Maxed Out #4: Vampire House Warming

Today I’m hosting a marathon featuring my brother Max. As you’ll see today, if you don’t already know, he has all kinds of interesting adventures with women, demons, and just about everything else.

I have made an attempt to put the Maxed Out posts in the order in which they first appeared. I’m re-running this today from 2013. A lot has changed since then – especially with Max and Andy. I’ll catch you up later or you can look for it yourself.   

Vampire House Warming

We all have those turning points in our life. Some we choose and some we don’t. Some we’re nudged in the right or more often wrong direction.

And there are those times when we try to read between the lines too much about the lives of others. It is usually far more complicated or else far less complicated than we think it is.

My brother Andrew (second of 5 siblings) recently moved back to California after several years in London and other parts of the globe and purchased a home in San Francisco. I hear he paid a million and a half for the place in St. Francis Woods, but he could afford it. I hold my breath to think what my brother Max’s home or my parent’s homes with views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge would go for. Anyway…this isn’t about real estate.

It is about a lovely housewarming party my brother Andrew hosted. The place was packed with both Vampires and Regular Humans. There were of course musicians (Andy is a singer) and dancers. There were artists and college professors and writers and high tech geeks and all sorts of interesting people with every profession and opinion imaginable. What made this remarkable, as parties and gatherings go, was that Andy’s Regular Human friends know about Vampire. They’re friends with us and don’t have a problem with it.

OK there was one exception. Andy invited his “girlfriend.” Shawna had come up from Southern California where she is a university professor. She is not a Vampire. She is still in that state of wonder and a little bit of disbelief about Vampires and our world (which isn’t all that different than hers, usually.)

Andy is head over heels in love with this divorced mother of two college kids. The story is that she came home from a research trip to find her husband had put her things in storage and moved a new trophy wife into their home. Their youngest child had just gone off to college so it was his opportunity to also make a change. Shocked, she found a small house on a quiet tree lined street and made a new life with her cats and dogs (she wouldn’t leave them behind.)

Shawna was strong and smart and I had no idea what she was doing with my scatter-brained brother. But it was ok. They were cute together and, well, you know all that sort of early romance cute stuff.

I looked out the window to the backyard to see my brother Max kissing his “friend.” This was more than just a friend. I’d heard rumors but this was proof that there was something more than he’d admit to. Funny that she backed out of his arms and went inside alone leaving him to pace a bit then follow her back inside.

In the kitchen I found Shawna. She was cutting up limes.

“I told Andy to have this catered.” I said this trying to be friendly. I could sense a tiny bit of discomfort behind her warm friendly fang-less smile.

“It’s ok, this will just take a second.” She cut into a lime then her hand slipped, of course, in a house full of Vampires, and cut a deep gash in her thumb.

I grabbed her hand and put it in my mouth to stop the bleeding and sealed the wound. I could have left it but it would have required stitches, not to mention drawn a lot of unwanted attention.

I let go and she pulled away with a little bit of horror and disbelief.

“It’s OK Shawna. I sealed the cut. It will heal now without stitches. You’re A positive.” I smiled. “Don’t worry.  I’m not going to drink your blood or bite you or anything. Just basic first aid. We don’t want anyone else smelling blood.”

I suddenly realized that Andy had never bitten her or exposed her to his natural Vampire ways. He was such a gentleman.  He was also a dick when it came to women. He was always falling for anything that wasn’t a Vampire and when it was a Vampire it was usually always someone who was totally wrong for him. He always had to have everything in life more complicated than it had to be.

“Isn’t this sweet,” I heard a smooth male voice say behind me. I turned to see James, one of Andy’s best friends. James who had always watched out for Andrew but who was also one of the most absolutely annoying Vampires in the known universe.

“You know, Juliette and her brother Valentine are two of the best when it comes to Human to Vampire conversions. Almost a 100% success rate, mot to mention a great follow up and support system.”

“Shut up James,” I snapped. Poor Shawna looked horrified. Why was it that everything James said sounded vulgar? Oh right, I know, because he is a flipping pig.

Shawna looked horrified. I was about say something else nasty to James when a very angry Vampire (showing her fangs no less) suddenly slammed him into the wall. “You’re making me sick James. Get out of here before I rip your throat out.”

He held up his hands and backed off. With a smile he said, “Later ladies, I’ll leave you to your tea party.”

Max’s friend Mehitabel  (the one he kissed in the backyard) stood there in a sleek black dress and some great sky high patent leather Mary Janes. She washed her hands saying something under her breath about getting the stink left by James off of them.

Mehitabel was the pretty woman who could either stand out in a crowd, or more likely not be noticed by anyone. That worked well in her professional life. She could stand unnoticed and watch and wait. As for her personal life, I have no idea. I don’t know her that well. I really don’t

I found her entertaining and funny. Sure she was a little distant as well, an odd combination.

Earlier I’d asked her what she was doing for Memorial Day. She was going to spend it with close friends. They always spent holidays together.  Why did I assume she wouldn’t have anyplace to go? Gossip and rumors can build into false biographies that paint a harsh sad picture of someone who is anything but harsh or sad.

She didn’t ask questions about my brother Max, the object of her affections – not like most women do.  She wasn’t talking to anyone about Max. She’d come to the party because they had mutual friends – nothing more. She was staying at Max’s house but no details of fluttery “wink wink” was forthcoming.

She had known Max for a long long time.  Over the years they’d been in and out of dangerous situations together, even saved each other’s lives. They were considered Vampire elite, thought she didn’t act like it.

So, anyway, I’m standing in the kitchen with two women who for better or worse were involved with two of my brothers. At this point I doubted if anyone was going to come in and rescue me.

“Don’t bother with James,” I said to Shawna.  “I think he was snorting too much dragon dust or something.”

“More likely out feeding on meth heads and heroine junkies,” said Mehitabel in disgust. The she softened her look and approached Shawna.

“I’m sorry you had to see that.  We’re not like that. Andy isn’t like that. He is one of the most gentle souls I’ve ever met, Regular Human or Vampire, and he adores you. He’d never ever let anyone harm you. The same goes for Juliette and me, and everyone here. Even James, even thought he is an asshole.”

I knew there were those would harm Shawna, but then again, I suppose nobody could have hurt her more than her ex-husband, the one who traded her in for a younger model.

After a few minutes and a few cocktails, we forgot about the party and my brothers. We talked of other things, things we all could relate to. We talked about movies and books and shoes and our work.

I suppose there is no point or moral to this story. No usual twist. It is always just odd and I’m glad my kids were in another part of the house, I’m sure being exposed to all sorts of other weirdness.

Just random thoughts about last weekend…

But all in all, I like both of these women my brothers have brought around. Now if my brothers could just behave… And if they don’t behave, I might still just keep these two around.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

(this post first published here 11/13)

_____________________________

and before i could argue him

out of his philosophy

he went and immolated himself

on a patent cigar lighter

i do not agree with him

myself i would rather have

half the happiness and twice

the longevity

 

but at the same time i wish

there was something i wanted

as badly as he wanted to fry himself”

Don Marquis, archy and mehitabel

____________________________________

More on Shawna and Andy (click here.)

More on Max and Mehitabel (click here.)

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vlad’s Vampire Diary: Last Call

Dear Diary,

When one is a Vampire one is not as fragile as those who walk the Earth with fragile hearts pumping hot blood and thoughts of love. 

I attempt to be poetic but even that alludes me today.

My Vampire love Gillian is traveling and will not be home until late tonight. I feel an unease even for a Vampire. It is that odd dread remembered from my childhood. We were not in danger but everyone else was.

I decided to go down to Cassie’s bar. It is not called that. My closest warm blooded human friend Cassie owns the bar. Sitting with her and watching the other patrons would knock me out of my melancholia. I called my friend Randolpho to come join me but he said he was unavailable.

Randolpho quickly stopped talking on the phone which was quite unusual. He gave me no details to where he might be going or what he might be doing. Maybe he was in the middle of a meal. I do not know. One should never bother a Vampire who is in the middle of the meal.

Cassie greeted me at the bar with a bright smile. Her eyes were sad. The only other humans working were her helpers Kate and Diego. They were busy cleaning and making small talk with the few customers who lingered spread out in the usually crowded space.

I noticed a coldness not usually there. Everyone in the bar, except for a group of four friends at the end of the bar were Vampires or others who are not in danger due to human mortal illnesses.

A couple of ghosts sat at a table by the window. One had a shot of some unknown spirit, while the other hovered over a glass of red wine. They were dressed in the fine clothing they were buried in and did not look around as they held their glasses with transparent hands and took in the aromas of the drinks.

Several Vampires, for it was mostly Vampires there, sat at a booth in the back. I went over to see them.

“What is the worst pandemic you’ve seen Vlad?” my friend Constantine asked.

“The Black Death arrived in Europe when I was a child of three years,” I said. “One of my first memories is adults speaking of it, and of the rats and piles of bodies. There was a great fear our main food source would be gone.”

“Was it bad where you were Vlad?” That was asked by Lily a young Vampire woman.

“No, not in the Vampire Kingdom. My father sealed the borders far from where our warm blooded citizens lived,” I said. “We thought that would be the last of it. I remember at the time I was kidnapped and thrown into a crypt another smaller plague was in Europe. So much for traveling out of my own country.”

A Vampire named Valentine spoke of a cholera outbreak where he lived on the Northern coast taking entire families out. He left, not daring to weaken any of those still living with his own needs. Before he left he helped tend to those who were ill since he was immune to cholera.

“We are not ghouls,” said Lily. She took a sip of her drink and then wiped a tear from her pretty face.

My friends spoke of pandemics I had missed while I was locked away. They lost friends due to the Spanish flu, more plagues, Yellow Fever, and HIV. In fairy stories warm blooded humans write of Vampires turning the sick into Vampires, but it does not work that way. The sick do not survive the turning. They are not strong enough for conversions, so we do our best to nurse them or give them a comfortable death.

A lone Demon, uncomfortable in his own skin, sat alone with a beer, pulling with the collar of his flannel shirt. He looked like any other thirty year old man, but I knew his mouth was full of poison and underneath his shirt were leathery wings. I also knew, that like most demons, it was not an existence he savored. Being vile to the core takes a harsh toll on any creature.

Cassie rang a bell and yelled out, “LAST CALL.” It was only 9:30 but I could tell she was weary and done for the night.

An hour later we dispersed. That included the Ghosts and the sad looking Demon.

“I will walk with you to your house,” I said to Cassie.

She smiled at me and we put on our coats. I must now mention that before I was locked in a crypt for three hundred years, only to be rescued six years ago, I never used an umbrella to keep rain off. It was just not done. We had no umbrellas in the Vampire Kingdom. It is an amazing device. Cassie and I shared the dry space underneath an umbrella on the walk to her house.

“This all makes me uneasy,” said Cassie. “I am worried about my grandmother. I’m worried about my parents. I’m worried about my business.”

“Do not worry about your business. You have Vampires to help you out.”

“I don’t want to take charity,” she told me.

I said, “Cassie, it is not charity. Even Vampires need someplace to go where everybody knows your name.”

Cassie laughed and squeezed my arm. I do not know why. I did not think my comment was funny or of the arm squeezing variety.

My friend Randolpho was standing on her porch wearing one of his ridiculous hats.

Then I noticed the way he looked at Cassie. Then I noticed the way Cassie looked at Randolpho. Could it be? Perhaps? Maybe?

Cassie tossed her hair back and pushed it back showing her neck. Randolpho put out his hand and then Cassie put her hand in his. Then he kissed her on the cheek.

Sometimes a woman needs a man who will bite her neck and tell her sweet things. Sometimes when times are tough, and we are told to be alone, maybe it is good to have a Vampire around.

As I walked away, a smile on my face, I could hear Cassie sing a line from a song I do not know, “You can leave your hat on.” Then I heard Randolpho laugh as they went through the door.

I will have to look that song up.

When I arrived at home Gillian was there to greet me with a cold kiss and bright eyes. I held on to her for the rest of the night.

~ Vlad

 

Big Hat

Randolpho and his tall hat which he rarely takes off.

 

This has been the 57th instillation of Vlad’s Vampire Diary. To read the entire series from the beginning CLICK HERE. This is the only one that is not outrageously funny.

 

Kissed by a Vampire

Kissed by a Vampire

 

 

 

Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never

Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never

Define and Conquer

I’d picked the kids up last week from the roller skating rink and caught a nice break visiting and singing along with them to fun music. (Never Shout Never, Coffee and Cigarettes. Always fun and inappropriate), when I pull into my driveway and see that black Mercedes parked in front of my house.

In another life, another time, another moment, my heart would have skipped a beat. Everything in my romantic Vampire soul would have cried “Adventure and Romance are MINE”, followed by “Insanity and Trouble” and the urge to RUN, but at this moment, BUSY MOM, just looked and thought “You’ve got to be kidding?”

My kids are already wondering why my mood is gone.

The last time this person was over my husband gave him the “We’re not going to raise our kids in a Vampire Ghetto” talk. Not “Ghetto Talk” but telling this prominent Vampire that we would not be raising our children in a night-time world of Vampires and darkness. We’re modern Vampires. We don’t lurk around shadows. We don’t lurk. We live in a diverse world. And aside from that, my husband used to be a regular human. But that is another blog post up the road somewhere.

He greeted the kids and they ran upstairs with excuses about tons of homework. I greeted Nathaniel Chase with a kiss on his cold cheek. He took my hands in his and told me how lovely I looked. Teddy had already opened a bottle of wine. I headed to the kitchen to get my own glass of wine, with the intention of joining  the men who were deep in discussion about whatever it is men discuss when my brain is full of kids and work and the 50,000 things the average mom has to do each and every single day rain or shine, dark or light.

I was in no hurry to get my own glass. From the corner of my eye, from the kitchen window, I could see the ghost sitting on my back deck reading a large red book. Nathaniel Chase would be too polite to bring up the ghost. Most Vampires are polite to a fault unless provoked (or with their blood relatives). As I poured the wine I wondered what brought Nathaniel here. It was always something that would turn my world upside down. He always wanted something. What would it be this time. Did he still want to know about Jack the Ripper? Did he want to recruit my son into studying with some old musty Vampire in Europe? Did he want to get information about someone? Or did he just plan on bitching about our lifestyle choices?

I glanced out the window at the ghost. He flipped me off and vanished. I thought about Nathaniel, glossy black hair, slate blue eyes and matching sweater and black jeans with a plaid Cashmere scarf hanging around his neck (you know the kind guys wear now). He could have been the front man of a famous band or a CEO of a Fortune 100 company. He could be whatever you wanted him to be. As a Vampire he was that good. Women’s heads would turn but they wouldn’t know if it was because he was dressed so well or if he was handsome or if he was a creature from another realm. All they were really sure of was that they couldn’t resist him. He could work it on men too (we all can). No regular human could resist Nathaniel Chase.

He’d been around for a long time. I suspect at least 400 years but I never asked. I just knew that it was his job, or he thought it his job, to keep track of what other Vampires were doing. I’m a mom, so had too much to deal with right now without being twisted and turned by Nathaniel Chase. And I could resist Nathaniel Chase. I’d been resisting him my entire life.

I’m proud to be whatever I am and have raise my children to do the same but that said…I don’t want my children to grow up feeling as if the world is not theirs. I don’t want them to live in an antique world of darkness, reeking with the smells of dried blood and fear. I don’t want them to feel as if they are monsters or outcasts.

Nathaniel Chase was always watching me since  I was a child. Nothing I ever did was right. Of course girlfriends and I got into all sorts of silly problems but we were just girls. On the other hand my brother Val and I got into some serious trouble on more than one occasion over the years, but we learned from our mistakes. We were serious successful adults now – not the crazy reckless youthful Vampires of old.

I downed my wine, poured another glass, straightened my shoulders and joined my husband Teddy and Nathaniel in the formal living room. I was ready to take whatever crap he wanted to throw at me and I was ready to throw it back. Never again would I let Nathaniel Chase get the best of me.

It took everything I had (and the wine helped) to keep my upper lip from getting a twitch in it. My head was light. I hated confrontation. I didn’t need it right now.

“So what brings you here Nathaniel?” I asked as I pushed a cat off of the chair and sat down. The cat jumped up into Nathaniel’s lap. Traitor.

“My wife and I are moving here in a few months. Our daughter is 3 now and our son just had his first birthday, but you knew that. I wanted to ask you about the schools. I hear you’re the go-to source for all things to do with parenting” Nathaniel answered. My husband just smiled.

As we grow up, no matter how long it takes, there comes a time when we realize that we’ve come into our own. I believe that most people are respected and liked and loved far more than they can ever imagine. I don’t always feel like that, believe me, but all reason tells me to just stop thinking and give myself a pat on my back for doing a good job.

We talked for another couple of hours about kids, schools and the joys and challenges of parenting. And all was well in my world, as the tune to Coffee and Cigarettes ran through my head.

coffee

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Note: Define and Conquer is use of witty wordplay on defining terms. This was not a typo for Divide and Conquer. You are on the wrong blog if you’re are looking for a fight or reason for unpleasant snark (try the political blogs).

Note #2: Never Shout Never – Absolutely Never was first posted in February 2013.

Fog

Today is perfect. Thick fog blankets the oaks. Small birds dance among the branches. Rain is supposed to come later today, but this morning I will enjoy the cold, damp, beautiful, and mysterious fog.

Out on the deck, in his usual spot, I could see the Ghost talking to my calico cat. Even in the fog, even in his semi-transparent state his black hair shines, and his blue eyes stand out like a Caribbean lagoon.

“I know you’re watching me. I know you’re writing about me,” he yells making the glass of my dining room windows shake.

I went outside, trying not to trip over the cats who are trying to get out and in at the same time. The calico hissed at the younger gray cat. He backed off, then pushed himself around her. They always get so pissy with each other. It is even worse now that the dog is gone.

Last night I was wondering why the area around the cat food bowls is so messy these days. Ahhh. There is no dog to clean up the floor. Damn. I miss my dog so much I can’t even say it out loud.

I make it out to the deck feeling the wonderful cool damp air on my face.

“Do dogs ever become ghosts?” I had to ask.

The Ghost gives me one of those are you stupid or what looks. “No, dogs don’t become ghosts.” Then he looked away, over the trees, then back to me. “I miss her too. She was the best dog I ever met.” Yes, dogs can see ghosts and they love people even when they’re not alive.

We stood together, a Ghost and a Vampire watching the tiny finches and sparrows in the trees.

“When I was in high school, back in the late 70’s we had official smoking areas in school but we couldn’t eat in class. That was so stupid. A kid could take a smoking break but if he was hungry he couldn’t have a snack. Now there aren’t smoking areas but kids can eat in class. Some things change for the better. A lot of things about high school are better now. Where your kids go, went, still go, teachers aren’t having sex with students anymore. Kids have more options on what classes they want to take. There aren’t elite classes reserved for the so called smart kids. Everybody gets a chance to excel. If I hadn’t died so young I bet I would have worked with teens. Fuck that, I would have been a parent with teens right now. I would have had a dog too. And a wife.” Then he smiled. “At least I do have a girlfriend. She is a ghost but I love her as if she was alive. She likes your kids. I like your kids. You did a great job with them, considering you’re a Vampire. My parents were total assholes.”

“Where are your parents Nigel? Are they still alive?”

He smiled a bitter smile. “My dad is in Hell as far as I know. I don’t know where my mother is. Maybe in prison. Maybe shacked up with some meth head out in the desert. She didn’t even go to my funeral. She has never visited my grave. Stupid bitch. I’m thankful I didn’t spend my formidable teen years with either one of them.”

That is all he’d say about his family. His memories of his past are full of memories he doesn’t want to say out loud, and the rest of his memories are filled with holes. I let him ramble on for a while. He’ll talk for hours. I don’t know if he is making up for lost time or if he has always been an extreme talker. I stopped listening when he started to talk about economic theories, and why the Gold Rush era ghosts who hang out by the lake are so annoying and creepy. I’ll have to agree with him on that one. The Gold Rush ghosts are exceptionally annoying and creepy.

It started to rain and we came inside.

Then Nigel smiled. “It is nice to talk to a real person, even if you are a Vampire.”

“You know I’m always here,” I told him.

Then he laughed and vanished.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Art (an extremely short Vampire story)

Counting down to Halloween!

Tangled Tales

Art (an extremely short Vampire story)

He never tried of looking at the Thomas Hill painting of Yosemite. Behind him he could hear the museum docent talking about the Guilded Age and the massive woodwork behind him.

As a child he’d come here for musical events, and even roller skating. Not exactly here, the new wing of the museum opened in 2010. He’d been in the original building and even in the private residence next door.

When you’re born in 1957 and still around in 2018 sometimes time seems to stand still.

A woman came up next to him and put her hand on his shoulder. He kissed her cheek.

“You look like a woman in a portrait I just saw,” he said.

“I am the woman in the portrait you saw,” she said. It was a long running joke with them.

“Glad you could make it Mom.”

“So am I. We need to do this more often.”

“October is almost here.”

“Indeed. Four of my children have birthday’s this month.”

“And Halloween.”

She gave a little snort. “It was easier to be a Vampire before Halloween was such a big deal.”

“Maybe.”

They roamed the galleries looking at both familiar and new art pieces.

She took her son’s arm and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I loved those times, when everything here was new. It was a new city. You were all children. So much was happening. I miss people, but I look forward. I don’t dwell on the past. That keeps us young. If you keep looking towards the future and live in the present it will keep you from being a Halloween Vampire. I shutter to think that any of my kids will be musty old beings who don’t have enough sense to keep their fangs in and blood off of their chins.”

“You’ll never have to worry about that,” said her son. “But I know what you mean.”

As they walked along they could see other in contemplation looking at the art, which like them, was timeless.

~ end

crocker-art-museum

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Burning Question #61: Abby Normal

The first known use of the word PARANORMAL was in 1905. Don’t ask me for the context. You can look it up later. Or you can just ask a Ghost. By the way Nigel said he won’t answer that and he doesn’t know (he died in 1986 at age 26 so needless to say he wasn’t around in 1905.)

Welcome to Vampire Maman where most things paranormal are normal, including Ghosts, and where we capitalize nouns that denote paranormal folk/creatures/whatever.

ghost

October is here, which means our thoughts are on paranormal things, which by the way are extremely popular. In books, movies, and of course on TV paranormal everything is the rage. Everywhere we go we want to know if Ghosts lurk. When the moon is full (or in the 7th house) we think of Werewolves. Can little girls start fires with their thoughts? Can we see into the future without any facts to back it up? Oh wait, that might just be politics. But seriously, all cultures have paranormal stories and traditions.

gothic

Don’t believe? Hold that thought and just step back for a moment. Lets assume there is paranormal activity. We’ve all seen it in some form or experienced it. Look how dogs and cats watch stuff that isn’t there. It IS there but you just can’t see it. I can see most of it because I’m a Vampire but you already knew that. But is is normal?

26734230_10212855301796466_7115870245270538320_n

Can we explain the unexplained? Should be expected to?

Is is normal to expect to see Ghosts? Is it normal to find Demons on your bedroom ceiling? Is it normal to run across a Werewolf on a full moon night? Is it normal to determine what car you’ll buy next or what job to take based on a Tarot reading? Is it normal to think of things like headless horsemen or Fairies, or Pixies, or Banshees? Is it normal to wonder if a love spell from a Witch will work. Which brings us to the 61st Burning Question…

Burning Question #61: Is Paranormal Normal?

traditional vampire

Answer the poll. Think about your answers. Leave comments. Have a Pumpkin Spice Latte. Above all watch out for things that go bump in the night.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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