Musings on Parenting and Vampires

Love is in the air. I know because by 4:00 am the turkeys are already out making their gobbling love calls all over the neighborhood. They’re in the park, in front yards, in side yards, in driveways, on the sidewalks, and in the streets.

Sleep is also still in the air for teens who have nearly an impossible time getting up in the morning. Bribes of coffee and blood & berry smoothies goes on sleepy deaf ears.

But now I’m fast forwarding to school where the child texts me and says she needs $200 for AP tests (Advanced Placement.) If a Junior or Senior pass an AP test then they might be able to skip a college class. And why yes, the fees are cheaper in states I don’t live in.

So while I get texts from the kids, and listen to the turkeys, rain, and leaf blowers from the gardeners next door, I’m trying to think of a plot twists over coffee.

I explained what I was trying to do with the plot twists to my 17-year-old daughter.

“Don’t do something stupid with it. It has to be realistic, but not stupid,” she told me.

Thanks for the advice honey. I’ll be driving back to school in an hour to drop off the AP test fees.

I think about all of those Vampires who spend their days doing lofty things like fighting off rival Werewolf gangs, or lurking around in formal wear with blood dripping down their chins, or discussing with a far off Vampire council the paranormal forces and fuck it, that just isn’t the world I exist in.

This afternoon I’m meeting with an attorney. I’ll be getting about a pint of blood from him, and as usual I’ll leave cookies and juice (just like at the blood bank.)

Other than that things are pretty normal, not just for me but for most of us. By normal, I mean we’re not living some Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee movie script. Sure there are those assholes and misfits who lurk under floorboards, and graveyards. There are those without souls who haunt dark places in the cities. But who needs that? Seriously, WHO needs THAT.

We tell our kids, and other young Vampires that they have a choice. This goes for any kid.

There are choices. They don’t have to do what is expected by media or public opinion. They don’t have to be like everyone before them. If you’re different you can still be with everyone else. You know why? Because even if you’re different, you’re probably more like everyone else than you think. You’ll fit right in and be happy and nobody will know the difference. As long as they don’t know you’re a Vampire (or whatever) then do what you want.

So put away that red lined cape, and put on some jeans. Believe me, it will make dinner a lot easier. Then again, a little black dress is never a bad thing (but that is another story.)

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing Ignorance (and Other Parenting Thoughts)

If your child is a senior in high school you’re no doubt like us and finding dozens of mailers, catalogs, and letters in your mail box from colleges you’ve never even heard of. In our case my daughter is getting dozens of invitations from small private religious based colleges. Alright, I’ll come out and say it – she is getting a lot of invitations from private Christian colleges.

I’ve nothing against religion, and I am by no means an atheist. I do have problems with exclusive education where children and young adults learn only one view of the world.

Obviously, those who know me, know my view of the world can be a bit different. But my views on parenting, I feel, are based on raising a child to be an adult and see the “big picture” of the World they’ll go out into one day. I want my kids to go above and beyond my own experiences, and beyond what I can teach them.

I would NEVER send, or encourage my child to go to a college where everyone is the same, and encouraged to be the same.

I always like to think that my children were exposed to those with a variety of lifestyles, religions, and traditions – because from that they learned that not everyone is like them.  But more so they learned that we all have a lot more in common than we have differences.

Sure I could have sent my kids to school where everyone was like us. But why?

Another thing that worries me about a lot of faith-based education, or those who are yodeling about it on the news these days, is that the curriculum is anti-science. To me that is dangerous.

Considering the way Star Wars, and Star Trek are now so much part of American culture, and our own mythology, I don’t understand how anyone can be against science, discovery, or free thought. And the very lessons of these stories is about different people coming together and trying to understand each other. It is the fight between good and evil, and sometime the thin line between the two. But it is also about the promise of space and the existence of others out there in the universe we call home.

Science keeps people healthy. Science keeps our environment healthy. Science makes us comfortable. Science lets us know who we are. Science is knowledge about our world, and ourselves.

I will never understand the cult of ignorance which demonized science in the name of religion. If you love the Earth your God made, wouldn’t you want to protect it? Wouldn’t you want to protect God’s creatures rather than kill them and their habitats? Wouldn’t you want to use the brain that God gave you and discover the wonders of our Earth and universe? Wouldn’t you want all people to be able to spread the message of love, and to love each other? Seriously folks, I’m a Vampire and I have more compassion than (warning I’m going to get political) all of the so-called Christian bible beating bigoted, sexist, misogynistic, assholes who claim to be good people.  What bothers me the most is how willing so many are to embrace ignorance. Not only do they embrace ignorance, but they reject anyone who isn’t dumbing themselves down. Maybe being dumb might be safe, but it is morally wrong.

I’m always being asked if Vampires and Werewolves fight each other. Seriously? Who has time for that? We’re different. We might not get alone. We annoy each other. But we can also be friends, or at least friendly. And over the centuries we’ve learned a lot from each other.

One of the best things about college, or being young, is sitting up all night with others and solving the problems of the world, learning about each other, sharing personal stories, sharing hopes and dreams, building dreams for the future. Think of how much they would miss out on if they were all of the same background, same mind, and same heart. College isn’t just about classes. It is about growing up and discovering who you are – outside of your home, parents, and childhood. Part of the experience is learning from others.

I have to admit that a lot of the students at our school are just like my kids, but, well you know, a lot of them aren’t. That’s a beautiful thing.

Tell your kids that they can reach for the stars – and they won’t be alone.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Beware of Ignorance

 

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrations

Three True Tales of Terror (with teens, rats and possums) – with illustrationshorror banner011

Tale #1: High School Horror

This morning as I dropped sixteen year old Clara off at school I saw a girl walking across the parking lot. I know I shouldn’t have, since I am the parent, I said, “She has that geek walk. You know, very fast and deliberate.”

Then Clara looked at me in a cold chilling manner. “She is sooooo weird. Her finger nails are really long.” Clara made a hand motion showing four to five inch long nails. Yikes.

My child proceeded to recount a short list of weirdness. Then she said, “She never shaves her legs. Her skin is super dry. And then she scratches her legs during class. It sounds like this.”

And my daughter scraped her nails against the woven upholstery of the car seat – a loud, heavy, scraping noise. To imagine that was a human leg made me wince.

Then Clara scraped her nails along the pebbled plastic dash board of the car. “Just like this.”

Then she got out of the car with her hundred pound pack full of text books (no lockers for these kids) and headed off to her first class.

On the way home I thought of The Tell Tale Heart.

I know, I’m a parenting blogger. I should have said, “it is ok for a girl to have hairy legs if that is her choice.” But I didn’t. Deal with it.

Scrape. Scrape. Scrape.

 

Tale #2: The Rat

Once upon a time, back before the life I’m living now, for a short time I lived alone in a small shack of a house in the woods.

I was sleeping and awoke to the sound of crashing, and two sets of four feet running through the room.

My small long haired tabby cat Eureka was chasing a rat.

Eureka was named so because I found her. The name is on the seal of the great state of California. It means “I have found it.”

The rat and cat both ran into the storage room, and I closed the door.

There was more crashing and banging. Then it stopped.

Then mewing noises came from behind the door. I opened the door. The cat had the rat trapped between a wall and my sewing machine case.

Now what?

I kicked the sewing machine against the wall, once, twice, three times.

On the third kick the rat flew out and landed dead on the floor. This rat was huge – half the size of the cat.

Disgusted I went back to bed. I’d deal with the rat later.

About an hour later I was awakened by a sound.

“Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch.”

Eureka the cat was by the side of my bed, eating her rat. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

I’d deal with it later. I pulled the covers over my head and went back to sleep.

When I woke up again there was no fur, no tail, no bones, no rat at all except one foot, something that looked like a kidney, and the head of the rat staring up at me with dark black beady eyes.

 

Tale #3: Not Dead Yet

juliette armadillo010

The last time my son was home from college he was going through some boxes in the attic looking for vintage vests and ties he could take back to school. He found something else, something I’d forgotten about. What a treat. It was almost like Christmas again.

I will never forget when he looked at me holding the box and asked, “Mom, what the hell?”

My parents traveled to California in 1849. It was the year the great California Gold Rush Started. Among their party were two young women, Martha and Leyna.

Unlike my father, and pregnant mother, Martha and Leyna were not Vampires. Martha had been a young slave who’d been purchased (at the age of thirteen) in 1848 by my mother, and immediately given her freedom. Martha was smart and sweet girl who liked baby blue ribbons and anything to do with roses. Leyna was a sturdy one eyed teen with a black eye patch, and a head full of long blonde curls and pale blue eyes. She was to marry a man in his 40’s but she’d have none of that. She ended up in the service of my mother who appreciated her common sense and sense of humor. The contrast between the small dark slender girl and the Amazon like pale girl was almost extreme, but the two became inseparable friends.

By 1866 my parents had produced five little Vampire children. My brother Andy’s Italian music master was falling in love with Martha. Leyna was happy to be her own woman and running the kitchen. Both were still working for my parents.

Yes, we had a kitchen, for Vampires do eat food from time to time, especially with growing children. Another reason (which has a lot to do with the whole point of this story) is that my parent’s entertained a lot. None of their fine Nineteenth Century friends had any idea that Jeremy and Samantha and their five darling children were Vampires. It was all about appearances.

So during the party season of 1866 strange things started to happen around town. Even the illustrious households like the Standfords and Crockers reported disturbances of the most disgusting manner.

Women reported they’d feel something pulling at their large skirts, only to hear running, and a hissing laugh, followed by a cloud of flies and fleas. Sometimes they’d smell horrible fart like gas, or feel the brush of soft fur against their legs.

From fine homes, to local bars, alcohol supplies started to run low. Someone or something was getting into the supply.

Even our house was not exempt from the strange bad smelling visitor. I could hear my mother talking to my father about it. She said she’d heard of such event near St. Louis.

All the while my brothers and I were watching for whatever being was causing the disturbance. There were rumors of a dwarf escaped from a circus, or Werewolves, or ghosts, or even trained devil dogs.

Then one day we saw them walking along the edge of our house. A large greasy possum, his fur slicked back, and wearing one of my father’s ties around his neck, crept along with his teeth showing, and his dark eyes darting around. He was followed by a small creature who staggered along like a drunk. It looked like a small armadillo. The possum was disgusting, like the drunken dandy Werewolves who thought they were God’s gift to women. The armadillo creature was small and sweet.

Soon all Hell broke loose. The possum was trying to “romance” our cats. Alright, he was trying to mount them. That led to a possum face full of bloody scratches. Our dogs barked but he just flipped him off. Next we chased him into the house where we lost him for a few hours. We found the armadillo creature in a corner curled up around a bottle of whiskey.

The sound of scratching claws could be heard against the hardwood floor. The rank smell, and trail of my mother’s lacy unmentionables, led us to the kitchen.

“Look what that demon spawn has stolen from Samantha’s room,” we heard Leyna yelling.

Martha ran down the hall telling us to help her pick up the mess.

Then my mother appeared in the doorway. She was not happy. “It is called Buster. Martha, Leyna, we must eliminate it. NOW.”

Of course my seven year old brother Val and I started to scream at them not to kill it. We wanted to put it in a cage and tame it. We wanted to have it as a pet. We’d wash it and train it. We’d teach it tricks. We’d be famous.

Mother said NO.

The creature put his head up and looked at my mother with his shining black eyes, then hissed out the words, “Want some tail between your legs beautiful?”

The was a collective gasp, even from the Vampires in the room.

Martha, in a whirl of blue ribbons and lace, grabbed a broom. Leyna grabbed a large cast iron frying pan.

The creature hissed again. “Love it when the bitches get all fired up.” Then a cloud of fleas, flies, and fur swirled around the room.

Martha, Leyna and the possum thing called Buster disappeared into the kitchen. My mother followed, slamming the door behind her.

We stood with our ears to the door listening to the carnage. It sounded like a bar brawl.  When the door opened my mother came out, her hair falling in messy curls down her back, her hands covered with scratches and blood. Martha and Leyna stood in shock.

A possum jaw was stuck in the back of the door, teeth sunk into the wood like nails. The rest of the animal was on the cutting board, a mash up of fur and a long rat like tail. Blood ran off of the surface onto the floor.

“Is it dead?” I asked.

My mother started to laugh. Then Martha and Leyna laughed too, until the three of them couldn’t stop.

“May I have the fur?” Asked my brother Val.

My mother smiled. “Whatever for my darling?”

“I’d like to make a doll out of it for Juliette.”

Val was a darling child.

Then Leyna spoke, “My sweetheart can do taxee-dermy. He’ll make you up a nice dolly for Juliette.”

Val and I jumped up and down clapping our cold little Vampire hands. We couldn’t have been more excited.

A week later Buster came back gutted and stuffed. His eyes had been replaced with shiny black buttons. His jaw and other loose parts had been sewn and wired back on. He was as good as new. And to make things even better Layna had made Buster a fine dress of green silk, with tiny yellow bows. Eventually my mother got tired of Buster’s stinking dressed up corpse and put him away.

As for the armadillo, he turned out to be a rare pigladillo. I would sit with him purring in my lap for hours. He lived to be almost forty years old. Such a sweet thing, even when he was drinking.

buster012

~ End

 

So what prompted me to write three such disgusting and random tales? It is part of the Evil Squirrel’s Third Annual Contest of Whatever.

Thanks Evil Squirrel.

I just won the 2017 Fourth Annual Contest of Whatever. Woo Hoo. Click here for that entry.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

The Third Annual Contest Of Whatever!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwing It ALL Away – Teens and Consequences

Parenting 101

I consider myself a serious parenting blogger, because I believe parenting is the most important job you can ever do.

So please let me rant a bit…

Parents PLEASE take the time and talk to your children, the younger the better, about consequences of their actions. Tell them: Something stupid you do NOW can have consequences that will last your entire life. It can RUIN your life.

As soon as we started the whole elementary school adventure we realized that it is never too early to screw up the next 5, 10, 20 years – or even screw up an entire life based on bad and impulsive choices.

I often wonder why parents don’t talk to their kids about life, consequences, and taking personal responsibility for their actions. And it is like training a dog. You have to start early. Seriously.

You might be asking, What brings this on Juliette? 

Yesterday I was told about a seriously icky event at the High School. One of the boys in my daughters AP English class (these kids are all seniors) was talking about how he had to get a new car because someone had crapped in his car.

The boy accidentally left a couple of the windows in his car cracked. He parked it in the school lot. While he was at sports practice that afternoon someone (it was assumed two individuals) broke into his car and pooped on the seats. Then the poppers spread the shit ALL OVER ALL of the seats. The poor kids could smell it as he approached the car. He said if it had just been a bag of poop it wouldn’t have been that bad but it was spread all over the car. A tow truck had to be called to haul the car away because there was no way he was going to drive the car home. His parents said they were going to have to get a new car because the cloth seats couldn’t be cleaned. It was an old car, used by every kid in the family already. But still, this should not have happened. The poor kid wonders who could have hated him so much to do such an awful thing. What kind of sick mind would do this? It could have been someone he knew. It could have been someone from another school. It could have been some sick fucks walking by and seeing the open windows.

Here is where my advice to parents comes in:

If the persons who pooped in the car are caught there will be consequences. They will be caught because every kid in the school now knows about the shit-and-run event. Security cameras recorded it. They can see who it was, their car if it was involved, or what building they came out of.

If it was students there will be consequences that will screw up their entire future. If it is a senior he will not graduate (or will not be allowed to walk on graduation day), if it was a younger student he will be expelled and made to go to a continuation school. There might be criminal charges. If the perpetrator is 18 he will be charged as an adult. Even a 17-year-old might be charged as an adult. If caught these kids can kiss all of their college applications good-bye. They’ll be kicked out of a good school, and maybe have a criminal record. Not to mention that NO GIRL will ever want to date these guys – and the list goes on. Did I mention lawsuits and damage charges?

One disgusting event, that was no doubt spur of the moment, and done on an impulse will ruin the lives of these kids if they are caught.

Was it worth it? Hell no.

That is just one example. Teens and young adults are impulsive. It is how their brains work. But they can control those impulses. You NEED to talk to them about it.

It all comes down to what parents always tell their kids. If your friend jumps off a bridge that doesn’t mean that YOU have to jump off of the bridge too.

Kids need to know that they don’t have to jump off of that bridge. They can say NO. If the friend gets pissy then it isn’t a friend they want to have.

At our high school parents and students are told over and over and over, that if they pull pranks they will not graduate. This includes the famous senior pranks that usually include creative ways of vandalizing the school (oiled hallways, interesting pain, pictures of body parts burned into the grass on the Quad, etc.)

If you act like an asshole, if you hurt others, if you blindly follow, if you do things out of spite,  if you DON’T THINK before you act – there will be consequences.

Need help? Here is a list of stupid things teens can and will do.

Unprotected sex: A baby will change the life of any teen. So long college. So long friends. So long exploring the world before you choose if and when you’ll have a child. Don’t give me some happy story of a teen who had a baby and the fairy tale that ensued. That is the rare exception, not the rule. Unprotected sex can also welcome HIV and other nasty things to your child’s life.

Making decisions based on friends: How many kids have rejected once in a lifetime college, trade show, job, internship, and other opportunities because a boyfriend or girlfriend begged them not to go. How many have turned down fantastic opportunities because they did not want to leave their friends. You know what? Those friends are going to leave and do what they want and not think twice about it. Or the friends will be losers who don’t care. If they are REAL friends they will encourage your child to fly and be successful. Real friends will keep in touch no matter how far away they live.

Dropping out: Dropping out of school, be it high school, college, a trade school or a great opportunity isn’t anything to be taken lightly. I can’t tell you how many people I know who dropped out of college the second or even third year in – then found out later how hard it is to go back. Usually is isn’t financial reasons – it is because they can’t look into their own futures and see how hard it will be. Just finish. You’re young. Finish now or when you’re thirty-five you’ll be kicking yourself.

Relationships: If it is indeed true love it can wait. If someone loves you they will never ask you to put aside your dreams. Someone who love you will encourage you to follow your dreams. Only selfish, and controlling people will ask you to turn down your school, job, or any endeavor that is your passion.

Cults (religious and political) and other abusive relationships: These are the people who prey on young individuals. They break kids down, then make them feel good and wanted. They look for kids who are lonely. They look for kids who are needy. They want to turn your child against against everything they know. If ANYONE tells your child to turn against their family and friends then it is time to RUN. RUN FAST.

Doing shit out of spite: If you do anything out of spite to get back at parents, teachers, friends, siblings, school – it will only come back and HURT YOU. That is what is usually called coming back and biting you on the ass. I’ve seen people marry someone for spite because they were mad at their parents – believe me THAT never ends well. So impulsive, and the only one hurt is the one who wanted to get revenge.

And most of all CRAPPY FRIENDS: You can help friends but you can never bring someone up who doesn’t want to be brought up. Crap friends will only bring you down. If someone wants to move up they have to want to move up and do it on their own. Some kids are rescuers. Some are followers. I encourage all parents to PLEASE discourage your kids from being rescuers or followers. It will only lead to things like kids shitting in cars. It can also lead to smaller things that can also get them kicked out of school, ostracized by other kids, and even arrested.

Yes, you are the parent – you CAN have control over who your child hangs out with. From an early age you have to teach them about how valuable their reputation is. It takes a second to lose one’s reputation but years to get it back.

One more thing. If your child wants ink as soon as he or she turns eighteen please guide them. Shitty tattoos last forever and remind one of how stupid they were. Good ones, by good artists, with good placement can be a joy. Remember, tattoos, like herpes, are there forever. Be smart (or start saving for a good cover up or laser treatments.)

I’m just ranting right now, but whenever I think of anyone doing stupid mindless and impulsive things that ruin their lives and the lives of others I wonder why they do it.

We’ve all heard of teachers who sleep with students then go to jail and never teach again. Was it worth it to be out of a job. Was it worth it to have years of education go down the drain? Was it worth it to be considered a pervert for the rest of your life?

Then there are the Brock Turners of the world. Turner was obviously smart (click here if you don’t know about the case). He had everything. He was good looking. He was attending Stanford University. He was a swimmer who might have been good enough to make it to the Olympics. But rather than being nice, and normal, he decided to be a violent, vile, and horrible the night he brutally sexually assaulted a girl at a party. One has to wonder if it was worth throwing all of that away to be the biggest asshole in the universe and harm another person?

How many kids would have given ANYTHING to go to Stanford, let alone have the other opportunities Turner had. And he threw it all away, and harmed an innocent person along the way.

What makes it worse is that his parents defended him. There is no defense for that kind of behavior. So was it worth it Brock? Why did you do it? Why where you such an asshole?

So talk to your kids. Tell them all of those cautionary tales of others who have fucked up their lives because of stupid impulsive acts.

That is it. And don’t tell me that it is hard. If I could do it then so can you.

I fucked up enough on my own – but, by my choice, I don’t fuck up when it comes to parenting.

It isn’t easy but you can do it. You’re a parent. That is YOUR JOB.

Now go hug your kids and talk to them. Don’t preach. Discuss. Share. Love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have Some Cake (and Parenting of Course)

In honor of the Grammy’s I was planning on doing a post of the WORST songs ever (Rhiannon, McArthur Park, Spill the Wine, Sylvia’s Mother, Seventeen, That horrible roller skate/key song, The Thong Song, Free Bird, anything featuring Barbara Streisand, Ariana Grande, St. Vincent, or The Doobie Brothers.) I decided to skip it for something not so negative. Musical taste is so subjective.

But it was fun this summer driving across the endless Utah desert with my child, after the air conditioner had failed, listening to the worst songs ever. Let me explain…when a song on the “worst songs of all time” list came on I’d turn it up as part of my daughter’s cultural education. She listened to the entire performance of McArthur Park. I had to explain that the cake out in the rain and finding the recipe was a metaphor for lost love or some bull shit like that, while my seventeen year old child laughed out loud. We both laughed out loud in our 400 degree F car driving along about two hundred miles from the nearest town.

Everything in life isn’t good, no matter how hard you try to put that twist on your child rearing philosophy. At least there are times, like with music, when you can use humor to teach your kid about bad taste, bad judgement, bad fashion, bad friends, bad politics, and all of those weird things that come across our pathway.

Music, like art, literature, and cats, is something you can share with your kids. It brings people together. Stay with me on this because I know a lot of people hate their kids music. At least you can make an effort to understand what they like, and why they like it. Or maybe you can find something new together. Expand your horizons. Take a leap of faith and turn to a different number on the radio dial together. You might hate it. You might love it. But you did it together – with your kid.

Now for the real reason I brought up music. Yesterday I posted a story about a couple of Vampire kids in college called “Why I Hate Valentine’s Day.” Blog traffic was through the roof (because I am the Queen of Love Letters). But NOBODY, not a single person mentioned the reference to a song in the story. Oh come on guys, humor me a little.

And yes, I do love each and every one of you who reads and follows this blog.

OK, here it is. Listen and look for it.

Listen to the next songs too. Have fun even if you don’t like it. Or as your mom would say, “Don’t complain, it’s good for you.” Here are a couple of the best covers ever. Yes, listen to the Vampire – it’s good for you. Don’t complain.

By the way, the band CAKE is from Sacramento, my hometown. We’re a creative kind of place.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Perhaps

 

 

I Hate Valentine’s Day (A Short Vampire Story)

Short Story Sunday Monday Tuesday:
I Hate Valentine’s Day

“I shouldn’t be alone today,” thought young Randy as he sat brooding on a rock, on the beach at 5:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day. His heart was broken. The girl, a Vampire girl he knew he was going to fall in love with had given her heart to another and left him in the dreaded friend zone.

And it wasn’t as if she’d left him, or chosen another college student. Sure the guy she’d fallen for looked like he was twenty-one but he was born in freaking 1902. What did girls see in these older guys?

He was jolted from his thoughts by a “Hi. You’re Randy, aren’t you?”

A dark haired girl in a short black skirt and a long black jacket stood in front of him. “I’m Alexis. I’m in your Organic Chemistry class. I’m a Vampire, but you knew that. I know you are too. Small world.”

“Oh, right. Sure. Hi. Have a seat,” said Randy, glad for the company now.

“I hate Valentine’s Day,” said Alexis.

“Why do you hate it?”

She sat down on rock next to him. “My parents were borderline Shadow Creepers, you know old time Vampires who stayed in the dark most of the time. Nobody knew we were Vampires, but everybody including the other school parents thought my parents were weird. I got picked on a lot at school. I was like quiet and small. I didn’t know how to stand up for myself. I didn’t dare try any of my Vampire stuff on anyone. I was afraid if anyone found out they’d kill my family. Anyway, every Valentine’s Day we’d have to make stupid boxes and bring Valentines. I always made something pretty with roses and flowers and stuff, all pink and nice. I always make a beautiful box, and make everyone pretty Valentines by hand, but I never got any Valentines. Maybe from one of the girls who felt sorry for me. Everyone had full boxes except me. The kids all started to laugh at me. I wanted to rip their throats out but I couldn’t. You know, Vampire code.”

“Sure, don’t show them what you are, no matter what. Did your mom and dad know?”

“I never told them anything. We didn’t talk much at home. But I got my revenge.”

“Revenge?”

“I told the teacher I had to go the bathroom. Of course the boys started to make jokes about how I’d stink the school up. They were mean like that. Always. It never stopped. So like, the teacher said someone had to go with me to make sure I wouldn’t spend too much time in there, cause sometimes I’d just go there to get away from it all. She said that Ashley should go with me. Ashley was the most popular girl.

Ashley started to pout and complain. So a girl called Emma volunteered. Emma was the only kid who gave me a Valentine. She was kind of overweight and sometimes the other kids would say mean things to her too, but she was the smartest kid in the class so they didn’t say too much.

When we got out of the classroom Emma said she knew I didn’t need to go to the bathroom. We walked around for a bit, then went back to the classroom. But we didn’t go in.

“You can make them pay for what they did. I’ll help you,” said Emma. “I’m a witch. I know what you are.” Then she smiled in a way that even scared me.

We didn’t go back in the classroom. The door locked with a loud click. Emma just smiled. The room filled with smoke. The other kids started to scream. They couldn’t get out. Everyone started to claw at their faces and arms. That is except the teacher who kept trying to open the door. We ran to the office to get help. You know, we had to keep up appearances.

By the time the fire department go there and knocked down the door, the smoke at gone away, but the smell of sulphur was still in the room. Some of the kids had clawed out their eyes and made huge gashes in their faces and arms.

Then Emma whispered in my ear, “they’ll never call you ugly again.”

Hey, even I was shocked. I never did a thing. It was all her. Both of us ended up going to another school. In high school I made a lot of friends. They all thought my parents were cool Goths. The rest of the kids are still all scarred and screwed up.”

Randy looked at her feeling sort of numb. “Where is Emma now?”

“She got into swimming. Lost a lot of weight. Turned blonde. She’s at UCLA now. So Randy, why don’t you like Valentine’s day?”

“A girl I liked started seeing another guy.”

“Bummer. Sorry to hear that.”

They sat in silence for a while, listening to the waves. Randy didn’t know what to say. He and his best friend had been the two most popular boys at their high school. Their lives had been happy and relatively care free. Their parents were modern Vampire in every way possible.

Alexis bumped her shoulder gently against Randy’s. “I hope you don’t think I’m weird.”

“No. Well, maybe just a little.”

“Looks like the storm is coming in. Wanna get coffee? No pressure. It’s not like I want to be your girlfriend or anything like that. Just you know, like just a couple of Vampire friends.”

“Sure,” said Randy.

As they walked up to the street he put on his sunglasses against the morning sun. Well, stranger things had happened.

~ End

Happy Valentine’s Day,

Juliette aka Vampire Maman