Joining the Bureau


This is my response to the Friday Fictioneers prompt for July 25. The challenge is to write a 100-word story inspired by the photo prompt. Play along by writing your own, reading others and/or commenting on the flashes we fictioneers create. My piece this week weighs in at 99 words.

Copyright 2014, Marie Gail Stratford

Copyright 2014, Marie Gail Stratford

 

Joining the Bureau

Michael slathered his pad Thai in Sriracha, picked up a pair of chopsticks and dug in.

“How can you do that?” Lauren burst out.

“Some like it hot.” Michael shrugged.

“That’s not what I mean. It’s—well, the color. Besides, isn’t it ironic for you to be eating with a pair of wooden stakes?”

“Lighten up, officer.”

“I can’t think of anything funny about vampires, Michael, not after one got drunk on my carotid.”

“There isn’t anything particularly funny about them, Lauren. But if you don’t look on the sunny side, a career fighting the undead gets rather grave.”

 

Two author’s notes:

1. The photo prompt chosen this week by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, queen of the fictioneers, is one I took in response to a story written by David Stewart in response to another fictioneers prompt. The story, definitely worth the read, is titled “Nobbly Chopsticks,” and if you haven’t followed David already, I strongly recommend it.

2. It is my hope that each of my Friday Fictioneers stories stands on its own. Regular readers, however, will recognize my two characters from other flashes. I’m not posting these or composing them in chronological order. This one takes place the winter following Lauren’s hospitalization, which I explore in my post “And So It Began.” To read more, check out all blog posts with the tag “Lauren Shrecklich.”

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46 thoughts on “Joining the Bureau

  1. MG, that’s a brilliant story, in the wicked puns and the sly humor. This is going to be a great week in Fictioneer stories if they’re all like this. Congratulations on getting your picture chosen and thanks for the shout out in the notes. I appreciate it. I showed my wife your picture and her immediate reaction was, “I want a copy of that.” 🙂

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks so much, David. Feel free to load that photo on a flash drive and print a few copies at your local drugstore. I consider it as much yours as mine since I wouldn’t have thought to take it without our conversation about chopsticks.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

      • You’re quite kind. 🙂 It’s ironic that this picture was today since we went to a Chinese buffet yesterday and had to ask specially for chopsticks since there were only forks on the table. Then we saw a Chinese man come in a talk with the chefs in Chinese and then go eat with a fork. Actually, that’s partially what inspired my story.

  2. camgal says:

    Haha love the humour, vampire jokes are my faves and the picture was quite open to interpretation. Loved your spin on it and have you ever seen Marilyn Monroe’s some like it hot? Popped into my head when I saw that line. Good job 🙂

    • storydivamg says:

      Oh, yes, the movie/musical was, I’m sure, in Michael’s mind when he made that quip. 🙂 Thanks for reading. I’m glad the jokes worked for you. I had to invent Agent Michael Morales as a literary device to help me deliver all my corny puns without making my readers groan too heavily.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  3. Love the puns, you had me giggling throughout.

  4. elmowrites says:

    Now, I’ll be honest. I don’t like vampire stories, so I was predisposed against this one, but I enjoyed the puns and the slice of life you gave us. Like you, I want my stories to stand alone but love coming back to favourite characters occasionally

    • storydivamg says:

      I probably shouldn’t admit this to my readers, but I’m not actually a fan of most vampire fiction myself. I find it gross and most of it seems to champion the villains in a most unconscionable way. However, I am a survivor of trauma, and one of the ways that I cope with PTSD is by writing fiction about strong women who slay their demons. Vampires work nicely as scapegoats, so I’ve begun this little saga. If you stay tuned, you’ll note that I pack my vampire flashes with all manner of puns in an attempt to lighten the dark subject. I don’t know yet if it really works, but I have a few fans (and family members) who seem to enjoy my new take on vampire lore. Since it does my soul good, I’m going to keep it up at least for a little while.

      Thanks so much for reading, Jennifer.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

      • elmowrites says:

        Good for you – I love strong woman characters as much as the next girl, and a bit of demon-slaying (literal or not) is good for all of us. I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for Lauren’s further adventures and very much invite you to challenge my prejudices!

  5. “isn’t it ironic for you to be eating with a pair of wooden stakes?” First chuckle. “a career fighting the undead gets rather grave.” Last chuckle with many in between! Thanks for a good story.

  6. tedstrutz says:

    Good one! Thanks for the photo.

    p.s. be very careful reading stories by David Stewart

    • storydivamg says:

      LOL Yes, Ted, David has involved me in some interesting literary shenanigans already. I’m always up for adventure, especially when it means painting WordPress red. (As long as his monsters don’t pop to life and gobble me up!)

      Cheers!
      Marie Gail

  7. Dear MG,

    “…got drunk on my carotid.” Love that. Very clever. But wouldn’t that make him a vampire now?

    As you know, I’m not a big vampire fan, but I love the biting puns in this. And i’ll admit to enjoying the chopsticks as wooden stakes.

    Perhaps you can win me over. I enjoy good writing. 😉

    shalom,

    Rochelle

  8. Fun story with no sparkling vampires in sight. Double win.

  9. […] Gail Stratford’s site & her contribution to the Friday Fictioneers Prompt, hosted by the lovely Rochelle […]

  10. draliman says:

    Ha, I particularly liked the last line 🙂 Great story.

  11. Enjoyed this very much, Marie. I’m not a vampire fan, except perhaps of Barnabas Collins. If there are to be vampires, let them be evil, out only at night and definitely NOT sparkling. 🙂 And let’s try to kill them all.

    janet

    • storydivamg says:

      I agree wholeheartedly, Janet. You have joined the ranks of those I now aim to impress with my vampire saga. I’m not a fan of genre fiction, and I’ve always believed that a true artist can handle any topic in a way that the literary-minded will find interesting and enlightening. From this side of the book cover, that sounds like a tall order, but I’m hoping that I’m up for it. I’m sure you, Rochelle and Jennifer will hold me accountable.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

      • I think my problem(s) with vampires stem somewhat from the fact that they’re too much the rage these days, which means everyone is searching for a way to make their story different. Funny-different sounds better to me than most of the other choices that have been offered although, to be fair, I haven’t read any of them. Too busy reading other things. 😉

        • storydivamg says:

          At risk of sounding like those conceited poets who don’t read poetry for fear of tainting their own creativity, I must admit that I haven’t read much vampire fiction myself. I thoroughly enjoyed Anna Kostovich’s The Historian and occasionally enjoy a Buffy or Angel marathon on cable. My reason for writing about vampire slayers (you’ll notice that I seldom write about the vampires themselves) is to help combat my own demons as a trauma survivor. It works for me. 🙂

          Cheers!
          MG

  12. MrBinks says:

    Nice dialogue. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Liz Young says:

    Very clever use on puns!

    • storydivamg says:

      I’m delighted that this appears to be the general consensus. I worry that I could be a touch overbearing with the puns at times, but Michael’s a great delivery man, isn’t he?

      Cheers!
      MG

  14. Marie Gail, Thanks for the photo that’s providing so many good stories this week. That story was one of the good ones. I admit I had to read a part of it over to catch all the puns, but it was worth it. In my opinion a good story, no matter what genre, is a good story. A true artist can make any genre stand out. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

  15. Sarah Ann says:

    I really like the way you wove the elements of this story – the chopsticks as wooden stakes and the sauce as blood. I think it might pay to like lots of red, though. as a vampire hunter.

    • storydivamg says:

      Perhaps–although let’s hope Lauren and Michael become more familiar with piles of dust left by their marks. 😉 Of course, it won’t do for Lauren to continue being quite this squeamish. It seems I have some character development to do.

      Cheers!
      MG

  16. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Marie Gail, First of all, thanks for the great picture! Secondly, I love your story and I hadn’t thought about Vampire Police with their tools of the trade. Very clever and funny too! Great job as always and have a good week! Nan 🙂

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Nan. I’ve been toying with this idea for about six months, and it’s turning into quite a tale as well as a bit of an obsession for me. Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be more where this one came from.

      Cheers!
      Marie Gai

  17. Great story. Really must seek out some of your others with these characters and read them in a binge.

    • storydivamg says:

      Why, thank you, Etienne! I’m not sure there’s quite enough for a full-on binge just yet, but you’ll certainly be able to get enough for a hearty snack. They’re all tagged “Lauren Shrecklich.”

      Cheers!
      Marie Gail

  18. […] in love—not on New Year’s Eve, not with an airline attendant, and not in front of senior agent Michael Morales. But Cheri was the kind of woman that always made her look […]

  19. […] men, both superiors, were expecting different outcomes from Lauren’s journey west. Senior Agent Michael Morales, the one she trusted, had told her to trust this particular vampire. Director Lukke, apparently […]

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