I was driving along on of the main streets near where I live and saw homeless woman pushing a grocery cart down the street. I’d never seen this one before. She wore a pink shirt that wasn’t enough for the cold morning. Her face had that gaunt sunken, thin mouthed, meth head look. She looked old, like elderly old, but I bet she was around forty or maybe even younger.
This was a residential neighborhood in an area with a lot of horse property, friendly folks, rolling hills, and few businesses among the homes. There is one food closet but no other social services.
My brother Val was in the car with me. He looked at to woman too. “I bet she has a couple of kids in foster care or living with relatives.”
I didn’t respond. I didn’t want to think about it. Unlike me, Val walks a darker side of the street than I do.
“Jewels, there’s two or three bottom feeders in this area. Were you aware of that?”
“The historic proliforence of ignorant trash in certain neighborhoods near here has always brought them out.”
“Seriously, I know them. The bottom feeder Vampires. They feed on the homeless, addicts, mentally ill, but mostly the homeless. They suck them almost dry then dump them at shelters, or at emergency room doors. No worry about anyone finding bodies all over the streets, or behind buildings. Everyone assumes it was some sort of drug overdose or some other fucked up shit.”
“I couldn’t do that. First of all it is disgusting. Secondly it is sad and pathetic to take advantage of those people,” I said.
“They, the Vampires, get them to the hospital more than anyone else. They give them sweet dreams that they wouldn’t get otherwise. Do look at me all disgusted. I see what is going on, especially downtown. You know what is going on. They invite me to join them. Then the unfortunate souls they feed on beg them to transform them into the Undead. It’s pathetic but it is just the way things have always been forever and ever and ever. Don’t tell me you haven’t been tempted when you’re in a pinch and can’t find some nice squeaky clean donor.”
I didn’t say anything else and changed the radio station from a stupid Linkin Park song to the Jimmy Buffet station, then to a crappy obscure hair band song. Then I turned the radio off.
Val started to talk again. “Let’s have a party. We can have a going away party and invite everyone we want to go away. Who would you invite?”
I had to smile. I couldn’t help but show my fangs.
I wasn’t thinking of the lost souls or poor homeless people who are stared at by people driving by. I wasn’t thinking of the people who need help. I wasn’t thinking of those without hope.
I was thinking about other people. You know the ones.
Yes, I know, I know, I know, I write all about positive parenting, and love, and raising your kids to be good people…but sometimes…
Sometimes we just need to be awful. Even if you’re not a Vampire it is ok to ride in the car with your brother, or a friend, or even your older child and speculate on such things. It is even ok to laugh about it.
So dear reader, if you had a Going Away Party who would you invite? Kim Jong-un? Kim Kardashian? Kim Davis? Your ex-girlfriend who slept with your best friend and still calls you once a week with all of her problems? Or just invite politicians. Take your sample ballot from the last election and invite everyone on it. Who would you invite? Take your time. Think it out. Write it down.
I turned the car into my own neighborhood. Val turned the radio back on. I didn’t recognize the song.
“Remember Juliette, the first time we went to New York City? What year was it? 1880?”
“1879,” I said.
“It was on that trip I discovered that I have a sympathy for those who live in the shadow of the Vampire bottom feeders. I don’t feed on the bottom, or rarely do, but you know, somebody needs to look out for them. I don’t really, but I have. It makes me uncomfortable but I have.”
“I know you have Val. You do it all the time but you won’t admit it. Vampires talk Val. They tell me what you’re up to. You’re a better man and a better Vampire for it. Better than most,” I told him.
He put his hand on mine. “Thanks.”
We got to my house and changed the subject. A large happy dog greeted us and peed on Val’s feet. The cats chased up up the walk. The icy wind blew our hair until we were able to get into the house. My teenager asked us, “sup?” And we laughed.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman