.

I know by her reputation that Roxanna, a vampire born in the 1840’s in Italy to American parents, is a lovely Vampire. Sort of reserved for Max, but then again, I’ve never met the woman and I don’t know about their “private” life.

Then he asked “Juliette, are you going to make Uncle Reggie’s Swiss chard”.

I told him “No, I’m going to make MY Swiss Chard for Thanksgiving.”

Juliette’s Swiss chard

  • About a half pound of bacon (or more to taste, use whatever kind you want but a good thick cut pork bacon works best for me)
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh lemon juice (about ¾ cup) or Balsamaic Vinegar
  • 1-4 table spoons fresh garlic chopped – to your own taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • One onion – chopped and caramelized
  • Hand full of roasted chopped walnuts.
  • 4 bunches Swiss chard, cut in 1 inch pieces. It is up to you if you include the stems (I don’t, my mom does). I also add in a hand full of flat leafed kale and sometimes some spinach.

Put some olive oil, a couple of table spoons of the stuff, in a large skillet and heat it up nice and hot. Throw in the garlic and chard and crumbled cooked bacon. Toss it around until the chard starts to wilt a little. Throw in about a table spoon of butter, the onion, and a little bit of the bacon fat. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Then drizzle with the lemon juice or vinegar, season with salt and pepper. Top with walnuts. Taste as you go to make it just how you like it. Simple and easy. That’s all.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving,

And ALWAYS KISS THE COOK!

~Juliette