Short Story Sunday: When You Grow Old

I have to go to the Drive In Theater to get my daughter’s car. She was there last night with her boyfriend and the starter on the car went out. After watching “IT” for the third time the kids were still waiting for the tow truck. Service is not a priority these days with AAA. They got home just before sunrise. Anyway, we’re taking care of that today. Needless to say I didn’t write a short story this morning.

I’m posting one of my all time favorites, first posted in 2013. I hope you enjoy it. xoxo 
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

When You Grow Old

A short story by Juliette Kings

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I was going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Josh had fixed dinner.  A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, I the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.  “You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past 10 years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of its past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a Vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then he kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Stephen can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with Vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

When You Grow Old (a very short story)

When You Grow Old

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked my brother’s caretaker Josh.

My brother Bob is 90 years old. A former screenwriter and movie producer, he lives in a modern glass and polished wood mansion on the Central Coast of California.

I’d been at Bob’s for six months.

“Your grandmother would have been 101 this year,” Bob told me. I’m going to turn 101 this year, at the end of October. What Bob doesn’t know is that I am his sister Valentina. He doesn’t know I’m a vampire either. He thinks I’m a great niece who is the spitting image of his older sister who passed away in 1935.

I walked the beach in the evenings with Bob. He leaned my arm and told me about the cycles of the tide and the migration of the whales.

Arriving home we found that my brother’s caretaker Bob had fixed dinner. A beautiful salad and fresh rockfish. Josh, a tall skinny but muscular blonde in his 30’s had been with Bob for about 3 years. He divided his time between helping Bob and two other elderly folks near by, and when he wasn’t with his old folks he was surfing.

I asked Josh why he worked with old people. “They’re exceptional creatures,” he told me, “with the knowledge of lost times. They have wisdom and humor that needs to be honored. You can’t always get that out of old people, but if you work them just so and LISTEN they’ll give you the secrets of the universe. And the weird thing is, no not weird, is the magic of it, is that they don’t even know they have that knowledge.”

The next morning we had a visitor. It was Stephen, one of my brother’s neighbors.

“You’ve been good to your brother,” he whispered in my ear. He was also a Vampire, something I’d known for a while, but never talked to him about. Our paths crossed but this was the first time we had made a social call since I’d been there.

It seems Stephen and Bob have been friends for the past ten years, since Stephen purchased the run down house next door and restored it to the former glory of it’s past. Until today, he only visited Bob when I was out. They spend the evenings talking, watching movies and playing cards with Josh. There was a bond of friendship that was so real and close, the kind that never ends, even with age and differences of opinion.

A few night later Stephen and I walked the beach.

“How long have you been a Vampire?” I asked him. It was a common question Vampires ask each other.

“Since the summer of 1802. Funny it seems like yesterday.”

“So hows it working out for you? I mean, the Vampire thing and all?” I had to ask.

“Good. It’s all good. You know it isn’t for everyone.”

“I wonder about Bob.” I had wondered about my brother and if I made him into a vampire if I’d restore his youth and keep him in my life forever.

“Bob is happy where he is.”

“I think you’re right.”

We walked more and listened to the waves. Then Stephen kissed me under that stars. That was a surprise. A nice surprise.

The next morning after Josh had helped Bob with his shower and getting dressed, I visited with him over coffee. Josh was such a caring free spirit, loving his work with the elderly, and his relationship with the waves.

“Who will take care of you when you get old?” I asked Josh.

He smiled. “I’ll ride out on the surf and become one with the sea.”

“Who will listen to your words of wisdom?”

“You and Steve can pass it on. You’ll still be here. You’ll always be here. So will Bob, not in body, but his spirit is strong. He’ll be around as long as the stars over the surf.” Then he winked at me. “Valentina, I know all about you. Your kind is all over the coast down here. I grew up with vampires. It’s cool.”

And so it was.

 

 

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Note: You might have read this story before. It is one of my favorites so I’m going to share it with you again. 

Lost and found and just shut up and dance…

The soft voice on the phone said, “come over right now. You need to come over now.” Then the phone went silent. Tellias, an ancient Vampire, one of the elders had called me. He and his love Eleora live surrounded by orchards by a river near a delta. They look young but they’re as old as the ancient redwoods.

My brother Val greeted me from the porch of the Victorian farmhouse.

“They left the keys in the car and someone stole it. The good news is that the car was found. We just need to pick it up today.”

“Why did they leave the keys in the car?”

“They said they were driving around and got lost so they walked home.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“They’re old.”

Their neighbor and his kids manage the orchards now for the most part. Tellias still walks among the groves of walnuts, nectarines, almonds and oranges. There is also a line of ancient olive trees that runs down the drive from the highway to the main house.

“How is the water situation for you this summer?”

“Grim. We’ll manage.” He waved his hand in a way that signaled he didn’t want to talk about it.

“Tell me what happened with the car,” I said.

“Someone took it. Can you believe it? Joy riding is what the report said. They blew a tire and left it a block from the police station downtown. Everything else is alright. I’m having the car detailed and brought back home. You needn’t worry so much about us.”

“Why did you leave your car?”

He shrugged his shoulder as if he was talking to an idiot. “We felt like walking, under the stars and all. It was romantic. You know, we’re considering getting horses again. Megan next door has horses now. Not for serious farming, but she has them. I visited yesterday. You’ll have to see them. One is Percheron. Huge beautiful animal but she is as sweet and calm as a horse can be. Her name is Tansy. I need a horse like Tansy. Maybe I’ll get a couple of Shires. Do you remember the last pair we had? Daniel and Susanna. I loved those horses.”

“Val said you were lost.”

Tellias took my hand. “Aren’t we all a little lost my dear. Now let us go see what Eleora is up to.”

I don’t know why I try to get answers from Tellias or Eleora on anything. He avoids conflict and she is just confusing.

To some extent they were always like that but now they tend to be off course and a little lost most of the time. They usually don’t even care. Why should they? Maybe it just bothers us, but I don’t want them to be harmed or taken advantage of.

We went to the sun room in the back of the house to find Eleora. She danced around me and gave me hugs and kisses all over my face just like when I was a child. Eleora is as old as the wind but looks as young and beautiful as a fresh faced college girl.

“Are you getting enough to eat?” I have to ask.

“Yes,” she said with a smile, “we came across a couple of nice young folks in a bar last night. All were type O. High blood alcohol so I got a bit woozie.”

“There was a band playing so we danced too,” said Tellias.

“Yes, we danced with everyone,” said Eleora twirling around the room.

“With absolutely everyone,” said Tellias.

“Absoutely everyone,” said Eleora as she grabbed my hands and twirled me around. “Tellias even danced with all the ugly girls.”

“Everyone needs a dance partner.”

“Even if they’ve been beat with the ugly stick.”

“Eleora, you’re being harsh. They were lovely young women. A little rough around the edges with lovely.”

“He thinks all women are lovely.”

“She flirts with every man she sees.”

“I’m glad you had fun,” I told them. I was glad nobody got hurt, and I wasn’t thinking about Tellias and Eleora.

I was a little frazzled from taking one of my cats to the vet earlier that day for a scratched eye. Nothing like a car ride with a cat. I was also thinking of my brother Andy who was home recovering from an attack and his girlfriend who broke her arm while she was taking care of him. And I wish I could take care of everyone but I can’t.

Then I got a text: mom mom mom mom mom mom where are you? mom mom mom mom mom

Before I left, Val who is a professional finance guy, said that I didn’t need to worry about the Elder’s finances. They were fine in that area, even if the orchard dried up and blew away they’d be fine. There were times when they lived as if they didn’t have a penny to their names.

Val, who was staying there with them for a while was always concerned about them. He said they complained all the time that nobody came to see them. They forgot things and lost things all the time. They would go too long between eating anything.

I listened remembering the times when I was the only one who ever went to visit them. They aren’t relevant to so much that is going on or so it seems. But nobody should be considered not relevant or not important. Nobody should have to get lost to feel found.

Anyway. That was that.

Maybe I’ll get a horse too, or at least go dancing.

Funny… I turned on the radio to hear that song by Shut up and Dance by Walk the Moon. Now I can’t get it out of my head.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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 Shut up and Dance

Oh don’t you dare look back

Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

We were victims of the night,
The chemical, physical, kryptonite
Helpless to the bass and the fading light
Oh we were born to get together,
Born to get together.

She took my arm,
I don’t know how it happened.
We took the floor and she said

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

A backless dress and some beat up sneaks,
My disco tec Juliet teenage dream.
I felt it in my chest as she looked at me.
I knew we were born to be together,
Born to be together

She took my arm,
I don’t know how it happened.
We took the floor and she said

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

Deep in her eyes,
I think I see the future.
I realize this is my last chance.

She took my arm,
I don’t know how it happened.
We took the floor and she said

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance!

Oh don’t you dare look back
Just keep your eyes on me.
I said your holding back,
She said shut up and dance with me!
This woman is my destiny
She said oh oh oh
Shut up and dance with me

Oh oh oh shut up dance with me
Oh oh oh shut up dance with me

Songwriters
MCMAHON, RYAN / BERGER, BENJAMIN / PETRICCA, NICHOLAS WILLIAM / WAUGAMAN, SEAN / RAY, KEVIN / MAIMAN, ELI

Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group

Read more: Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

 

Old People

“I love old people. They’re so cute.”

My 14 year old daughter has always had an affinity for old people. She loves the coordinated matching outfits that little old ladies wear – you know the pink pants with the pink top and flowered pink shirt over it and pink socks sort of thing.

She loves to see old couples holding hands. She loves their stories. When we have to make those dreaded late night Wal-Mart runs (don’t say it) she adores seeing the scruffy 40 year old single guy out with his old ma helping her with her shopping. They’ll be right out of “white trash central casting” to most folks but she loves to see them. It is sweet.

When your teen loves old people it shows a wisdom that is, well, I don’t even know how to describe it, except it is wonderful and magical and wise. It is a gift for everyone, young and old.

I was going to say more. I was going to give more examples of her words and actions, and that of other teens I know,  but what I just wrote says it all.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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For additional posts on the old, ancient and elderly in our lives check the links below.