I guess we’re all going to Hell.

45142596_10215038232448368_3468725444923097088_n

My daughter just sent me this photo with the message “I guess we’re all going to hell.”

This guy was out in front of the Student Union building at the college.

Happy Halloween Sports Nuts!

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Fire And The Cool Dark Places Of Summer

With summer we don’t welcome in the fire season, but fire season is here none the less.

I had to go downtown this morning, and from the freeway saw two plumes of fire coming up as if the entire world was on fire or giant pits down to Hell had opened up. From the color of the smoke it looked like grass fires. A larger fire just north of here has burned maybe 12,000 acres. I’m not sure, it keeps growing. We’ll soon start to hear of more fires in all directions. After the devastation last year in Sonoma and Napa Counties, Lake County and other areas in California it seems even more tragic for it to start all over again.

Behind my home we’ve cut back the brush. I’ve cleared my property. We’ve put in fire sprinklers.

As I drove along the freeway looking at the smoke plume in the distance I saw a religious billboard. It just seemed weird, you know the smoke and the message all at once.

This week missionaries and members of several churches (you know who I’m talking about) have been coming around and leaving pamphlets. A few years ago yellow jackets swarmed a nice pair of men who came around to tell me about the Bible. I’m often tempted to tell them we’re Vampires. Not that we’re evil. Oh we are so misunderstood. Another reason why most folks don’t know we’re real.

But back to the nice people who smile and ask me too many personal questions about my beliefs,  what I really need to ask is for them to pray that we don’t have the fire devastation that we have had in the West for the past few years – from Canada to Mexico it has been horrible.

Right now I can smell smoke but I’m not sure where it is from. The sky is too hazy to tell.

When my brother Val and I were teens, around fourteen and fifteen (1873 or 74) we found a way to keep cold in the hot burning summer days.

He stole the key to a church basement (which is no longer there) and a way to get into a seldom used private chapel. Bodies would be put there before burial to keep from rotting so quickly in the summer heat. Also food would be stored in another section behind locked doors.

Yes, it was horrible and wrong for any teens, and we’re Vampires so that even adds more to the wrongness of it all, but we didn’t hurt anyone. Our parents would have hit the roof, but that is another post.

I’d lay as still as death on the cool floor. My skin seemed to melt, not like candle wax, but like burning hard sealing wax. Hair twisted around my neck and clung to my forehead. I couldn’t open my eyes.

Suddenly an icy cold shroud covered me. I sank into the floor even more. A relief to my burning Hell had come.

I could hear my brother Val laughing.

“Thank you,” I whispered. “I thought I was going to absolutely melt.”

Val lay down on the floor beside me and pulled the icy wet sheet over the both of us.

“I hate the heat,” I said to him.

“I know you do,” he replied.

We lay in the dark, on the cold marble floor. The triple digit summer air encased us, drying out the wet sheet. I hooked my index finger with his as we lay as still as death together, trying to find some comfort.

With my eyes still closed I could hear footsteps coming into the room. I couldn’t will myself to move. I was so hot and so uncomfortable.

I’m not a creature who has a wide range of temperature control. The heat makes me want to hibernate or go into a coma.

I could feel someone lift the sheet from our still faces. We opened our eyes wide, not with our natural color, but with solid black. You know, the old black-eyed children trick. It works every time.

A gasp and a cry filled the air, then the sound of the poor lady running away from us.

Val threw back the sheet and propped himself up on his arm. Looking towards the doorway he laughed. “She thought we were dead.”

“And so we are, well sort of,” I answered looking at his pale face, made even paler by the dark hair falling over his forehead.

Today, about ninety summers later the heat still shuts me down. My daughter mentioned that today.

“Dad said you never did well in the heat.”

“No. I don’t.” And that is true as I sit here burning up with my hands sticking to the computer keyboard.

Every single summer the heat rises to triple digits F-ing Farenheit. And every single summer the hot walls of heat hit me so hard that every cell in my body wants to shut down. It should be no surprise, especially since I choose to live here. Then again, it is hot everywhere in the West, aside from the coast and the mountains. Maybe one day I’ll pack up and move, but until then, there are wet sheets and ice.

Oh, one more note, as a public service announcement. When it gets hot PLEASE make sure your dogs don’t end up with burnt feet. If it is too hot for you to walk on the hot pavement with bare feet it is too hot for your dogs. My friend Amelia in Las Vegas used to put booties on her old dog for walks in the hot desert neighborhoods. And triple check their water – cat water too.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Heat, Religion, Frogs, and Old People

Summer is Here! Bake it baby (or if you’re smart you’ll stay someplace cool)

 

I could wax poetically about temperature but it is in the triple digits farenehight outside. Any wax is going to melt and I’m not feeling too poetic.

Yesterday afternoon, a man came to my church asking about my religious beliefs. I ended up with a brochure about “original sin,” something which I do not believe in. Sure some people are born evil. Some are born without souls, and I’ll freely admit that. I’ve met them. But the average little baby isn’t chock full of sin, like a dead deer full of maggots on a hot summer day, so don’t even make that comparison or even suggest to me EVER that babies are full of sin. Sheesh.

I should have given the poor man a glass of water but he was so crisp and unflappable looking that I assumed he had a cooler in his car (which could have been full of beer and Jello shots as far as I know.)

At the time I was holding a large German Shepard by her collar with the door cracked open. I should have never answered but it is usually a friend or a neighbor when someone comes a calling, especially when it is so stupidly hot outside.

I believe I’ve used the frog story before, but I shall tell it again.

Put a cold cast iron skillet on a cold burner on your stove. Gas works best. Place a large, live, cold blooded frog in the center of the skillet. Use a good sized one – 10-12 inches. Turn on the heat ever so low, then gradually turn it up. The frog will sit until it gets blazing hot and it’s feet and belly stick to the cast iron and it is cooked.

This is what happens to people in this heat (we’re expecting over 100 all week and over 110 F on some days). Elderly people and others who are not always aware will sit in the heat like the frog until they cook. They’ll forget to jump out of the pan, or in the case of some folks, forget to turn on the air conditioning or fan. Or they’ll forget to call for help because they won’t realize they need help.

My neighbor and dear friend Kelly came over tonight with a couple of cold drinks (bless her). She isn’t a Vampire like we are. She suspects we’re different but can’t quite put a finger on it. She also has a ghost in her house (yes, that ghost.)

We sat for a while as she told me of her elderly mother and the heat. Her mother forgets to turn on the air conditioner. Her mother obsesses about bad neighbors but will not let her children or helpers put anything over the fence so to keep out the eyes of those bad neighbors. She asked Kelly to come over (it was 110 outside) to cut down a tree. Kelly said no. Her mother doesn’t know what yard the tree is growing in. Kelly tells her not to go outside and check because it is too hot and because she’ll fall and end up in the hospital – again. The same conversation has happened over and over – with a different plant, a hose, a stray cat, an unfamiliar car parked on the street, or something else that Kelly will either have to deal with or talk her way out of.

She wishes her mother would move to a house where she won’t worry about bad trees and bad neighbors and expensive up keep. Kelly has suggested a smaller home near Kelly and the grand kids. It would be nice with all sorts of beautiful features and a lovely garden within walking distance of Kelly’s home. The kids could visit anytime. Her mother refuses. So Kelly must hear about trees and drive to her mom’s to get the mail, and give up her Saturday fun time. Saturday fun time is important for working moms and all moms and busy women who work, and well, it is important for everyone.

She wishes she could travel and do fun things with her mother. She wishes they could talk more of things that are positive and fun – things that are not bodily functions or other unpleasant things that only bring Kelly stress.

Sometimes the heat can suck the fun out of everything. The heat of being a caretaker can do the same. It is exhausting. Especially if the caretaker has children of her own. Kelly told her kids to put her on an ice flow if she ever got to the point where she couldn’t take care of herself. She asked them to shoot her if she ever lost her sense of humor. I gave her a hug. We talked for another house about books we’ve read this summer. We agree that everyone MUST read “Beautiful Ruins.” Then she went home to spend time with her own teenage children (good friends with my kids.)

After slipping on the kitchen floor today on an unknown object and landing on my back, I lay there thinking that I’d better call The Elders. They’re ancient and sometimes don’t use the best judgement.

Eleorna and Tellias, frail and gentle, were fine. Their neighbor had brought over shaved ice flavored with basil and rosemary. God bless him. They remembered to bring their old dog in and give him plenty of water. They didn’t drive today because sometimes they forgot how to turn on the air conditioner and the sun was too bright and they had lost the keys again, so they stayed home. And they turned on the air conditioner in their beautiful 143 year old house and slept in each other’s arms like young lovers.

I’m always afraid that I’ll drop by their house and find nothing but their ashes. I’m afraid someone will take advantage of them. I’m afraid that one day they might be gone and I will have a broken heart that will never go away.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Short Story Sunday: Sunday School (an exceptionally short story)

Sunday School (an exceptionally short story)

Sunday morning. I was downstairs fixing coffee, listening to NPR and savoring the quiet time before the rest of the family got up.

Yes, quiet time. That is a rare commodity for a parent.

I’m wiping down the kitchen counter and thinking about the game schedule for today when I look up and a guy in a black suit with slicked back hair is standing about 4 feet from me with a smirk on his face.

Sure my skin prickled because I knew who this guy was.

“Whatever you want to sell I’m not buying,” I told him.

Suddenly visions of a beautiful wife, perfect kids in boarding school, money, freedom, maid service, more women…and fame. My dreams in youth of being an actor and being a politician and being the guy who starts the mega technology company and being a household word…they all come to mind. All the doors that were slammed in my face could be opened right now.

If only…

I looked at the man. He smiled. The cat started to scratch at the door to get out. I could hear the coffee dripping. A toilet flushed upstairs.

The man spoke “Why sleep with someone who has been trying to drop those 50 pounds for the past 10 years when you can have the most beautiful women in the world? Why be stuck fixing eggs for a bunch a loud kids when you can have meals fixed by the finest chefs? Why watch the game on TV when you can own the team?”

“Dude, I’m busy. Go away.”

“With your heart you should be in church,” he said that with one of those nasty sarcastic tones that I absolutely hate.

“Fuck you and get out of my house.”

He vanished in a cloud of sulphur smelling smoke. I don’t even know if he was The Guy or just one of his helpers.

Over the years I had a lot of opportunities and talent to go with it, but it was always the wrong time and wrong place. Or I was just too stupid or inexperienced to know what to do with the opportunity.

I’ve lived a life of regrets, but I landed here, right where I am now, in a house full of love. I have kids telling me about school and a wife showing me a painting she is working on. We go to work and we get tired and we do it all again. And it’s the best. And we learn something new every single day.

This is my Sunday School. This is my religion.

Tangled Tales

~ end

First posted 2013. 

Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Diary: Music To My Ears

Dear Diary,

I continue to be startled, even I, the King of Vampires, with this world in which I have come to be.

I was at a drinking establishment where mostly young people go. Many of the men wear beards, but out of style, not from some religious beliefs. Not all have beards. I do not have a beard. Women there are open and friendly with men. They have beautiful necks that show when they tilt their heads back and laugh.

I was there, drinking Bourbon, scanning the room for possible dinner companions. It is never a problem. I am handsome and I am a Vampire. How do they say, “no problem.”

As I looked over the room my ears caught a conversation.  I, being a Vampire, can hear most conversations, even across a crowded pub.

A woman said, “My mom took me to see deaf leopard when I was a kid. It was great. We had so much fun.”

Then I heard her male companion say something about “the drummer lost his arm.”

“He killed it,” said the woman.

“Absolutely,” said the man.

I have never heard of such a thing in this Modern society in which we live. There must be a secret society where wild animals tear apart musicians. Then the one armed man killed the beast or that is what I assume. What mother brings her child to such things? On the other hand when I was a young child in Transylvania my Baba brought me to see a band of Werewolves disguised as priests burned at the stake. She told me to cover my ears to the howls and look at the sparks that danced high in the night sky like fairies. My Baba could always make everything into a gentle learning experience.

There were always those who would have their hounds rip apart bears, but I would have none of that. My hounds only ripped up men, and usually not musicians. At least not most musicians, though I did hear songs that were so bad that violence would be caused. The names were odd,  McArthur Park  and Thong Song. Playing those songs in public might their cause singers to be burned alive by anyone who could hear them.

No I am not making jests, or kidding as they say now. I overheard one man saying that a band called Jr. Jr. was THAT BAD. It made his ears hurt. His wife almost had an anxiety attack at a live performance waiting for another band to play. In these times music is taken seriously to the point where it is both physical and a religious experience. Often it takes place of the traditional religion. Being a Vampire I have no use for traditional human spiritual experiences unless it can bring a warm beating heart my way. But I digress from the conversations I was overhearing.

People spoke of work and relationships. Mostly of relationships, and violence, such of musicians getting arms ripped off by large African cats who cannot hear.

As I left I heard several women saying they thought I was cute. One said, “super cute.” With violence and food on my mind I tried not to take heed, but the term also used for babies and puppies confuses me.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I am amused to be called a Millennial. I am the ultimate Millennial spanning eight centuries. My drivers license says I am thirty-two. I’ve been told I look younger. I smile at such observations.

Women have told me I am cute when I smile. I ask why and they smile. One said it was a dimple. My cuteness is a trap which brings me blood. I am learning to accept that which I do not understand.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

At the mail boxes this evening I asked my neighbor if she has taken her children to see animal spectacles. She told me that she brings her children to the zoo to see the animals. Then she started to talk about endangered species and zoo breeding programs. I asked her if the animals eat people. She said only stupid people. Upon observing the fact that I was serious she told me that the animals in the zoo are not there to eat humans.

She said, these exact words, “What the hell do people do where you come from?”

I told her, “I overheard people in a bar speaking of an African cat tearing an arm off of a man during a show. Mothers would bring their children to see this.”

She said, “That is sick, just like dog fights. Those people need to be locked up forever. They should be eaten by their own dogs.”

Now I am the one who is shocked. People in this place confuse me. They are shocked by violence yet they with to instigate it for their own ideas of justice.As we talked my cats joined us and rubbed their bodies against our legs. She picked up the small black cat and kissed his ears.

I asked her. “You would really feed those who make dogs fight to the dogs?”

“If I was in charge you bet I would,” she said. Then she kissed the cat again.

I like this woman. If I was still Vampire King I’d make her one of my advisors.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

It was easy being a Vampire when humans lived simple and uncomplicated lives. Life was hard centuries ago. One worked. One feared God. One had children. One died. Only a few had the luxury of thinking of anything more interesting. There was none of what is called leisure time, or career choices.

When I was small I assumed only Vampires and those of the church could read. I asked my father about it. He laughed and said most humans were nothing more than animals, like cattle. They followed the leader to slaughter as they basked ignorantly in the happy sunshine on a beautiful autumn day. Considering he was their leader I was no surprised by what he said. I did not like him but I found truth in his words.

I was at a bar again tonight. People mingled. My lover Gillian was to meet me later. I spoke with the bartender, a man named Jeremy, and scoped out the crowd. A young woman sat next to me. She smiled and brushed her hair out of her eyes in a way as to invite my interest in her. She told me her name was Brooke.

Then she announced that she was a vegan, and added with an intense starring into my eyes, that she was also an atheist.

I acknowledged her with a question. “Why was this the first thing you said to me?”

“This is who I am. It is my morality. I don’t believe in the enslavement of animals or the slavery of an unprovable belief system that is set up to control the masses.”

I would have rather discussed movies but I let her speak of the evils of the eating of flesh. Then I asked, her what she thought of Vampires.

She shook her head and rolled her eyes in her head. “Vampires and other such paranormal beings are an extension of the mythology of religion. They were created to make us fear what we do not understand. For example the sexual nature of Vampires was created to make us fear our own sexuality.”

I looked into her eyes and gently put two fingers on her hand. “What if I was a Vampire?”

She frowned. “You’re insanely cute but that is a stupid pick up line.”

I continued. “If I was a Vampire I would drink your blood.”

“That’s gross,” she said with a raspy squeal of disgust.

“Ahhh, but you are wrong Brooke. I’d first taste your mouth, and your breasts, and take you to my bed and taste all of you, before I would even touch your neck or a drop of blood. I would make you see the God you claim not to believe in. You would cry his name out loud. Then I would sink my teeth into your neck, and as I feasted upon you, I would give you visions of exquisite pleasure that you would never forget. You would be mine, body and soul. Your blood would be mine. Your desires would be mine. I would have you. All of you. And Brooke, you would beg for more.”

I could tell she was under my spell as she swayed in her seat. Her breath grew short.

She gasped and grabbed my arm so she wouldn’t fall off of her chair. “Now what?”

I kissed her, long and deep. “Dear Brooke, sit next to that young man over there, the one with the glasses. Order burgers. Eat bacon. Wear leather and wool. Don’t talk about religion. Take him home with you tonight. Be sinful.”

Maybe she will have faith and maybe this night see God with this young man. Maybe not. My mind had gone to other thoughts. I thought about demons I have seen both human and otherwise. I need something more than gathering food to occupy my time.

Gillian slid on the seat next to me. “Have you eaten yet?”

I smiled and kissed her. “No, just thinking about what I want,” I told her.

Later as I lay in bed with my arms around Gillian’s cool body, I thought about how smooth her skin was, and how flushed she looked with fresh blood in her veins. That was heaven, even for a Vampire. No I was not created to be feared. I was created to inspire. Now I laugh at my own thought, then turn to kiss my love again.

~ Vlad

 

Kissed by a Vampire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Sunday…

Today is Sunday.

Yesterday my teenage daughter talked about Christina Grimmie. She’d followed Christina on YouTube. Christina Grimmie was so alive and full of joy. Then she wasn’t.

She was murdered in cold blood while she greeted people in Orlando, Florida.

We talked about her brother, who from what we understand, kept the killer from possibly killing more people. Then I thought about her brother and how broken his heart and soul must be today. We talked about crazy killers. We talked about hate. We talked about senseless acts of violence. It made us sad.

Then Sunday came to Orlando.

Then my daughter said, “I can see how young men with Middle Eastern backgrounds can learn to hate. At school the Middle Eastern kids are singled out and yelled at. They’re called terrorist. They’re picked on.”

I asked her about her brown friends, her friend with Mexican parents, and her gay friends.

She told me they don’t get picked on. Nobody cares. There are too many of them. That was her answer.

The high school has about 2,500 kids from two different towns. One is 85% white. The other town, the one I live in is 89% white. That is just the way things are.

When I got married my husband’s three best friends were pale as snow, dark as a moonless night, and Persian. Two have since passed on, but they are in our hearts. We never cared what they looked like or where their ancestors came from. We never cared what Gods they worshiped.

My best friend’s sister used to be her brother. We love them both.

I don’t think twice that old friends are gay, or straight, or have a different religion, or different skin tone. Nobody can be paler than me except someone who is a true albino.

So it is hard for me to understand the hate.

It is hard for me to understand why the stupid ass kids at the school single out the Middle Eastern kids, be they Muslim or Christian or Jewish – all 30 of them. It is pure ignorance. It is hate without motive. It is WRONG. When kids get picked on for no reason, with no defense, they learn to hate. They learn to despise their haters. Hate comes full circle. Hate becomes violence. Hate embraces ignorance.

Where the fuck are the parents of both the haters and those who are bullied? Where are they?

Teachers stop it when they see it, but there isn’t a school wide anti hate campaign. Maybe there should be.

In a perfect world, a logical world, a good world, that the only scary things would be those that go bump in the night – like ghosts, rouge Vampires, aliens from space, giant insects, demons, and Werewolves. But those things are tame compared to the unpredictable forces of hate that have come into our lives and hearts.

I would like to think that everyone could take the opportunity to NOW put away the hate, and come together. Forget what the crap you choose to read in your chosen book of your chosen God.

As my husband says, “if God tells me to hate someone then I don’t want him to be my God.”

Take the time not to point fingers and speculate. Take the time not to judge a large group of loosely connected people by the actions of one crazy deranged individual.

Now is the time for healing. It is a time for support. It is a time for love. It is a time to learn more about people who are different from us. When we learn about those who are different we will find that they are not so different than we are.

Let me say that AGAIN: When we learn about those who are different we will find that they are not so different than we are.

Over and over and over I say “TALK TO YOUR KIDS.” Talk to them about these issues. Talk to them about Orlando. Talk to them about the Salem and McCarthy witch trials. Talk to them about WW2. Talk to them about school shootings. Talk to them about Matthew Shepard. Talk to them about everything that ever happened because of hate. I don’t mean talk at them. I mean have a discussion. Have a meaningful discussion.

As a parent you can help stop the hate. It is the generation our children belong to that will change the world – and I truly believe that if we keep the discussion and our hearts and brains open then THEY WILL change the world for the better.

My heart goes out to Orlando.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman