Short Story Sunday: Christmas Orphans (a short random tale)

“Why do I have eyes of different colors? The brown eye is my own. The blue eye is a different story. I plucked it from the freshly dead body of a young Irish nun. She’d killed herself because she had a vision that the child she was carrying, the child of the handsome young priest, was the Antichrist.”

“Why were you there Uncle Jeff?” A young voice in a hushed whisper asked.

“Because, my dear, I was the handsome young priest. That was before the life I live now. But I still see visions of angels and of a family in a warm embrace of love, then the fires of Hell with dancing devils and…”

“JEFF. STOP IT,” I yelled. “You’re going to give them nightmares.”

I know better than to ask my crazy brother to tell Christmas stories to my children and their young cousins.

“But, Simon, the stories are true,” my brother said as if he believed what he was saying.

“Kids, don’t listen to him. He’s blowing stories out of his…out of his ears.”

“Did I tell you about the time I met Santa Clause?”

“Jeff, no more storytelling.”

“It was the winter of 1969.”

“Jeff you were a toddler in 1969.”

“You have no idea how old I really am. Brother I have secrets that will make your head explode. Now children, the rest of the researchers on the Arctic research station had died of a mysterious illness. Then the giant polar two ton bears came. I’ll never forget the sound of them crunching on the bones of my friends.”

“Giant two ton polar bears?”

My brother and the children ignored me as he continued his tale. “I wouldn’t let them eat the dogs so we took off with the sled north, following the stars. Frozen and hungry, my body could take no more. Out of my blue eye I could see my angel Bernadette, the nun I’d loved. Her visions…”

“Jeff!”

“Then I heard bells. Not big bells like the Liberty Bell, but small happy bells. A lot of bells. I thought I was in a dream. My dogs huddled close. Then we saw them. The Zombies…”

I went to the kitchen for a beer. My wife and Jeff’s weird Goth girlfriend were talking about how to make the perfect prime rib.

Spotting my sister Libby out on the deck I went out to join her.

“It’s cold out.”

“Cold but not as weird as it is inside.”

“Do you think there is any truth to his stories.”

“I don’t know. He has memories of before we were found. All the records still say we were abandoned at the rest stop outside of Barstow. Nobody came forward to claim us. We’re related for sure, the DNA tests prove that, and we look like each other  but…”

My sister shrugged. “I did more research but didn’t find anything. Nothing. It is like we were dropped by aliens.”

“Or Santa Clause.” I said.

We were found on Christmas Day, three toddlers. Our dad was the highway patrolman who found us. Jeff was the oldest, then Libby and I was just a baby. The doctors figured Jeff was around three, Libby maybe two and I was a newborn. We were all wearing hand knitted Christmas sweaters and red Santa hats.

Our life was happy and normal with our new parents. They loved us unconditionally. They still do.

I never thought about who might have left us at the rest stop with typed notes saying “Merry Christmas. Please keep us together,” pinned on our sweaters.

Libby and I went back inside to catch the end of Jeff’s story.

“In the morning Santa and I sat on the beach listening to the crashing waves. I passed him the bottle of whiskey we were sharing and he put his hand on back and said “Good job son, good job.”

 

tree and snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

Why moms swear more than anyone, stupid romance stories, what inspires my writing, and other unrelated thoughts.

If you want you can scroll down to the bottom to some links to something not so random. Or just go back to the All Hallows Eve post and read it again.

All Hollows Eve

All Hollows Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do mom’s swear so much?

I was driving down the road in the rain and I thought about moms and swearing. Moms swear a lot.

We don’t swear so much when our kids are small because they repeat everything we say. My daughter went to a lovely preschool we called “The Holy Roller Preschool.” It was at a large church that we did not attend. Only about half of the kids were members of the church. But it was the best preschool around. So one day when I picked up my little darling the school director said told me my daughter was saying “What the Hell.” and “God damn it,” all day long. I lied and said Grandma was in town and the kids picked up bad language from her. Of course I knew Grandma never swears and hasn’t said a swear word in 400 years.

SO why do we swear so much?

Any child will tell you “my mom swears in the car ALL THE TIME.” We all do it. We swear at our husbands too, especially when they aren’t around. The older our kids get the more we swear and the more F bombs we drop.

I don’t have an answer for you on this one. It is what it is. Every teenager will tell you “MY MOM SWEARS A LOT.”

All moms would like to yell SHUT THE FUCK UP a lot more. Oh well.

_______________________________

Don’t show your kids pictures or video of hairless chimps or gorillas. They’ll freak out (your kids, not the apes). Trust me on this one.

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Now for random romance…you can pass this part over. In fact I don’t blame you if you pass the entire post over today… just skip to the next joy and cheer filled Vampire post… I’ll have it up later.

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse… but it is so much fun…

I overheard my brother Max a few months back talking to his “friend.” Or she was talking to him quietly and calmly, neither one of them knowing I was out on his deck enjoying the view, frozen still as I strained to listen to their very private conversation.

He asked her, “Why didn’t you tell me how you felt about me?”

Then she told him, “You said you’d never love me. You said we could never have anything emotional. So I got involved with a string of losers who didn’t deserve me pretending, fooling myself into believing they were good enough for me. It was embarrassing. I sold myself cheap because I didn’t think I was good enough for you, so I settled. I was too young and stupid to know the difference. Either way, it didn’t matter because after you told me you were in love with someone else I gave up. Then I just got angry because I realized…I realized you would never love me and you thought I was an idiot, no matter how strong our connection. We were meant to be… but we can’t be. We’re perfect for each other but… I won’t let you take the lead again.”

“I never knew.” The tone in his voice was half real and half bull shit (yes, moms swear.)

Her voice was calm and low. “You always knew. Don’t talk about it again. I lied so you’d leave. I lied to protect myself.”

“That was 90 years ago.”

“Don’t. Just pretend I never said anything. Just pretend that the nights are ours and when we’re together it is our time alone. But don’t expect anything else Max. I can’t…”

I heard nothing. Was she crying? I didn’t hear a sob. I didn’t hear anything. They’re Vampires so they wouldn’t make any noise when they move, or hardly anything. So I stood against the wall and watched the lights of the boats on the San Francisco Bay. After what seemed like forever I heard Teddy call up. Max and his friend Mehitabel said a few uncomfortable words and went downstairs.

From the rest of the evening one would never know what had gone on between the two. Not that night, not any night. Why the Hell didn’t they talk about this stuff decades ago? Why now all the sudden? I roll my eyes. I do it again.

I followed down a few minutes later. Nobody asked me where I was. I don’t think anyone missed me. There was a house full of Vampires. Unlike my brother Andrew’s parties, Max rarely had non-Vampires at his home.

I was feeling like I’d just dropped into a bad romance novel.

My son Garrett who is now living in the dorms in a college south of here is experiencing the same thing. He hears a lot of drama in the dorm rooms and at parties on and off campus. He takes it all in then slips bits of wisdom and advice innocently into his conversations. Or so he tells me.

He is a flirt but he keeps the girls from falling in love with him. It is an important skill for a Vampire to have. But heaven forbid he get tangled with a Vampire girl. I’m just saying that as a mom. You know, this is Vampire Maman, and those of us who are Vampire parents have complicated lessons to teach our young adult Vampire children.

None of us are perfect and heaven knows I made my share of mistakes. That said, I talk to my kids about these things so they’ll be smart. Drama isn’t always that great and it can last a long time. Be smart. Think twice before getting into bed with someone. Know where her heart is. Know where your heart is.

Our brother Aaron, who was also downstairs with his wife Verity has been married 134 years. I can’t ever remember them having any drama. They’re still darling together.

vm pair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m revisiting some work of mine that needs to be finished – writing work. On my computer is a 250,000 + word epic adventure of romance, magic, technology and friendship. I’m 90% done but not quite sure what to do with it. It was one of the first pieces I started when I got back into writing after years of, well, not writing.

So Ms Kings what inspires your writing? You might ask this if you run into me in a dark alley sometime…

Real life, news stories, interesting random stuff that flies past my brain and reading what others write.

I find that authors who inspire me don’t write the way I do. I don’t want to copy anyone or emulate their style. But reading the stories of others get me thinking. It make my mind active. And active mind is a creative mind.

Speaking of creative minds, Matthew Pearl, one of my favorite authors is coming out with a new book in April.

I was fortunate to find his Facebook page a few years ago, when I started to get serious about writing again. His thoughts on research and writing inspired me to write more. I need to do a post on his work and that of other favorite authors of mine but tonight I’ll just post a clip from an email he sent (and his are infrequent because he is not a spammer):

From Author Matthew Pearl:

On to news of the next novel! It’s called THE LAST BOOKANEER. It will be
published in the US by Penguin Press on April 28, 2015, and around the
same time in the UK by Harvill Secker. It’s about literary thieves in
the 19th century (fuller tease at the end of this email). Because I like
to keep my emailing to an average of 1-2 emails a year for those who
prefer slim inboxes, please make sure to check back in on my site
(www.matthewpearl.com) for further news, the cover, and also stay up to
date by choosing to “like” my Facebook author page,
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Matthew-Pearl-author/29977879540 …and
follow me on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/#!/MatthewPearl

Want to be the first to get the book? Pre-order now! Here or your
favorite book selling site:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Last-Bookaneer-Matthew-Pearl/dp/1594204926

As always, I’m honored to have you as readers.

THE LAST BOOKANEER

Mystery, celebrity, theft – and a thrilling adventure set at the ends of
the earth…

On the island of Samoa, in a house perched on a cliff beneath a
smoldering volcano, a dying Robert Louis Stevenson labours over a new
novel. It is rumored that this may be the author of Treasure Island’s
greatest masterpiece.

On the other side of the world this news fires the imaginations of the
bookaneers, literary pirates who steal the latest manuscripts by famous
writers to smuggle them to a hungry public. But a changing world means
the bookaneers will soon become extinct.

Two adversaries set out for the south Pacific: Pen Davenport, a tortured
criminal genius haunted by his past and Belial, his nemesis. Both dream
of fortune and immortality with this last and most incredible heist.

THE LAST BOOKANEER thrillingly depicts the lost world of these doomed
outlaws, a tropical island with a violent destiny, a brewing colonial
war and a reclusive genius directing events from high in his mountain
compound.

____________________________________

Thank you Matthew Pearl for the inspiration and research tips. Thank you for your wonderful well researched and well written books. Forgive me for my rambling on your behalf.

___________________________________

Other important news:

For the first time ever my dog and my cat slept together on the same bed. It is the dog’s bed but the cats took it over a while back. Cute stuff.

Jasmine is somewhat uneasy that Oscar the cat is sleeping on her bed.

Jasmine is somewhat uneasy that Oscar the cat is sleeping on her bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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For something you might want to read click on the links below:

Ode to a Greek God

Vampire House Warming

Dancing on the Beach

A Night at the Crest

Mysterious Meeting on Cold Dark Nights

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

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vm_rick

Yes, I dated that guy… and other random thoughts

I’m going off to the woods to howl at the moon (just kidding I’m a Vampire not a Werewolf), hike, take in waterfalls and the wonders of nature and WRITE. Sooooo there will be no Short Story Sunday for a few days or other posts because Internet service will be spotty at best and more than likely nonexistent (like in the old days.)

So in the meantime: LISTEN to THIS (click here)

Look at the pictures below.

Available on Amazon and other fine online booksellers. Just remember to leave the light on. Creepies.

Available on Amazon and other fine online booksellers. Just remember to leave the light on. Creepies.

 

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you've ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I'm a Vampire. We have no shame.

Morning at the Vineyard now available on amazon.com (and tell the folks at NPR and the LA Times that this is the best book you’ve ever read and that they should interview Juliette Kings NOW. Any other media outlet would work as well. Yes, this is shameless but what do you expect? I’m a Vampire. We have no shame.

Kissed by a Vampire

Support your local Artistic Roller Skating Club.

Support your local Artistic Roller Skating Club.

this guy

 

Yes, I did date THAT GUY but that is another post on another day. Have a good weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

The Mysterious Death of a Turkey, Vampires and Thoughts on the Randomness of Life.

Many people swear that all things happen for a reason. They believe there is a driving force behind everything good or bad. They send inspirational messages. They start hate groups. Sure the hate group thing is harsh but look at those truly evil fiends from the Westboro Baptist Church. Anyway, most people just send lovely little inspirational messages and try to make lemonade out of lemons, dirt clods, illness, rocks, roadkill. Hey you can make lemonade out of anything if you squeeze it hard enough and add toxic amounts of sugar.

That said, I do believe in love at first sight, the goodness in the world and that some people are destined for greatness (but most aren’t and greatness happens just randomly, which in my eyes makes it even greater.)

So, back to real life…

I believe that most things are random. My life, even the organized portions, are full of random events.

Sure, somethings may happen for a reason, but most don’t. Most things are just random. We can then we can take whatever we want or whatever we need from the experience.

Part 1: The Turkey

blue head

Tuesday night I arrived home to discover a dead turkey in my front yard. Let me go back a minute or two. When I pulled into the driveway with the kids in the car we noticed a skinny female turkey picking at the grass. How cute – a giant bird is in our yard.

Then we noticed two turkeys. It was one of those WTF moments when we saw that the second turkey was a very large male and it was very dead. There were no signs of injury or trauma. It was just dead on it’s back, in my front yard.

We have no idea how it died. We’ve seen turkeys fall out of trees so I figure it must have hit it’s head on the fence or a tree branch and died.

The kids proceeded to take photos with their smart phones and post it all over their 20 thousand social media outlets.

Turkeys aren’t native to our area. I believe the Fish and Game department introduced them to California in the early 1960’s. Our turkeys have ancestors in either North or South Carolina from what I remember reading a while back (correct me if I’m wrong on that.) Turkeys were going to be the next big sport bird. They’re sport for some but for most of us they are just huge prehistoric looking backyard birds. The big birds have thrived and now are all over the place including crossing main streets holding up morning traffic, hanging out around office complexes, in parks and in my yard. One day last spring I counted 28 of them in a parade walking up the narrow lane I live on.

This (Northern California) is not their native habitat. It is like their native habitat, but turkeys, like a lot of wild animals don’t always mesh with suburbia, and that includes my front yard. We love our turkeys but the still seems sort of alien and out of place.

Actually I take that back. They DO get along despite our expectations. They thrive. THRIVE around humans. Nobody eats them. Nobody dares harm them. Coyotes and bobcats can only eat so many of them. My calico cat stalks them but she can’t catch one. Dogs ignore them. So they thrive. So much in fact that every child and grown man and woman around here can do a turkey call. If you gobble the turkeys will gobble back at you. Now THAT is fun stuff.

Teddy (the husband) arrived home and helped me get the turkey in the garbage can. I declined the offer to keep some of the beautiful feathers. As soon as we dumped it in the can the entire tail opened up like a giant fan. Yikes. It was big – at least 25 pounds if not more. It had to go in the garbage can because of coyotes and raccoons and other critters that might have come by for a fresh feast. Not on my daffodils.

Now it is time to ponder the meaning of this all…

Humans have transported animals, plants and other humans all over the world for centuries – leaving their living cargo in places foreign and hostile. But soon the newcomers thrive and nobody (except maybe Vampires) can remember a time when they were newcomers. They’re now as native as natives. That is why most wars and a lot of political nonsense makes no sense to children. Children see everything in their world as belonging – that is as if it works. And until last night the turkey thing seemed to be working just fine.

There is no reason to believe I’ll find another dead turkey in my yard anytime soon. I hope not. I’m not holding out for any expired politicians or dictators (but that is an interesting if not both repulsive and exciting thought.)

It is out in my side yard in the garbage can. I know it is there, feet sticking up with claws waiting in death to grip me and drag me inside the can. It is sad and weird. I know, that sounds weird coming from me – that I think a dead turkey is weird. But it is. It really is.

The dead turkey in my front yard was just another random event in my life.

Part 2: Vampires

lanterns

Unlike Turkeys, Vampires are nocturnal creatures. OK we’re nocturnal for the most part. Anyway…

After ridding my yard of a dead turkey I got a call asking for my help. It wasn’t the school asking for bake sale items. It was for work. Part of my job is to help new Vampires and old shadow creeping Vampires adjust to their new status in life. Yes, I train Vampires and hold their hands when needed.

I was glad to go as my husband was on one of his self-righteous cleaning kicks. You know the kind where they bang stuff around in the kitchen so you’ll hear them because YOU, the woman, didn’t do your job and clean things like you said you were going to. It isn’t like I don’t already do enough… so….

I called Cody, my young Vampire friend, a thirty-something guy who’d adjusted well after his surprise conversion two years ago. See the previous post for his Quiche recipe. He is quite the enlightened young Vampire.

He mentions that he hopes someone is recording Justified. Of course, and Ink Masters. Hey, we have to get in our culture. One cannot live on Opera and Magical Realism alone can they?

Our project this evening was Willow, a young woman who had recently found herself charmed by an unscrupulous man who just happened to be a Vampire and had turned her into one as well. Then he left her alone without the tools or the friends she needed to become successful in her new existence.

When we arrived at her house she was in a panic. The dark Celtic designs that had once been tattooed on her arm had vanished. Cody could relate to that. He had once had a large elaborate tiger on his arm (for reasons I can’t fathom.) Tattoos don’t stay on Vampires. Our bodies reject the ink turning it to dust.

Next she showed me a letter of acceptance for graduate school. Of course she could go. Why not? There were no rules in the student handbook forbidding Vampires to any public university that I knew of.

“Nobody knows you’re different Willow,” I explained to her. “You’re normal. More than normal. This is still your world, your place, no matter what happened to you. It is all just the start of your new life as well as a continuation of everything you’ve already experienced.”

Half of that was bull shit but I’m good at inspirational talk. It’s what I do.

A celebration was in order, as well as a quick bite, so we walked about 3/4 of a mile to a local Irish brew pub. It is always busy – full of locals of all ages, but most popular with the young high tech professionals and state workers. It also just happens to be a popular hang out for hip young Vampires. It was one of those places that Willow would have never found on her own.

Alex and Rob were there. They’ve been friends for years – since WW1. Alex had been around for a while (his father signed the Declaration of Independence). Rob had just become a Vampire. He was alone in Europe. Part of the US Army but now considered missing in action. And now, they were here, like all the other young men, talking about work and flirting with the women.

I introduced them to Willow. Later I told them in private to do me a favor and watch out for her, introduce her to friends and help me guide her along.

Then Angela, a lovely thing with copper colored hair who’d been a Vampire since 1985 showed up. She lived in the neighborhood and had a lot to talk about with Willow.

Cody and I watched as the evening unfolded and Willow made new friends. It was a good thing.

Feeling different and alone with no future or hope is a horrible thing. That is why we need to always be aware of others who need help. We also need to be aware of ourselves so we don’t become isolated. It isn’t always easy for some of us. Friendship and fellowship with like minds and like kinds can be random, but it also takes some work. It is one of those random things that we all need to seek out and nurture.

I left Cody with our friends and arrived home just in time to get the kids in bed and watch Justified with my husband. Even Vampires need to just chill sometimes.

Part 3: This Morning

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This morning, just as the sun came up over the oak trees the garbage truck came and took away the turkey.

While getting ready for school my kids and I talked about what is going on in the Flight 370, the building in New York that exploded and the tragedy at SXSW.  It was all so random and tragic. None of those events were near us but we could connect to them in our own experiences (that six degrees sort of thing.) We talked of what is going on in the Ukrane, which isn’t so random in many ways, but in a way it is – and tragic as well.

But good things will happen too. A lot of good things. For absolutely no reason, which sort of makes it even better.

Life is random. We can work for things and make things happen, but we can’t predict everything. But sooner or later it all connects and you end up where you are, right now. And right now, in my life, that is exactly where I’m supposed to be.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman