Under the Clock


Yes, this is my response to the week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt. It’s a little later than usual, but as today happens to be Friday, you could say I’m right on time.

Before we proceed with the usual excitement, I want to take a moment to celebrate. Although I married my wife before God, family and friends on a lovely May afternoon four years ago, today my state and my entire country finally recognizes our commitment to one another. To all the haters out there, I’ll simply say, “I’m sorry you feel so insecure in the love that you have in your own life. My love and my marriage is but one among millions. It is personal; it is real; it is a lifelong commitment. I pray you will someday find something as wonderful to keep you warm in this cold world.” To everyone else, I say, “LET’S CELEBRATE!”

Love Flag

The regular programming for the week is part of a challenge in which about 100 writers from all over the globe participate each week. Below is the photo prompt to which each of us respond with our own 100-word stories. You are welcome to participate by reading and commenting as well as by writing your own story to post on your blog. My story this week weighs in at 99 words and catches up with one of my favorite characters in my hometown of Kansas City. This one is meant to stand alone, but you are welcome to read other stories about him by clicking on “police chief” or “Ben” in the word salad along the right side of this blog.

Copyright Kent Bonham

Copyright Kent Bonham

Under the Clock

The hands of the clock in the grand hall slid passed 11:00 as Ben strode into Union Station. The legendary timepiece hung as he had always seen it—silent as the grave, an irony not lost on the undead police chief.

“Under the clock.” Ben muttered the phrase to himself. A pungent odor halted him 40 paces from his destination. Garlic. Leftovers, he assumed, glancing toward Harvey’s. Then he caught sight of the aroma’s source—ropes of garlic hanging above the shops in the station’s foyer. Someone knew something. He wouldn’t rest easy until he discovered who and what.

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46 thoughts on “Under the Clock

  1. Amy Reese says:

    So, Ben’s a vampire police chief? That’s fascinating, MG! What a great, twisted idea. He may have some difficulty finding who or what with the garlic ropes in his midst. Great story. Congrats on the ruling today. I’m very happy for you and your partner. Cheers!

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks on all counts, Amy.

      As to Ben, he’s a recurring character. I’m still working on getting my tags synced on all posts, but if you like him, you will find other stories about him by clicking “police chief” or “Ben” in the word salad to the right.

      All my best,
      MG

  2. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Marie Gail, Love your story – Congratulations on the Supreme Court Ruling today – about time I’d say! I’m happy for you and your wife! Have a good week – now I know you will! 🙂 Nan

  3. Sandra says:

    That’s one way to keep the police away, I guess. Happy anniversary!

    • storydivamg says:

      I’m not sure the one hanging the garlic realized there was a police chief numbering among the undead, but we shall see. Hopefully, I’ll be bringing this particular saga to life more regularly over the next several weeks. I have an outline sketched in my mind now.

      All my best,
      MG

  4. Well, that’s different! Excellent read.
    Rosey Pinkerton’s blog

    • storydivamg says:

      When the word “excellent” sits alongside the word “different,” I always consider it a win. Thanks for dropping in for a read, Rosey. Ben happens to be a recurring character. Although I work hard to keep stories about him strong enough to stand on their own, I always welcome new readers to catch up by following the tags available to the right of the blog. Ben can be found under his name as well as the tag “police chief.”

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  5. draliman says:

    Life is hard as an undead cop. So many restrictions! Great story.

    • storydivamg says:

      Well, yes, but then, life is hard as a cop too. Different restrictions, depending on the status of one’s reflection, I suppose. 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the tale.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  6. Lovely. I shall have to keep up with this running tale. Clever concept.
    (I will celebrate with you – sometimes things move in the right direction.)

    • storydivamg says:

      Last things first–yes, it’s been quite a week here in the US of A, but it feels as if many things are moving in the right direction. That’s something to hang onto.

      As to the “running” nature of this tale, I fear I have been rather sporadic in my upkeep of the saga, but this week’s FF photo prompt got me back in the mood to work on it. I’m glad you find it clever. There are several vampire flash fictions that I’ve decided to eventually connect into a single over-arching plot. With a little luck and a bit of hard work, I’m hoping to treat readers to details about Vivian–the true Queen of the Damned–who will play into this saga soon. If we love an undead police chief, we clearly need an undead drag queen in the story too, right?

      Thanks for humoring me.

      Cheers!
      MG

  7. Vinay Leo R. says:

    Awaiting a possible sequel 🙂 Loved the twist.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Vinay! Meanwhile, you can catch up with Ben and the others involved in this twisted plot by following the tags listed to the left. “Vampire,” “vampires” and “vampire slayer” will bring you the most inclusive list, if you’re interested.

      All my best,
      MG

  8. Nothing like an undead police chief to give you warm fuzzies about police protection. Nice twist on the vampiric legend. And congratulations on your great relationship, we should all have one!

    • storydivamg says:

      🙂 I don’t know if you remember Ben’s debut in a FF story from several months ago, Perry. When we first caught up with him, he was feeding on sex offenders, and he’s been known to “take the law into his own hands” in a few other ways too. One of my favorite characters, for sure. Thanks for reading.

      All my best,
      MG

  9. This is a great introduction to a who dunnit, my favorite genre.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Dawn! I hadn’t actually thought of this as a “who dunnit,” but that’s certainly a description that fits this flash. Glad you enjoyed it.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  10. elmowrites says:

    Someone had to go vampires, I’m glad you went for a long-running one though.
    Great news from the US, not just for you and your spouse, but for everyone who values equality and fairness.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks on all counts, Jen.

      As to the vamps, I’m glad you enjoyed it and also glad you don’t mind the recurring characters/theme. I know this is a theme that makes some of my readers uneasy, but it’s one that lies close to my heart. I was in the throes of severe PTSD when I first picked up The Historian–the only vampire tale I’ve ever actually read–and the notion of being a vampire slayer myself struck a chord with me. In writing about Lauren Shrecklich (who doesn’t feature here, but is involved with Ben on this particular adventure) as well as Ben and others, I have found deep personal healing. It seems strange, but it works, so I run with it.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  11. gahlearner says:

    Oh, hanging up garlic to keep out an undead police chief: what a great idea. I wonder who’s behind it, and want to read more. 🙂 Great story, well written as always, and all the best to you and your wife. I cheered when I read the news. There’s an effort to get there in Germany, too. We have a kind of civil marriage, but not true marriage with all the legal rights and consequences. That’s gotta change soon.

  12. Yes, let’s celebrate – the world is changing!

    Love the undead cop – great character, great piece!

  13. Margaret says:

    I’m happy for you – what joy and relief you must be feeling. Ben’s a wonderful character – I hope he solves his case and goes on to solve many more. Well told.

    • storydivamg says:

      Yes, Margaret. I am experiencing great relief over this decision. People don’t understand consequences of no legal marriage option. Had this decision not come, there could be a day when my wife would be hospitalized and I could be banned from visiting her or speaking with her healthcare providers. And many other things too . . .

      I’m glad you like Ben. He’s a favorite of mine. I hope to do a little more writing about him over the rest of the summer and into the fall.

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  14. Glad I don’t live in that town! Great story!

  15. Maybe the vampire’s are the good guys, and the criminals the are humans.. that would be an interesting twist.

  16. Dear Marie Gail,

    Somehow I feel pretty good about Ben. He’s one of the good ones, if there is such a thing. You could be drawing me into your story and, knowing me, you know that’s a compliment.

    Much love to you and Conja.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Rochelle. I have some Kansas City-based vampire fun planned for the future. I think you will fall in love with Ben. (Word has it he was a pretty handsome fellow before . . . )

      Peace,
      Marie Gail

  17. So many interesting ideas in such a short piece. Would love to read more. And, it’s a bit late, but congratulations.

    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks, Etienne. I confess that one of the reasons I maintain this blog is to provide a platform (and motivation) for an ongoing work of vampire fiction. At present, I’m not sure if the end product will be a collection of connected short stories or a novel crafted from the bits I’ve served up here, but I always get an extra burst of writing energy when I post one of these flashes.

      All my best,
      MG

  18. Marie Gail,
    I just noticed you updated your picture to show your whole face. 🙂 Is that a coincidence or does it have to do with recent events in some way. Congratulations on the ruling. I’m sure you guys are overjoyed. 🙂
    So, do we find out later who is hanging garlic for Ben?
    -David

    • storydivamg says:

      As to the photo–a certain short but fun person who hangs out with me in Kansas City has been harassing me to provide a picture that shows my whole face for some time now. Then this rather tall fellow from Iowa jumped on the bandwagon, and I eventually caved. Actually, it only took me this long because the tombstone in both photos is important, and it is located a four-and-a-half-hour drive from my home.

      As to the garlic–spoiler alert–readers will soon learn that Vivian, Drag Queen of the Damned, has much more to do with the placement of that garlic than Ben. 😉 I’m working on the next segment currently, although I don’t think all your questions will be answered in that one either. Much evil is afoot.

      Thanks for your interest!

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

      • I’m debating using my picture too, although I’m very particular (as you are too, I guess) about which picture I use. We’ll see. My idea all along has been to wait until I published a novel, but that is rather arbitrary.

        • storydivamg says:

          Oh yes, I’m dreadfully picky about my avatars. And once I choose one for a blog, I always feel as though the new one needs to have some similarities in color and theme so that readers will continue to recognize my branding. I obsess about branding like you wouldn’t believe, which is part of why there currently happens to be an eight-foot column of polka-dotted turquoise balloons in my living room . . . But that’s a story for another day. I’ll let your imagination have some fun with it for now.

          • 8-foot column of balloons eh? Sounds like an interesting story. 🙂 I’m mostly concerned about branding too, which is why I don’t change my avatars often. I also want something that will stick out, especially in the FF lists, where there are so many entries.

  19. micklively says:

    I am so pleased that your country woke up at last. I’m so sorry that you support superstition that prevented awakening for so long.

  20. I’d say if there’s an undead police chief, there must be plenty of undead in that city who will be disturbed by the garlic Well done.. Congratulations on the love your family shares. We need lots more love and less hate in this world. It seems we’re moving in the right direction. 🙂 — Suzanne

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