Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jekyll & Hyde - 13. This Is The Moment... AND VAMPIRE JONATHON'S MOMENT TOO .. 2/11/16

He doesn't care anymore. It's like he's riding a wave. Wherever it breaks, it breaks. This is the moment. Vampires get like that. In Byzantine times there was Stavros of Cyprus. They drowned him in molten lead. When the Black Death came through, Joachim of York tried it. Some say the British royal family still has him imprisoned in a lead-lined cell deep beneath a castle in Scotland. Look, I didn't refer to 'lead' twice due to lack of imagination. Lead is vampire krypton. This isn't fiction, you know. We pretend it is, because we have to. Some of you know that. Some of you, especially among the Philadelphia people, have SEEN vampires out on the street. We tell you where. Our locales are real. They've seen what you post on line, the photographs and all. Once two girls showed up at the townhouse. How they got up on the roof, I can't tell you. Maybe they parachuted down? God knows. When Jonathon sublimated up through the house, they almost died. When he hugged them to stifle their cries, they swooned. Edith helped him get them inside through the skylight and after some wine and a keep sake, he kissed them. They giggled and left. At first they asked for autographed pictures. He told them his manager was Scooter Braun and they'd have to contact him, sine the residence was, due to written agreement, a no photo zone. The taller one said she would, because she already knew his link from Justin Bieber's tweets. The little one asked him if my site (it's me, Billy) was really his. He told her it wasn't, which actually is the truth. I was sitting right there, in the kitchen, with them, but they didn't know it was me. Had the black baseball cap on and everything. Think they thought I was a whacky neighbor, or something. Do vampires have whacky neighbors? I don't know.

But I do know Jonathon made a phone call. Sometimes he uses store-bought throwaways. This call was on one of those. I think it was to Canada. He mentioned Whistler. I heard him say it. That's a ski resort in The Canadian Rockies. Must have something to do with The Vampire Revels. Told whoever it was about Conrad. Apparently they weren't surprised. I don't even want to think about his punishment. He'll cry. He'll sniffle. He'll tremble. But he killed four innocent people. Vampires, at least the ones we know, don't do that.

Then Jonathon prepared to leave the house. Sarah asked if he wanted her to go with him. He told her he didn't. When he was ready, when his 'Jonathon vampire suit,' as we call it, was just so... the black, leather bootkins, black jeans, white shirt, black sweater, black scarf, gloves, knit cap, trim quilted, leather coat (did I mention that it's black?), he put a few tiny, sealed, glass vials (formerly used for perfume samples) in his coat pocket and left.

The air was frigid, Polar Vortex and all that. No wind. No people. Just cold. Taxis seemed frozen in place. A few coffee shops and bars were open. Hardly anybody walking around. February in the city. A few blocks down he passed two sullen whores in tiny skirts and short, rabbit jackets. How do they do that? - he thought... Not the sex part, but the outfits. Had to be freezing. That was skin between the jackets and those skirts. Yeah, they had scarves and gloves, but still. Pimp dressed them both alike. Probably dressed all of them alike. That way cops could spot them. Know who they belonged to. Know who's been paying and who's not paying. A lot of pimps do that. You know how racing stables have 'silks?' You know how they have 'colors?'... Pimps too. And God help the girl who tries to imitate somebody else's colors. She gone be partly dead, if she's lucky, or all-the-way dead if she's not. Secret dead, too. No one knows who she was. No one knows where she went. That is just how it is. They whispered and giggled as he went by. Then one said - Hey, you. You want a date?..... Jonathon smiled to himself. He knew it'd go down like that. He backtracked and said - With you?.... She went - Yeah, with me... Then she struck a pose..... Jonathon leaned in close and whispered - You're sick. You have a disease. I know. I can tell. I can smell it. I'm a vampire..... She went - F*ck you, you crazy bastid..... He just stood there. Didn't move. Kept his ground. Vampires blink, but they can stop blinking when they want to.... Sick girl flinched a little, but she kept her ground too. Went 'F*ck you,' again, but this time you could barely hear it... Jonathon smiled, just enough to let her see his fangs.... The other one came in close. She saw them too. The first one whispered - Are they real? Can I touch them?..... He nodded. She took off a glove, raised her hand and explored, just inside his lips. Then she gulped and said - Not dental work? Not caps?.... Jonathon shook his head.... Nobody moved. The first one whispered - What are you gonna do? Are you gonna kill us? You don't scare me. I'm sick anyway..... I know - whispered the vampire. That's why I stopped..... The girl moaned and cried a little. Her friend moved away. All was quiet, save for little clicks when the traffic light changed.... Jonathon said - I'm not here to kill you. I'm here to save you.... He took a vial out of his pocket and held it up to catch the light from the streetlamp.... She whispered - What's that?..... Your future - said the vampire.... He held it out. She took it.... He whispered - Open it. Drink it.... The other one said - How do we know it ain't poison?..... Jonathon went - I'm a vampire, a ten centuries old vampire. Why in the name of Barnabas Collins (figured they'd know that) do you think I'd bother with poison?.... The second one shrugged.... Jonathon turned toward the sick one and said - Take it. Open it. Drink it.... She hesitated.... He said - Just put it on your tongue. It'll sink right in. I promise.... She looked into his eyes and knew he was telling the truth. Five heartbeats later it was done. Then he slipped her two, gold Kruger Rand (South African coins worth more than $1,200 dollars each) and left. She'd live and she had enough money to clean herself up and get home.

Eight blocks away he played a similar scene in a coffee shop. Gave a vial to an old cashier on borrowed time... Bad lungs...Nobody else was around. Just her, some waitress reading OK magazine and the cook in the back. But this woman knew him. Even knew his name from when he ducked in there for hot tea. She was leary at first. But he ran through the same lines as before. Showed her the fangs and everything.... Old woman goes - Jesus Christ, Jon, when the hell'd you become a friggin' vampire?..... He goes - 'Till,' trust me. Take it. You want to see that new grandbaby you got coming, don't you?.... She gives him a look. How'd he know that??..... He mouths - Take it. I'm a friend..... She does... He leaves....

But now the jig is up. She knows his name and she knows what he is...

Soon other people will too.

But that's all right. That's what he wanted. That's what he planned all along.

Guess this really IS the 'moment.'

And don't ask me how I can write all this when I wasn't there. Well, you know how Vulcans meld minds? Vampires got tricks like that too. So don't bother me.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016


A CONTINUATION OF CONRAD'S TALE... after the violent night...

He sat there trembling. Jonathon and Sarah hovered over him. No one said a word. Edith busied herself with a seek-and-find puzzle book in a corner. The lights were low... just a couple recessed, or 'high-hat,' or 'pot-light' (depending on what city you're in) shafts coming down from the ceiling. The kitchen was done when they moved into this particular townhouse. Everything was brought up to date, though save for it and the den/family room, every other space remained true to the original era of the place. Jonathon liked it that way. He liked everything to be a certain way, nothing more so than night-folk morals. Once a month... not a calendar month, a lunar month... once every four weeks they 'cull' a victim. And that victim is preordained via their 'divine' visions. No blood orgies. No gore. No cheap, diabolical excess. But Conrad broke that rule. Last night he killed four people, a poor, good natured, big-boned girl buying valentine's gifts for her father, two hardworking cleaning women and a newspaper vendor on the cold, damp street.  Their spirit scents still swirled about him. Vampires hate spirit scents, for they indicate a 'noxious' kill and reverent night-folk never do that.

Jonathon glared at the fidgeting 'bad boy' and said - I should destroy you. I should pick you up, sublimate high into the sky and drop you out over the sea.... three miles down to the hard, unyielding surface. Maybe I will. I'll take you out into the icy dark. It's snowing out there, sleeting too. Do you know that? You hate the cold. We all know that. Young vampires usually do. But I don't. I'll find a storm... There's always one someplace... and let you go, plummeting down toward the mountainous waves. Sailors have been known to die from the sight of them. You'll fall into a trough, cut through the surface. Judging from your weight, you might go down eighty, or ninety feet... encased in water cold as death. You'll gasp and breathe in, inflating your lungs with frigid, salt water brine. They might burst. Who knows? Vampires don't need lungs, well, except maybe to push air over our vocal chords. Takes a long time to get back to the surface. You won't drown, but you'll feel like it. And you'll tremble much worse than you are now, since your human memories are still so fresh..... Wait a minute... Wait a minute... Wait a minute... I forgot something. The integrity of your body might rupture, due to the force of the fall. Three miles is a long way to tumble, especially in the dark. Abdomen explodes. Neck snaps. BOOM... No more vampire... No more Conrad....

The miscreant goes --- I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I couldn't help it. It was the first time! The first time! Oh, God! Oh, God! I wish I was dead!

Jonathon says - Really?

Conrad sniffs and goes --- Stop it! Stop it! I don't know! I don't know! Leave me alone! .... Then he cries....

Sarah puts her hands on his shoulders and says - The girl in the department store was an innocent soul. It was only she and her father. Oh, there were a few acquaintances and work friends, but as far as family, just them. One of the cleaning woman helped her daughter care for a handicapped child and the other one lived all alone. Do you want me to tell you about the man? You know I'm telling the truth? We have 'familiars' everywhere. We know. Should I go on?

No! No! No! - said Conrad. Jonathon, can we give them money? They families, I mean. I don't have money, but you do? Please! I'll make it up to you. Please!

Jonathon said - Well, if I do that, we can give something to the girl's father. We can give some to the surviving daughter with the sick child. But the other two were all alone.

Conrad sobs...

Jonathon quietly ads - Now do you know why we take those vows? Now do you know why we're not animals?

Conrad dabs his eyes and nods.... He says - I want to make up for it. I want to do something..... Then he just sits there and sniffs.

Jonathon thinks, then says - I think you will do something. There's someone I want you to meet...

W-who? - says Conrad.

You'll find out. You're going to The Vampire Revels - says Jonathon.

A-are you all going? - asks Conrad.

I don't know yet - says Jonathon. But you are....

Conrad just nods and cries some more.

Edith, her head buried in that puzzle book, mumbles - Not with them plaid shirts and khaki pants he ain't.

Jonathon says - I will channel funds to the survivors and you will make amends. Don't worry about that. Right now you think you're sorry for what you've done. But you're not. You're ashamed and maybe guilty, but you're not sorry....

Yes, I am - whispers Conrad.

No, you're not - says Jonathon. But you will be...

<more next time>


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Sunday, February 7, 2016

1920's The Charleston ..LETTERS FROM DOWNTON ABBEY.. 2/7/16

First of all, we could not post on Friday or Saturday due to web difficulties. Conrad's tale will continue. But tonight we're gonna answer a few questions. People know how much we enjoy Downton Abbey. Many bemoan the fact that it ends in a month.... But does it?..... Not here anyway. We're going to add an ongoing story arc entitled LETTERS FROM DOWNTON ABBEY... just like up above. Sure, it's unauthorized, but that doesn't mean it's not authentic and organic to the whole. Maybe it will spin off into an entirely new blog? Anybody know how to give it a ROARING TWENTIES look? . The music clip really is from the London of that era... a place where Prohibition never took hold (although there were some pushing for it) and the JAZZ AGE really took off.

So the House of Crawley never dies and we don't have to wait for any planned movies, or THE GILDED AGE, an American television out growth. We'll keep faith with the family from Yorkshire right here.

Sure, we have to wait for the televised shows to end before we begin. But we're considering a lot of trajectories. Here's a few -----

Lord Grantham, the earl, develops a gambling addiction after introduction to posh, London private casinos and secretly sells a valuable family heirloom painting to cover his debts. But he quickly commissions a copy to take its place.... though the 'fever' continues to fester.

Cousin Rose and new husband, Atticus, return from NYC and summers in The Hamptons, to take their places in London's 'Smart Set,'.... write ups in The Tattler and all. The stylish, young 'modern' woman quickly scores her own weekday morning 'wireless' program ---- Breakfast With Lady Rose, where she interviews well known entertainment/media types and expounds upon music, style and film over endless pots of Earl Grey and crisp, fresh slices of English 'toasting' bread.

Not to be outdone, Edith (the middle Crawley daughter. not our vampires' Edith) with help from her Grandmother Levinsohn, publishes an American edition of her London glossy from digs in The Chrysler Building peppered with countless strolls down 'Peacock Alley' and semi-working lunches at The Algonquin's Round Table.

Meanwhile Lady Cora sneaks into 'the City' with Cousin Isobel for a 'go see' at society plastic surgeon's office. Then, over lunch at Claridge's after, she spots Rose's father in law, Lord Sindovey, exiting a boite across the way with a bright, young thing and a guilty look on his face...

Assistant cook, Daisy, and the father of her dead (and if only for an instant) husband create an extremely toothsome variety of English bacon in demand all over The North Country and the pounds (sterling) come rolling in.

Lady Mary sees her tragically dead matinee idol of a husband's ghost while tramping the moors one misty afternoon.. He gives her permission to remarry, thus we 're treated to a teary eyed second Mary-Wedding, as she unites with her suitable special someone.

The Dowager takes a turn for the worse after Isobel FINALLY marries the baron. She feels deserted and alone. Most other older women of her acquaintance are hooked up with somebody. She almost dies... angina and all, but one sunny day, while taking the air on the hospital's terrace, they wheel an attractive older gentleman right next to her. At first they barely acknowledge each other, till a butterfly lands on her hand and makes her smile. He notices and smiles too. Even eighty year olds can meet cute.

But the 'Big Slump' (British term for the Great Depression) draws near and great landed estates crumble all around.

And we haven't even gotten to Tom Branson, the Bates' the Carsons, Mrs. Patmore or Mr. Mosley yet..... Not to mention the old enough to have personalities kids (George, Sibby and Marigold)...

Loyal fans take heart.... Downton never ends...

Crawley is forever.....

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A VAMPIRE FASLLS OFF THE WAGON ... : "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat" | 2/3/16

Eternity's an awful long time and a little bit of naughtiness can hide among all that forever. At least that's what Conrad thought. He should never have been made a vampire. Little Bastid Annie did it. She wanted a 'baby.' So now we have this forty year old 'baby' that cries over movies, goes through pleated, khaki slacks like it's nobody's business and fights with the baristas at Starbucks if they mess up his gourmet iced tea order. Vampires can tolerate clear, or mostly clear liquids. Jonathon tells him he can't kill the baristas, because Starbucks is a huge powerful thing and they got their own version of 'familiars' too, plus he doesn't want any problems. But Jonathon is in a semi-catatonic state right now, not as deep as 'Papa's.' He does get up from time to time to slowly fix himself up and silently walk around the city. Edith will yell - Conrad wants to go out. You gonna let him?.... But he doesn't answer and Conrad goes out. Sarah tries to stop him, but he goes anyway. They fight. He yells and pouts... a big, mess in khaki pants. And who knows where Annie is? She wanders in and out of here whenever she wants. Sarah says she's got her own 'familiars,' some lawyer woman on Locust Street and a guy who owns a chain of discount sneaker outlets in Jersey. She brings sneakers for Billy and real cushy walking shoes for Edith. Sometimes she brings a pair for Sarah too, but Sarah says - Don't bother. I'll get my own. Most vampirinas and vampirinos are extremely vain. You know that.

So Conrad goes out... and he kills people. Did you ever see the new tv show that just went on, the one where the girl from Ugly Betty works in a place like Walmart and her boss is this whiny guy who used to be on KIDS IN THE HALL, some SNL-like comedy show from Toronto? Well, Conrad's like her boss. People on the street think - Oh, look, here comes a nice, smiling, slightly overweight, nerdy, white guy. Let's be friends and talk to him..... Behind that FORTY YEAR OLD VIRGIN -looking smile, he still has 'vampire eyes' and even if he did have to go for remedial training, he does know how to use them.

So he walks around a big department store, the one with the ten foot tall bronze eagle statue in the atrium where everybody meets their shopping partners for lunch and all. He pretends to browse around the Middle Aged And Old Guys With No Fashion Sense Department. That's where he gets his pleated pants and plaid, button down collar shirts. He's got a whole lot of pleated pants and button down shirts. Edith says she's gonna give them to The Salvation Army. Once she called some different charity. Said she had a whole mess of pleated khaki pants and plaid shirts. Lady said - Oh, don't you have anything a little bit snazzier?.... (long pause) Edith goes - Uh, no. That's all I got... (another long pause) Lady goes - Uh, yeah, well thanks. I'll get back to you.

And now the fan of all those outfits is moving toward a good  natured looking, big boned girl picking out valentine's gifts for her father...... Conrad goes - Excuse me, do you think this shirt would go with a light brown sweater?... The girl comes over to see. He moves toward some merchandise positioned near the door to a little-used stock room. He's sure it's little-used. Conrad knows the territory. He asks the girl about belts. By now they're 'friends,' right? She goes over, laughs and begins to hook up outfits. Two heartbeats later, he grabs her, opens the stock room door, throws her in and bolts it. She screams. It's dark. He punches her. She stops. Then he drags her unconscious body behind cartons of hangers and the whole life-eater dance begins. She comes too a little bit...moans... says- please.. please.. please.... Only thing is, Conrad's in the zone and to him she's just meat on a plate. Pleated pants and plaid shirts don't matter. When vampires feed, they're animals. He drains out every drop and waits for the body to ignite . Then he leans against the wall and watches the 'cold' blue flames. Odd that nothing else burns, but that's how it is. No soot stain on the ceiling, just grease on the floor.

He straightens his clothes and is about to leave. No blood on him. Vampires don't waste anything. But then the door opens. He scrunches up against the floor. Two old cleaning women come in. They can't see Conrad behind all those cartons and sit down on a little bench.....

One says - I hope that son of a bitch, Lepkey, drops dead.
Other says - Me too and that 'baby' boss, John, can go with him.
One says - I can't take it anymore.
Other says - Me either.
One says - Life stinks. It's all just a bunch of crap. You're born. You live. You get old. You die... and that's it.
Other says - Who knows? Them reincarnation bastards say it's not.
One says - Yeah, well, if them reincarnation bastards are right, you know what happens?
Other says - What?
One says - You're born again. You live again. You get old again and you die again.
Other goes - What stinks in here?..... She gets up and goes behind the cartons to look.... The first one hears something.... a thud?.... a groan?
She goes to investigate and sees a disheveled, nerdy looking guy, on the floor, gulping down all the blood pumping out of her friend's jugular. But before she can scream he grabs her too. Breaks her neck and leaves her lying there twitching, wide eyed and slack jawed, like a fish.... He finished her off a few heartbeats later.....

Then he used their cleaning equipment to mop up the floor. After that, he changed into a new plaid, button down shirt from a not yet opened carton and left.

Killed a guy sellin' papers on the street a little later.

Somebody needs an intervention...

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016


Sarah, Jonathon's vampire consort, speaks ---

He knows now. He read the note. 'Eternity is real'.... That's what it said... three words, inscribed on a small, rolled piece of vellum. And he just sits there. 'Papa' holds down one chair, Jonathon holds down the other. Edith goes over to check him. She brings him iced vodka. He likes that. But the glass stays there for hours. She lights aroma candles. He likes green apple. You know that. He gets mad if she forgets to buy them.

Eternity means a lot to night-folk. You've heard us say the term - Not the Shepherd, but the sheepdog?...That's what we are, the reverent ones, or the noble ones, or whatever you want to call us. If humanity goes on forever, some of us will be right here with them. We're not different from humans. We're part of them, like varied castes in a bee hive. We cull the wicked... at least believers do and Jonathon is a believer.

He'd never destroy himself. He'd never just sublimate up into space and float away on the solar wind. Some do that. They reach a point and just 'disappear.' Is that a sin?... I don't know. You know what I think? We were brought into being for a reason, sort of like earthbound angels. We have a job. We have a purpose and as long as we stay true, we do it. Renegades exist. We've talked about them here... Lorenzo and Kadeema... You know. But we try not to be Lorenzos and Kadeemas. Nobody tries harder than he does.

Doctor Franklin comes by. He sits there and talks to him. Edith brings him breaded veal cutlets, mashed potatoes and lima beans. Sometimes Edith makes Harvard beets. He likes beets. When I remember, I buy them, or she buys them, or Billy buys them. But who remembers beets? I've only been 'burdened' for maybe five years and even during my mortal days I never thought about them. I can smell mortal food... taste a little bit every now and then. Always bring it up later. Mashed potatoes and gravy still gets to me, even if the toilet gets it ten minutes later.

Mister Old Bones is even more ancient than the one they call 'The Lady Renate.' She's at least 'modern,' or 'Cro Magnon,' or whatever the term is. He's been a vampire since Neanderthal times. No one knows how long.  Until we found him... well, until Grigori Usipov found him in Siberia (he's that Russian, oligarch vampire we 'work with' from time to time) no one knew there were Neanderthal vampires. Now we do. Think about it, surviving in the deep, cold forests since 'forever.' There's only a few bands. They feed on wandering reindeer herders. How many 'evil' reindeer herders can there be? Usipov says they live like the elferinos and the elferinas... small, regular drinks. No one dies, but they never get a full draught.  He says they sit 'round fires in deep, deep caves, chanting prayers and telling old Neanderthal creation tales. They talk to the animals, the nocturnal ones, and the stars and planets too. Usipov thinks they talk to 'beings' on those worlds... the ones around our sun and the ones around all the other suns. Maybe they have a limit? Maybe their thoughts only travel out so far?

Eternity is real....That's what the note said. Red Paints know almost everything and they didn't say it. That little girl said it. Even she didn't know what it meant.

But others like her have been turning up all over....

Wonder how the messages all fit together?

You see, Jonathon believes and all, but I don't think he always thought about 'forever.' Now he does. We all do. No more diffusing off into the ether when all this gets to be too much. We're here, locked in the flesh, till human flesh is no more...

God knows how long that will be....

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Sunday, January 31, 2016


The vampire, Jonathon speaks --- I have so many stories to tell. In 1832 I almost immigrated to California. This was about eleven years after Mexico gained its independence from Spain. The new government, influenced by both the American and French Revolutions, set out to do great things. The Catholic missions were forcibly broken up into what was known as 'ranchos.' Each mission became three or four vast holdings awarded to privileged families, much as earlier European warlords created baronies. And I almost got one. They knew me in Madrid. Some de Macabeas had remained in Spain. They feigned adherence to Catholicism and rejection of Judaism. You know. You've heard stories of The Inquisition. But if people were discrete... attending Mass... observing the appropriate holy days... contributing toward the construction of great basilicas there, as well as in the New World and careful with their servants, they could survive. After a time it felt natural ... Un cuerpo ... Un coracon... pero dos creencias...One body... one heart... but two faiths.... Many homes had two kitchens and two dining rooms. There was la cucina catolico y la cucina judio... the Catholic kitchen and the Jewish kitchen. Usually, the Jewish kitchen was a more interior room as was the space used for Jewish devotional purposes.

Well, I kept in contact with the de Macabeas of Sevilla. At first I was 'the cousin' from Provence, over the border in France and then the cousin from other places, for there were Spanish diasporas all over the world, even in Muscovy. The feeling for Old Iberia is very strong. Many exiled, Spanish Jewish families never gave up the keys to la casa vieja in Spain. Many homes today in Israel or Chicago, or Manila have an ancient wooden box and in that box rests heavy, iron keys. The memory lives on.

It came to be that one branch of the la familia de Macabea was offered a rancho near Santa Barbara a beautiful place, laced with orange groves and avocado farms. There was a massive residence, a former bishop's palace... red tiled roof... thick, stucco over adobe walls. In a very real sense, a continuous style all the way from Moorish Spain. They, the family, wrote to me, in Philadelphia, asking that I make the journey and take up residence. For a while I considered it. But three thousand miles (and that's in a straight line) cross country was an impossibility back then. You have to remember that wagon trains and The Pony Express came after the 1849 Gold Rush. The First railroad, The Union Pacific, wasn't established till 1867. What could I do, pay familiars to guard my casket in a rickety flat boat? Go down the Ohio river, to the Mississippi, then across the Gulf to Corpus Cristi and up the Rio Grande?... How could I transport my wealth? Checks didn't travel well. Neither did gold bars.  Who would I 'cull' along the way? You know what would have happened? Somebody would grow suspicious. Somebody would try to kill me, but I'd have to kill them first and then I'd be on the run, moving among the Indians, like a windego, or spirit of the night... An adventure? Of course. Enough for countless dime novels and penny dreadfuls. I might have enjoyed it. You've heard of my forays into the Eurasian Steppes and other places?

But I did none of that, though I did send two casks of gold to Cadiz so other de Macabeas might make the trip. They sailed to Panama, then part of the new nation of Colombia, went overland across the isthmus, onto another ship and up to Santa Barbara. Some died along the way... an old abuela (grandmother) and a little baby... Such things happened. Today, that branch of my people own land up and down the Pacific Coast, including three choice properties along 'The Queen's Necklace' in Malibu. A certain Sonny de Macabea has connections in Hollywood. If something doesn't break for Billy soon, I'll see what he can do. Look, I'd like it to happen too. We'll see.

How I digress. Vampires are like that. We're really reticent creatures... able to take care of ourselves, but due to the circumstances of our existence, we don't like to push.

Edith saw the 'dog.'... She saw the coyote and she recognized it as a coyote. Jersey Pines people know. She whined at the front door, begging for food. It was light out. I was sleeping. Edith sensed she had a purpose, so she let her in and fed her. Then she put her in the laundry room tub and gave her a bath. That's when she saw the collar. That's when she noticed the bullet. How compliant the 'dog' was. Edith whispered - I can smell The Pines on you. The hound kissed her and whined.

She was all groomed and curled up on the rug by the time we came down. Conrad was scared.... Is she like a wolf? -he asked....No, she's not a wolf. Well, I suppose she's like a smaller wolf. They say gray wolves and coyotes can breed. They have bred. I've seen big coyotes in The Pines. - said Edith.... Will she bite me? - the skittish vampire continued... Of course he knew she couldn't kill, or hurt him, but Conrad hates pain, so he had to know.... Edith said - Why don't you hold out your hand and see?.... The 'dog' kissed him.

Sarah and Billy took to her right away. She was grateful for the attention. The young vampire woman ran out and bought her a rawhide chew toy. When she got back, Billy ran out to get a leash, so they could walk her. When he came in, he saw me examining the bullet on her collar..... What's that? - he said..... I wasn't sure, but two seconds later Edith's cell phone rang. It was someone from The Pines... She said - Yeah, she's here, all prettied up and fed... Then I knew. The 'translation,' the secret arcane words chanted by the little homeless girl a few nights ago was inside. Where else could it be, but that little artillery shell?

And, to be truthful, I didn't want to know...

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Thursday, January 28, 2016


Things began to happen. God bless the Red Paint People. They've seen everything and they know everything. Belonging to a continuous culture that goes back to Cro-Magnon times has to be worth something. Edith has a special friend among them, a quiet gentlemen (well, they're all quiet), named Newt. His father wanted to name him Salamander, but his mother thought it sounded too ethnic, so they compromised with another name for the same amphibious being. Outsiders think it's short for Newton, but it's not short for anything. It's just Newt. He looks like Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise. They all look like Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise. And the females all look like famed skier, now in trouble with the law, Peekaboo Street. Regular 'VW's' (WonderLanders) know that. He talks to coyotes and they talk back. They ask him what cars are and how long humans live and what's with this fire and food thing and who the hell really believes the world is round and what the hell IS 'the world?' Stuff like that. He asks them if ass sniffin' is all it's cracked up to be and what other creatures they like to hump, besides each other and humans? Most of what goes back and forth between them isn't in words. It just 'is.'

Edith asked Newt to take a look at the words she copied from the back page of Jonathon's book. She called him. Luckily, his cell phone was charged. Red Paints always forget about that. Technology is a bunch of crap to them. Years ago, they though 45rpm records were like Frisbees and electric table fans were big toe amputaters.  They're nature people. You know the types.

So Newt wrote down the letters exactly like she said and did his best. Now the Red Paint population in the dense woods known as The New Jersey Pine 'Barrens' is only a tiny remnant. Other surviving Red Paints exist in Greenland, Newfoundland, Norway, Iceland and Michigan's Upper Peninsula, not to mention a few settlements along Hudson's Bay. They say tiny bands can be found scattered in remote parts of Europe too. Our crew, the Pines crew numbered about thirty six people... enough for a 'meeting of the minds.' So he blew the ram's horn (Jews aren't the only ones) and wherever they were within the 'colony' each and every Red Paint Person (the adults, that is) stopped what they were doing and 'listened.' Look, some were too far away to hear the ram's horn, but via their own, home-grown brand of telepathy, they felt the sound. The colony was still... twenty three people, some curing skins, some playing zithers, some digging deep in the cold mud and snow, looking for 'thousand year old' snapping turtle eggs. Synapses jumped from head to head. Eyes blinked a little. Guts grumbled. Brains jiggled. Then the humming started. That's when each one shares what he knows with the others. Two hundred and thirty heartbeats later, a man comes walkin' out of the trees. Mr. Edith sees him comin' toward the porch and opens the door. The cabin's a real homey place. Folks drop by all the time. Most Piney People ain't Red Paints, just in case you didn't know.

Red Paint guy nods and says - Good afternoon. Is your woman to home?.... Mr. Edith goes - Nope, she's still in the city with her vampire buddies. That's why I can drink my wine. You want some? It's homemade. Mostly bog grapes and a little crawfish juice. Nice batch too. (he holds up the old, irregular, green glass bottle) Red Paint guy thinks a few seconds, smiles and nods again. Mr. Edith gets a glass (I believe it has Barney Rubble on it) and pours him some. Got a nice, deep amber color. Smells real tasty too... Guy takes a sip and goes - I'm here to tell her 'bout 'the words.'..... What words? - says Mr. Edith. What about the wine?.... Oh, I like it fine, thank you. A true, quality fermentation, but I'm here for the words. Vampire buddy found some words. Don't know what they mean. Your Missus thought we could help...... Can you? - asks Mr. Edith..... The Red Paint guy nods a third time and asks for a piece of paper and a pencil. Mr. Edith looks in the junk drawer and gives him what he needs. Guy writes something down. Looks like two lines.... Guy says - Here, you save this. We thought she was here, but you save it. Newt'll send another copy out by coyote. Put it in an old artillery shell. Fix it to the collar. Coyote blend right into the city. Look like a skinny, gray dog. Run fast too.... How's it gonna find her? - asks Edith's husband.... You leave that to Newt. They his coyotes. They Red Paint coyotes, if you know what I mean?. Then he winks, holds up the old Barney Rubble jelly glass and asks for more. Gets some. Stays for sizzlin' hot Taylor Pork Roll and cheese sandwiches on pan toasted Kaiser rolls too. Big, old cast iron fryin' pan give 'em a real good flavor.

You might ask why Newt don't just call Edith back on his cell phone, like she called him. But he won't. 'Smarts' might come into the Pines that way, but they don't go out that way. God damned cell phones. Never know who's listening.

He fortified her with a big old steak, 'fore he send her out. Newt, I mean. Slue-foot-Sue one a the best. She a real good coyote. Fast too. Be there in twenty four hours. Edith'll feed her real nice too, 'fore she send her back. Piney Folk know.

Vampire Jonathon gonna know too, 'cause true meanin' a them words in that artillery shell.

God bless the Red Paints.....

And in case you're curious, go Google Red Paint People...

They real... You bet they real...

<more next time>


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