Ring of Fire, and The Circle of Love

I sat listening to my brothers, two of them, singing Ring of Fire in a low slow sort way that sounded like it belonged in a horror movie. Andy is a professional singer. Val is a numbers guy. Together they create weird and wonderful music.

When I was small I’d envy the way they’d sing together, anywhere and everywhere.

“Her ex-husband showed up.”

“Had you met him before?” I had to ask.

“No. Never. He came in the house with Cameron, Shawna’s son, and started to bark at her about me. I wasn’t even in the room, but I could hear it from the bedroom. I wasn’t even quite awake yet, but it woke me up for sure. He was telling her that she was making a fool out of herself by seeking someone so much younger than herself. I was ready to go out and tell him that I’m 168-years old but honestly I wanted to see his justification.”

“So what happened?” Val asked.

Shawna ripped him a new one. She reminded him that he’d left her for FeeFee. He reminded her that FeeFee’s real name was Ashley. No matter what her name, the woman was almost twenty years younger than Eric. That is the husband. Eric. Anyway Eric said that it had been different with Ashley. Shawna called him all kinds of names including a fucking self centered misogynistic bastard who spent most of his life thinking with his dick. He didn’t take too kindly to that.”

Andy picked up a cup. “Does anyone want more coffee?”

“Sure, I’ll make a French Press. Tell us what happened,” I said. Andy often starts stories and doesn’t finish them.

I went into the kitchen to make coffee. Val hearded Andy after me and sat him down at the kitchen table.

“How old is Shawna?” Val asked.

Andy continued his story. “Almost sixty. She turns sixty in a few months. She looks a lot younger. She’s stunning.”

“I have to agree with you. She is lovely,” said Val. “But you look thirty five on a bad day, twenty something on a good day.”

“What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? I love her.”

“It shouldn’t matter,” I said, “especially since her ex is the same age as her and with a woman who is, what, in her early forties now?” Shawna had told me how her husband had left her years before for a much younger woman who needed him.

I glanced out my window. The usual Friday morning leaf blower assault had begun at my neighbor’s house. The neighbor on the other side has a five hour leaf blower marathon every Thursday. I hate leaf blowers. Seriously, everyone hates Vampires. They should put their energy into hating leaf blowers.

“There is always someone using a leaf blower in this neighborhood,” said Val.

“I hate leaf blowers. I HATE them,” I said. “So, Andy, then what happened? Did you tell Eric that you’re a lot older than he is. He obviously doesn’t know you’re a Vampire.”

Andy smiled and flipped his hair behind his shoulder. “No. Obviously not. It’s none of his business. He wouldn’t believe it anyway. Let him think I’m thirty-five or whatever. Let him steam in his own juices. Let him be angry about a younger man being attracted to the woman he dumped. Let him be jealous that I have a relationship not only with Shawna but with his son Cameron as well.”

I looked at my tall long haired brother and knew he turned heads. I could imagine Eric having fits in his mind about this guy who was in love with the woman he discarded.

Val poured a cup of coffee. “How did it end up Andy?”

“Eric left. The only reason he’d been there was to drop off Cameron. He said something about me only being a few years older than Cameron and about Shawna having no shame. We all had a fine laugh about that one later on. Val, pour me a cup too.”

By our second cup of coffee (Vampires drink a lot of coffee) we’d moved on to other subjects. Val was glad he was single. I was glad I was happily married. Andy was in love with a middle aged woman who was still somewhat confused that she’d fall in love with a Vampire. Her son thought Andy was exceptionally cool. Andy is exceptionally cool.

I put two cups of coffee out on the back deck. As my brothers and I talked inside I could see the Ghosts, Nigel and Mary sitting down at the outdoor table and putting their hands around the mugs. They inhaled the coffee they could not drink, savoring the beautiful aroma.

I guess the moral of this story is that we all make choices. We also make choices on how to react to the consequences. Don’t be like Eric.

That’s all.

I worry about Andy, but then again, I worry about everyone. At least it gets my mind off of my kids. College starts back up again soon. They’re both moving. They’re both moving on to new schools. More coffee please.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Mysterious Friendships

From 2013

When friends, or others, discover we are Vampires the reactions vary from shock to horror to fascination. But, that said, they rarely find out we’re Vampires.

I had to meet with my friend Adam, Werewolf and brilliant photographer. Until a year ago I didn’t know he was a Werewolf and he didn’t know I was a Vampire. We kept our secrets better than most, for sometimes we CAN tell when folks aren’t regular humans. When we found out each others secret it wasn’t pretty. We both were feeling a bit violent and betrayed and out of sorts.

He touched my neck where he’d tried to rip out my throat a year ago. A faint scar still lingered. “I’m surprised I didn’t kill you.”

I shrugged it off then stepped back out of his reach.

He continued to talk. “You must have taken fifty gallons of blood out of me over the past fifteen years. I still can’t believe I never caught on.”

I declined to comment and asked him if I could see his latest work, the items he was going to put in a major museum exhibit.

“Don’t you want to talk about it? Vampires always want to talk.”

He was so attractive in that overly masculine hairy man sort of way that took away the breath of women before they even knew what hit them. I just saw him as a dog, which was rather disturbing considering everything that had transpired between us in the past.

I had to ask him, “Do any regular humans know you’re a Werewolf?”

“Not to my knowledge or at least they don’t understand what they saw. If they repeat it people will think they’re crazy. I don’t TELL anyone. You know, I don’t need any dog catchers coming my way”. After the 1880’s his kind was almost made extinct out our way. He lived among the regular folks but he was wary as a wild animal, putting on the charm and living in the world of regular people.

He stepped closer to me, within arms length. “Friends?”

“Always,” I said.

When you’re part of the shadows and mystery surrounded by secrets and lies, a mystery wrapped in an enigma, a good friend, even if he is a Werewolf, is a true blessing.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 – Adam and I are still friends – better than ever.

When in doubt wear a dress

“I’m not going to crawl under a building again. It is going to be a hundred degrees out today. That is bad enough if you’re a regular person but we’re Vampires. Remember? Aaron?”

I have four siblings – all male. I am the youngest of the brood. Aaron is smack in the middle.

When I arrived at his downtown law office I was greeted by Aaron and our brother Val (short for Valentine). Val is between Aaron and me. I’d brought my daughter Clara with me.

“Wear a dress,” I told her.

“Why?”, she had to ask. They always have to ask.

“So your Uncle Aaron won’t ask you to do anything. So he won’t ask you to crawl under a building or into an attic crawl space, or between a wall or into a sewer. You know how he is.”

When we were small, young Vampires in the American West, my brother’s had great fun sending their tiny little sister into small spaces. Be it a hole in a tree or a hole in the side of a building, in I’d go.

Consequently we ended up knowing everything about everyone in the growing city in which we lived. We also knew where all the creepers were, and we had a lot of scary fun tormenting them.

The Creepers, as we called them, were a type of, or more of a Vampire of a certain culture (not ours.) Shadow Creepers were Vampires who were content being ghouls who lurk in the shadows and get all overly happy about finding blood. They’re like those socially awkward kids or the intense annoying kids my daughter goes to school with. They aren’t what we call Modern Vampires. They’re disgusting.

And since they tended to be nasty but awkward we took it upon ourselves to annoy them.

While we slept in real houses and in real beds, the Shadow Creepers tended to search out basements, attics, crypts and holes in the riverbank or in the bottom of ;rage paddle boats. We’d search them out and start our childish torments.

One of our favorite activities would be to go into their lairs and make loud sucking noises. Shadow Creepers have such disgusting eating habits. When they’d wake we’d hiss and scream at them. Of course we’d do other things to them. Mean things. Then again, we knew most of them didn’t even have souls. Plus they’re the ones, in our opinion, who give Vampires a bad name.

Even now the few who remain hate us with a passion. Oh well. They could change, and some of them have, but most of them choose to be nasty horrible beings.

Oh, I forgot, and the absolutely worst is running into a Creeper I used to know back in another century. Ugh. Talk about uncomfortable.

Which takes us to present day when one of them shows up occasionally after being found asleep or awakened from a hundred year sleep.

Over the past few years I’ve been asked to go check them out. Aaron is an attorney so for some reason people come to him when they find these unsavory creatures.

I end up covered with dirt and in the face of some dried up husk of an animated corpse of a Vampire. No self-respecting Vampire would ever ever end up like that on purpose. Plus they always act like it is still the nineteenth century. Wake up assholes, that isn’t cute anymore. It doesn’t make you look smart or mysterious. It just makes you look stupid and creepy.

It is always an unpleasant experience finding Shadow Creepers and I’d just rather call a Vampire Hunter to take them out. You know, like when you call someone to get rid of the wasp next under your front porch.

My brothers were both in a good mood. They just wanted to go for lunch and to the art museum. Thank goodness. It was a lovely diversion. The dresses worked out just fine.

Wishing you all a week of pleasant diversions and remember your sun screen.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

First posted here in June 2015

Saturday (a short story)

Saturday is here once more. Due to a busy schedule with wonderful, amazing, lovely old friends, and a busy weekend looming I’m reposting a story about our favorite Vampire Hunter, Austin Durant.

I could post for Cat-Ur-Day but I can’t find my cats. So without any more silly explanations…

Saturday (A Short Story from The Hunter Series)

Austin Durant was spending Saturday morning with a pot of coffee and a folder full of research materials. His mind was on the article he was writing, but also on the end of the school year, his latest landscaping project, and his girlfriend Elizabeth.

He stopped at the sound of the doorbell, then sent to answer. He hoped it wasn’t anyone trying to sell him anything. Two large men, dressed in black, stood at his front door. No clipboards.

Austin looked them up and down. “I’m going to assume you’re not from the Sanders campaign,” he said.

The men pushed their way through the door. Austin backed away.

“I don’t know why you guys even bothered to knock. Can I get you anything?” Now more than anytime he wished his old German Shepard Dogs Lucy and Mina were still alive. They would have ripped these guys to shreds, or at least barked a lot. After three years he still couldn’t bring himself to get another dog. But this wasn’t the time to reminisce about lost loves – he had Vampires in his house.

Who would have thought that Vampires would be at his front door at 2:37 on a Saturday afternoon in May? Sure, alright, he was a part-time, sometimes Vampire Hunter, but not on Saturday afternoon. The plan was to do a little work on an article about the California art colonies in the 1880’s, then do a little yard work, then go over to his sister’s house to eat tacos and watch Dead Pool.  Such is the life of a single History Professor slash Vampire Hunter.

“You know guys, this is a bad time for me. Why don’t you come back later, say in about a hundred years.”

The Vampires stepped forward baring their long sharp fangs. Austin started to calculate in his mind how to distract them so he could get his sword. Then the doorbell rang.

Austin put his hand up. “Excuse me for a minute guys.”

The Vampires stepped back and withdrew their fangs.

At the door stood Austin’s fifteen year old neighbor Ryan. A tabby cat with white paws stood next to him.

“Hey, Ryan. What’s up?”

“I, um, forgot my key to my house. My mom said you had a copy.”

“Sure, wait a second.” Austin looked at the Vampires. “Don’t even think about it.”

He got the key from the kitchen drawer and brought it back to Ryan. The boy thanked him then looked inside the door.

“Seriously dude, you have some creepy friends.”

“They’re not my friends,” said Austin. “Just some guys dropping off some stuff for a research project.”

“Uh, thanks for the keys.”

Ryan and the cat left and Austin turned his attention back to the Vampires. “OK guys, time to go. I have things to do, places to go, tacos to eat, and if you don’t get the hell out of my house I’ll add Vampires to kill to my list. Got it?”

The Vampires showed their fang again. Then the doorbell rang. The Vampires stepped back into the shadows.

Austin opened the door. Dave the mail carrier stood there with a package. “Hey, Austin, I just need a signature.”

“Good, I’ve been waiting for this,” said Austin as he signed the deliver slip. It was a packet of letters from the artist Julian Rix to a woman who would eventually break the artist’s heart. Austin put the letters on the table in his entry way and turned his attention back to the Vampires.

“Sorry about that. I told you this was a bad time,” he said to the Vampires.  “What do you guys want? I don’t have all day.”

The two Vampires showed their fangs and stepped towards Austin. “Listen, I don’t want any trouble. I don’t have a problem with you. I don’t even know you. In fact, my girlfriend is a Vampire.”

The Vampires hissed through their fangs, then stopped. There was a soft knock at the door.

Austin stepped back. “Excuse me, somebody is at the door.”

At the door Austin’s neighbor from down the street, a guy named Bob stood with a clip board. “Hi Austin, I have the petition to close the street on the Fourth of July.”

“Yes, I’m looking forward to it. Just let me know what I can do to help.”

“Sure thing,” said Bob. “Feel free to invite your friends.”

Austin looked around to see the Vampires had moved just behind him in the entry way. “Sure thing. Hey guys, you’re invited. Bring your favorite pot luck dish and some sparklers. It will be fun.”

After Bob left, Austin turned his full attention back to the Vampires. “I know you didn’t come here to borrow a cup of sugar. What do you want?”

The Vampires showed their fangs. “No, I’m not going to do this today. You’ve already waited almost an hour of my time. Either I kill you, you kill me, or you leave. What is it?”

The doorbell rang again. “Shit,” whispered Austin. He opened the door. There stood two college students with a clipboard. “Hey, I know you. How’s it going Tiffany?” The girl was in his California history class.

“Dr. Durant. I didn’t know you lived in this neighborhood. We’re here for the mayor’s campaign.”

“Good for you. I encourage everyone to be politically active. I think a few other groups will be out today as well.”

“Cool.”

The kids talked with Austin about politics and school. All the while Austin could sense the Vampires behind him, lurking in the shadows of his living room. He then wished the kids good luck as they went on their way.

He turned back to the Vampires who were now looking at his book shelf and talking quietly to each other.

Austin approached them. “So do you want to do this or not?”

“You have all of Steinbeck’s books, I’m impressed,” said  the taller and paler of the two Vampires. “Too bad I have to kill you.”

Then the door bell sounded again. Austin went to the front door. His neighbor Joe who lived behind him was there.

“Hey Austin. I’m fixing the fence so Sammy and Shadow can’t get out. Do you mind if I go into your yard for about a half hour?” Sammy and Shadow were two shaggy dogs of unknown breeds.

“Sure, I’ll help you out. Give me a few minutes. I’ll meet you in the back yard.”

Austin turned to the Vampires. “Guys, we’re going to have to do this later.”

The Vampires looked at him with frustration on their pale faces then slipped out the front door and vanished into the cloudy afternoon.

Well, this is the first time I’ve killed a Vampire with boredom, thought Austin. Then he put on his shoes and work gloves to meet Joe by the fence.

~ end

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Weird Days

Redefinition

I’ve thought about that word a lot lately.

This morning I was going to walk the dog down for coffee, not for the dog, but for me. I usually use my lovely little red French Press… anyway, you don’t care about that.

I didn’t get coffee because I was called out. My brother Aaron said I must come quickly to his office. I asked why. He just said to come to his office. I yelled at him to tell me. I hate games. Just tell me. He hung up the phone.

What is it with Vampires that they’ll never tell you anything.

Thirty minutes later (I didn’t want to get a ticket) I was sitting across my impeccable brother in the law offices of Todd and Xavier, my brother Aaron being the Todd half of the firm.

He smiled, something he doesn’t do enough of. “So how are things?”

Really? How are things? “OK,” I said. “Clara made the highest score in the class on her English essay. It was about peer pressure.”

“Fantastic.”

That was all he said. I could hear the birds outside and some traffic in the distance. Otherwise we sat there in silence.

“Why’d you call me Aaron? What is it?”

He slid a paper across his desk. He didn’t tell me to read it. He just put it in front of me.

It was to Mr. Aaron Todd, Esq.  It made me slightly proud of my brother. Then I read what he’d pushed in front of me.

I read the letter then shrugged. I like to shrug when I think something is stupid.

“You never told me you had a grave,” said Aaron.

Back in 1921 my then boyfriend Pleasant Van Dusen and I were buried. Then we were unburied and, long story but in a cemetery in Southern California are empty caskets and a double headstone with our names on them.

Aaron’s office phone rang. He answered and said, “show him in.”

And there was Pleasant, my old flame. “I hear someone wants to exhume us.”

Then we just laughed. I mean, there wasn’t anything that could be done about it. We could say no but why not add to the mystery. How someone even found Aaron as the heir to the Aaron who lived in 1921 and took care of the “estate.”

My brother spoke up. “They want to film a documentary on cemetery mysteries. It seems as if someone back then thought you were Vampires. I don’t want to have to answer to anyone when they dig up empty caskets.”

Pleasant smiled. “The caskets aren’t empty.”

Well, that was a surprise.

“Who pray tell is in them?” I had to ask. I mean, I really had to ask.

Pleasant sat next to me and took my hand. “You’re looking good Jewels. How are Teddy and the kids?”

“Who is in the caskets?”

“An architect and his wanna be movie star girlfriend.”

“Donald and Olive. I thought they’d skipped town.”

“After they tortured and killed his pregnant wife they headed out with all of her money but…some friends of his wife, who were also friends of mine took care of them.”

I suddenly felt sick thinking about all of the stupid things I’d done in my past. But I had no idea this had happened.

“Do whatever you want. I don’t care. They don’t have our real names so nothing will come back to us. Beside that we’d be, what, a hundred and twenty years old according to the dates on the gravestones.”

“I’ll say no,” said Aaron. “Rest in peace.”

Pleasant and I left Aaron’s office together and walked around the corner for coffee. It was nice being with Pleasant even thought there were so many times that I truly hated him.

We talked about our spouses and raising Modern Vampire children. Of course we raised them to be far smarter and wiser than we were in our sorted pasts.

Pleasant took my hand and asked, “do you think we could have made it together.”

“Maybe, but no. We were too stupid. We would have stayed stupid if we’d stayed together.”

He laughed and we agreed to keep in touch.

So anyway, I try not to dwell on the past. I know where the bodies are hidden but that doesn’t mean I need to go visit them, much less think about them.

I headed over to meet my daughter for coffee (around the corner at a different coffee place that is exclusively organic) and talk about college. How things have changed. Her life will be far better and far more sane than mine ever was. That is a good thing. The same goes for Pleasant’s children.

The goal is to learn from our mistakes, before we become parents. I can’t expound on that anymore than I already have.

So much for weird days. Then again, most of my days are weird. I can only hope that yours, dear reader, are not.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

First published April 28, 2015