A Particularly Ill-Tempered Ghost

“I remember my last Thanksgiving. I was dead a week later.”

I looked up from my work at Nigel the Ghost. He’d materialized in the chair across from me in the breakfast nook. Today his black hair was in kind of a side bang across his blue eyes making him look like he was getting ready to sling his guitar over his shoulder and go play in a Punk Pop band somewhere. He was wearing a white shirt with a black vest, and black tie looking rather somber.

When someone tells you something like that words often are difficult to find, especially if it is a particularly ill-tempered ghost.

So I asked the first question that came to mind. “Did you ever figure out who killed you?”

“No. Not a clue. It still pisses me off. I was in the shower and then nothing. Blood running down the drain and the side of my skull was bashed in.”

“How long has it been?”

“Thirty years.”

There was a pause. We looked at each other but nobody said a world. I could hear the clock ticking, and the dog no doubt doing bad things in the back yard like digging a hole the size of Lake Tahoe.

“I hate the holidays. And you’re a Vampire, here forever, and you don’t even eat Turkey.”

“Turkey isn’t really a Vampire kind of thing Nigel.”

“So what do you eat? Small babies? Unsuspecting travelers from other states?”

“Were you this rude when you were alive?”

“No, but I’m doing my best to haunt you with my rudeness since I know I can’t frighten you with loud noises and flying furniture.”

I got up and went to the kitchen for more coffee. I’d made a note to my self to go to Dave’s Bottle Shop later because they are having a huge sale of Poet’s Blood and Philosopher Plasma. I can get 20% off of case price. That also includes wine. In the meantime I had a ghost to deal with, or not. I didn’t have to deal with him.

For as long as I’ve known him I’ve come to expect him to be especially assholish around November and December.

“We could visit your grave if you like. Do you want to watch a movie? I could check Netflix.” I said.

The room grew cold. He brushed his hair out of his face and glared at me.

“What do you want from me Nigel? You know I’m a Vampire. You know I don’t particularly like Ghosts.”

I got half and half out of the refrigerator, and poured it in my coffee.  Nigel followed me. He leaned on the kitchen counter.

“I can see right through you,” I said.

He slammed his fist on the counter, making the entire house shake. “Oh, now you think you know my motivation. Just because you’re a Vampire…”

“No, I can see right through you. You’re transparent. I can see the dog looking through the sliding glass door.”

He lifted his hand and the door opened letting a muddy dog inside. She went to her dog bed and curled up.

I looked at the mud on the carpet.

Nigel ignored the mud. “May I please have a cup of coffee? It would calm my nerves.”

The Ghost sat down at the table with me and held his hands around the hot mug. He took in the smell of the coffee he couldn’t drink. “Thank you. I feel better now.”

He didn’t apologize for his rudeness or the mud. That was fine with me. I don’t expect much from any Ghost, especially Nigel.

He looked up at me and gave me a half smile. “So are you going to blog about how diverse the paranormal community is, and how we all get along, and how everybody should be like us?”

“Nobody reads my blog or listens to me Nigel,” I said.

“It was a stupid idea anyway. Mind if Mary and I come hang out with you on Thursday?”

“Sure, that would be nice. Everybody likes Mary,” I told him.

“Thanks,” he said. “Please note Juliette that I did thank you. This is for Mary as much as it is for me. She likes you.”

Mary is Nigel’s Ghost girlfriend. Long story short, she was murdered in 1701 or sometime around then. They’re a good match. He is sweet when she is around. Love will do that, even to a surly perpetually pissed off ghost.

My family is used to Ghosts. We don’t always like them, but we accept them, as long as they don’t throw furniture around.

I’m never sure what the head count will be for Thanksgiving. All are welcome, even if we aren’t all exactly the same. And even if we are.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

coffee

 

 

If you have a cat…

As a parent, even a parent such as I am, one sees a lot of nasty stupid things. You’d think by the time your kids are almost grown (almost 17 and 20) that it would stop. And I’m not talking about kids, I’m talking about parents.

Dear Super Mom,

Maybe the reason you change your children’s teachers, schools, churches, sports, coaches, sports clubs, isn’t because everyone is insensitive and not doing their job. Maybe it is you. Maybe YOU aren’t doing your job. So just shut the fuck up and stop bad mouthing everyone. Look at yourself. And look at your kids – they’re mean to other kids, and they lie. Because of that other kids and adults don’t like them. Go figure your kids are just like you. How sweet. OK I’m done. Peace. 

 

Now that I have THAT out of the way…

Clara and I are planning another cross country road trip across deserts, mountains, and plains. Vampires love road trips. It is a time to crank up the music and see America. And who doesn’t like to taste the local flavor, if you know what I mean.

We are driving from near Sacramento, CA to Lincoln, NE, through Denver, CO. I’ll make sure I send photos from the road and my travel log. We’re going to the National Artistic Roller Skating Championships.

Excuse me for a second. Outside of my window is an angry Ghost. Did I mention that it is the middle of the day and over 105 degrees farenheit outside? Did I mention that I live on a hill, so the window is about two stories up.

I’ll be right back.

OK I’m back.

I motioned for the Ghost to come inside. He looked horrible – almost dead. I mean, he is dead, but not that kind of dead. Unless he is in his head-bashed-in with a frying pan look he had when he died he looks pretty good. He was one of those guys with almost a pretty face. You know, the kind with the sweet smile and eyelashes that make any woman green with envy. Yet, he is still extremely masculine. That does not sway my opinion of him, which is that he is usually a complete asshole.

He vanished in and reappeared standing behind me. His already shaggy black hair was almost standing on end. His skin look gray, even for a ghost. He wore his funeral suit without the jacket, and his black tie was loose around his neck, and he’d rolled up the sleeves.

“You look like you’ve been to Hell and back,” I said to him.

“Don’t even joke about that,” he said, then whispered the words Vampire bitch under his breath as if I wouldn’t hear.

I haven’t seen Nigel, The Ghost, for months, then suddenly he shows up in a bad mood, expecting my full attention.

I wait for him to speak, as one does with a Ghost. And I wait. He says nothing. Then I try to go back to writing something meaningful for my blog post about traveling with teens and young adults, but I’ve lost track of every thought in my head.

So I ask. “What is it Nigel?”

“Nothing.”

“Is it the heat?”

“I don’t have a physical body. I don’t feel heat.”

I’m not one for guessing games. In fact I hate guessing games. You know the type I’m talking about. Someone comes in and says, “Guess who I saw?” or “You won’t believe this. Guess who is getting married?” I don’t want to guess. I don’t want to throw out a dozen names and still not know what you want to tell me. Just tell me. So I didn’t even ask Nigel anything, and of course that drives him nuts, because he’d come back at me with a “guess what” fill in the blank.

The calico cat rubbed against Nigel’s leg. Yes, cats can do that, even if you don’t see the Ghost. Cats always see the Ghost.

Nigel gave the cat a smile and stroked her head, then he glared at me and vanished. I’m not even going to speculate on why he stopped by, other than to annoy me, or maybe he just needed to see the cat.

The train of thought is lost forever.

But I know that if you have a cat to pet then everything will be alright. If you have a cat your most troublesome Ghost will fade away with a smile on his face.

That’s it for today. Time to cool off.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman.

 

Food and a box is all they ask for (usually)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Down

I live in a home with over fifty steps. This includes inside and outside stairs.

Last night we had a sudden and unusual thunder storm. I went out to the deck to take a look. There is a top deck and a larger bottom deck (we live on a hill.) Ten stairs are between the two.

I looked down in the dark, not expecting to see anything. And nothing was there. No glowing eyes. No still and bloody body. No cracked open skull spilling brains on the wood. No rabid coyotes. No Goblins waiting to rip my heart out and take over my home.

The wind whipped around my head, and the rain started to fall. I turned to go back inside, then felt an icy hand on my shoulder. I turned.

At the bottom of the stairway was The Ghost. He stood there, his hair dripping from the rain, his eyes dark with a hint of sky blue in the dark. Then as usual he flipped me off and vanished with the words, “Oh Vampire, even you have fear in your heart.”

“No,” I yelled. “The only thing I fear is missing the last step and falling.”  Then I yelled. “And I the thing I fear most is you not shutting up. Thank you for not talking my ear off tonight you little puke.”

I went inside and fed the cats. I could hear a quiet laugh from outside, at the bottom of the stairs.

 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/stairway/

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. 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 until it was time to pick Clara up from school.

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.

 

Have a good weekend everyone.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Road to Hell (a visit from my ghost)

It is now December in many places… Time for cold and cold dead Ghosts, and Vampires. I believe this was one of the first mentions of The Ghost – otherwise known as Nigel. Enjoy and stay warm, of course unless you’re a Vampire.

Vampire Maman

The storm outside has calmed down for a while so I went outside to see if any trees had come down or other damage.

The ghost was out back pacing in the field. I kept my eye on him, not wanting him to see me but at the same time wanting to flip him off. I could feel my upper lip involuntarily twitching as I tried not to show my fangs.

He suddenly turned and glared at me, then looked away.

Something was bothering him. A ghost bothered? I guess. I can’t figure out the strange black suited bastard who materializes in and out of my life with insults and jabs.

“What is wrong with you?” I asked the apparition.

He slowly turned my way and with icy eyes and a cold steady voice said “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions and lined with family members cheering…

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Nothing is that mysterious – not even Shadow People (or go away I need my mom time)

Today I was in my car, in the parking lot at the high school waiting for my daughter Clara.

I was thinking about the time last year when one of the kids in Geography gave a presentation and stated  “Oprah is popular in Italy.” It makes me laugh out loud every single time. Opera. It is opera that is so popular in Italy.

I know that this afternoon and tonight I will hear more amazing stories of school. Yes, every single night is like a stand up comedy routine with my daughter telling her dad and I about school.

School will be out in five minutes so I take a minute to read from “All the Light We Cannot See.” It was a book I didn’t think I’d like because it is written in the present tense but I love it. The words are so beautiful and the characters are so real. If you want to be transported to another time and place, get off of my blog, get off the Internet, find a quiet place and read this book.

So I’m sitting in my car, windows down, a slight warm breeze brushes my cool face and I catch a shape in the corner of my eyes. Damn it. There they are, two guys in suits. I know them. The proverbial men in black or whatever one wants to call these goons from some undisclosed secret agency. The asshole squad (as they’re officially called by Vampires and Werewolves.)

One is wearing the black suit. The other has removed his jacket and has the starched white shirt with the black tie. At least the Vampire Hunters I know don’t stick to the stereotypes like these guys do (at least the professionals who don’t bother my kind.)

Anyway they approach the car. One leans on the door at the open window. Last time they dropped by to see me they wanted to know about Zombies.

“I’m not your reference librarian,” I say to them.

“Who’s your friend?” The one who asks is called Johnson. I think his first name is Tom.

I was in the car alone, so I thought but I looked over and saw Nigel, the ghost sitting in the front passenger seat. He smiled sweetly, looking as solid and physical as can be.

“Nigel Pierce,” said the ghost to the annoying over dressed men.

“Like the artist?” The man asked with a slight sarcastic hint in his voice,

“Just like that.” said Nigel oh so cheerfully. Yes, just like the artist.

The man in the jacket pulled out a photo and showed it to me.

Vlad

“Do you know this man Juliette?”

Of course I knew him. “What do you need to know?”

“He is a Vampire, like you.”

“And your point is?”

“Shadow people.”

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding?” That was Nigel. The Ghost said that.

I glared at Nigel. One does not show expression or give any information to men in black suits.

“Do you know something?” That was the one called Johnson.

Nigel leaned forward and brushed his dark hair out of his eyes. “Don’t mess with them man. They’re total creepers and psychopaths.”

“Have you communicated with them?”

“Not if I can help it. They’re the trash of the paranormal world.”

“Ghosts?”

“Not even. Ghosts my ass. They’re nothing like Ghosts. Shadow People are… they’re like those weird kids in high school who think they’re really smart and creep around trying to look up girl’s skirts and suck up snot instead of using tissues. They’re sick. They’re straight up from Hell as far as I’m concerned. Nothing but a bunch of assholes.”

“What about the man in the hat?” That was Johnson again. All across the world people see shadows of a man a fedora (look up Coast-to-Coast and Art Bell if you don’t know about shadow people.)

“He’s a nothing but a pretender. Don’t waste your time.” Nigel turned to me. “Sorry Juliette, I didn’t know you’d have company. I gotta go. Hey, one more thing. Did you know I went to high school here. I did. HA. Things haven’t changed much.” And he vanished, as ghosts do in the middle of a Friday afternoon.

The men looked surprised. OK they looked shocked.

I took a deep breath and explained it all. “Nigel is a ghost. Get over it. And no, I’m not going to give you any information about him.”

“Nigel Pierce died in 1986,” said the other guy, his name is Booth. Cameron Booth. He doesn’t know that I know his first name.

“That explains the ghost part,” said Johnson.

Huh. Before today I never knew Nigel’s last name.

“Tell us about the man in the photo and where we can find him,” said Booth.

“I’m here to pick up my daughter. The fact that I’m a Vampire gives you no right to harass me.” At that point I turned my eyes dark and send a cold dark fear right to their bones. Yes, I can do that when I’m really pissed off.

I would have had a nice conversation with them about the Vampire in the photo and Shadow People and Ghosts but I didn’t really feel like it right then. I was off the clock for the weekend. It can’t be Halloween ALL the time. Jeeze.

The point of this story isn’t about Shadow People or Ghosts or Men from mysterious agencies. It is about being a mom. Friday afternoon is time I spend with my daughter. It is OUR TIME. The time I wait in the car for my daughter is MY TIME. I don’t want to be bothered. I don’t want to be questioned about things I don’t even like. I don’t want to have to make decisions. I’ve earned my few moments alone. I’ve earned my time with my child. I’ve earned the right not to be treated like a freak because I’m not like everybody else.

When Clara and I got home there were a dozen turkeys in our front yard. Did I question their existence? Did I wonder why their motivation was? Did I bother them? No. Of course not. I get it. Three Turkey Mamans out with their brood of nine skinny necked adolescent turkey babies. They don’t want to be bothered either.

Don’t bother me when I’m with my child… or with my Ghost.

Have a good weekend everyone. Make sure you take time to relax, unwind and get some me-time in for yourself. You’ll thank me for it later.

I sent Johnson a text on his personal phone and told him to have fun at his daughter’s play. She was going to be Amy in “Charlie’s Aunt” at her High School. Of course he had no idea I had his number. He has no idea about a lot of things but even the men of mystery have to get real. We all need to get real.

Right now I’m at my usual Friday spot in a dark table in a roller rink while Clara practices team dance with her partner. It is my time. Tomorrow I’ll be booked with other people, but now it is just me, my laptop and you.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman