Foxy Mendoza the Earl of Suave

He went by the name Foxy Mendoza but was neither Foxy or had any ethnic background that warranted then sir name Mendoza. The last time I saw him we was going by Mitchell Smyth-Robinson. Just imagine a Vampire in a cheap suit, no, please, don’t do that. Vampires don’t usually wear cheap suits. This time Mitch, excuse me Foxy, was wearing lime green skinny jeans, a tight black tee, a small black pork pie hat and had something that looked like a Yorkshire Terrier growing off of his chin. Gold hoops adorned his ears and he carried a bright red organically grown cotton man-purse. He called it a satchel. It was a man-purse. He still smelled of violet water. You can’t get the Victorian out of this Vampire who is always reinventing himself.

Foxy Mendoza is the epitome of ridiculous but he is also so successful at everything he does. Well, almost everything.

To make matters worse is the fact that I’m stuck with Foxy Mendoza aka Mitchell Smyth-Robinson aka Sonny Valentino aka John Earl… that fact is that I am stuck with this creature of many names is because I am the one who turned him into a Vampire. I cringe each and every time I think of it.

“So where did you get the name Foxy?” I had to ask.

“My flaming red hair of course.”

He is a strawberry blonde at best. I didn’t even ask about the last name Mendoza.

My kids were glad to see their Uncle Mitch. Aside from the strange ungodly hair on his chin they thought his new look was exceptionally cool. They laughed at his new name. Foxy laughed with them. But they still called him Uncle Mitch.

I have to admit that we all have those weird, eccentric, unusual and unique people in our lives. Those qualities are quiet annoying at times but can be quite charming as well. And face it, if you want to be a successful Vampire you have to have at least 3 out of those four qualities.

Yes, I know you’re curious about the circumstances in which I turned Mitch, I mean Foxy, into a Vampire.

It was 1879. We were really young. I was a few months from turning 20. Mitch, known then as John, was 22.  I met him on a boat, at night, in San Francisco Bay. There was no moon, only stars out. Anyway, I’ll write up the entire tale later, but he knew I was a Vampire. We started to talk. At first I wanted to rip out his neck he was so annoying but then he grew on me. He made me laugh. I made him smile. We talked until dawn and then kept talking. No, we were never involved romantically. Oh he could be so annoying that it frustrated me to no end, but there was something about him that was so… I don’t know, because he is SO annoying. But friendship is weird that way. So there you go. On my 20th birthday he was a Vampire and we were still friends.

Friendship is like that. I do need to tell you more about Foxy but then again you might want to tell me “NOOOOOO I can’t take it anymore.” Foxy brings that out in people.

Crap, now I have to figure out how to get him to shave that ridiculous thing off of his chin. What is it with guys and beards? My husband never had a beard and only one of my brothers sports one right now. Val has a neatly trimmed short beard that actually looks good on him. I have to take a break and smile here because Val thinks Mitch/Foxy is the most annoying person in the world and it takes a lot to annoy Val. Just makes me laugh.

And did I mention my friend’s laugh? Maybe it would be better if I didn’t. Think fire trucks and snorts.

Have fun everyone and never make an excuse for your weird and annoying friends. Just think of how boring life would be without them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Big Hat

One more bit of news… My first stand-alone collection of short stories is now available (with good reviews) on Amazon.com

Morning at the Vineyard

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Letters to my brother…or don’t be sorry that your family isn’t “normal”

Dear Aaron,

I no longer wish to be a Vampire. Please be a dear and do some research for me.

Love,

Your brother Andrew

Dear Andrew,

You don’t have to remind me that you’re my brother. And are you freaking crazy? You are a Vampire and there is no undoing it. You were born that way. Even if you weren’t there is no undoing it. End of story. So get over it and any girl you’ve recently broken up with.

Aaron

Dear Aaron,

Your cruel and unfortunate comment hit me to the core.

Andrew

Andy,

Mom and Dad are on their way down to see you, like they really need to come bail you out again. My wife wasn’t always a Vampire and she said being a regular human is no piece of cake either. Take a deep breath. You’re only 163. You’re young and we all make mistakes.

Aaron

I saw this typical exchange between my brothers. Typical Birth Order study in action. Max is the over achieving golden child eldest, next comes the incredibly phenomenally talented Andrew, in the middle is Aaron who is steady and smart and always has his act together. The last two are my brother Val and me. We’re smart too but we’re fun and, well, we’re fun.

But for some reason Aaron seems to be the one everyone expects to fix things. Somber and serious, but only because he feels he has been forced into it. The happy fun of a large family.

I told my children “marry an only child and make sure you marry and orphan too.” And don’t send me hate mail, I’m just kidding (sort of).

While Aaron was ready to growl, I got on the phone and called Andrew. Mind you he is in Patagonia so it is very long distance with questionable connections but I finally got through, sort of.

First someone answered in Spanish. I told them I wanted to speak to Andrew. Then someone speaking German got on the line. It was German with an odd accent. German with a British accent. It was James, Andrew’s old friend from way back.

“Jewels!” He literally sang my nick name  (in English now) into the crackling phone line. “Are you still with Teddy? If not you know I’m available. Come one down to Argentina and we’ll dance under the Southern stars and make wild love on the deserted beaches…”

“James, I need to speak to Andy.” I told him that while taking a deep internal breath and trying to erase way too many visuals and memories the sound of his voice brought up.

Dear lovely James who can drive the most patient saint crazy. James who has never met a woman who didn’t end up hating him. James who is so sweet and charming that you hate yourself for all the times you want to kill him. James who is once wooed me with such abandon and aggression that I called him a stalker and told him I’d rip out his heart with my bare hands if he didn’t leave me alone. He left me alone and we’ve come to an understanding. We friends, with conditions. But when you’re dealing with a Vampire brother in trouble crazy James is the one to trust. Did I mention that he is also a successful clinical psychologist and marriage counselor? He is. Just thought I’d mention that. Oh right, and he is a Vampire too – just like the rest of us.

Andy’s voice came on the line. His is one of those clean, clear, magical voices of unbelievable tone and beauty that makes a person just want to sit and listen forever no matter what my brothers is saying. Unfortunately he never has much to say that is worth listening to. I love my brother, I really do, but sometimes his lack of everything makes me think I’m talking to a 10-year-old.

“Remember when we were in Paris in 1927 and the entire city seemed to belong to us? I was singing at the Opera house and it was the first time I felt human, like the masses.”

“You shared your gift.” I told my brother quietly. He has such a gift.

“They loved me. They adored my baby sister. Do you remember?”

I remembered but not quite the way Andy did. “How are you Andy?”

“Remember the French girl, the lovely one with the sky blue eyes. She had Lymphoma. I could taste it. I let her go. I helped her until she passed. Jewels we’ll never know. We’ll never know.”

“Nadine. She was lovely. I remember.” I remember he’d been hopelessly in love with her.

“I knew she was sick before she died.”

“I know Andy.”

“Why can’t we help people?”

“We can, but, Andy, you know how it is.”

“That’s why I don’t want to be one of us anymore. I don’t want to be  Vampire.”

“Andy, we can’t change what we were born into. We can’t change our DNA.”

“What about Teddy and Verity? They were born as Regular Humans. They didn’t start as Vampires.”

But they are now and they can’t go back. Teddy (my husband) and Verity (Aaron’s wife) had their own demons to deal with but they resisted the “what if” urge. Acceptance was their key to their survival. And for goodness sake I hope their children and my brother Aaron and I could keep them in the NOW and POSITIVE about their lives.

“Andrew, Teddy and Verity are fine. They’re happy as I want you to be. Oh Andrew, if I had your heart and soul and talent I would be the happiest woman on earth.”

“Vampire woman.”

“Any kind of woman.”

“What if I came home, to you. Could I crash at your place?”

“Of course. Clara is playing the guitar. With her talent she’ll be playing in the Warped Tour in a few years. You could teach her about music and you could sing together and write music together. She knows all about how to make Youtube videos and all of that stuff. It would be wonderful for the both of you.”

“I miss the kids, yours and Aaron’s.”

“Then come home Andy…”

The conversation went on a rambling mess, but by the end the tears and angst had stopped. I knew my parents would be with him in a few hours. I knew he’d be fine, at least for now.

I went into my family room to find Verity asleep with her head on Teddy’s shoulder. They’d married into my crazy family. They also had once been something that my brothers and I never were. They knew what it was like to face death over and over and to fear it and more to accept it. And they knew more than any of us how to face loss of all kinds, and again to accept it. It wasn’t just a waiting game with them as it can become with us. It is always the here and now. It is always NOW.

Aaron had gone upstairs where our kids where, his two home for a summer vacation from college and my two teens.

Family is an odd thing. There is no normal. So never, no matter what you are, be sorry that your family isn’t normal. Maybe on the surface, but never in the deep down soul. We’re all unique – unique alone or unique in a group.

But even if you can’t stand them that weird connection that we can never explain is there, deep within that makes us family and connected and parts of a whole. Even if it is a whole lot of crazy. But for the most part it is a whole lot of love.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman (aka Jewels)

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