Ask Juliette: Disgusting Creepers, Twilight, and Fun Movies

Welcome to “Ask Juliette” aka “Ask a Vampire” a not so regular semi-regular feature here at vampiremaman.com. I answer all sorts of questions about life, love, Vampires, parenting, pets, possums, paranormal, wine, cheese, art, and anything else YOU need answers for or help with.

If you have a question leave it in the comment section below or send me an email message at juliettevampiremom @ gmail.com.

So here we go.

 

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The Rude Party Guest

Dear Juliette,

A few months ago while attending a dinner party at a friend’s home I sat next to a man I’d met at previous parties. I’ll call him Mr. D We talked for a while about parenting, social issues, and food. It was nothing but nice polite talk. Later that evening Mr. D told me we had a connection and that he knew we’d been lovers in another life. I smiled politely and went to find my husband. Sure the guy might have been charmed by me, but he was also full of shit. I’m a married woman in my late 50’s. I love my husband, who by the way is sexy and still hot, not that it makes a difference. I wasn’t looking for attention.

My husband had to leave early and Mr. D watched as I kissed my man goodbye. While in the kitchen talking to friends Mr. D came into the room and started rubbing my back. When I stepped away he would step closer again and touch me again. Juliette, this guy is adored by everyone in my friend’s friend group. I wasn’t going to turn around and yell “knock it off.” I was just shocked.

Later when everyone was leaving he  hugged me, kissed me, and grabbed my ass. I was shocked, again. I felt so violated. I made sure he didn’t walk me to my car. When I got home I told my husband about it. He said I should let it go unless it happens again.

I told my grown children and their spouses. They were all shocked. There reaction was shock. It said a lot about how younger generations take this kind of information. I was going to tell my friend who hosted the party but then social distancing started. She works for a hospital on the front line so I didn’t want to bother her. When things get back to normal, as in more parties, do I tell her? If this man ever touches me again I will tell him loudly and clearly that it is NOT acceptable. My husband said he’d also tell the guy it is unacceptable. But, should I tell my friend?

Oh yuck. I am so sorry you have to deal with such a pig. Yes, you should tell your friend. Be calm. Just state the facts. If this man ever touches you again please immediately tell him to stop. Don’t worry about who might hear you. This is unacceptable behavior. Nobody has the right to touch you without your permission, no matter how old you are. It sounds like you have a plan. Stick with it.  

 

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And speaking of disgusting creepers…

Dear Juliette,

I know you are into Vampires, so why do you dislike Twilight so much?

Into Vampires? Yes, you could say that.

So why don’t I like Twilight. Let me count the ways.

First of all the story is fucking stupid and creepy in a gross way.

Second, and the most important reason is that Twilight is a story of an older man taking advantage of an underaged girl. Edward was born in 1901. Bella was born in 1987. Do the math. I don’t care if the guy is a Vampire or looks like he is seventeen. He is a creeper hanging out at a high school and taking advantage of girls. 

Any Vampire who has ANY self-respect would NEVER do something like that. NEVER. 

The Third reason is that Vampires and Werewolves having rumbles in the forest like they’re right out of West Side Story is fucking stupid. 

The Forth reason is obvious. Vampires don’t sparkle.

The Fifth reason, and last I’ll mention today, is the fact that Bella’s father didn’t do shit about his daughter hanging out with Vampires. Give me a break. Any dad who cared would have kicked Edward’s sorry skinny Vampire ass. 

Yes, the Twilight series got a lot of kids to read, but I just wish they’d read something that had better relationship and general life advice. No seventeen year old girl needs to feel like running away with an older man is EVER and answer. It is always the WRONG answer.

 

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Dear Juliette,

What are the best movies you’ve watched during quarantine?

Thank you for asking. I’ve been fortunate so have seen some wonderful films over the past few month. Below is the short list. These are my favorites. 1-4 are movies I’d see again and maybe again.

  1. Searching
  2. The Half of It
  3. Blow the Man Down
  4. Good Boys
  5. Peanut Butter Falcon

Thanks for asking. All are fun and unexpected. The first four are exceptional. Searching will keep you on the edge of your seat, especially if you’re a parent. It kind of ties in with some of the questions asked today.

 

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Stalker in the Making

Dear Juliette,

I went out with a guy I knew in high school. We are in our 20’s now. It wasn’t a romantic date, just catching up – so I thought. Now he leaving me long phone messages, zillions of texts, and telling me that he loves me. I wouldn’t answer him so he texted me and told me he tested positive for Covid-19. Now what?

BLOCK HIM from EVERYTHING. Block him from your phone and ALL social media. Take this seriously. BLOCK HIM. Tell your friends to block him. Tell your friends not to give him ANY information about you. His story about the Covid-19 sounds like a lie because he is mad at you for not calling him back, but don’t take any chances and GET TESTED. 

In the meantime just see people within your bubble until things start to get back to normal. Don’t take any chances. 

 

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Thanks for dropping by. If you have a question about parenting, relationships, vampires, food, books, movies, cats, or anything else leave a comment below or email me at juliettevampiremom @ gmail dot com.

To view the Ask Juliette archive CLICK here.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Really Bad: Staying Home, Parenting, and Too Much TV.

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Stay at home

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School, Kids, Staying At Home, Zoom

Once again I send my love and admiration out to all of the teachers, students, and parents who are attending class at home through Zoom and other online magic. The same goes to everyone who is working from home.

To those who are complaining bitterly about our Governors, in my case Governor Gavin Newsom, shutting things down: GET OVER IT. To those who complain and while about how much YOUR kids are missing out: GET OVER YOURSELF. From pre-schoolers to graduate students they are ALL missing out. My kids are doing online college. Yes, they worked hard to get into top universities and now are hunkering down in their apartments with Zoom. You want to complain? Don’t. Get over it.

So many students, and everyone else have had to deal with cancelled classes, graduations, sports, dances, weddings, birthdays, concerts, museum days, vacations, and everything else. SO GET OVER YOURSELF. Most people aren’t complaining. Be like them. Don’t complain. Just do what you have to do and make the best of it.

Spend your energy THANKING the teachers who’ve had to suddenly switch their classes to online. THANK the medical professionals, grocery store workers, farmers, and others who are still working on the front lines so you can be ok during this.

Come to think about it the people who are whining now are the ones who always whined before this all happened. GET OVER YOURSELF.

Also, please don’t go into a massive panic over Zoom. Yes there are hackers and jerks, but that is the exception rather than the rule. My daughter told me that hackers just start putting in random numbers and when they get to a meeting they post porn or start being disruptive. This is rare. More than anything, as in the case of one of my child’s classes, you find bored 18 and 19 year old boys. One came to a statistics class without clothes and from his bathroom. The professor told him to get dressed and get out of the bathroom. Another creeper started to try to pick up on girls and make rude sexist comments about them. The professor shut down all audio and visuals except for himself. All interaction with the professor was then private. None of her other classes have had problems. I’ve had Zoom meetings and they were delightful.

Don’t get caught up in panics. Take a deep breath. It will be ok.

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And no whining. You aren’t special.

Be Creative!

Look what you can do with felt pens and your own fingers. Fun stuff.

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What Not to Watch on Netflix: Badland

A few night ago Teddy and I thought it would be fun to watch a movie. Badland, a Western, was #4 in popularity on Netflix. Hey, everyone else was watching it so it must be good. It had a good cast that included Bruce Dern, Mira Sorvino, Amada Wyss, Trace Adkins, and Kevin Makely. Holy shit this movie was bad.

Dialogue: Melodramatic at best. It seemed the writer was trying to make an attempt at making the characters speak as if they lived in the 19th century. It came off as stiff, and sort of stupid.

Plot: A Pinkerton Agent is searching for bad former Confederate officers to bring in to be hung by the neck until dead. There is a sort of side story with a Pinkerton boss and his son that really doesn’t make sense but hey, nothing else in this movie does. In the first part he meets with an old Indian friend/rival just because there has to be an Indian friend/rival. Then he kills a bunch of criminals and gets beat up. The Pinkerton hero meets a woman on a ranch, sort of falls in love, saves her ranch, doesn’t kill her war criminal dad. Then he moves on like Shane and rescues some whores and saves the day in a town fill with people who are really stupid. He gets stabbed. The Indian friend/rival saves him, then he goes back to the woman he loves on the ranch.

Acting: Two out of five stars. Most porn actors do dialogue better (this is before the sex.) With such an experienced cast you’d think it would be better. You’d think. I know that none of these actors will be putting this one on their resume. They’ll be begging IMDB to remove it from their listings. I believe Kevin Makely wanted to be good but with that script and direction he didn’t have a hail stone’s chance in Hell.

Directing: This movie was written and directed by Justin Lee. Hey Justin USC and CSU Long Beach both have great screen writing programs. Maybe you should sign up and learn how to write a real movie script. I COULD DO BETTER. Seriously, I could do better. YOU could do better. But hey, he pulled it off getting such a great cast. Then he wasted that cast.

Sets: Looks like they are all cast offs from other old Westerns. Nothing interesting.

Costumes: Just about the worst I’ve ever seen. EVER. It was like he told the female members of the cast to just find something from the local Goodwill store or from the back of their closets. There must be something from the 1970’s you have hanging around. 1970’s, 1870’s same thing.

Out of five stars I’d give this move a 2 at best. Maybe a 1 because it looked like it might be a lot better. It was awful to the point we were laughing and saying rude things at the screen.

But the joke is on us because everyone is watching it on Netflix. Ugh.

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This is the poster for Badland. It had a decent cast. I should have known by looking at the poster it was a disaster.

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How the people who made this movie thought women dressed in the Wild West. Notice her hair is expertly highlighted and DOWN. Excuse me. Her hair would have been UP. Adult women of the time always wore their hair UP. For Pete’s sake even when I garden I put my hair up.

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What she should have been wearing if the costuming staff would have done their jobs rather than jacking off and saying “oh just bring something from your closet at home.”

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Pioneer Women

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Pioneer women.

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These are the costumes from Badland. The women look like they were told to dress like pioneer whores so they dug whatever they could find out of the backs of their closets. Bad Halloween costumes at best.

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A real 1870’s Madam. No nonsense. Note that despite her small waist she does not look like she is ready to go out for trick-or-treating. No puns intended.

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Soiled Doves. They don’t look much like the whores and dance hall girls we see in a lot of movies. What the hell is wrong with people who create movie costumes?

 

Movies and TV We’ve Liked

Hawaii Five-0 ended on Friday. I will miss Alex O’Laughlin’s and Ian Anthony Dale’s gorgeous faces. As a side note: I’m not overly fond of most Vampire movies or television series. I absolutely adored Alex O’Laughlin in Moonlight. It might have been because, well, isn’t it obvious.

Know Hawaii Five-0 wasn’t the best and never won any Emmy Awards but it was a fun Friday escape. We got some great drinking games out of it.

Now that we’re all home everyone is watching a lot of TV. Too much, but hey, I’ll be creative and productive later today.

What we’ve watched at my house in the past week:

  • Better Call Saul
  • Ozark
  • Briar Patch
  • Unorthodox
  • Tiger King
  • Expedition Unknown
  • 100 Humans
  • The Sinner
  • Last Tango in Halifax
  • The Black List
  • Hawaii Five-0
  • Pioneer Woman
  • My Lottery Dream Home
  • Twilight Zone (the original black and white from the 60’s)
  • Alaska State Troopers
  • The Curse of Oak Island which has been a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME this season #OakIslandCursers. It isn’t quite as bad as Badland but almost.
  • Lots of car shows. Lots of prison shows.  Lots of Food Network. Lots of nature shows. Lots of science shows. We finished all of the paranormal type shows we’d been watching.
  • Don’t judge me. Put suggestions in the comments if you have them.

Movies we’ve watched in the past week and liked:

  • JoJo Rabbit (5 stars)
  • Peanut Butter Falcon (4 stars, a exceptionally cute and sweet movie)
  • Rashômon (5 stars)

If you get really bored I have over 150 short stories posted on this blog.

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Getting Out While Staying In

I’m staying at home but sometimes I do get out for a walk around my neighborhood. I’m fortunate enough to live near a parkway and my home backs up to parkland. I’ve posted before about night walks. Here are some photos of yesterday’s daytime walk.

 

You might be wondering what ever happened to Austin Durant the Vampire Hunter, my brother Aaron the Vampire and the rogue Vampires. Nothing so far. They’re headed out to the hills today to take care of the problem. I’m not going with them. Nope, not today. No no no no. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

I’ll be visiting Eleora and Tellias the ancient Vampires later today. Someone needs to check in on them and bring them some supplies. They also need the company and a little comfort.

My daughter asked me to do some art for one of her roommates so I’ll be working on that today too. I’ll post photos of what I come up with.

Thank you for dropping by. Feel free to leave a comment, share a movie suggestion, or let me know what you’ve been up to.

Stay safe. Stay chill. Wash your hands. Stay positive.

xoxox

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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A New Must See Film – WATCH IT

I have been up to my ears in alligators, vampire bats, and just stuff. Unfortunately that means I haven’t been here.

But I’m back with a wonderful new film written. It is less than two minutes. This was produced by a group of students at California State University Long Beach. WOW. I love this. WATCH IT. You will thank me for it later. When you look at the credits remember the names. You’ll see these names later – maybe at some future Oscar night.

I love this. I laughed at the end. Seriously.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

I’ll be back with more new stuff soon. Vlad also said he has something to share in his Vampire Diaries. I can’t wait.

xoxox

~  Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Playing Dracula

With chips and salsa, a cold beer, and two cats sharing the couch with him Jake studied the script to the yet untitled take on the story of Dracula.

With the sorry assed version of the story now showing on Netflix this play could either make or break his career. This version, written by his best friend Rick DeMarco, would run as a play for six month, then if a success would be made into a major motion picture, with Jake playing Dracula.

This version would take place in the present, in the early 20’s with Dracula portrayed in a sympathetic light, more as a misunderstood victim of discrimination. This be a Dracula who preferred jeans and a tee shirt to a red lined opera cape and tails. He thought he’d lobby for paring jeans with a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up as well. Women loved that look.

Of course Dracula would be hot. No doubt the most attractive Vampire ever to hit the stage or screen. Jake shrugged that one off but was secretly flattered.

Rehearsals wouldn’t start in two weeks but since Chloe had left him he had more free evenings. She’d dumped Jake for some guy she claimed was more spiritually grounded than Jake would ever be. Of course the guy was also richer than Jake would ever be, not that Jake wasn’t well off. Rather than party his money away with an entourage and series of huge mansions he’d settled into a comfortable older home in Long Beach a block from the beach and away from adoring fans and extra drama.

He read the script aloud for a few minutes, trying to get the right inflection in his voice.

Van Helsing: You know you must die.

Dracula: We all die eventually, but tonight isn’t a good time for either of us.

Van Helsing: You aren’t going to talk me out of this.

Dracula: Damn this script is horrible. Maybe I’ll just do that romantic Western I was offered yesterday. I grew up around horses. It would be a shoe in for an Oscar.

Van Helsing: You sure won’t get any award nominations with this script.

Jake put down the script and rubbed his eyes. He put up the chips and salsa, then grabbed another beer out of the fridge.

As soon as he sat down the door bell rang. It was 10:00 on a Saturday night. He wasn’t expecting anyone.

At the front door was a vision of loveliness, a Hollywood cliche, a beautiful woman in a short black leather skirt, a cream colored silk and lace camisole top and platinum blonde hair. Stiletto heeled sandals dangled from one hand. A smile was on her red lips.

“Irma. Wow. It’s been a while. Come in.”

Irma Snowberry. Jake had met her at a party a few years before. She was wearing a long silk evening gown the color of pale gold and silver mixed with stardust. Only Irma could wear a dress like that so well. He met her again a year later and taken her home for the night. After a night of incredible sex he slept like a dead man and didn’t see her again. The number she’d given him was out of order. He looked her up and only found obituaries of long dead women.

Irma. He doubted that was her real name. His mom had once made a comment about all of the girls his age having grandma names, but he imagined Irma must be her stage name, or just a fake name she used when she wanted to have some noncommittal company for a night.

“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by and see you,” she said with a voice as smooth as her pale bare skin. Why was he even thinking this way, like he was in some sort of bad movie or romance novel?

He felt sort of self conscience in his pajama pants and tee shirt that read Cat Dad across the front. Oh well. It was Saturday and he was at home in his own house. Comfort was the only thing that mattered. He didn’t have to look good for his cats.

Jake invited Irma in, offered her a drink, and sat her down on the couch next to the cats.  The tabby cat Willy hissed and ran off. Maggy the black cat hid under a chair and sat with wide green eyes.

“I hear you’ve been offered the role of Dracula,” said Irma.

“Uh, sure. I’m reading the script right now. I’m not 100% sure I’ll take it.” Jake didn’t want to talk about the part. He never liked to talk about his roles until he was either onstage or the movie was out in theaters.

“Do you believe in Vampires Jake?” Irma licked her red lips in a way that was both exciting and kind of weird.

“No. Do you?”

“Yes, I do Jake. I do believe in Vampires,” said Irma.

Jake woke on Sunday morning alone in his bed without his pajama pants or his Cat Dad shirt. He didn’t remember anything from the night before except that Irma had dropped by and he’d let her in. He moved to get up and felt a sharp pain in his neck.

New pillows. I’ve got to get new pillows today, he thought to himself.

The cats sat on the couch curled up together. They both looked up with green eyes then ran into the kitchen for breakfast.

Irma hadn’t left a note or a phone number, or anything except lipstick marks on a wine glass. Next time, if there was a next time, he’d ask her what happened. Or maybe he’d just tell her that he was busy or involved with someone. He had no desire to see her again. She was no doubt a user just like Chloe. On the other hand there was something weird about her. He’d do more research and ask around about her.

The phone rang. It was his friend and Dracula producer Rick.

“So what do you think of the script?” Rick asked.

“You know, I hate to do this to you but I think I’ll pass on it. I just don’t think it is a good match for me.”

“You liked the idea yesterday.”

“I know, but I just don’t feel easy about it. Remember that woman Irma? She came over last night. It was weird, and you know, it has nothing to do with the script. We didn’t even talk about it, but this morning, I just feel uncomfortable with it.”

“Sounds like you need more coffee dude. I’ll talk to you about it later when you’re awake.”

Jake fed his cats and stared some coffee. He thought about Irma and all of the obituaries, then felt the two bug bites on his neck. He pulled on a sweatshirt and sat out on his deck.

The Western was sounding a lot better. Besides he liked horses. He liked them a lot better than bats.

The cats ate their food and Jake sipped his coffee, as the pages of the script were caught by a stray wind and drifted out in the wind over his deck and vanished into the Sunday morning fog.

No, it wasn’t a good time to play Dracula. Maybe it never would be.

~ end

 

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Short Story Sunday at Vampiremaman.com

2020 Juliette Kings

 

Short Story Sunday: Binge Watch

Sometimes even Vampires get bored on rainy Sunday afternoons. Andy knew that well, so he invited his friends over to binge watch. He’d gone out for snacks and come back to find everyone lounging around drinking wine and talking about other things.

“We tried to watch some Vampire shows but they were all so gloomy,” said Jayne.

“Don’t forget bad dubbing. There is nothing as bad as a mouth that doesn’t match up with the words,” said James.

“I dated a guy like that once,” said Elizabeth as she scratched Andy’s cat under it’s chin.

A swirl of color blasted through the air, then landed on the back of the couch. Six tiny fairies in pastel colored sat with crossed arms. “The Notebook. We want to watch The Notebook.

“No,” said Andy. “You’ve watched that at least fifty times. Let’s go upstairs. I’ll put on Bridesmaids, or Enchanted, or something else you haven’t seen yet.” He looked back at his friends as the fairies swirled around his head and pulled at his arms. “I’ll be right back.”

“We’re not watching Moonlight again,” yelled Jayne at Andy as he went up the stairs. “Alex O’Loughlin is absolutely gorgeous, but we’ve seen every episode five time at least.”

Andy settled the fairies in front of the upstairs TV in his office to watch Rebecca, then 27 Dresses.

Downstairs again he poured nuts in bowls, cut up some apples, and uncorked a few bottles of blood. “How about the movie Moonlight?”

“I’ve heard it is really good,” said James.

Elizabeth had seen it but said she’d gladly see it again. As a whole Vampires are pretty agreeable.

The four friends hunkered down to watch the movie.

They knew nobody would ever make an honest movie about people like them.  Then again, who said movies had to be honest. It was just entertainment.

After the movie Andy went into the kitchen to make dinner. Vampires never ate in movies. Tonight he’d fix rare tri-tip and a dark leafy salad. None of them felt like going out in the thunder storm for fresh blood. In the movies the weather was always bad, and everyone always wore leather. He thought about his sister who wrote stories about Vampires. Nobody else knew they were based on real life. She wasn’t about to give away the fact she wasn’t like her readers.

He could hear familiar music. His friends had found something else to watch. Twilight Zone. Go figure. Andy smiled and continued to make the salad. Nothing like friends and an afternoon of binge watching.

~ end

 

 

 

 

The 2019 Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts at the Crest Theater

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For years we’ve looked forward to watching the Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts. Well, I have to say the selection this year was quite unexpected. That isn’t a good thing either. The real show was watching the stunned movie goers stagger out of the theater shell shocked and depressed.

One had a slightly bitter sweet message, but the rest were just depressing and somewhat disjointed.

Skin (United States)
The was the only American film in the group. It was sort of a skin-head white-trash revenge film. It was squirmy and uncomfortable with a totally unrealistic ending that sort of wasted the message of the movie. We came up with a lot of much better endings and resolutions.

Marguerite (Canada)
This was a bitter sweet story of an elderly woman and her caretaker. The message was about missed love and understanding. It had a bitter sweet ending. This was the only one that didn’t make me want to cry, scream, or throw something.

Madre / Mother (Spain)
A woman gets a call from her small child. He is alone on a beach. He can’t find his father. Twenty minutes later they are still on the phone and the tension is high. PANIC time. No ending. Seriously, there is no ending. It was like the start of a movie but nobody was allowed to see the rest of it.

Fauve (Canada)
Two typical funny kids (think of the boys in Stand By Me) go exploring what looks like some sort of mining operation. Bad things happen. I had tears in my eyes at the end of this one. It was well done but odd and disturbing.

Detainment (Ireland)
If you want to have your heart and gut torn out watch this half-hour film  based on transcripts of police interviews with Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the English boys who were convicted of torturing and murdering two-year-old James Bulger in 1993. I was in tears after this one too. Yes, it was done well. Yes, it might just win. No I wouldn’t see it again.

I would not show kids any of these films. I wouldn’t recommend this group to any of my friends.

On the way out my husband, daughter, her boyfriend, and I discussed all of the live action shorts we’ve seen in the past. Never have we seen such a depressing selection. And most live action horror shorts I’ve seen are 200% better than any of these. And I don’t like most full length horror films so I’m not playing favorites on the genre. I’m just saying these films kind of left me feeling dead, and that’s coming from me.

We watched the movies at the wonderful Crest Theater in Sacramento, California, a restored movie palace of a bygone era. That made it worth while.

 

 

The Crest Theater was also the inspiration for my story “A Night at the Crest.” Maybe one day I’ll make it into a short film, or maybe a full length movie, or into a full length book (my original plan.)

A Night at the Crest

A Story from Marla Todd  (Juliette Kings)

Dallas Andrews was performing at the old Crest Theater in Sacramento. Jonathan Ward’s soon to be ex-girlfriend Beth told him that this guy was hot. Andrews could actually communicate with the dead. Dallas Andrews said angels walked among them. He claimed to see angels all around him 24/7.

Andrews was the darling of the clairvoyant, medium, mysticism, aura generating followers of spiritual awakening. He had been featured on most major network and cable television stations. He did radio shows, graced the covers of magazines and now was packing in full houses on a nation wide tour. He followed in the footsteps of Casey and Nostradamus. His book was on the best selling nonfiction lists.

Jonathan had tried to talk Beth out of it. He told her the guy was a fake. He told her that all of these guys were fakes, but she insisted. She told him it would be fun and enlightening.

“It would be fun and enlightening to stay home and watch The Wizard of OZ.” he replied, but she wasn’t going to budge.

Jonathan Ward, founder and editor of the West Coast Review, was 5’10 with broad shoulders on his medium build. He was in good shape for someone his age, which appeared to be somewhere in his mid 40’s. According to his drivers license he was 46. His sandy brown hair had soft grey streaks at the temples. His eyes were framed with long thick lashes. His prominent nose was straight and narrow, but it fit with his oval face. He was good looking enough to get noticed by women but not enough to stand out in a crowd, unless one noticed his almost unnerving pale ice blue eyes. He had almost a perpetual and too quick of a smile. “Always amused” is how he was often described.

His companion Beth McAllister was knock down drop dead gorgeous and she knew it. Aside from her occasional bizarre and childish fascinations with freaks like Dallas Andrews, she was also brilliant. Well, most of the time.

Beth chattered away as they entered the lobby of the Crest Theater. Her stiletto heels clicked on the floor. Jonathan always thought of it as her mating call. He slid his hand down over her perfect behind. She promptly slapped it away. “Who do you want to contact?” she asked.

“Judy Garland and Billie Burke.”

“No, it has to be somebody you knew.”

“There are no dead people I want to talk to.”

“Maybe Dallas can contact your parents or your brother.” She said gently.

“They have unlisted numbers”

“You aren’t funny.”

“Bitch.” he whispered then kissed her on the mouth and led her to their seats.

As they made their way through the crowd his eyes met a well-dressed, slightly handsome, thirtyish man in the lobby. Jonathan was sure it was a plant; someone sent by Andrews to listen in to the conversations in the lobby. “My brother was blown to bits in Afghanistan. Pass that one on to your boss.” The man looked calm but Jonathan knew he’d unnerved him.

The restored art deco movie palace was the perfect place for the grand show of bullshit he would witness tonight. The lights dimmed. A woman in a long green dress played a traditional Irish harp on the corner of the stage. At the other corner was a plainly dressed woman signing for the deaf.

“I bet there isn’t one deaf person in this theater.” He said to Beth. She rolled her eyes at him and squeezed his hand. The lights came up on the stage. The crowd cheered. Jonathan sat back with his arms crossed, glaring at the stage.

Dallas Andrews walked causally onto the stage dressed in a white silk shirt, cream colored tie and matching cream colored dress slacks finished off with tan Italian loafers with tassels. He was in his mid-to-late thirties with wavy dark hair and boyish good looks. He smiled sweetly at the audience showing off perfect dimples, practically glowing with goodness and concern.

“How innocent, how angelic, how phony” thought Jonathan.

The audience clapped until Andrews blushed on command and told them to stop. Jonathan glanced at Beth. She was transfixed. He had lost her, to Dallas Andrews, at least for the next hour.

The man in white told his story with all the passion of the finest bard or worst televangelist, depending on one’s point of view. It was all bullshit about dead friends and relatives who’d ended up with tragically only to “speak” to Dallas through his new found gift.

Dallas ended his touching life story with “We can all be at peace with those we love who have passed over. I knew at that time I had to help others to find that peace and end the pain and worry.

It is a selfish thing that we expect the dead to contact us. It isn’t easy for them. But I’m trying to make it easier, as their go between. I channel. I am the messenger. I am merely a vessel to bring the message of love from the other side.”

Jonathan said nothing as the audience sat transfixed. He jotted a few notes then put his pen away. The night might not be a complete waste of time if the timing was right.

Andrews proceeded to ask questions of tearful audience members who wished to hear from departed loved ones.

“I’m hearing from Mary, Martha? I also see black and white. A nun. A policeman.” Andrews said in the most gentle and concerned voice.

“I can’t fucking believe this.” Jonathan swore under his breath. The people around him glared. He ignored them.

They heard from a dead son killed in a car accident, a recently departed grandmother, a young wife who died from cancer, a career Army officer killed in Iraq. Jonathan’s heart broke for those who came looking for answers and the hope of any small comfort. He took notes while Beth wiped tears from her face.

After about 90 minutes Andrews opened up for questions and answers. When called on, Jonathan stood up with his usual amused smile. “Be nice” Beth whispered.

Dallas Andrews saw a familiar face. He knew who the middle-aged man in the expensive black suit and distracting ice blue eyes was. Then he noticed the incredibly beautiful brunette sitting next to him. Dallas smiled sweetly at Beth, catching her off guard. She smiled back then blushed. With any luck he’d she’d be at the reception afterwards and after that in his suite at the Hyatt Regency across the street.

“Yes, you had a question.”

Jonathan addressed the clairvoyant. “You actually see angels? Show me who the angels in this room are?”

Dallas smiled and nodded “You won’t be able to see them. They are spirits who reveal themselves to me, but they are here, all around us. Open your heart and you’ll feel their presence.”

Jonathan didn’t like the answer “Tell me Mr. Andrews, are your angels from heaven or are they from someplace else? It’s often hard to tell the difference.”

The room hushed. Dallas Andrews was obviously annoyed by this man. “I sense you have a troubled soul.”

“You don’t know the half of it.” Jonathan replied in disgust.

Andrews gave a sympathetic smile and help out his hands, palms up. “Let me try to help you find out where your demons come from.” His voice was soothing as if talking to a troubled teen.

Jonathan almost laughed. “Oh you’re good. You’re very good. Mr. Andrews, where I come from we have words for people like you. A few that come to mind are liar, con man, cheat, and oh yes, more importantly sinner.”

“What is your name?” asked Andrews trying to keep his composure.

“You know perfectly well who I am.” thought Jonathan. He smiled at the man on stage. “Jonathan Ward, West Coast Review.”

Dallas Andrews pointed at Jonathan then put his finger to his chin. He smiled again. “I thought I recognized you. You’ve seen with your own eyes, heard with your own ears the news I’ve brought to these people tonight. Mr. Ward, humor me for a moment. Think of someone you’ve lost. Your parents were from Alaska. They died in a plane crash, you and your siblings survived. Would you like a message from your parents?” he asked raising an eyebrow at Jonathan.

Beth took Jonathan’s hand. He gave it a quick squeeze and let go. Parents my ass. “Why should my dead mother contact you, a stranger, when she could contact me directly?” he asked.

Dallas toned down his voice. He turned up the gentleness and compassion. “You block out the passage for her to travel with your negativity.”

Jonathan only glared. “You found the information about my mom from the bio on my web site. You’ve been following my stories for the past year.”

“You must have great pain in your heart” replied Dallas in a comforting voice, as he put his own hand over his heart.

“How do you know my mother is really dead or even has a soul?” Jonathan shot back sarcastically.

“I speak with the angels.”

“Really? You not only see, but you also speak with angels? That is truly amazing.”

“It is a gift, a blessing.”

“It’s a lie.” said Jonathan calmly as Beth sunk lower in her seat.

Dallas Andrews smiled sadly “Ladies and Gentlemen, this reaction is common from skeptics. There are angels all around us.”

“Show me.”

“There’s one right next to you.”

Jonathan ignored the comment. “Dallas, do you believe in God?”

“Of course.”

“Do you believe in hell?”

“I believe in the intrinsic goodness of all mankind. So, no, Mr. Ward, I don’t believe in hell.”

“You will Dallas, believe me you will.”

Dallas lifted his chin in defiance. “Is that a threat?”

“No Dallas, it isn’t a threat. It’s a statement of fact.” Jonathan said cooly.

“What in your opinion is hell, Jonathan?” asked Dallas slowly and deliberately as if he was ready to pull out the big guns.

“I’ll give you a tour,” Jonathan thought to himself. He wasn’t going to take the bait. “I’ve seen enough. Good night Dallas. Don’t forget to check out next week’s issue of the West Cost Review for the end of this riveting story.” Grabbing Beth’s hand, he started to make his way to the back of the theater. Beth stopped and turned back.

“Just like Lot’s wife.” He whispered in her ear.

She pulled her hand away and hissed “Asshole.” He stopped by the exit door and faced the stage.

Dallas Andrews had already started to have a violent seizure. Then he started to scream and fell to his knees holding his head in his hands. Soon he’d feel pain like he’d never felt before. It was an ugly way to end the evening, but the man had to be stopped. Jonathan couldn’t kill, but he could do an amazing amount of damage to the living. Maybe, with any luck, Dallas Andrews would get the message and change his ways.

Jonathan smiled slightly and narrowed his eyes “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Amen.” He said quietly to nobody in particular.

Beth looked at him with wide eyes.

He scowled at her “What? Don’t look at me like a frightened cat. I told you he was a fake.”

“Jon, we can’t just leave.”

“Sure we can. There isn’t anything we can do here except be in the way.” He took out his phone and dialed 911. “My name is Jonathan Ward. I’m at the Crest Theater on K Street. Sacramento. Dallas Andrews is having some sort of attack. Horrible convulsions. Oh my gosh, I think he passed out. Please, he needs help. I’m not sure…there’s a doctor or someone up on stage with him now.” He paused “Yes…you’ve had other calls…help is on the way. Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Beth stood in shock. “Oh no, oh no.” she whispered, her eyes still on the stage.

“Let’s go darling.” Jonathan told her grabbing her arm like a vice and practically dragging her out of the theater. She passed a few of her wide-eyed friends, but he didn’t let her stop. She’d be blabbering all night to them about poor Andrews. He wondered how someone as smart as Beth could be so gullible and stupid when it came to crap like this.

They walked across the Capitol Park to his car. Beth was livid.

“We should have stayed. I bet you made him have an aneurism with your stupid questions. I can’t believe how rude and mean spirited you were to him. I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.” She tried to stop him but he kept walking.

He gave her a disgusted look. “I was rude and mean spirited? At least I was telling the truth.”

“No, if he dies it will be your fault.”

“How will it be my fault? Should I have asked for his medical history before I asked him any questions?”

She grabbed his arm. “Aren’t you concerned at all?”

He stopped and pushed her hand away. “Tell me why I should be concerned with a fraud like Andrews? Enlighten me?”

Beth was livid. “Dallas isn’t a fraud. What I saw tonight was real.”

This was going nowhere. Jonathan changed his tone. He ran his hands down her arms and gently took her hands. “Dear sweet Bethany. It wasn’t real.”

“You never respect anything I say or feel.” She cried trying to pull her hands away. “What about his visions from his cousin and dead girlfriend? He couldn’t have been making that up.”

Jonathan held on tight. “His cousin Joyce died when he was two years old. Andrews had seen her once. And there was no girlfriend Patty. She was a girl in his dorm who died of leukemia. They knew each other but they never went out.”

“He might have loved her. He might have cared for her.”

“No Beth, the guy is a liar and a fraud.”

“You don’t know that.”

““Listen to me. Remember the first time you saw the trunk that belonged to May Woosley, in the Sacramento History Museum? You were on a field trip with your nephew’s 4th grade class.”

Beth blinked, her voice turned shrill. “What are you talking about?”

“Let me jog your memory. May died in 1879. She was just a little girl. On the advice of a clairvoyant, like Andrews, her mother sealed a trunk full of May’s belongings in the wall of their home. Mrs. Woosley spent the rest of her life searching for a message from her daughter because she’d listened to the words of a con-artist rather than listening to her own heart for healing. The trunk wasn’t found again until 1979. When you saw it in the museum you cried. You went home and cried all night for the little girl and her family.”

“How did you…that was 5 years ago, before I even met you. I never told you about that.”

“You didn’t have to. Beth, don’t you see. You knew Mrs. Woosley was lied to. Dallas Andrews lies to people too.”

A tear rolled down her cheek. She backed away. “How do you know these things? You always know things.”

“I observe and I guess a lot.” He wiped the tear away and kissed her. “See, you aren’t as tough and shallow as you pretend to be.”

The fog had rolled leaving the night air with zero visibility. He took her hands and wrapped the car keys around them. “You’re driving.”

She took the keys knowing full well that he was practically blind on clear night and completely blind in the night fog.

“Could you even see Dallas Andrews on the stage.”

“I could see enough. Let’s go.”

“If you could have seen his face.”

“I saw his face clear enough to know every single thing he said was a lie.”

She adjusted the seat and glanced over at him. “You’re such an asshole.”

“Just drive.”

“Where are we going?”

“Your house.” Her house was closer and he wouldn’t have to drive her home in the morning.

“You expect me to let you…”

“I love you Beth. Nothing, including your faith in a charlatan like Dallas Andrews, is going to change that. Not now, not ever.” He took her hand and whispered, “You are my soul. And despite the fact that you drive me absolutely crazy, I need you.”

Another tear rolled down her cheek as she drove in silence.

When they got back to her house and made love to her like she was the last woman on earth. She asked him again about the long thin scars on his back. He told her for the 100th time that he didn’t remember how it happened. It was during the plane crash when his parents died way up in the Alaskan wilderness, hundreds of miles from anyone. So final. So tragic. It made for a good story, even thought it wasn’t true.

Beth’s amazing body was as fake as the con man he’d just put down. Beautiful store bought breasts, a dazzling smile of the best veneers money could buy, cheek implants and a slightly smaller and straighter nose than nature had given her, violet colored contacts covering her hazel eyes, the trendiest hair colorist in town, a sprayed on tan, artificial nails and a toned body thanks to grueling sessions with a sadistic personal trainer named Bruce. Jonathan thought wistfully that there was an entire generation of American men who had never felt a real female breast.

The sad thing was that at 38 Beth would have been lovely without most of the work. At least her heart was real, despite her tendency to be shallow and superficial.

He knew he scared her. The only reason she kept him around was for the great sex and his political connections. What a joke – there were no real “best” connections in Sacramento or anywhere else for that matter.

Jonathan knew the best people to know where those brilliant folks who stayed away from the media limelight, away from the cultural and political wanna-bees. He often thought, “Give me the rocket scientist next door over those who claimed they partied with Arnold and Jerry, or knew the more influential elected officials and developers at the state capitol. Give me my own friends; the mom who writes historic romance novels, the high school science teacher, the master gardener and the emergency room doctor. These were the people who really know what it is like to be alive and human.”

The next morning the fog had been replaced by a grey drizzle of rain. He left Beth’s in his silver Jaguar XJR, heading off to the airport to pick up Lorna. A few years his senior, she was a golden haired, blue eyed living Barbie doll. She lived in Malibu with a view of the ocean. Tapped into the spiritual rhythm of the ocean, she fit right into the affluent new age lifestyles of her neighbors. They had to be some of the most entertaining and shallow people he’d ever met.

“Where’s the hybrid?” asked Lorna

“Dropped it off for new tires.” He thought of Lorna and her unrelenting social conscience – knew he should have driven the hybrid, then shrugged it off. This weekend he wanted style not substance. In a few hours all the substance he could ever want was going to be shoved down his throat.

“What are you listening to?” she asked in disgust when he started up the car.

“Metallica.”

She turned it off. “Have you heard today’s news yet?”

“No. I’m clearing my mind today. No radio. No TV. No newspapers. No Internet. No phone.”

“Tell me what happened last night?”

“Beth broke up with me. She said I was too intense. I recall she used also used the words weird, asshole and insensitive. Lots of tears so I think there’s a good chance she’ll take me back.”

Lorna grabbed his wrist like a vice. “What happened with Dallas Andrews?”

“Let go, do you want me to wreck the car? Where did you hear about Andrews?”

“NPR, Morning Edition. CNN. Fox. LA Times.”

“Was my name mentioned?”

“They said that in the process of being interrogated by you, Andrews had a violent seizure. He is now is now seeing visions of hell and keeps mentioning your name.”

He changed the music to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons “Funny guy that Andrews. I heard the story on the way to the airport. Didn’t realize Dallas Andrews was so popular.” He said giving Lorna a wink. “Grab my phone, it’s in the glove box. Check my messages.”

Lorna’s beautiful mouth turned into a slight smile as she listened to the messages. Jonathan thought it was almost a snarl. “You have 22 messages. The first three are from your office, CNN and Beth. She’s hysterical. The rest seem to be people wanting to talk to you about Andrews.” They headed down Hwy 50 towards the hills. “What are we going to do with you Jonathan?” she asked rubbing his neck with her left hand.

“Don’t do anything with me” he answered quietly. “Just let me do my job.”

They went up the hill towards Sutter Creek, to Ruth’s Ranch as he always called it, for the annual, get our heads screwed back on, clear our brains, find peace, drink a lot of great wine and solve all our problems retreat. He was looking forward to it. The past few months had been a major drain on his mental and emotional resources.

He loved the drive through the rolling oak forested hills. He spent every weekend he could with his cousin Ruth. But this weekend might be rough. He was going to ask his family about his latest job offer. This was his dream job. He’d all but signed the contract. Everyone would be there to give him their own jaded opinions. Most wouldn’t be too thrilled.

He looked over at beautiful golden Lorna dozing in the seat next to him. She was his older sister, his mentor, the one who kept him grounded. He imagined her with a halo and beautiful wings spread out in shining glory. Then he wondered if she was sleeping with her new best friend, a plastic surgeon named, Dennis O’Brian. Denny, as she called the man was nice enough, but suddenly Jonathan felt like he wanted to beat the crap out of the guy if he ever touched Lorna. Then he’d torture him and flay off his skin leaving him a quivering mass of, well, whatever. He had to stop being so protective of his sisters.

Jonathan’s mind skipped back Dallas Andrews. He felt sick to his stomach. It had been unpleasant business, but somebody had to do it. After all it wasn’t easy being angel.

Copyright Ó 2013 Marla Todd

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~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman