Vampire Road Trips

No, I haven’t been away at some Vampire High Council meeting deciding what to do about nasty Vampires from another tribe, or discussing all of those flea bitten, tick covered Werewolves. Screw that. We don’t even DO THAT. All of the blood dripping lofty ceremony laced fiction out there gets people thinking we’re living in the 15th Century, or all dress like Victorians ALL THE TIME. I’ve been busy and we’re in a heat wave from Hell right now.

We’ll be on not one, not two, but three road trips this summer. The only place we’re not going where it is blazing and stupidly hot is Alaska.

Which brings me to a favorite subject: Vampire Road trips

Some suggest we bring freeze dried blood with us. Yes, that can be obtained by our usual sources but why? First of all we’ll just throw a cooler in the car and keep the fresh stuff on ice. We can also be guaranteed of a steady supply of truckers, hitch hikers, and Airbnb hosts.

The main thing we avoid are hookers in small desert towns (I kid you not.) It is seriously sad to see young women out trolling for truckers in the middle of the day wearing cuts offs, fishnet stockings, and heels. I look at them and wonder, “how the fuck did you end up here?”

We give a nod to the Vampires who live along those mysterious roads that seem to lead to nowhere. We give a nod to the lone Vampires in the small towns scattered across the highways. You know those towns where you wonder what people do there, and why they stay.

We will also stop to see friends along the way, both Vampires and regular folks we know.

All of my bitchiness aside, I love road trips. Driving across country with a kid (even if the kid will have just turned 18) is an amazing opportunity for both parent and child.

On our trips we’ve discussed (in-depth) music, history, art, social studies, geology, zombies, politics, cars, interesting people we’ve known, my own personal history, ways to murder someone when writing a novel, serial killers, movies, relationships, people we know, nature, dogs, cats, current events, and we wonder about things we see along the way.

We’ve seen two exceptionally handsome young men at a rest stop and wondered what two exceptionally handsome young men were doing out in the middle of the desert. We’ve stopped at a giant truck stop sort of place near the Colorado/Nebraska border and wondered where everyone was going. We’ve met a woman who said Lincoln, NE was the largest city she’d ever been to. We’ve seen roadside art, weird mysterious monuments, and a giant crater. We’ve gone to National Parks, and city parks. We’ve driven across Indian Reservations. We’ve driven through small depressed towns, and through some of the most expensive real estate in the country. We’ve been to Temple Square in Salt Lake City and stayed with a gay couple there. We’ve been to interesting little coffee houses that serve lavender scented lattes and vegan muffins. We’ve been on roads that seem to go on forever across the deserts and plains. It is hot because it is summer. It is dry because we’re driving through the West, only as far as Nebraska.

We’ll be in Nebraska this year as well. Then we’ll arrive home and a few days later head off for Alaska. But first we have to go to Fresno for an event. There is no other reason I’d go to Fresno. But in defense of Fresno, like all places, we will find interesting things to do.

So take a trip, even a day trip. You’ll learn something, and maybe even see some Vampires. We love road trips. Just don’t expose too much skin or you’ll get either sunburned or bitten.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

This guy looks interesting. Let’s show him something REALLY scary!

 

 

 

 

Memories

As yet another graduation day approaches I thought about memories. So many memories are being made this week. So many will be made this summer.

Our memories of ourselves are rarely the same memories that others have about us. Others rarely remember us for what we think is important. They rarely remember us for anything that we’d ever think of. It isn’t that history isn’t unkind. Personal history is more a flash of emotion. It is a connection made. It is unexpected bits and pieces that are filed away.

I have memories of times that are like they happened today. I can run them in my head like movies. But if I share those with those who were there with me will they remember?

I run into those who knew me long ago. They don’t remember so many things and events, and even talents that I identify with my own self image of who I am.

What they do remember is my voice. My voice. They remember how I talked and how calm I was. They remember my sweet, calm, soothing voice. That is what everyone except my closest friends remember. I never knew that.

Even without our own families we remember things as if we weren’t related at all, and grew up miles apart.

As I write, a new tale based loosely on a brief time in my life, and those involved, I think of how we remember each other. My memories will be woven with fiction, but I seriously doubt if anyone would ever know they’re mine. Then again, isn’t a lot of what we write, feel, and how we react based on our own memories and experiences, even those locked away in secret places of our minds and hearts.

What I wish for the young adults in my life is that they have many wonderful shared memories that will continue to amaze and entertain, and bring joy for years to come. Even if that is just the memory of the sound of a voice, or the chance viewing of a falling star late at night. Your memories are yours and yours alone. To keep, or to share.

Wishing you good ones.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: The Alley

Taking a short cut through a downtown alley wasn’t always like it was in the movies. He’d rarely witnessed crimes, or found dumped bodies among the dumpsters and rats. The smells were close to death but not quite. Urine and sun roasted garbage were the aromas of the night. No night-blooming jasmine for this short cut.

Walking along he wasn’t afraid. There wasn’t anything to fear except maybe stepping on something disgusting he’d have to scrape off of his shoe later. But then he saw her standing at the end of the alley.

Had she been a cat he would have taken her home, or found her a forever home, but she was not.

“Hi Val,” she said in a girlish voice. She sounded like she was maybe twelve instead of twenty eight.

“Nikki. You look good.”

She looked good for Nikki. Val hadn’t seen her this clean, well, maybe ever. She’d been homeless on and off for the four years he’d known her. Tonight was the first time he’d seen her in a dress. Even through the bad teeth, unhealthy chalky skin, and the constant fidgeting he could tell she’d once been pretty.

“My cousin Josh took me shopping. Got me this dress, and the sweater. Do you like it. The sweater is sort of like lace, all light like, for the summer. First new clothes I’ve worn in maybe six years.”

“Are you living somewhere?”

“I have my own room in the back of Josh’s building, out by the alley so I have, like my own private entrance. I have a bathroom too. The toilet is in the shower because it is really small. Sometimes when I take a shower I just pee on the floor over the drain. I always laugh because the toilet is right there.”

“What are you doing out here?” It was 3:00 am. He knew why she was out.

Nikki crossed her arms and leaned from one foot to the other. “Just doing some business, you know.”

“Looking for a fix?”

“Maybe, and a little romance.”

Val knew she traded sex for drugs. She kept talking.

“Um, Josh won’t let me bring guys home. I can’t do drugs, drink, or smoke at my room. Those are his rules. You know, I do stuff for him like clean up in the back, mop up, dishes, take out the garbage, and stuff. Maybe I’ll get to cook or work up front one day. He said if I work hard he’ll pay to get my teeth fixed. Ramon said if I go back to school he’ll help me too.”

Val knew Ramon, the high school kid who was headed off to U.C. Berkeley. Nice kid who wanted to get a degree in mathematics and change the world.

“You should go home Nikki. Forget the fix. You look so pretty tonight. Don’t waste it on some creeper. You don’t need to get high,” said Val.

“Maybe if you’d turn me into a Vampire I wouldn’t need it. If you turned me into a Vampire I’d stop hurting all the time. I’d be pretty again.”

“You’d die Nikki.”

“Better than living my life.”

“Don’t say that Nikki. Never say that.”

She looked down at the ground, then leaned up against a parked car. “Tell me a story Val, about when you were my age.”

He’d been telling her stories to get her mind off of getting high, or having sex with anyone she could in exchange for the next high. If he could keep her up until the sun came up then she’d be safe from the evils of the night.

“In 1886 I was twenty eight, same age as you are. My sister and I were in London. Jack the Ripper was in the news. We were at a party…”

“What was she wearing Val? Tell me what your sister was wearing.”

“A cream colored silk dress adorned with purple roses, millions of ruffles and a huge bustle in back. Her hair was piled high on her head in curls all done up with pearls and ivory combs. She danced for hours with a wealthy handsome son of a Duke.”

“Did she drink his blood?”

“Of course she did.”

“Did she make love to him?”

“In a way he would never forget, or get over. He’d never fall out of love with the mysterious woman he’d danced with all night.”

Nikki hugged herself as Val continued to tell her a half true story, embellishing it with more romance than reality.

He walked her home, and kept her talking until the first light of the morning started to show in the sky. “Be safe Nikki. Listen to Josh and Ramon. They’re looking out for you. They care. I care.”

He kissed her cheek with his cold lips.

“Why don’t you ever drink my blood Val?”

“You know why Nikki,” he said.

“I’d do you good Val. I’d make that cold blooded…” She continued with a crude and explicit, sexual description of what she would do to him if he’d only take her home to his house, or even behind one of the dumpsters in the alley behind her building. He turned and walked away from her feeling sad, and disgusted.

Two days later Nikki was found dead in her little room, wearing one of her new sundresses. She’d had unprotected sex with at least three different men that night. She’d died of an overdose of a cocktail of drugs too lethal for most people to imagine.

Before Josh opened his restaurant for breakfast Val stopped by to give him his condolences. Josh shook his head. He’d done everything he could to help Nikki.

“She was always a lost soul. So much talent. Aw man, she was so beautiful once. She just got in with the wrong guys, one right after another. They took everything from her. But she wouldn’t listen to anyone,” Josh told Val, wiping his eyes.

Ramon stood listening then said, “Nikki could have so much hope. Just yesterday she was telling me she wanted to go back to college. She wanted to live. Then she went on again about her friend who was going to turn her into a Vampire, and she’d be young and pretty again, and live forever. She said she was in love with this guy, this Vampire. It was creepy. She was nuts. Sorry Josh, but…” His voice trailed off as he wiped a tear off of his face.

Val wished them the best. That afternoon he made a large donation to a local women’s shelter. Over the past one hundred and fifty nine years he’d seen many lost souls. One slutty little druggie shouldn’t have bothered him so much. Nikki was nothing to him. Then again, she could have been everything to someone if anyone other than Josh or Ramon had cared.

Had she been a stray cat he would have taken her in. Had she been clean he might have taken her forever.

~ End.

This story was first published in August, 2016

For more short stories CLICK HERE.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Sad Vampire: American Gothic

Way back towards the first of the year I received the honor of being awarded FIRST PLACE in the 2017 Evil Squirrel’s Nest Contest of Whatever. My entry was the story of a horror adventure told by Vlad, King of the Vampires (yes, cute Vlad from Vampire Diary, click here to see it.)

As a prize I was able to pick out something from The Evil Squirrel’s Cafe Press shop. Oh I can’t tell you how delighted I was to receive my American Gothic Bag a few weeks later. I LOVE THIS. I’ll be taking it on my cross country trip from Orangevale, CA to Lincoln, NE this summer. I’ll be taking it to a coffee shop this morning. I’ll be taking it everywhere.

I love this version of “American Gothic.” Oh my goodness have you EVER seen anything so cute? Love love love this. Thank you ES.

To get your own Evil Squirrel’s Nest Bling click HERE.

The first time I saw the Grant Wood painting “American Gothic” at the Art Institute in Chicago I was surprised at how small it is.  It is only 30¾ in × 25¾ inches. I remember walking around a corner and seeing it sort of an afterthought. I thought it would have a larger presence. But in real life it is absolutely stunning. Thank you Grant Wood, for that and ALL of your art. Grant Wood Rocked. Check out the faces in “Daughter’s of the Revolution.” You can’t get better than that.

And more from Grand Wood…

So in my rush to attempt to be clever and creative I took out a pen and pencil and did a quick sketch of “Vampire Gothic.” It took me all of five minutes. I believe Mr. Wood spent more time on the original version than I did on my sad Vampire version.

 

Seriously, I can draw when I want to. No, really, I can. Well, um…

Now I’ll do some shameless promotion. You can get your own Vampire Maman shirts and other items on Red Bubble. Good quality and unique fashion is just a few clicks away. Click Here.

 

Sad Vampire is a semi-regular feature on vampiremaman.com featuring somewhat quick and somewhat sad sketches, but sketches non the less. 

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Vampire Diary: Hot Mess

Dear Diary,

Today I walked to the end of the street to pick up my mail. My cats and Jane the coyote pup followed me.

A group of teenage girls sat on the front porch of the house nearest the mail box. They waved to me.

“Oh my God, Vlad you’re so cute with your cats and the pup,” said one of them.

I smiled minus my fangs. The girls giggled. They find me attractive but I do not know what is cute about a man with board shoulders and almost six feet of height. Cats are cute. Puppies are cute. I have yet to understand what this cute word means. They also call me sexy, but not to my face. They do not call cats or coyotes sexy. That makes more sense to me. My lover Gillian told me not to think about it and to stop being silly. I am not silly.

As I looked through my mail, mostly letters from other vampires, I could hear the girls talk. One said a friend of hers was a hot mess. Hot mess?

So I said, “I could not help but overhear your conversation. What do you mean by hot mess.”

They all laughed out loud. Some laughed with high pitched voices. One had a laugh that was low and rough, but not unpleasing. One laughed like a woman ready to seduce and rule the world.

I repeated myself. “Sweet ladies, you know I am not from here. Please, what is a hot mess? Is it something you eat?”

They laughed again. Then one girl, the one with the low and rough laugh answered. “A hot mess is when someone tries to look good and ends up looking like a disaster. They’re just a hot mess.”

“I see. That is amusing,” I said. “Am I hot mess?”

They giggled. Then one said, “You’re just hot.”

Then they giggled some more and didn’t stop.

They then talked among themselves and I heard one say no sheets Sherlock. I wondered what was meant by that. I did not ask. I told the girls goodbye and winked at them. They giggled some more, and as my pets and I walked away I could hear them talk about me, but not in an unflattering way.

That night I asked my lover Gillian about Sherlock. “Darling, who is Sherlock and why does he not have sheets? Does he sleep on the ground or in a hammock? Why would young girls be speaking of such a person?”

Gillian smiled and kissed me. “I love you Vlad but…”

“Gillian dear, I was sealed in a crypt for three hundred years. I am still learning the strange language and customs of modern life,” I said to her.

“Vlad, Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective. The first story about him came out in 1887. You were still locked in the crypt. Sherlock’s adventures became extremely popular, and his character, and versions of the character are still popular. The term is No Shit Sherlock.

“Does he not poop like most people?”

“Yes, he poops. I assume he poops. It isn’t covered in the stories. The term No Shit Sherlock is used when somebody says something incredibly obvious.”

“Like I say being locked in a crypt is a bad thing. Then you say No Shit Sherlock.”

“Exactly Vlad.”

“Do not say I am not learning anything.”

Then she kissed me again. And again. And again.

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

Tonight I went to a pub where I am known and liked. I do this so that I can get blood with ease. I am not one of those vampires who likes to crawl through windows. I would rather have a glass of wine and talk with my dinner companions a bit.

The bartender is a woman named Cassie. We talked for a while then she noticed my satchel.

“Oh my goodness. You brought your cat tonight. Bring her out,” said Cassie.

I took the purring cat out of the bag. Cassie said we were cute. Always cute. My world is nothing but cute. Yet, I am happy when Cassie and my cat are happy. After many women and men came over to pet the cat and call it cute, the cat crawled back into the bag and fell asleep. I visited with Cassie more. She told me about her graduate studies. She is brilliant.

Then a man sits down next to me. “Vlad. You are Vlad.”

I look at him. He is tall and thin, with dark wavy hair pulled back into a tail like the teenage girls who live on my street. His brown eyes are hidden behind large black framed glasses. The teenage girls might find him attractive. I find him to be what they call a hot mess.

“Yes,” I say. “My name is Vlad. What is your name, and how do you know mine?”

He grins, a wide grin with perfect straight white teeth. “I know you’re a vampire Vlad.”

“Cute maybe,” I say. “A vampire, I do not think so.”

“I was told on good authority that you know where the high counsel of the vampires meet. I hear you used to be their king.”

“You are mad,” I told him.

I walked out to the street. He followed me and called out after me. “Vlad, I’m not a vampire hunter. I’m a scientist. I’m a journalist. I want to know the truth.”

I turned around to face him. “You seek the truth do you Kyle Gunner? That is your name. Yes, you seek parlor tricks so I just gave you one. You are excited and thrilled that I have stopped. Let me answer your question. There is no high council of vampires. That is, what do they call it, a plot device, a fictional bit of grandness to try to explain things you do not understand.”

He looked disappointed and puzzled. I continued to speak.

“Be a scientist Kyle Gunner and get the facts, if that is facts that you seek. Not alternate facts, but real facts.” He stood transformed so I continued to speak. “The facts are that if you speak out people will believe you to be insane. I advise you not go that route. Do not make memes of me either. No memes. I know you are recording this on your tiny magic telephone.” I held up my hand. “Now you are not recording me and it has all been deleted. I will tell you another thing Kyle Gunner. The reason we do not always show up in photographs is because we do not want to. It is the same reason paint flakes off of canvas and ink drawn to the likeness of a vampire fades on paper. It is because we do not want to be seen. Good night Kyle Gunner. Be thankful I was generous and charitable to you tonight. I may not be next time. One more word of advice. You are a hot mess. You need to do something about that.”

Then my cat put her head out of the bag and said, “Maaaaoooo.”

“That’s a cat. You have a cat in your man-bag,” said Kyle Gunner.

Then I said, “No shit Sherlock. Of course she is a cat. And this is a satchel, not a man-bag.” Then I snarled at him with my fangs and almost stopped his heart from fear.

I left him standing alone in the dark as other vampires watched, and waited from the shadows.

Then I heard one of the vampire women whisper to her friend, “Oh my God,  Vlad is sooooo cute.”

~ Vlad

 

Dear Diary,

I stand outside under the full moon watching the bats play at night. A large owl flies by. I hear a mocking bird call in the night. The wind blows gently and dances through my hair. Gillian comes behind me and puts her arms around me, then rests her head on the back of my shoulder.

For all of the confusion there are constants. I am in love, and I am cute. Those are two things which I am not sure I will ever understand.

~ Vlad

This is the 30th Vampire Diary Post. For more of Vlad’s Vampire Diary (from the beginning) CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

No time to be jealous

Do you ever have those days, like when your friend calls and says, “Pick me up. PLEASE.”

And it’s a full moon. So you pick him up.

And your friend is a Werewolf.

And you say, “What if you turn back into a man?”

And he says, “You’ve seen me naked.”

And I have, a long time ago.

And I know that because my husband is a Vampire he’ll understand. We all do. It was like the time, before I was married, that a couple of drunk girls called my husband at 2:00 a.m. and I said, “GO, make sure they’re safe. Take them home. I’ll see you in a bit.” And I did. And the girls were impressed.

This is something we have to teach our kids. You can’t be involved with someone who is so jealous and insecure that they can’t accept the fact that sometimes you just have to do the right thing and help out a friend in need. It isn’t like this sort of thing happens all the time. With young people it happens more often.

We always tell our kids and their friends that they can call us anytime of the day or night, no questions asked. We just want them to be safe.

That’s all. Just a something to think about.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman