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RAJ NANDY Jul 2017
THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD IN VERSE
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950's only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the entire poem and don't hesitate to know many interesting facts - which I also did not know! I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                 THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                        THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                             BY RAJ NANDY

           A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the 'persistent of vision'.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera; forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of
the Film Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights atarted to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from
New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost
365 days of the year!
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labour.

                        THE RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the areas abundant red-berried shrubs also known as
California Holly.
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see !
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’, and has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon, and an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dream.
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotised
by lure of the big screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honouring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture production.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the Critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film got released in
1938 on the big screen!
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and
John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’,
‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  the Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s

BACKGROU­ND:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Eisenhower
succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

DEMAND FOR NEW THEMES DURING THE 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
She provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob.
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang,
      Let's rock,.................... (Lyrics of the song.)

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

BOX OFFICE HITS YEAR-WISE FROM 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Deaths During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY WITH FEW TITBITS :
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have travelled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the  American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple,
who became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature
film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to
Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like 'Rebecca', ‘Notorious’, ‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Oscar as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
the 20th Century Fox Studio.
To award critically acclaimed films and television shows, by awarding a
Scroll initially.
Later a Golden Globe was made on a pedestal, with a film strip around it.
In 1955 the Cecil B. De Mille Award was created, with De Mille as its first
recipient.

THE GRAMMY AWARD:
In 1959 The National Academy of Recording and Sciences sponsored the
First Grammy Award for music recorded during 1958.
When Frank Sinatra won for his album cover ‘Only The Lonely’, but he
did not sing.
Among the 28 other categories there was Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
for his musical Dance Band Performance.
There was Kingston Trio’s song ‘Tom Dooly’, and the ‘Chipmunk Song’,
which brings back nostalgic memories of my school days!

CONCLUDING HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH STUDIOS OF THE 1950s

Challenge Faced by the Movie Industry:
Now the challenge before the Movie Industry was how to adjust to the
rapidly changing conditions created by the growing TV Industry.
Resulting in loss of revenue, with viewers getting addicted to
their Domestic TV screen most conveniently!

The late 1950s saw two studios REPUBLIC and the RKO go out of business!
REPUBLIC from 1935- ‘59 based in Los Angeles, developed the careers of
John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and specializing in the Westerns.
RKO was one of the Big Five Studios of Hollywood along with Paramount,
MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers in those days.

RKO Studio which begun with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the ‘30s,
included actress Katherine Hepburn who holds the record for four Oscars
even to this day;
And later had Robert Mitchum and Carry Grant under an agreement.
But in 1948, RKO Studio came under the control Howard Hughes the
temperamental Industrialist.
Soon the scandal drive and litigation prone RKO Studio closed, while
other Big Four Studios had managed to remain afloat!


PARAMOUNT STUDIO:
Paramount Studio split into two separate companies in 1950.
Its Theatre chain later merged with ABC Radio & Television Network;
And they created an independent Production/Distribution Network.
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had been Paramount’s two biggest stars.
Followed by actors like Alan Ladd, William Holden, Jerry Lewis, Dean
Martin, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour.
They also had the producer/director Cecil B. De Mille producing high-
grossing Epics like ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Also the movie maker Hal Wallis, who discovered Burt Lancaster and
Elvis Presley - two great talents!

20th CENTURY FOX:
Cinema Scope became FOX’s most successful technological innovation
with its hit film ‘The Robe’. (1953)
Its Darryl Zanuck had observed during the early ‘50s, that audience  
were more interested in escapist entertainments mainly.
So he turned to FOX to musicals, comedies, and adventure stories.
Biggest stars of FOX were Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward; also
stars like Victor Mature, Anne Baxter, and Richard Wind Mark.
Not forgetting Marilyn Monroe in her Cinema Scope Box Office hit
movie - ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, which was also shown on
prime time TV, as a romantic comedy film of 1953.

WARREN BROTHERS:
During 1950 the studio was mainly a family managed company with
three brothers Harry, Albert, and Jack Warren.
To meet the challenges of that period, Warren Bros. released most of
its actors like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Oliver de Havilland, -
Along with few others from their long-term contractual commitments;
Retaining only Errol Flynn, and Ronald Regan who went on to become
the future President.
Like 20th Century Fox, Warren Bros switched to musicals, comedies,
and adventure movies, with Doris Day as its biggest musical star.
The studio also entered into short term agreements with Gary Copper,
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Random Scott.
Warren Bros also became the first major studio to invest in 3-D
production of films, scoring a big hit with its 3-D  suspense thriller
‘House of Wax’ in 1953.

MINOR STUDIOS were mainly three, - United Artists, Columbia, and
The Universal.
They did not own any theatre chain, and specialized in low-budgeted
‘B’ Movies those days.
Now to cut a long story short it must be said, that Hollywood finally
did participate in the evolution of Television industry, which led to
their integration eventually.
Though strategies involving hardware development and ownership of
broadcast outlets remained unsuccessful unfortunately.
However, Hollywood did succeed through program supply like prime-
time series, and made-for-TV films for the growing TV market making
things more colorful!
Thus it could be said that the TV industry provided the film industry
with new opportunities,  laying the groundwork for its diversification
and concentration;
That characterized the entertainment industry during the latter half  
of our previous century.
I must now confess that I have not visited the movie theatre over the last
two decades!
I watch movies on my big screen TV and my Computer screen these days.
Old classical movies are all available on ‘You Tube’ for me, and I can watch
them any time whenever I am free!
Thanks for reading patiently, - Raj Nandy.
**ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI
Dorothy A Aug 2010
Phone in your home
Phone with you on the road
Three way connections
Incoming calls, not one, but another-aka call waiting
Phones with caller ID
Cordless phones
Hands free phones
Toothy phones sticking out of people's ears
Picture phones...say cheese!
Phone texting instead of talking
Hello? I cannot hear you!

Television and movies in your home
DVD players in your car
Watch those images on your computer
Watch them on your cell phone
Television in the airport
Television in the restaurant
Television at the gas pump
Television in the grocery store line
What's next? Television in the operating room?

Music on your home stereo
Music on your car radio
Store it all on your traveling ipod
Melodious cell phone rings everywhere
Your mp3 player and new computer speakers
Your favorite cable music channels
And plenty of music blasted in the stores
Can't I just have a thought to myself?

Don't forget computers!
Instant messaging
Junk mail in cyberspace
All your shows and movies
always at your instant access
Computer dating
Computer stalkers and hacking
Computer crashes I foresee
because computer bugs and viruses
are trying to invade my soul!
And I feel sick!

I can't get that music out of my head!
I think my ears are ringing!
You've heard of couch potatoes
I think I'm a mouse potato!
How is that for a human spud?
Yes, I admit I'm addicted to my PC!
That I spend more time with technology
than I do with the human race!

I should be burnt out
like old hardware
that is on extreme overload
Not made of wires and steel
but of flesh and blood
I am designed!

But I can't stop!!!

The technology of the future is now here!
I know what George Jetson was saying when he said:
JANE! GET ME OFF THIS CRAZY THING!
Love is beautiful
Patience and kind
Movie star kisses
Making passionate love
Paints a pretty picture
But lets get down to the nitty gritty
*** is ******* good
Rough and passionate
But the next day can be filled with regret
The next ******* day is plan b
And why don't people *** after *** on the television?
Thats a urinary tract infection waiting to happen
Or yeast infection
What the  televison doesn't t tell you
you can get hpv with a ****** on
Hpv leads to cancer
(but not all strands- you still got hope)
maybe a chance you already have hpv
Because almost every sexually active person will have it at one point in their life
What the television doesnt tell you
after **** some girls will have to take a huge ****
And most girls don't like ****
It hurts every ******* time
What the television doesn't tell you
how to use proper protection
That you can be rubbed raw
Get a hernia during ***
Sometimes its pretty ******* bad ***
Its not pretty
It can be awkward
It can be silly
and you do not need to act ****
What the telly doesn't tell you
Is how it doesn't matter about the age you loose it but when you have the emotional intelligence to go through with it
Even then you do not know that you have opened Pandora's box
You do not know what you think you know
The specialist are still figuring out ****** hygiene
So the next time you watch the television and you see the **** stars or teen lovers
It is not so easy
*** is complicated
But can be good and worth it with the right person
No matter what age or relation
howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
The **** kids gaol



Once upon a time there was this kid named Brian Mandler who was 14 years

Of age and was sort of obsessed with figuring out a way to catch and reform

Really dangerous criminals.   When he explained how he’ll do it to his family,

They told him that they don’t want to hear it and they all leave the room and

Brian went to his room and got onto his computer and started to track

Down some dangerous criminals and as well as that he will watch Australia’s

Most wanted and unsolved mysteries to make sure he is up to date with the

Goings on and when he catches them he will give them a pill which puts

Them to sleep and it makes them dream that they are on TV and Brian

Can watch it to keep him informed on their goings on.

When he saw the first criminal who was named David Perton Brown who

Was a real evil child snatcher who loves to pray on vonerable kids who

Haven’t got good lives as well as robbing them  and leaving them to die

and then he’ll do about 180 on the freeway trying to **** families

On their way to their holiday destination and quite often he succeeded but

This time Brian got onto his computer and said that he wants to get David

And put him on a early morning childrens show called the Saturday Morning

Cartoon hour where he’ll meet people left, right and centre and most of those

People will be children and he’ll have guests who will give him heaps for the

Crimes that he did and also he’ll have a visit from the police every 4 Saturdays

To really check up on him but he had to make the kids unaware by posing to

Make sure that kid’s say no to drugs and lifts with strangers and that meant

That the host could try something outside.

As well as that Brian put him on a nightly music show because some of his

Victims are now teenagers who like music and Brian made him the sort of

Host that will constantly goof up a lot.  The program was called The Talent

Quest and he’ll be teamed up with 2 police officers who are making sure there

Is no funny stuff going on.

Brian planned to keep him in his little gaol for a long time till he starts to settle

Down a bit.

The next criminal is Joshua Tartwright who is a vicious modern day pirate who

Takes adults over 40 and holds them captive in his little boat and he has been

Doing this for about 12 years and Brian got onto his computer and told it

That he wants Joshua to on the pirates of the Carribean TV series and keep him there till he realises that he is no match for those pirates

And he doesn’t feel like kidnapping them anymore but this was hard to get him

To take the drug and Brian had to get to rough police officers to hold him down

And then force feed him till he his knocked completely out and then his life as

A television star started.   Joshua was excited about being on a pirate show and

He wanted to email all his friends but he was stuck in another world and also

He was the one the pirates wouldn’t leave alone and he felt weird and wanted

The drug to wear off but we all know that when it wears off it’s dinner time.

As he started the pirate show it was hard for him to be his own man because he

Was kidnapped straight away it was hard for him to understand what this

Dream meant and was trying to tell Brian that he wants his blood.

Brian jumped on the computer and said how about we keep him captive there

For 2 hours and then it would be dinner time and h’ll enjoy that.

Meanwhile Brian wasn’t scared one little bit and watched the television to

Catch another criminal and it was Mark Dellar who tried to make John the

Baptist (the religious fellow) look evil by coming into the Christian church and

Preaching that John the Baptist was evil and every thing that he did

John the Baptist was telling him to do it and the Christians were very

Upset and screamed so loudly as Mark stole money from everyone in

There and Brian got onto his computer and said that he wants to put

Mark in his gaol and make him a religious guru to be put onto Television

At 5 am every weekday morning as well as listen to good people’s

Prayer requests and he must help them as well.   The first request was a

Man who is terminally ill and there is no way he will get out of it and

This man yelled at him in the prayer request that he sent and Mark

Tried to tell him that he has nothing to worry about because God

Is on your side and Brian got onto his computer and made the walls

Cave in and knocked Mark out and the man just ran away saying

We won the first battle and Mark woke up and he had a cup of coffee

And a biscuit waiting for him and he was relieved but there were more

Strange cases in his dream and Brian is there to reform him.

Brian thought it was a good job he gave him as a Television preacher helping people get better than making people feel Worse which what he was doing..

Brian watched more of Australia’s most wanted and saw a group of

Violent and dangerous armed robbers who were knocking over 7

Eleven stores and rich people’s houses as well as stopping the

Families from going out and having fun and Brian had his little

Plan to get them in his little gaol.     He wanted to play them at their

Own game by pretending he was a rich powerful man because

He had more dangerous things than any robber like his booster

Shot in which Brian wanted then to be cops in televisions cop

Drama ‘cop department” in which they deal with dangerous criminals

Like them each day and Brian thought that they will reform if they

Knew the kind of trauma they were putting their victims through and Brian

Keeps them there forever if they don’t reform even if it eventually kills

Them so the crooks can’t escape because Brian is too powerful for

Any of them.

Brian sat their laughing at the armed robbers playing cops and at

One moment they were locked in a security vault which had a

Bomb in it which is set to explode in 20 minutes and Brian went

On the computer and said let the bomb go off and then they will

Be put back in their beds and we will have lunch for them before

We torture them some more and then Brian sat down and said

What a job well done but there are still heaps of dangerous criminals

He needs to catch yet

Brian turned on America’s most wanted and there was the Texan ******

Who preys upon women in their 20s by luring them into his panel van

And keeping them ******* in his back shed till they are killed and Brian

Said that he wants to catch the Texan ****** and start him on stint on

General hospital where he will play a young woman who is the target

Of a never ending ****.

The police took the drug off Brian and went straight to the Texan rapists

House to give him the drug and at first he wondered why he needed to

Take these drugs because he wasn’t mental he said and there is nothing

Wrong with him and he refused to take them and tried to escape and

Then Brian got onto his computer to make him too slow to get away and

Brian was happy to get him onto General hospital and make the old ladies

Very happy.

When he first fell asleep there was a ****** at the end of his bed and wanted

To get within his sheets and really let him have it and the Texan ****** was

Screaming so loud stuff like” Let me go I’m a man not a woman but this

****** just heard the innocent lady scream and there was no way that he

Was to escape and Brian was laughing like crazy at the Texan rapists bad ordeal

And went onto the computer and said I want him to be attacked every day

To understand what it was like for his victims and they started to employ

People to play the rapists straight away and Brian was happy to see that this

Plan of his is working very well.

Brian was the envy of all his friends but noone apart from his best friend

Thomas knew about it because of the closeness of their friendship,

Brian’s secret was safe with him.

Brian and Thomas went to the park to have a drink under the tree

Together and talked about their lives and Brian isn’t aloud to talk about

His gaol life just in case anyone was around and at the moment noone

Could suspect anything.

After Brian had a break he watched more of Australia’s most wanted and

Saw there was a man wanted for bank fraud who is on the run in Brisbane

And Brian wanted to track him down and give him the drug that puts

Him in his little gaol where Brian will put him on as victim of fraud who

Was on Brian’s fake edition of 60 minutes until he realises that what

He did is wrong and that he will never do it again and when the police

Arrived at his house to give him Brian’s magical reforming drug he put

Up a fight and started to flee away on foot down the street that he lives

In with some police following him and others contacting Brian to use his

Powers to make him slower and catch him and give the drug to him and

Put the fraud man who doesn’t tell people his name into his little gaol and

When they did Brian was so happy of all the crooks he caught without

A worry in the world , Brian watched the episode of 60 minutes and

Really enjoyed him suffering because of all the people he made suffer

He needs a taste of his own medicine.

They asked him what is it like to be a victim of fraud and do you think you will

Ever see that kind of money again and he told them that he wants the money he

Stole so he could go to the Bahamas and cruise around looking for chicks and

Brian went straight to the computer and said keep ribbing him because it’s fun to

Make this guy suffer because what he did was terrible so rib something fierce.

Brian watched this music show and He was happy that the young people who were at the music festival were

Really letting him have it and this really entertained Brian a lot and

Then he switched it over to the Talent quest where our criminal was being

Told he was talentless and was upset with the whole outcome of it all, he

Threatened to jump off the top building and be dead forever and Brian

Went onto the computer and said that there is no way that he will die if he

Jumps off the roof to the ground, in fact he will just wake up and a guard will

Be there to keep an eye on him and now he was aware of the fact that noone

Could escape from Brian’s little gaol.

The Saturday morning cartoon show went very well with the child snatcher

Being teased by 2 11 year old girls and one 7 year old boy  and he nearly lost it and Brian was so happy that they were teasing him.  Then he told the kids that

He will **** them all and Brian went onto the computer and said don’t try any

Funny stuff because there is no escape for you now fella,and then he put

one of the cartoons which was our modern day pirate who was being tortured by Blackbeard and Brian was happy because this man needed to know why he is

in this little gaol of Brian’s, and then he went onto his computer and said to

Blackbeard too never let him get free because what he was doing to these

Adults was a very bad thing and then he went back to his chair and laughed at

Blackbeard the pirate torturing this modern day pirate like a lamb to the

Slaughter.

Blackbeard also made to walk the plank and Threatened to cut his head off

Agreed that it could be fun to see him suffer.   Like what it was like for him

In the end of his life and the pirate said “please don’t **** me please don’t ****

Me I am a modern pirate and in days to come pirates have a lot of vegeance

Than in these times” and Brian went to the computer and told them to

Chop his head off once and then keep trying to do it so he could suffer

And that would be heaps of fun Brian thought.

Brian turned it over to general hospital where his Texan ****** was screaming

In the back boot of a car and noone could hear him except for Brian who was

Watching him and he got up and wrote on the computer “He wants them to

Feed his body to the sharks at 11.59 am so he could be ready for lunch.

He switched the TV over to the cop show where our armed robbers thought they are in the perfect job because there were no crimes around so they just sat down

And relaxed and Brian wasn’t happy and went to this computer and told

Everybody to put on a few situations to make them really suffer like they

Did to the police on Earth and then suddenly there was a call on the 000

Saying there was a mother and her 13 year old son locked in their panic

Room while the robbers were having a field day robbing the place

and the cops went straight there only to find out that this was their first

test, because when the reached them the crooks turned on them and

left the mother and 13 year old son in the panic room and Brian went

to his computer and said I want these so-called policeman to try to save the

mother and son instead of trying to **** the police and if they don’t they will

flunk the test.  So one of the policemen went into the house and tried to

save the mother and son while the other two were having a gunfight and the

policeman who was in the house saving the victims couldn’t get the door

opened and screamed for his mates to help him but they were too busy

having a gunfight in the front lawn with the neighbours scared for each others

safety, and Brian went to his computer and said give these ****** gunfighters

a wake up pill because they don’t seem to realise what is really important

here and that is saving the victims and not killing the cops like cowboys

and Indians you ****** fools.

While all the caught prisoners eating their meals Brian watched Australia’s most

Wanted to try to catch some more crooks and they told him about the

Charnwood child snatcher who lived in “as the name suggests” Charnwood

And he took street kids off the streets and he would tell them that he has the

Perfect home for them and as a matter of fact he would tie the kids up

And when they die of starvation or dehydration he would take them out

To the cow paddock and let the cows pick at them and When Brian heard

The details he got straight up to his computer and said that he wants to

Put the Charnwood child snatcher on a new show called Sugary who is

A very witty and smart seal who is befriended by this 8 year old boy who

Is the Charnwood child snatcher because Brian wanted to teach him

Not to destroy the family’s lives, like he did when he kidnapped their

Children from them.

Brian sat down and watched the first episode and they had this evil

Genous who wanted to take the seal and sell him for seal meat and

The boy was so determined to stop this crook he would stay out and

Guard Sugary all night and hours and hours went by and noone turned

Up and the boy was determined not to leave because Sugary was his

Favourite pet.

When the crooks got there the boy jumped up and said” If you want

Sugary you have to take me as well” and the men said “Whatever”

And shoved the kid in a bag with the attempt the **** him and then

**** Sugary soon after and Brian got up to his computer, don’t let them

Be killed, just keep him ******* till the end when the parents come to save

Them and make sure that sugary is safe as well.

Then Brian sat down and saw The father rescue the boy and Sugary from

This evil genious and the evil genious said I will get you next time boy

Next time heh heh heh and then you won’t escape from that.

The Charnwood child snatcher woke up and found himself locked in a room

And he looked outside and a lady has a cup of coffee for him and he took

The coffee and thanked the lady and sat down until it was time to take his

Reforming pill.

Brian was happy because the Charnwood child snatcher was forced to learn

The perfect family bond between parents and children.

About 5 hours later than that Brian sat down and watched the 6 o clock news

And they informed everybody with Christmas approaching there was man

Who escaped from prison who is a good santa claus impersonator and every

Christmas he would go to Santa School and pass the test and then he’ll be

Assigned to working in one of the shopping malls and that doesn’t sound

Like such a crime and Brian was thinking this is a happy story until he heard

The next bit where he will get the kids to put their name and address so he

Knows where to go on Christmas eve and then he studies when the kids

Will be alone in the house and comes to their homes
Mitchell Duran Dec 2013
In the Fall, when the temperature of the Bay would drop and the wind blew ice, frost would gather on the lawn near Henry Oldez's room. It was not a heavy frost that spread across the paralyzed lawn, but one that just covered each blade of grass with a fine, white, almost dusty coat. Most mornings, he would stumble out of the garage where he slept and tip toe past the ice speckled patch of brown and green spotted grass, so to make his way inside to relieve himself. If he was in no hurry, he would stand on the four stepped stoop and look back at the dried, dead leaves hanging from the wiry branches of three trees lined up against the neighbors fence. The picture reminded him of what the old gallows must have looked like. Henry Oldez had been living in this routine for twenty some years.

He had moved to California with his mother, father, and three brothers 35 years ago. Henry's father, born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico, had traveled across the Meixcan border on a bent, full jalopy with his wife, Betria Gonzalez and their three kids. They were all mostly babies then and none of the brothers claimed to remember anything of the ride, except one, Leo, recalled there was "A lotta dust in the car." Santiago Oldez, San for short, had fought in World War II and died of cancer ten years later. San drank most nights and smoked two packs of Marlboro Reds a day. Henry had never heard his father talk about the fighting or the war. If he was lucky to hear anything, it would have been when San was dead drunk, talking to himself mostly, not paying very much attention to anyone except his memories and his music.

"San loved two things in this world," Henry would say, "*****, Betria, and Johnny Cash."

Betria Gonzalez grew up in Tijuana, Mexico as well. She was a stout, short woman, wide but with pretty eyes and a mess of orange golden hair. Betria could talk to anyone about anything. Her nick names were the conversationalist or the old crow because she never found a reason to stop talking. Santiago had met her through a friend of a friend. After a couple of dates, they were married. There is some talk of a dispute among the two families, that they didn't agree to the marriage and that they were too young, which they probably were. Santiago being Santiago, didn't listen to anybody, only to his heart. They were married in a small church outside of town overlooking the Pacific. Betria told the kids that the waves thundered and crashed against the rocks that day and the sea looked endless. There were no pictures taken and only three people were at the ceremony: Betria, San, and the priest.

Of course, the four boys went to elementary and high school, and, of course, none of them went to college. One brother moved down to LA and eventually started working for a law firm doing their books. Another got married at 18 years old and was in and out of the house until getting under the wing of the union, doing construction and electrical work for the city. The third brother followed suit. Henry Oldez, after high school, stayed put. Nothing in school interested him. Henry only liked what he could get into after school. The people of the streets were his muse, leaving him with the tramps, the dealers, the struggling restaurateurs, the laundry mat hookers, the crooked cops and the addicts, the gang bangers, the bible humpers, the window washers, the jesus freaks, the EMT's, the old ladies pushing salvation by every bus stop, the guy on the corner and the guy in the alley, and the DOA's. Henry didn't have much time for anyone else after all of them.

Henry looked at himself in the mirror. The light was off and the room was dim. Sunlight streaked in through the dusty blinds from outside, reflecting into the mirror and onto Henry's face. He was short, 5' 2'' or 5' 3'' at most with stubby, skinny legs, and a wide, barrel shaped chest. He examined his face, which was a ravine of wrinkles and deep crows feet. His eyes were sunken and small in his head. Somehow, his pants were always one or two inches below his waistline, so the crack of his *** would constantly be peeking out. Henry's deep, chocolate colored hair was  that of an ancient Native American, long and nearly touched the tip of his belt if he stood up straight. No one knew how long he had been growing it out for. No one knew him any other way. He would comb his hair incessantly: before and after a shower, walking around the house, watching television with Betria on the couch, talking to friends when they came by, and when he drove to work, when he had it.

Normal work, nine to five work, did not work for Henry. "I need to be my own boss," he'd say. With that fact stubbornly put in place, Henry turned to being a handy man, a roofer, and a pioneer of construction. No one knew where he would get the jobs that he would get, he would just have them one day. And whenever he 'd finish a job, he'd complain about how much they'd shorted him, soon to move on to the next one. Henry never had to listen to anyone and, most of the time, he got free lunches out of it. It was a very strange routine, but it worked for him and Betria had no complaints as long as he was bringing some money in and keeping busy. After Santiago died, she became the head of the house, but really let her boys do whatever they wanted.

Henry took a quick shower and blow dried his hair, something he never did unless he was in a hurry. He had a job in the east bay at a sorority house near the Berkley campus. At the table, still in his pajamas, he ate three leftover chicken thighs, toast, and two over easy eggs. Betria was still in bed, awake and reading. Henry heard her two dogs barking and scratching on her bedroom door. He got up as he combed his damp hair, tugging and straining to get each individual knot out. When he opened the door, the smaller, thinner dog, Boy Boy, shot under his legs and to the front door where his toy was. The fat, beige, pig-like one waddled out beside Henry and went straight for its food bowl.

"Good morning," said Henry to Betria.

Betria looked at Henry over her glasses, "You eat already?"

"Yep," he announced, "Got to go to work." He tugged on a knot.

"That's good. Dondé?" Betria looked back down at her spanish TV guide booklet.

"Berkley somewhere," Henry said, bringing the comb smoothly down through his hair.

"That's good, that's good."

"OK!" Henry sighed loudly, shutting the door behind him. He walked back to the dinner table and finished his meal. Then, Betria shouted something from her room that Henry couldn't hear.

"What?" yelled Henry, so she could hear him over the television. She shouted again, but Henry still couldn't hear her. Henry got up and went back to her room, ***** dish in hand. He opened her door and looked at her without saying anything.

"Take the dogs out to ***," Betria told him, "Out the back, not the front."

"Yeah," Henry said and shut the door.

"Come on you dogs," Henry mumbled, dropping his dish in the sink. Betria always did everyones dishes. She called it "her exercise."

Henry let the two dogs out on the lawn. The sun was curling up into the sky and its heat had melted all of the frost on the lawn. Now, the grass was bright green and Henry barely noticed the dark brown dead spots. He watched as the fat beige one squatted to ***. It was too fat to lifts its own leg up. The thing was built like a tank or a sea turtle. Henry laughed to himself as it looked up at him, both of its eyes going in opposite directions, its tongue jutted out one corner of his mouth. Boy boy was on the far end of the lawn, searching for something in the bushes. After a minute, he pulled out another one of his toys and brought it to Henry. Henry picked up the neon green chew toy shaped like a bone and threw it back to where Boy boy had dug it out from. Boy boy shot after it and the fat one just watched, waddling a few feet away from it had peed and laid down. Henry threw the toy a couple more times for Boy boy, but soon he realized it was time to go.

"Alright!" said Henry, "Get inside. Gotta' go to work." He picked up the fat one and threw it inside the laundry room hallway that led to the kitchen and the rest of the house. Boy boy bounded up the stairs into the kitchen. He didn't need anyone lifting him up anywhere. Henry shut the door behind them and went to back to his room to get into his work clothes.

Henry's girlfriend was still asleep and he made sure to be quiet while he got dressed. Tia, Henry's girlfriend, didn't work, but occasionally would put up garage sales of various junk she found around town. She was strangely obsessed with beanie babies, those tiny plush toys usually made up in different costumes. Henry's favorite was the hunter. It was dressed up in camouflage and wore an eye patch. You could take off its brown, polyester hat too, if you wanted. Henry made no complaint about Tia not having a job because she usually brought some money home somehow, along with groceries and cleaning the house and their room. Betria, again, made no complain and only wanted to know if she was going to eat there or not for the day.

A boat sized bright blue GMC sat in the street. This was Henry's car. The stick shift was so mangled and bent that only Henry and his older brother could drive it. He had traded a new car stereo for it, or something like that. He believed it got ten miles to the gallon, but it really only got six or seven. The stereo was the cleanest piece of equipment inside the thing. It played CD's, had a shoddy cassette player, and a decent radio that picked up all the local stations. Henry reached under the seat and attached the radio to the front panel. He never left the radio just sitting there in plain sight. Someone walking by could just as soon as put their elbow into the window, pluck the thing out, and make a clean 200 bucks or so. Henry wasn't that stupid. He'd been living there his whole life and sure enough, done the same thing to other cars when he was low on money. He knew the tricks of every trade when it came to how to make money on the street.

On the road, Henry passed La Rosa, the Mexican food mart around the corner from the house. Two short, tanned men stood in front of a stand of CD's, talking. He usually bought pirated music or movies there. One of the guys names was Bertie, but he didn't know the other guy. He figured either a customer or a friend. There were a lot of friends in this neighborhood. Everyone knew each other somehow. From the bars, from the grocery, from the laundromat, from the taco stands or from just walking around the streets at night when you were too bored to stay inside and watch TV. It wasn't usually safe for non-locals to walk the streets at night, but if you were from around there and could prove it to someone that was going to jump you, one could usually get away from losing a wallet or an eyeball if you had the proof. Henry, to people on the street, also went as Monk. Whenever he would drive through the neighborhood, the window open with his arm hanging out the side, he would usually hear a distant yell of "Hey Monk!" or "What's up Monk!". Henry would always wave back, unsure who's voice it was or in what direction to wave, but knowing it was a friend from somewhere.

There was heavy traffic on the way to Berkley and as he waited in line, cursing his luck, he looked over at the wet swamp, sitting there beside highway like a dead frog. A few scattered egrets waded through the brown water, their long legs keeping their clean white bodies safe from the muddy water. Beyond the swamp laid the pacific and the Golden Gate bridge. San Francisco sat there too: still, majestic, and silver. Next to the city, was the Bay Bridge stretched out over the water like long gray yard stick. Henry compared the Golden Gate's beauty with the Bay Bridge. Both were beautiful in there own way, but the Bay Bridge's color was that of a gravestone, while the Golden Gate's color was a heavy red, that made it seem alive. Why they had never decided to pain the Bay Bridge, Henry had no idea. He thought it would look very nice with a nice coat of burgundy to match the Golden gate, but knew they would never spend the money. They never do.

After reeling through the downtown streets of Berkley, dodging college kids crossing the street on their cell phones and bicyclists, he finally reached the large, A-frame house. The house was lifted, four or five feet off the ground and you had to walk up five or seven stairs to get to the front door. Surrounded by tall, dark green bushes, Henry knew these kids had money coming from somewhere. In the windows hung spinning colored glass and in front of the house was an old-timey dinner bell in the shape of triangle. Potted plants lined the red brick walkway that led to the stairs. Young tomatoes and small peas hung from the tender arms of the stems leaf stalks. The lawn was manicured and clean. "Must be studying agriculture or something," Henry thought, "Or they got a really good gardener."

He parked right in front of the house and looked the building up and down, estimating how long it would take to get the old shingles off and the new one's on. Someone was up on the deck of the house, rocking back and forth in an old wooden chair. He listened to the creaking wood of the chair and the deck, judging it would take him two days for the job. Henry knew there was no scheduled rain, but with the Bay weather, one could never be sure. He had worked in rain before - even hail - and it never really bothered him. The thing was, he never strapped himself in and when it would rain and he was working roofs, he was afraid to slip and fall. He turned his truck off, got out, and locked both of the doors. He stepped heavily up the walkway and up the stairs. The someone who was rocking back and forth was a skinny beauty with loose jean shorts on and a thick looking, black and red plaid shirt. She had long, chunky dread locks and was smoking a joint, blowing the smoke out over the tips of the bushes and onto the street. Henry was no stranger to the smell. He smoked himself. This was California.

"Who're you?" the dreaded girl asked.

"I'm the roofer," Henry told her.

The girl looked puzzled and disinterested. Henry leaned back on his heels and wondered if the whole thing was lemon. She looked beyond him, down on the street, awkwardly annoying Henry's gaze. The tools in Henry's hands began to grow heavy, so he put them down on the deck with a thud. The noise seemed to startle the girl out of whatever haze her brain was in and she looked back at Henry. Her eyes were dark brown and her skin was smooth and clear like lake water. She couldn't have been more then 20 or 21 years old. Henry realized that he was staring and looked away at the various potted plants near the rocking chair. He liked them all.

"Do you know who called you?" She took a drag from her joint.

"Brett, " Henry told her, "But they didn't leave a last name."

For a moment, the girl looked like she had been struck across the chin with a brick, but then her face relaxed and she smiled.

"Oh ****," she laughed, "That's me. I called you. I'm Brett."

Henry smiled uneasily and picked up his tools, "Ok."

"Nice to meet you," she said, putting out her hand.

Henry awkwardly put out his left hand, "Nice to meet you too."

She took another drag and exhaled, the smoke rolling over her lips, "Want to see the roof?"

The two of them stood underneath a five foot by five foot hole. Henry was a little uneasy by the fact they had cleaned up none of the shattered wood and the birds pecking at the bird seed sitting in a bowl on the coffee table facing the TV. The arms of the couch were covered in bird **** and someone had draped a large, zebra printed blanket across the middle of it. Henry figured the blanket wasn't for decoration, but to hide the rest of the bird droppings. Next to the couch sat a large, antique lamp with its lamp shade missing. Underneath the dim light, was a nice portrait of the entire house. Henry looked away from the hole, leaving Brett with her head cocked back, the joint still pinched between her lips, to get a closer look. There looked to be four in total: Brett, a very large man, a woman with longer, thick dread locks than Brett, and a extremely short man with a very large, brown beard. Henry went back
You know it's not worth all the trouble
The stationary on the table
Open the doors to needy families
They need their ice machines
Need their locks and they need keys
And they need chairs and beds and ashtrays
The stationary on the table
Next to the television
I was in the shower
Looking for my soap
The doors were closed, I'm sure
No one knows I was there
Kept it well hidden, then I
Did what I had to do and then I
Walked away and I forgot this day ever happened
Ever happened
It's easy to walk away just turn your head
And forget this day ever happened
It's easy just to walk away, turn your head and forget
That this day ever happened
It's easy to forget, turn around and leave
Wrap it around your sleeve and forget
Forget this day, this day ever happened
Left the ice machine
I left my locks and keys
I left my luggage and my ***** magazines
I left my ashtrays
Left my bed and my buffet
Left my chairs and my keys and
Lord, I left my "Do Not Disturb"
Left my family, left the housekeeper
And I left the ice machine
Left the postcards of the pool
Left the restaurant, left the shower
And the rooms and the signs that say:
"Soap upstairs, stationary on the table
By the television."
I stole the towels and the TV guide
I got into my vehicle, I stole another ashtray
From the bar, by the bed, by the buffet
Sat in your electric chair and thought of children
I was a clerk, I had a "Do Nor Disturb" sign on my head
And the Doors were playing in the background
About the broken families
And the housekeeper at the ice machine
Where she lost her keys, but she never could find the locks
And her luggage and her magazines
Oh, she's on the phone too much, and the pool is warm but it's closed
She's got a postcard
There's a remote chance that the restaurant is still open
But we've got the keys to the rooms
We got showers, we've got signs that say:
"Soap can be found upstairs
By the stationary on the table
Sitting by the television."
Well, I brought back the towels but I kept the TV guide
My vehicle's in the shop and the ashtrays are filled
With roaches and roach clips
And the bar of soap that I stole from the hotel
That was by the beds that were never quite made right
And the buffet that didn't taste right
And we were sitting in the chairs
We were listening to your children
Oh, that purse does not seem to like me much
I said, "Do not disturb my meditations, if you please
Turn that Doors tape off, if you please."
Gotta get home, back home to my family
I once was a housekeeper, I once was a housekeeper
Yes, I was, do you remember when I was a housekeeper?
But I never knew my way to the ice machine
And they never gave me keys so I never knew where the locks were
And I never needed luggage because the only things I'd seen were in magazines
Heard about on the phone - spent some time by the pool
Writing on the backs of postcards, suicide notes
But it's remote- this restaurant will not be the place I do it
I know I need some rooms - rooms with showers
Need myself a sign that says "The soap can be found upstairs
Next to the stationary on the table by the television."
I need some towels but I don't need the TV guide
So I got the TV, yeah I put it in the vehicle outside
Along with a couple of ashtrays
And a bottle or two that I had ordered but never paid for at the bar
Well, the beds were made this time
But the buffet still didn't taste quite right
And the chairs they gave us were much too small
Like they were made for children
But the clerk was not responsive to my complaints
She kept on saying, "Do Not Disturb me
You know the way to the doors."
If I had a dollar for all the families who were expecting me to be a housekeeper
I'd go buy the ice machine
Empty the ice and find the keys
And then I'd go look for the locks
Take my luggage cram-packed with magazines
I've got some quarters for the phone
Brought my swimming trunks for the pool
Send a postcard
But there is a remote possibility
That I might never leave here
But stay here
Eating in the restaurant
Where the rooms are not too cozy
And the showers ain't got no running hot water
We need a sign, there were nothing but signs
I should have been paying attention to the signs
I should have brought my own soap
The thought occurred to me as I walked down the stairs
That's why I need some stationary
I'm gonna sit down at the table
Turn the television off, send back the towels
Open up the TV guide, think about the vehicle outside
archwolf-angel Aug 2016
Monster
Trianna POV
It took me time to accept what I was being pushed into. Ever since I was young, my mother and father told me that one day, I might grow to hate myself. I know, what parents tell that to their child right? But they saw no point in lying to me. It was going to happen. I was going to hate myself.

I am half-vampire.

Not because of my mother, not because of my father. It was my paternal grandfather.

It was a miracle my father got none of the vampire symptoms. It was the best miracle. My grandparents were one of those unbelievably fated couples in the world. A vampire and a human fell in love and got married and had my dad. They were prepared to have to deal with a vampire child, but, miraculously, it did not happen. My father came out normal, as normal as any human could ever be. It was not surprising; he had more of my grandmother’s genes. Eventually, my father met my mother, fell in love and got married. I came along. That’s how the equation works right?

They had nothing to worry, for they were both human. However, something was not right. When I was 3, my eye color changed. The color was nothing like my parents’. Their eyes were a nice shade of hazel and dark brown. Mine, was green, dark, forest green. As a kid, my treats weren’t sweets. They were blood, small droplets of blood from my parents. But by the time I was 7, my parents and grandparents helped me grow an addiction to lollipops, making me turn to them whenever I had a craving attack. For blood that is. But craving attacks were rare, very rare. I was only a half-vampire anyway.

As the days passed, I grew into a teenager, my parents and grandparents aged, except my grandfather. My grandmother long got used to the fact that my grandfather would not be able to age with her. After a while, I found it weird that my father was starting to look older than my grandfather. Things all went well, until the night before I turned 18.

It was taboo.

All a taboo.

I really hated myself now.

No one saw it coming. So we didn’t make precautions.

I killed them. I killed my parents. I didn’t even know what happened. I couldn’t even remember. I only remembered that I was enjoying a movie on television with my parents alone at home as my grandparents were out for a friends’ gathering dinner or something. And the next thing I remembered were my parents, lying in their own pool of blood, not breathing. My hands and face, stained with blood. My grandfather tried to stop me but feeding me his blood, but it was too late. It was all too late. I held onto my grandfather’s bitten arm and lay there, just staring at my parents. The clock struck midnight and everything turned black.

I woke up the next morning in my own bed, an urge to puke filled my guts as I rushed to the toilet to throw up. Nothing came out, just regurgitation. I looked up in the mirror, and blinked. I blinked again, harder this time, making sure I was not hallucinating. My eyes were, green, not dark green, but a lighter shade. I pulled the side of my mouth to reveal my canine teeth. They were sharper than before. In a state of shock and panic, I ran down the stairs, where I knew where my family would be. The moment I reached the first floor, I saw my grandparents outside, in the backyard.

I hesitated to move. Someone tell me the nightmare I had was not real.
“G-Grandpa?” I murmured. My grandfather turned, making my grandmother do the same. My grandmother had a tear-streaked face and a handkerchief in her hands. My grandfather looked the worse ever since I knew him. I swallowed hard before walking closer to them, and I noticed two coffins being laid on the ground.

Tears fell down my cheeks as I realized who those two being laid there were.

“Grandpa… Tell me this isn’t real…” I struggled to believe what was happening in front of me. My grandfather held onto me before I could collapse.

“Trianna, please don’t be like this…” he pleaded.

I knelt in front of my parents’ tombs and bid them a last farewell before they were being cremated. The fire was burning away so many memories. I almost wanted to walk into it, almost.

“I’m sorry…” I whispered under my breath and said a deep prayer. I lifted myself up from the ground and dried my tears. Walking to my grandparents, I gave them both a tight hug before my grandfather could go on another trail of apologies about how it was his fault I am what I am now. Worse, I am not a pure. And that is making things so hard for us to decipher. It was something none of us wanted. However, I had to blame myself. And I blamed myself, a lot. But I never mentioned anything about my parents ever since my 18th birthday. I wanted to escape.

For one year, we continued to stay at that same house. And every day without fail, I would walk to the backyard where my parents were cremated and kiss the ground, apologize then do whatever I had to do for the day. I stayed away from school which my grandparents obliged. I doubt anyone is ready for me to have a sudden craving attack again and start ******* the blood out of my classmates since my cravings were stronger now. I used to only have to **** on lollipops whenever I see blood. But now, I had to have a lollipop in my mouth 24/7, considering the fact that we are in fact staying amongst humans, and most probably have to for the rest of my life, and I start wondering how long my life would be.

To start things anew, my grandparents decided we needed to shift to a new state. If we continued to stay in that place, as they assumed, would be bringing me way too much pain. I had no opinions; I just needed to follow them wherever they wanted to go. However, I did mention there was not much need to actually move, I was over the whole blaming myself about my parents’ death thing… I think.

We settled down in a small town called Kingslet based in the United States, where Grandpa once lived with his family. I heard that that town was secluded, but definitely still populated with humans, moreover, rich humans. And probably some vampires.

We moved into a cottage that my grandfather bought over from an old friend. And when I said old friend, I meant like, a really really really old vampire friend of his who happened to want to move away to another town with his family. My grandfather drove a van that he had rented from near the place where our private plane landed to the location where we were destined to live. Upon arriving, my jaw dropped. That isn’t a cottage, more like a mansion, for goodness sake. Alighting from the van, I took one breath and knew it was the signal for me to be ******* on lollipops again. I took one out from my backpack and opened it before popping it into my mouth.

“The smell getting to you already? That’s fast.” My grandfather, who was obviously already immune to the smell of blood, chuckled.

“Shut up.” I mock-glared my grandfather and smiled as I helped with moving the luggage into the house. Being half-vampire, for the moment, was not half bad. I get extra super strength, a cliché vampire gift. I did my own research of my own kind. We get super human strength, sense of smell increases and super human speed. But I figured maybe because I was only half-bred, I wasn’t sensitive to the sun, nor to garlics, or crosses. I consider myself lucky.

Entering the cottage, I placed the luggage on the floor before taking a look around the place. The place was really not bad. It was huge, comfortable and very cozy. My grandmother would definitely love it here. Well, she would be the only one hanging around the house 24/7. I don’t really want my 75 year old human grandmother wandering just anywhere she wants alone. High chances are that she was going to get hurt or something. But touch wood. And true enough, my grandmother was already taking her place on one of the sofas furnished in the living room by the fireplace, smiling at my grandfather.

“It’s wonderful here, Xavier dear.” She complimented.

Both grandfather and I smiled at her then at each other.

“Glad that you like it here, Katrina darling.” He said to my grandmother, making me quiver at their sweetness, but it was not like I was not used to it. “Come on Tri, let’s start moving the things.” He turned to me and suggested. I nodded with a smile. As we were at moving, I was told my room is on the second floor, in which I get to choose between three bedrooms, and the other two would become any room I want them to be, and that most likely means I would be having the whole second floor to myself. This really doesn’t sound so bad. I picked the biggest room, and poked my head in, realizing that the bed and all were already furnished perfectly. It must be grandpa. He knows me really well. Too well.

I threw both my luggage onto my bed and opened them, revealing my clothes and all my other belongings and started unpacking. First, my one and only family photo left after grandpa decided to keep the rest away from me at our old home. He only allowed me to keep one, the one we took when I was 15, in which I really don’t look much different compared to the present me. Staring at the photo, I wished so much that they were still here with me. It didn’t matter if we were going to move either way, as long as they were here, things would be perfect. I quickly put the picture frame at the side of my bed before I could actually start crying my green orbs out again. I proceeded with the rest of my unpacking and once I was done, I had also finished my lollipop. Being lazy to open another open, I chose to leave the empty lollipop stick in my mouth and chew on it instead.

Heading downstairs with my headphones hanging around my neck and smartphone, I hopped onto the longest sofa that was facing the wide screen television, switched on the television and started to channel surf, deciding to figure out the town’s frequency, hoping they have my favorite music and drama channels.

“Trianna!”

I heard my name coming from behind me, before turning to my grandmother. She merely shrugged at me, so I pouted at her and responded to my grandfather. “Yes, grandpa?” turning to meet gazes with him. I instantly felt a bunch of papers being shoved into my hold.

“What is this?” I asked, flipping through the pieces of paper, which I realized had my name and identification number printed everywhere.

“Your new school registration confirmation. I have already settled everything for you. And you are reporting to school the day after tomorrow, on Monday.” My grandfather said, taking a place next to my grandmother as they cuddled up.

“Isn’t this a little bit too soon?” I frowned. I really did not hate school. I just hated the fact that if I have to hang around humans, I have to deal with my control over my craving. It’s stressful and tiring.

“You are not getting away with anything this time, Trianna. It’s been a year since you last went to school. And the sooner you go out there to train, the better. Eventually, you will need to walk out of the house.”

Crap. I struggled to find another excuse. And light bulb!

“What about this and this?” I pointed at my eyes first, then my teeth.

“Don’t fret about it. I’m stocking up on your contact lenses for you, and your lollipops. Plus, your teeth aren’t obvious either, those lollipops are grazing them off.”

“But-!”

“Trianna!”

I bit my lips, “Yes grandpa…” I knew there was no way I can argue further. My grandfather was right; I have to deal with this someday, somehow anyway. Why not just go out there and face the music, get it over and done with? He had already obliged to me for a year, it was my turn to listen.

Dinner was spaghetti with carbonara, my grandfather’s best cuisine. Nothing beats this. It was my favorite behind lollipops. After dinner, it was sliced fruits and television. Once I felt I had my fair share of the night, I kissed my grandparents goodnight.

Third Person POV

After Trianna headed up to her room, her grandmother frowned.

“What’s wrong, Katrina?” Trianna’s grandfather asked, caressing his wife’s cheeks.

“Xavier, don’t you think it’s a little too harsh on Trianna? Making her go to school now? Go out there with the humans?” she questioned, as worried as her face portrayed her to be.

Xavier sighed. As much as he did not want to risk his one and only precious granddaughter, he had to. “Katrina, we have to let her go. She is very unlike me. If we don’t let her go, we will never have our answers about her. I know I promise to ask my friends more about Dhampirs. I will. But Trianna still has to go. I cannot protect her forever.” Xavier let out another sigh, “I don’t even know for sure, if she is a Dhampir.”

Trianna POV

The morning sun shone on my face indicating the new day. I struggled to open my eyes as I lifted myself off my bed. I stretched uncomfortably and yawned. This new bed sure needs some getting used to. After combing and tying up my shoulder-lengthed dark brown wavy hair, I washed myself up before heading down to the first floor.

“Good morning Grandpa. Good morning Grandma.” It was a habit to greet. A good one, I know. It was pancakes for breakfast, I could totally smell it since I was upstairs. Popping my head into the kitchen, I took another deep breath.

“Pancakes?” I asked, excited.

“Bet you smelt it the moment you woke up.” He laughed.

“Not exactly, but when I was upstairs, yes.” I chuckled along, moving to hug him.

“Good morning Tri.” He greeted, hugging me tightly.

“Where’s Grandma?” I bobbed my head around, not seeing her anywhere in sight.

“In the backyard trying to do some exercise.” He answered.

You are seriously letting a 75 year old woman do exercise alone in the backyard. Call yourself the best husband in the world. Creep.

I ran towards the backyard and saw my grandma doing some stretches to the morning radio slowly. Like literally, really slowly. I skipped over to greet her, shocking her a little before I pounced slightly to hug her and give her a daily dose of her morning kiss. Sensing that my grandfather was almost done with the pancakes, I led her back into the house and sat her down on her seat at the big round dining table. After helping my grandfather with laying the table, we three finally sat down for breakfast.

Picking up the maple syrup, I poured enough to cover my pancakes before placing my block butters on them, melting them and coating the pancakes. Love them this way. The silence during the meal was perfect, until my grandpa decided to break it.

“So,” he coughed slightly, “Any plans for today?” he asked, looking straight at me.

“No… Why would I have any plans made in a new town?” I asked, avoiding eye contact with my grandfather because I knew exactly where he was getting at.

“Why don’t you take a walk around the new town?”

I cursed under my breath. I think I forgot to mention. My grandfather’s vampire gift, was reading minds. That was exactly why, he knows me very well. ***** to be me, sometimes.

“Sure, doesn’t sound like such a bad idea before the start of school?” I replied. I was not out of my mind. But since I had already promised to go to school, there should not be a problem with just walking around town and try to get used to humans one day earlier. “Are you two coming with me?”

Grandpa nodded and said that he had already suggested to grandma about taking a walk around town, to let grandma know the place better as well as get to know a few faces around us. He felt it wasn’t nice to not greet if you are new in town.

After getting changed into a simple tee and shorts matched with my favorite pair of converse shoes, I hung my headphones around my neck again, plugging the end into my phone and opened one lollipop to pop into my mouth before heading out. The smell was already overwhelming at the door. Thanks, you pathetic piece of body. But if grandpa could get used to it, so will I. I saw my grandfather picked out his favorite hat and placed it on his head and I smirked. At least I can handle some sun.

Walking around town, we got to know a few people. Like Uncle Tyler, owner of the Italian restaurant along the streets, and a few other people around my grandma’s age or slightly younger. I merely greeted and smiled at them, not knowing what to say. Sadly, my grandpa had to introduce himself as my grandmother’s son. Very heartbreaking, to me at least. My grandparents long foreseen this and had been mentally prepared, I really sal

— The End —