Autumn Leaves (aren’t falling quite yet) and a Ghost

Despite the unusual heat it still feels like fall. The cool mornings and placement of the sun triggers that fall feeling I love so much. The bird songs are also different with the transition between the birds who fly to the South and those who winter over here. 

Yesterday it was hot and dry. I can’t remember a 90°F day in October. 

The only leaves that are falling are on the oak trees that just turn brown and dump into my driveway. All of the other trees are still green. At least the trees are green. Everything else is brown. The photo here is from a walk I took yesterday with my dog Alice. 

Thoughts come to Halloween, Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and birthdays. We already celebrated my mother’s 491st  birthday. Next comes my brother Val on the 22nd, and then mine on the 23rd. That doesn’t include the dozen friends who also have October birthdays. 

This morning I was cleaning off the back deck. Don’t raise your eyebrows, Vampires have to take care of their homes just like anyone else, especially now that we’re all staying home a lot more. 

As I swept dirt and leaves off of the top deck down below on the construction of the lower deck I heard a “What the hell? Are you trying to kill me?”

I looked down to see Nigel the ghost standing there. 

“Oh shut up, you’re already dead. It isn’t like anything is going to hurt you or even fall on you,” I said.

“Come down to the lower deck,” he said.

“What so I can listen to your insults?”

“No,” he said with a quick smile. “So I can make you feel like the seasons are changing.”

Construction is going on so the stairs are gone. By the time I went inside, through the garage, and out back to the construction site I could hear music. A band, literally a band of ghosts were on my partially built deck playing, Tahiti: A Summer Night At Sea.

Nigel held out both of his hands just like Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind. “Dance with me,”

I was wearing dirt covered jeans, wet flip flops, and a worn out tank top without a bra. “Not now Nigel.”

He took my hands and suddenly I was in a sea foam green dress with a light twirling skirt, my hair was in a riot of curls fastened with a diamond clip, and my feet were bare on a floor of sand. 

I found myself being led around the deck, expertly stepping around any tools left out. 

“For a Vampire you have absolutely no rhythm,” he said.

“I never said I could dance,” I said. 

Suddenly he stopped and we were back on the deck, and I was in my old dirty jeans again. Nigel glanced at the ghostly guitar player.

He started to play, Autumn Leaves.

“Let’s try this again,” said Nigel.

“So any plans for Halloween?” I asked.

“Some major haunting. It will be awesome.”

“Anyone in particular?” I had to ask.

“I think I know who killed me.”

“What?” I stopped. Nigel pulled me close. He seemed exceptionally cold, and that is pretty cold considering I’m a Vampire. Then again it it was HOT outside.

“Don’t stop. Yes, I remembered her face. It was the last thing I saw as I lay there in under the shower with my skull smashed open.”

“She? It was a woman?”

“Yes, but I don’t quite remember who she was. My memory sort of went to hell after she killed me. So what are you doing for Halloween?”

“Nothing.”

“Nothing at all?”

“2020.”

“What about your birthday?”

“I’m going to the art museum. It will be the first time since it closed in March.”

“Ohhhh I should go too.”

“You might as well considering it’s your birthday too. I have four tickets but since you’re a ghost you won’t need a ticket or a mask for that matter.”

He smiled. “I’d be 61 if I wasn’t dead. Hey, can we stop by my grave. It isn’t far from the museum. On my birthday people leave letters and drawings there. Some of them even pour Whiskey and wine on my grave. You know, sharing a toast to me. I bet my body is completely pickled by now and no doubt looking almost as good as the day before I died.”

Then he stopped, and the music stopped. “It is so damned dry around here. But do you feel like it might be fall yet?”

“A little,” I said.

I looked up and saw my husband Teddy on the top deck waving down. Nigel waved up and yelled, “be a good Vampire and take her someplace cool.” Then he vanished before I could tell him thank you for the short escape.

That’s all. Nothing else happened. The ghosts all vanished. Teddy and I went inside and caught up on our day and our kids, and the usual Vampire news.

I didn’t suddenly see any fall leaves fall out of the sky, but my trees are full of green oranges and lemons that will be ripe in December or January. 

Happy fall everyone and happy haunting.

  • Stay safe
  • Be kind
  • Wear a mask
  • Don’t be a dick
  • Give thanks
  • Vote
  • Talk to your kids
  • Check in on those who are ancient or need extra help
  • And kiss a Vampire.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

Raised but not out of the crypt yet…

For the first eighteen years parenting is all consuming. Even if you’re not one of those helicopter parents, your job as a parent 24/7.

Then it happens. All your hard work pays off. You’ve raised responsible, well balanced, and lovely young adults.

Now what?

I’m still active but not hovering.

I’m still giving out advice.

I’m trying to be positive.

I’m still teaching them.

And I’m still learning from them.

An old friend recently asked me if I’d talked to my kids about drugs, sex, and other adult trouble. Of course. I started young on those talks. There is no reason to be shy about it. Would you be shy about the dangers of fire or picking up rattle snakes? Of course not, so there is no need to be shy about other potentially dangerous activities.

Excuse me… something just hit the window. I thought it was a bird, then I saw a ghost standing in my backyard flipping me off.

I hate ghosts.

But does he stay outside? No of course not. With a slight hint of sulphur and lavender he materialized next to me, then pulled up a chair and sat. He wore a black suit, white shirt, black tie, with black 80’s Bon Jovi hair. He was as every bit good looking, maybe even more than Jon Bon Jovi, but I didn’t want him in my breakfast nook.

“What are you doing here Nigel? Ghosts haunt people at night, not mid-morning,” I said to him.

“You’re a Vampire so it is only fitting that I haunt you during the day. What bug crawled up your cold ass,” he said without even a hint of a smile.

I tried to ignore him. He flipped my computer around.

“Stop it,” I said pulling it back.

“So how are you doing in this heat wave? Has your body temperature reached 70 yet?”

“Go away.”

“No. I want to talk about your Vampire spawn. They’re all grown up. What are you doing? Getting all empty nest weepy?”

“Shut up Nigel. You never had kids.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes I do.”

He sat for a few seconds and pouted, then he stood up and walked around for a bit, then came back to me.

“I was young once. I even died young,” said Nigel The Ghost. “My 40th high school reunion is in a few weeks. I’ve been checking in on the reunion meetings. My middle-aged classmates have no idea I’m there but I am. I didn’t even make it to my ten-year reunion. Holy shit. The thing is, Juliette, is that I’ll be young forever, or at least I’ll appear young, when I choose to appear. The only photographs of me are when I was young. But I come by my eternal youth honestly. I died young. You on the other hand are young because of your parasitic nature as a Vampire. Ever think is that? You have no right to talk shit about ghosts when you suck blood out of living people in order to have eternal youth. How fucked up is that?”

“You can go now,” I said, tired of his insults.

“And now you’re all bent out of shape because your kids are leaving the crypt, and you can’t write about their perfect childhood, or your perfect child rearing advice, or your cold little perfect life, or whatever you call it. Are you alive?”

“Nigel,” I said to the ghost in a calm voice. “Don’t ever say I live in a crypt again. And get the fuck out of my house.”

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” he said with a mean-spirited grin. “I can imagine you with blood dripping down your chin.”

He knows I never have blood dripping down my chin.

With a flip of his glossy black hair, Nigel started to talk again. He never shuts up. “They were talking about me last night. It made me sad, and angry. You know I was murdered, and I have no idea who killed me. It could have been someone in that room. But it was taken away from me. I could have had a wife and kids. I could have… I could have had gray hair, I could have had a wedding, I could have had a dad bod, I could have sat around with my friends and talked about the good times we had, and people we lost, but they were talking about me and I couldn’t say anything because I’m dead, sure my art is still around but man, it just kills me, and I’m dead, and I will always be dead…and it just sucks. You, maybe not YOU, because you were born the dead way you are, but most Vampires have the choice to be dead. I didn’t have that choice.”

“Could they have seen you if you wanted them to?”

“No. That is the frustrating part. A few could feel a cold breath of air, or a lost memory.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Don’t be. You don’t owe me anything.”

Then he put his hand over mine. All I felt was an icy chill. Then he looked into my eyes, and in a wisp of blew smoke he vanished.

I always want to ask Nigel if he was that big of an asshole when he was alive but I never do. I have a feeling he wasn’t. Being a ghost can do that to a person.

A lot of kids are lucky enough to go through childhood without any loss, tragedy, or well, without any bad things happening. Once they turn into adults all bets are off. It seems to start with car accidents, then illness, other accidents, suicide, and even murder. Wrong roads are taken. Bad decisions are made. Bad relationships last too long. Then again, if we all look back we’ll find the good stuff is there. Sometimes it gets hidden, but it is there.   I’m not getting all Sunday School on you. The good stuff is there, even if it is the memory of laughing with old friends, a walk in the cool fall air, or finishing up the best book you ever read.

My kids are out of the crypt. Unfortunately for ghosts they never get out. Don’t be a ghost until you’re dead. Think about it. You couldn’t give better advice to your young adults.

That’s all.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Note: This was first posted in August 2017. I’m having computer issues so anything new is extremely difficult now. Wash you hands, wear a mask, hug your cat, talk to your kids, and stay out of trouble.

Vampire Maman

Hooks

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts

On TV whenever a hot girl sees a guy she likes she will run up to him, do a flying jump and wrap her legs around him as she plants him with a huge sloppy kiss.

NOBODY does that in real life. There would be a trip to the emergency room after he falls and cracks his skull on the pavement, and she falls with him and breaks her arm when it twists behind his back.

I just had to say that.

This morning after a long walk with my dog I fixed coffee and a second cup for Nigel. Being a Ghost, Nigel never drinks the coffee, he just puts his hands around the cup and takes in the aroma.

This morning we were not discussing stupid reality TV programs. We talked about creativity.

“Why don’t you finish anything?” Nigel asked with a sneer, as he shook a lock of dark hair off of his forehead.

“I finish blog posts and short stories,” I said.

“Novels?”

“I’ve finished a couple.”

“You never edited them or had them edited? What the Hell Juliette?”

I made more coffee and ignored his completely true comment.

“I’m writing today,” I said. “I’m working on a novel. I’m going to get a real editor to edit it.”

“What’s the hook? In one sentence,” said Nigel.

“A story that proves that Empty Nesters had lives before they had kids, and deadly secrets the’ll never tell.”

“I’d read that,” said Nigel. “Now give me the hook for another one.”

“Would you rather have a trophy wife on your arm or a raptor?”

“Oh, I like that. Go on.”

“Sometimes you have to die to find a love life.”

“OK. That hits home. Another.”

“After the fourth apocalypse in three years he decided to do something about it, and he didn’t really care what anyone else thought.”

“That one needs some work.”

“After the fourth apocalypse in three years he decided to do something about it, even if he was just a cat.”

“There you go. Is it about a cat?”

“It could be. I haven’t done much with that one yet,” I said. Wasn’t that the truth.

“Tell me another.”

“Get your gun, and get in the motorhome, said Grammy, “We’re going to hunt some Vampires.”

Nigel laughed out loud. “That was unexpected. Another.”

“I’m done for the day,” I told him. I need to write.

Yes, I do need to write before all of the ideas and inspiration drains out of my left ear and onto the floor. I need to write before I notice the floor needs to be mopped. I need to write before the dog needs more food, or the cats lie to me again and tell me they need more food. I need to write before another person drunk dials me, or I get distracted yet again by Ghosts or anyone or anything else.

I have to finish those stories and send those hooks out and catch some readers. My goal is to tell those tales and maybe entertain someone along the way.

And as always…

  • Talk to your kids
  • Wash your hands
  • Wear a mask
  • Check in on the elderly folks and others in your life you might need extra help.
  • Kiss a Vampire.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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The First Apocalypse, The Truth About Aliens, Missing Links, and Real Pandora’s Box, as Told by A Ghost

A figure in a brown dress, long white hair, and golden brown skin stood among the orange and oak trees in my back yard. Her eyes were large and dark on a round face. She was beautiful in a weird sort of etherial way. She looked more like a fantasy character than human. Then she vanished as ghosts do.

I was having coffee and trying to write at my breakfast nook table with the second story view that overlooks my back yard. I live on a hill so my back yard is lower than my front yard. Anyway… I was looking down into the yard.

As I got up to make more coffee I heard someone whisper my name. Juliette.

There in my kitchen was Nigel, the Ghost.

“You saw her,” he said.

“Of course I saw her. Who is she?”

“You SAW her. Regular people, homosapians can’t see them. She isn’t human, at least not a modern human. I mean she wasn’t.”

“What do you mean homosapians? She obviously wasn’t a Neanderthal.”

“Close to both.”

“Tell me about her Nigel.”

“Make me coffee Juliette.”

I made coffee for both of us. There was coffee for me to drink and coffee for Nigel the Ghost to smell.

“What was she? Why am I able to see her.”

“They called themselves the Chosen. Rather unscientific but it is what they called themselves. They were the people who they felt were chosen to advance civilization. We don’t have a name for them because they didn’t leave anything behind, well almost, and only the Ghosts know about them. They could interbreed with other species like Neanderthals and humans like us but it just wasn’t acceptable. They left us alone.”

“I don’t get it.”

“They developed for fifty thousand years ago away from the rest of us. They had their own technology and civilizations. Then they had their first apocalypse. Disease swept through their people. They came through. After that they had issues with fires and ice, and you name it. Plus they were afraid of us. They were afraid of what we were becoming. They considered us their second apocalypse.”

“Why don’t we know about them?”

“They left without a trace. They destroyed all evidence of their civilization.”

“Did they die?”

“They went into space in a huge caravan of ships. There aren’t any ancient aliens. It was them. It was the memory of them passed down among us. That memory is all that is left. They didn’t want us to have their technology so they destroyed everything before they left. They destroyed every shred of evidence, well almost every shred.”

“They were advanced enough to go into space?”

“Yes. Don’t be so surprised. Every single year archeologist and treasure hunters find traces of lost civilizations and ancient humans. They made and did fantastic things with technologies that are now lost to us. They did things with tools and means that we can’t even imagine.”

“What about the Ghost walking around my orange and lemon trees?”

“She is one of the few who stayed behind, refusing to leave. She and a few companions guarded the last bit of their civilization. They guarded what was left behind, lost in the frenzy of the destruction. When they too died, the one artifact was left behind.”

“What was that?”

“A box.”

“OK. What was in it?”

“Viruses and germs they’d made.”

“Do you know where it is?”

“I know what happened to it.”

“What?”

“Ever hear the story of Pandora’s Box?”

“No, it can’t be.”

“Ever wonder where Vampires, Werewolves, Smallpox and other horrors came from? And hope. Remember hope was in the bottom. Yes, they left hope behind. Go figure.”

“No, it can’t be.”

“Her name wasn’t Pandora.”

I sat numb for a while. “It can’t be.”

Nigel leaned in closer. “You know her. The box is empty now and sitting on the dresser in her bedroom.”

I didn’t know what to say.

“You have pastels,” said Nigel. “I want to borrow them?”

“Why. You’re a ghost.”

“I’m an artist.”

I was still numb with the story Nigel had told me but knew I could only push him so much for information. I got out my box of pastels and placed them before him on the table. He put his hands over the sticks of color then began to draw in front of me in the air. The colors hung on an invisible canvas forming a portrait of a woman with curing brown hair and golden brown eyes. It was beyond beautiful.

Then Nigel snapped his ghostly fingers and it vanished in a swirl of powdery dust.

“My dear Vampire, as ancient as your kind is, always remember that to the core you are still human. Like with all of us we are just a blink in the eye of time. This planet has a long history that we can barely comprehend and barely even imagine in our wildest dreams.”

Then before I could say another thing Nigel smiled, ran his hand through his unruly black hair and vanished with a thin wisp of purple smoke that smelled like citrus blossoms and cigarette smoke.

Nigel was murdered in 1986 and would have turned sixty one this year if he’d still been alive. Why he comes to visit me I do not know. Maybe it is simply for the fact that I can see him. It is always a mystery with Nigel the Ghost.

I thought about that beautiful box I’d admired as a child. I’d collect trinkets and put my small dolls inside of it. Then I’d put it back on the dresser where it still remains over a hundred years later.

Looking back out to the orange trees I could see Nigel talking to the woman in the brown dress. She turned my way and lifted a hand, as if in greeting, then they both disappeared.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

  • Stay safe everyone, at home, and with dignity and grace.
  • Wear your mask.
  • Wash your hands.
  • Social distance.
  • Stay in touch with loved ones.
  • Zoom with your friend.
  • Support your students.
  • Tell a first responder how much you appreciate them.
  • And check in on those who are elderly or might need extra help at this time.

 

 

 

Passings in the Night

Passings in the Night

The plan tonight was to share some Vampire tales and adventures and truly funny things, but plans change.

Tonight I saw The Ghost, Nigel. He wore an impeccable black suit, his hair was a perfect glossy black and all in place. He motioned for me to sit with him out on my back deck under the cold night sky.

His eyes met mine and he told me a story.

“I died December 3, 1986. I normally wouldn’t have remembered the anniversary of my own death, but, it was the strangest thing, I was standing out in the woods, not doing much of anything. When you’re a ghost you don’t do much of anything. Anyway, I was out in the woods and a woman came towards me. She was smiling at me and I knew things about her. Her life had taken up where parts of mine had stopped. Then her life stopped December 3, 2013.

She looked at me for just a moment in passing. It was dark but I could see the light coming over the horizon. She asked me who I was and if we knew each other. I told her “I don’t know you, but we’ve loved some of the same people.” I turned her in the right direction.”

Nigel stood up and looked up at the stars, hovering in and out of a transparent state. Then he came close to me and made himself look as real as a live person.

“I couldn’t go with her. But I sent a little bit of my love along, I hope. Well, I know I did. Don’t look all sad. I’m a ghost. These things happen. Hey, nobody should die alone. She left surrounded by love.”

“Who was she?” I had to ask.

He shook his head slightly. “I don’t know. But we loved the same people, just not at the same time. I loved them first, then she loved them after I was gone. I have a feeling she was better at it than I was, or most people for that matter.”

There were so many questions I wanted to ask him but tonight was not the time to ask or to try to get answers.

Love is a force that we can’t explain or quantify. It goes beyond words, beyond sorrow and beyond grief.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

First posted December 2013 – In memory of Julian Elsworth and Lil Longshore.

 

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A particularly ill-tempered Ghost – or – Don’t forget your paranormal friends during the holiday season)

“I remember my last Thanksgiving. I was dead a week later.”

I looked up from my work at Nigel the Ghost. He’d materialized in the chair across from me in the breakfast nook. Today his black hair was in kind of a side bang across his blue eyes making him look like he was getting ready to sling his guitar over his shoulder and go play in a Punk Pop or New Wave band somewhere. He was wearing a white shirt with a black vest, and black tie looking rather somber.

When someone tells you something like that words often are difficult to find, especially if it is a particularly ill-tempered ghost.

So I asked the first question that came to mind. “Did you ever figure out who killed you?”

“No. Not a clue. It still pisses me off. I was in the shower and then nothing. Blood running down the drain and the side of my skull was bashed in.”

“How long has it been?”

“Thirty three years.”

There was a pause. We looked at each other but nobody said a world. I could hear the clock ticking, and the dog no doubt doing bad things in the back yard like digging a hole the size of Lake Tahoe.

“I hate the holidays. And you’re a Vampire, here forever, and you don’t even eat Turkey.”

“Turkey isn’t really a Vampire kind of thing Nigel.”

“So what do you eat? Small babies? Unsuspecting travelers from other states?”

“Were you this rude when you were alive?”

“No, but I’m doing my best to haunt you with my rudeness since I know I can’t frighten you with loud noises and flying furniture.”

I got up and went to the kitchen for more coffee. I’d made a note to my self to go to Dave’s Bottle Shop later because they are having a huge sale of Poet’s Blood and Philosopher Plasma. I can get 20% off of case price. That also includes wine. In the meantime I had a ghost to deal with, or not. I didn’t have to deal with him.

For as long as I’ve known him I’ve come to expect him to be especially assholish around November and December.

“We could visit your grave if you like. Do you want to watch a movie? I could check Netflix.” I said. “All the new Christmas movies are coming out now.”

The room grew cold. He brushed his hair out of his face and glared at me.

“What do you want from me Nigel?” I asked.  “You know I’m a Vampire. You know I don’t particularly like Ghosts.”

I got half and half out of the refrigerator, and poured it in my coffee.  Nigel followed me. He leaned on the kitchen counter.

“I can see right through you,” I said.

He slammed his fist on the counter, making the entire house shake. “Oh, now you think you know my motivation. Just because you’re a Vampire…”

“No, I can see right through you. You’re transparent. I can see the dog looking through the sliding glass door.”

He lifted his hand and the door opened letting a muddy dog inside. She went to her dog bed and curled up. I turned away and the dog jumped up on the couch and pretended I didn’t know.

I looked at the mud on the carpet.

Nigel ignored the mud. “May I please have a cup of coffee? It would calm my nerves.”

The Ghost sat down at the table with me and held his hands around the hot mug. He took in the smell of the coffee he couldn’t drink. “Thank you. I feel better now.”

He didn’t apologize for his rudeness or the mud. That was fine with me. I don’t expect much from any Ghost, especially Nigel.

He looked up at me and gave me a half smile. “So are you going to blog about how diverse the paranormal community is, and how we all get along, and how everybody should be like us?”

“Nobody reads my blog or listens to me Nigel,” I said.

“It was a stupid idea anyway. Mind if Mary and I come hang out with you on Thanksgiving? How about the entire week when your kids are home from school?”

“Sure, that would be nice. Everybody likes Mary,” I told him.

“Thanks,” he said. “Please note Juliette that I did thank you. This is for Mary as much as it is for me. She likes you.”

Mary is Nigel’s Ghost girlfriend. Long story short, she was murdered in 1701 or sometime around then. They’re a good match. He is sweet when she is around. Love will do that, even to a surly perpetually pissed off ghost.

My family is used to Ghosts. We don’t always like them, but we accept them, as long as they don’t throw furniture around.

I’m never sure what the head count will be for Thanksgiving. All are welcome, even if we aren’t all exactly the same. And even if we are.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

2019 Nano Pablano Cheer Peppers. 

coffee

Coffee with Vampires and Ghosts