This literally came out of nowhere. I can’t lay the blame on anybody but me this time.

This tiny little snippet follows “A Chat after Midnight” but it’s not necessary to have read that to understand this.


Better Safe than Sorry

Sharon H



Lieutenant Commander Charles ‘Chip’ Morton glanced through the last list of supplies, nodding to himself as his eyes flicked over each item, memorizing content and case number. Three odd entries caused him to pause and frown.

Crate number 502, hold 4A: one hundred wooden stakes.

Crate 503, hold 4A: fifty pounds of whole garlic bulbs.

Crate 504, hold 4A: One hundred twenty-five rosaries.

What the devil? Chip pulled his attention away from the manifests, his eyes darting around for the chief. He spotted Sharkey at the far end of the Missile Room. “Chief, come here a minute.”

Sharkey responded instantly and made his way to the exec. “Yes sir?”

“What’s the meaning of this?” Chip extended a long finger and pointed out the dubious entries. They had to be a joke. He was expecting the chief to come totally unglued once he saw the questionable items.

Instead the Chief Petty Officer cast the exec a sheepish look and turned a curious shade of pink. “That would be me sir. I kinda had them ordered and they were shipped in this morning.”

“What the devil for?” Morton bellowed, trying to understand what the blazes they were going to do with two hundred wooden stakes.

“Well, sir, you see. It’s like this. We’ve had that mummy-thing running around the boat and tearing stuff up. We had the admiral and that scientist fella who both got turned into werewolves.”

“That was a virus, Chief,” Morton corrected. “Nothing supernatural about it.”

“With all do respect, sir—the admiral turned into a werewolf. And then there was that alchemist guy, that fruit bat who thought he could live forever,” Sharkey continued.

Chip nodded. He certainly did not want to remember that incident! “I don’t see what that has to do with two hundred wooden stakes, a case of garlic bulbs and a box of rosaries.”

Sharkey fidgeted and was unable to meet the exec’s intense glare. “Well, you see, I’ve been doing some reading and I learned that a wooden stake through the heart will stop any vampire dead. Garlic is supposed to repel them. I also read that vampires, well, they don’t like anything holy. I can’t think of anything more holy than a rosary, can you sir? I figured better safe then sorry, what with us going to look for that vampire squid and all.”

For a long second Chip just stood there, processing Sharkey’s explanation with a completely blank look on his face. Finally he tucked the clipboard under his arm and he spun around on his heel. “Have those crates moved to hold 1A. It’s closer to the Control Room. Make sure that crate of garlic is marked ‘not for human consumption’. I don’t want Cookie grabbing it for garlic bread the next time he fixes lasagna,” he ordered on his way toward the corridor. Maybe the chief was right. Better safe than sorry.