Thursday, October 18, 2012
Month’s ago Julia and I talked about this story; she really saw the humor in it, or potential humor and I told her then that I could never do it justice, but that she could. So, after months of me pestering her, she wrote this one shot, in her own wonderfully funny style that I could never pull off. We have to go with our strengths and comedic writing isn’t really one of mine.
Yes, these are my characters in the story, looked at through Julia’s humorous lens and I guarantee you’ll laugh. Are they a portent into the future of my story? You’ll just have to guess about that one but regardless, this is a great story and I bow to you, Julia! You made this story come to life as only you could!
This story is posted here with permission from Julia. Please, let her know that you like it!
Thank you, my friend!!
This one shot is based off of an idea I had while reading a chapter in Hope’s story “Barely Breathing”. Josef is engaged to Lani Parker in that story and there is a scene where he decides to ruin her parents financially for all the horrible things they did to her as a child. The Parkers are not nice people, to put it mildly, and Josef wanted vengeance. When Lani learned of his plan she warned him that ruining her father’s finances would leave them destitute and then she would have to take care of them. I thought it would be hilarious to write a story about Josef’s soon to be mother-in-law moving in with him. I don’t own any of Hope’s original characters; I’m just having fun with them with her permission. Thank you Cyndy for indulging me and my warped sense of humor.
Barely Breathing…..Josef’s Monster-in-Law
“Franklin!!!” Josef stood in the middle of his wine cellar amongst the empty racks scowling. The collection of fine wines and spirits that had taken him decades to accumulate was quickly disappearing from the consumption of his new uninvited house guest. “Franklin!!!” He yelled once more and turned to see his long time butler and friend standing in the doorway.
“There is no need to shout, Sir,” he said softly as he quickly surmised why his employer was outraged.
Franklin….Josef’s butler and friend.
“Would you care to explain why I’m missing a few bottles?” Several of the wines were worth thousands of dollars a bottle while others held only sentimental value such as one he had saved from Mick and Beth’s impromptu wedding in Las Vegas and an even older dusty green colored glass one from his days as a pirate with Lola.
“Mrs. Parker has been making herself at home as per your instructions.”
“I didn’t say for her to drink her way through my memories. That woman is the bane of my existence. Lani needs to get her mother some help. She’s a complete….a complete….”
“Lush is the word I think you’re looking for, Sir,” said Franklin nodding. “She refuses to drink the cheap wines or even the boxed variety.”
“From now on get the cheapest stuff you can find in a box from Walmart and refill the expensive looking bottles and put a lock on this cellar.”
“Yes Sir,” said Franklin nodding as Josef brushed past him to find the culprit, his future mother-in-law. “Oh, Sir. I almost forgot. American Express called. You’re over the limit and your bill is past due.”
“Over the limit?” He snatched the bill from Franklin’s hand and growled knowing Mrs. Parker must have made herself at home with his plastic as well. “She spent $80,000 in shoes.”
“No only $10,000, Sir. The remaining balance was a car to get her to the store,” said Franklin clearing his throat. “She said she needed a new wardrobe and you wouldn’t mind.”
“I’m not going to stand for this.” Josef crumpled up the bill tossing it to floor as he ran up the back stairwell to emerge in the kitchen. He was livid thinking of what a nightmare this woman had made of his life since she came to live with them. Lani had warned him that ruining her father financially to pay him back for treating her horribly as a child would backfire on him but he had refused to listen. The man had beaten her mother and threatened Lani as a child. No matter what the woman he loved and mother of his child thought, he had to make Marcus Parker accountable for his crimes.
It had served to be easier than planned once Ryder began investigating the man’s finances. Every aspect of his business was corrupt and he was cheating his investors stealing their money left and right and hiding it in shell corporations and off shore accounts. It only took a phone call to a vampire friendly IRS agent who owed the tribe a favor to get the ball rolling. Marcus Parker was wanted for fraud and embezzlement in a scheme that made even Bernie Madoff look like an amateur. Lani’s dad had fled the authorities under cover of night with a suitcase full of money leaving her mother Helen in a lurch. She had used the Innocent Spouse clause in the internal revenue code to avoid prosecution while her husband was somewhere south of the border. Unfortunately all of her accounts had been frozen and Josef learned the hard way that family is definitely more than just about DNA and he had an obligation to take his future mother-in-law under his roof.
He took a step towards the sink only to feel something squishy with the sole of his Italian loafers. He looked down already knowing he had found a surprise left by his future mother-in-law’s companion, yappy obnoxious long haired Shih Tzu.
She claimed the dog was house broken despite evidence to the contrary. Satan’s Minion, as Josef liked to call the animal, never missed an opportunity to leave a steaming pile of poo in a prominent location for him to find. He cringed as he removed his shoe and walked over to the sink to clean it. As if on cue the dog ran around the corner barking loudly at him and growling. He turned around and flashed his fangs at the animal causing the dog to cower back into the other room.
“Bark at me one more time you little shit and I’m going to screw a broom handle up your ass and use you for a mop,” he said wiping the smelly dog crap from his shoes. “The things I do for love.”
He glanced out the window over the sink to look out at the empty pool area. Normally there would be half a dozen scantily clad freshies enjoying the cool water in the heat but the surface of the water was perfectly smooth. Lani had allowed him to keep his “assistants” as she thought it was healthy for him to drink fresh but she had drawn a hard line over them prancing around the manor in nothing but bikinis. He had won that argument by insisting the women needed daily sun time in order to keep their vitamin D levels high resulting in the blood being more nutritious for him. He growled seeing his future mother-in-law taking advantage of the sun instead and lying by the pool. Fortunately for his eyes she was wearing a one piece suit to cover of her wrinkles and sipping a cocktail. He marched out the door into the midday sun ignoring how it stung his skin as his anger distracted him.
“Mother Parker, a word with you, please?” he said plastering the fake smile he wore for Lani when her mother was around. She didn’t need anything else stressing her during the pregnancy and he had to play nice with the revolting woman.
“Josef, darling. For the last time call me Helen. Where’s your suit? You should go for a swim,” she said in between sips of her fruity alcoholic drink complete with a tiny festive umbrella.
For a moment he thought her name should be spelled with 2 Ls instead of 1. She had a red wide brimmed hat over her head to protect her skin from wrinkles. He thought it was already too late in her case judging from the baked cracked appearance of her skin from years of sunbathing and chain smoking. As if on cue she lifted her cigarette from the ash tray and took a long drag before releasing the smoke.
“I work for a living, Mother Parker. Someone has to pay the bills, speaking of which my friends at American Express called….. ” he said ignoring her request to call her by her first name. She cut him off before he could finish his sentence.
“I know exactly what you mean, Josef,” she said patting the chaise lounge chair beside her motioning for him to sit but he kept his distance as he hated how she liked to flirt and smack or pinch his bottom when it was in reach of her long manicured nails. “Those secretaries of yours were eating you out of house and home and sitting around all day expecting a pay check for no work. I had to let them go.”
“Let them go?”
“I fired them this morning. You’ll get a lot more work done with a valuable assistant and not underwear models.”
“You fired my fresh….my secretaries?” He and Lani had agreed to keep his immortal secret to themselves as Helen Parker could not be trusted with the knowledge he was a vampire. As far as she was concerned he was the man her daughter was in love with you had knocked her up and was now refusing to marry her.
“They weren’t pulling their weight, darling.”
“Speaking of pulling one’s weight, about this bill from American Express,” he said knowing that he would have Franklin arrange for their rehires as soon as he downsized his future mother-in-law and outsourced her to China or the Tar Pits. What good was it to have all the money in the world if he couldn’t buy Lani better parents?
“Josef, would you be a darling and refill my glass with a little vodka and cranberry juice?” she said handing him the glass as she sat back and opened her latest addition of Cosmopolitan.
“Mother Parker, I think that perhaps you need more things to fill your day,” he said trying to broach the subject delicately. He set the empty glass by her ash tray and removed the magazine from her hands.
“Nonsense, I’m far too busy to take on any other projects.”
“I meant perhaps you might want to look for a job. A woman of your skills should have no problem finding a minimum wage job with no benefit and long hours.” It would at least get her out of the house for 40 hours out of each week and out of his hair.
“My life is dedicated to my daughter now, Josef. I don’t have time to work outside the home. I missed out on so many aspects of Lani’s life growing up and I want to make it up to her now along with my new grandchild. I’m working from home.”
“There’s no such thing as a stay-at-home grandmother.”
“Don’t use that word. Lani and I have agreed that the child will think of me as her mother’s slightly older sister. I’m far too young and beautiful to be called a grandmother.” She picked up her electronic fan and held it to her face to cool off in the heat. Josef gritted his teeth fighting to keep his composure and let out a deep breath as he saw Lani approaching from the main drive. She had two large bags in her hands from baby shopping and he worried she was overexerting herself. Helen saw the scene as well as her daughter made her way up the pathway from the lower driveway but didn’t make a move to assist her. Josef ran away from the intolerable woman at vamp speed to intercept his lovely fiancé and help her with the bags.
“Hello Lani Sweetness,” he said snatching the bags from her arms not liking the flushed and exhausted expression on her face. Lani smiled at him and then frowned seeing how stressed he appeared even though he was doing his best to hide it from her.
“What did she do now?” she said knowing her mother was causing Josef more than just a little distress. He hid most of it from her and she loved him for that.
“Let’s just say she’s doing her part to pull the retail sector of the economy out of the recession.”
“It’s been a hard adjustment for my mother to not be able to shop all the time.”
“Yes, she’s a broken woman,” said Josef sarcastically as he glanced in the direction of the pool to see his deadbeat mother-in-law slathering more tanning lotion on her leathery brown skin.
“I’m sorry about this.”
“She’s your mother, sweetness. When we’re married she’ll be my family too,” unfortunately he thought as he carried the bags towards the pool with Lani by his side. They walked up to where Helen was sunning herself and she looked up to see her very pregnant daughter appearing exhausted.
“Come here pumpkin and sit next to mommy. I want to hear all about your day,” said Helen attempting to be the mother she had failed to be when her daughter was little. Lani acquiesced and sat beside her on the spare chaise lounge.
“I’ll put these in our closet,” said Josef looking for a way to escape but Hell-en wasn’t about to let him leave just yet. She exhaled a long stream of smoke in his direction, fortunately missing Lani and their unborn child’s lungs.
“When are you going to make an honest woman of my daughter? First you get her pregnant and now you refuse to do the right thing. What will the society columns say? I can’t have my daughter walking down the aisle in a circus tent for a dress.”
“Mother, please don’t start,” said Lani placing her hand on her mother’s well-tanned forearm.
“I’ll take it under advisement Mother Parker,” said Josef taking the moment to leave before she decided to continue the conversation. He was not the one stalling the marriage. If he had his way he and Lani would have been married months ago but she was the one dragging her feet. As he turned to leave Helen reached out and smacked him hard on the bottom causing him to blush and growl. He exited the pool area as quick as possible leaving the two women to chat.
“I swear, Lani. If I was 10 years younger I’d give you a run for your money with him,” said Helen licking her lips as she watched Josef disappear into the main house. “He’s got a tight little ass that I just want to sink my teeth into.”
“Mother!!!! You’re talking about the father of my baby.”
“Yes the one that refuses to marry a woman he’s knocked up,” said Helen adding more information. “I hope you have DNA evidence confirming the paternity. If he doesn’t marry you then we can sue him for every last penny.”
“What?” she said looking offended as she held out her palms. “I’m just looking after my only daughter’s interests.” She exhaled a thick cloud of smoke in her daughter’s direction causing Lani to cough.
“You could have looked out for me years ago,” said Lani angrily as she stood up to follow the wonderful man she loved and to leave her mother to think about her past mistakes.
Later in the evening at dinnertime Josef wrinkled his nose in disgust from the smell emanating from the kitchen. Whatever Franklin was cooking up for Lani he hoped it tasted better than it smelled. He walked into the dining room to see Lani sitting down in front of an empty plate frowning.
“Hello sweetness,” he said walking around to where she sat and kissing her lightly on the forehead. He could hear the reassuring strong heartbeat of his unborn child cradled in her womb and his own heart skipped a beat. It was a miracle they had been blessed with a new life and if he had to endure the devil incarnate of a mother-in-law in order to make Lani happy, then so be it. After all it was only money that she had spent and if it wasn’t for the high annoyance factor perhaps he and Hell-en could be friends. He dismissed the thought as he inhaled a pungent burnt fish aroma coming from the kitchen.
“What the hell is Franklin cooking?”
“Nothing,” said Helen entering the room wearing a full length frilly edged apron with matching potholders on her hands as she carried a white rectangular casserole dish into the dining room and set it down in the middle of the table. “I had to let him go, Josef.”
“You fired Franklin?” he said losing his cool again.
“He was stealing from you,” said Helen lowering her voice. “I found him refilling the wine bottles with boxed wine. If I were you I’d check and make sure he hasn’t sold all the good silver and replaced it with stainless steel. It’s so hard to find good help these days, especially illegal aliens like him. You just can’t trust foreigners.”
“Franklin, is not an illegal alien and I don’t even own silver utensils, Helen.”
“Well, of course not with employees stealing from you left and right,” said Helen as she opened a box of Ritz crackers and crushed a few with her fingers spreading a layer of crumbled bits over the disgusting concoction of tuna, celery, cheddar cheese, cream of mushroom soup, and crackers. “Here, sweetheart, I made your favorite.” She scooped out a healthy portion of the casserole and plopped it on Lani’s plate and then another scoop for a plate for Josef.
“Mother, I don’t eat tuna casserole,” said Lani turning up her nose and feeling her stomach lurch from the smell.
“I thought you loved my tuna casserole,” said Helen looking as if her feelings were hurt as she sat down beside her on the verge of tears. “I made it for you every time we came home from Aspen.”
“Mother, I was raised on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because you were never around to cook for me.” Her words caused her mother to cry making Lani feel guilty. It upset Josef to see how the woman was manipulating her with fake crocodile tears.
“I’m so sorry, Lani,” she said bawling and blowing her nose on the expensive pressed monogramed linen napkins. “I just want to be the perfect mother for you. I would do anything to get those years back. I should have been there and paid you more attention instead of traveling the world with your father. Now he’s left me poor and destitute. If it wasn’t for you sweetheart I’d be living on the street pushing a shopping cart.”
Josef tapped his fingers on the table impatiently as he sat in front of his untouched portion of tuna surprise. This woman had to go, he thought. He could easily hire an actress to play Lani’s mother. He always liked that woman on Everybody Loves Raymond. Maybe she was looking for a new role.
“Mother, no one is going to let you be homeless,” said Lani trying to console her. “I appreciate the efforts you’ve made.”
“Thank you sweetheart,” she said between sniffles. “Why don’t you try my tuna casserole? I want to cook for you from now on like a real mother.”
“My stomach is really queasy right now,” she said reaching for the box of crackers.
“Josef, what do you think of my casserole?” said Helen turning her attention in his direction as she wiped the tears from her eyes.
“It smells divine,” he said lying.
“Just have a taste. It would make me feel better to know that I can provide my family with a wholesome meal,” said Helen narrowing her eyes at him. He recognized the gesture as the proverbial throwing down of the gauntlet. Lani looked at him in panic pleading for him to do something and so he accepted her challenge, picking up his fork and sticking it in the middle of the gooey slimey mixture. Lani watched in horror knowing the outcome of him eating solid food would not be pleasant. Josef was thankful he didn’t have taste buds any longer as the consistency of the food told him it probably tasted worse than it smelled. Even the sushi Lani ate that he referred to as bait was more appetizing.
“What do you think?”
“It’s heavenly, Hell-en,” he said eating the entire plate to prove a point. Helen seemed satisfied and smiled as she cleared the table.
Later in the evening as they were preparing for bed he spent some quality time hugging the toilet bowl to evacuate the poison tuna surprise.
“She’s trying to kill me,” he said moaning as he flushed the toilet.
“You didn’t have to eat the entire plate,” said Lani as she wiped the makeup off her face standing in front of the bathroom mirror. She worried he was feeling ill from how pale he appeared, more so than normal.
“Yes I did,” he said standing up and reaching for his toothbrush. He spread a liberal portion of the green gel onto this bristles and began to brush away the remnants of the slimey dish. “Your mother threw down the gauntlet and I had to pick it up. It was a matter of principle.”
“I’m sorry she’s causing you so much grief,” said Lani placing a hand on his arm with her eyes filled with love.
“It’s karma, sweetness. You warned me not to ruin your father financially and now I have to pay for it,” he said spitting out the last of the toothpaste and rinsing his mouth. “First thing tomorrow morning I’m going to have Ryder track down your father and have him brought back for trial. The IRS will unfreeze what’s left of your mother’s accounts and I can set her up in a tiny apartment many, many, many miles from here with a monthly stipend.”
“I love you so much,” she said leaning up to kiss him. He pulled her closer wrapping his arms around her waist feeling his need growing for her with his fangs descending seeking purchase. Lani sighed and melted into his arms as he lifted her and carried her towards their king sized bed. He laid her down gently and then lay beside her to not put weight on her very swollen pregnant belly. Lani moaned with pleasure as he reached up inside her nightgown to caress her full breasts from the pregnancy hormones.
“Oh yes,” she said in pleasure and he placed his lips over hers hearing another moan or grunt coming from the other side of the bed. He removed his hand and flipped on the lamp on the nightstand to see Helen lying on the other side of the bed, under the covers with an eye mask over her face. She moaned again and stirred.
“What the hell?” said Josef leaping out of the bed staring at his future mother-in-law obviously drunk and trying to sleep it off. She pulled off the mask and looked confused.
“Oh I’m sorry, Josef. I thought this was my room. There are so many in this house.”
“Out,” he screamed losing his patience.
“It was an honest mistake,” said Helen slurring her words obviously intoxicated off the cheap box wine that Franklin had refilled the bottles with. She yawned and then pulled the covers up snugly around her chin.
“Get out of my bed, get out of my house, and get out of my life.”
“Josef?” said Lani mortified with how he was acting.
“There’s such a thing called boundaries, woman,” he said grasping Helen by her nightgown and sinking his fangs into her throat. It felt good to drain the woman of her life force even if her blood tasted of nicotine and cheap Walmart wine. It was a mercy killing to take her out of her misery.
“Josef no,” screamed Lani in tears.
The sounds of her screams woke him out of his dream. He sat up hitting his head on the lid of the freezer and falling back holding his forehead. Why the hell did he always hit his head on the freezer when he had a daymare, he thought. He pushed the lid open and immediately reached for his phone dialing Ryder. He had to stop his plan of ruining Marcus Parker financially.
“Ryder, forget Operation Daddy Warbucks,” he said quickly as his assistant answered the phone sounding groggy himself from being woken up before twilight. “Just send both of them to The Tarpits. Lani will thank me later.”
Travis and the Tar Pit Tails.....a story by VampFan5
Posted by Hope at 7:12 PM