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The Figure

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Barney Miller
Character: Marq Kyle (Julie Ronnie)

Apparently I’d been there a while, and I had become really buddy-buddy with Detrich. We were like best friends. (I dropped my last name [McHale{yes, just like the last}. Let’s put it this way, just advance four or five months from the last one.]) I was seeing Larry Bird (I’m 22-ish). Larry was out of town playing the West Coast on a two week tour, so I was all alone in his house, which I had moved into w/him.

At least I was alone until I saw a shape in a shadow. I couldn’t make it out, but I had a feeling it was a person. I got my gun, and looked into the matter (dumb move.). Whatever it was moved out. He had glowering red eyes, and his skin looked like that of a person who’s been dead a day. “Show no fear, show no pain,” I thought.

“You might be cared, but there will be no pain,” he said after he read my mind.

“What do you want?”

“I want to take you to the Dark Side.”

“Is this guy for real,” I thought.

“Yes,” he answered. “I have seen your room w/all your occult posters and books. I wish for you to rule by my side.”

“Rule what?”

“The World.”

“’Magine that,” I said.

“Yes. Imagine it. It would be glorious. You are a member of the occult, no?”

“No, I’m not. Interested, yes. Member, no.”

“You soon will be. You will be a believer in the Dark Side.” Then he disappeared back into the shadows.

I slowly lowered my gun, and headed for the phone. It was only 9 here, so it was 6 in California. The hotel. “Uh, hello. I’d like to speak to speak to Larry Bird.”

“Do you know the password?”

“Kevin McHale sez that the Super Suicide Society of the Summer Session has Succumbed.”

“Hold on and I’ll put you thru to his room.”

“Thanx.” I waited.

“D.J. here. What can I do ya for?”

“D.J., it’s me, Marq. Can you put Larry on for me?”

“Sure hun, hold on a sec. Hey Lar!” He called.

“What?”

“Marq is on the phone.”

“Wait a sec….Hey babe. What is happening over there?”

“When are you coming home, Larry?” I asked nervously.

“Not for three more days hun. You know that. What’s wrong?

“Something weird is going on.”

“Weird? What do you mean weird?”

“I saw a shape in the shadows, so I got my gun and investigated. There was a man there. He had red eyes and his skin was that of a dead man’s. He said he wants me to rule by his side. In the Dark Side. He referred to the posters and books on vampires and monsters we have. Oh, Larry. I’m scared.”

“Don’t worry hun. It’s probably just some nut trying to scare you.”

“No. I don’t think so. Thus guy’s for real, Lar.”

“Listen, if you’re that shaken up, call one of the guys from work and as ‘em to stay w/you until I get back. Okay?”

“Yeah, sure. But I’d feel a lot better if it were you.”

In the background I heard “Hey, Lar, get a move on, we’re gona be late.”

“Okay, D.J. Listen hun, I’ve gotta go or I’ll be late for the warm-ups, okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Kay. Don’t worry. It’ll be all right.”

“Famous last words.”

He chuckled. “Don’t worry hun. Love ya.”

“Love you too, Lar. Bye.”

“Bye.”

As soon as I clicked the receiver, I called Detrich and asked him to come over.

 

When he got to the cottage, I told him what happened. “What do you want from me?” he asked.

“Could you stay with me until Larry gets back? This has really gotten me shaken up.”

“Sure. What are friends for?”

“Thanx. I really appreciate it. After reading all those books, I’ve become a firm believer in vampires.”

“I can’t believe it. I know we’ve only known each other for four months, but I thought I knew you.”

“Guess not.”

“Do you mind if I get a look at some of these books?”

“Course not. They’re in our room.”

So I took him down there and he was clearly taken aback by the room. It was plastered w/vampire posters. Bela Lugosi, Frank Langella, Christopher Lee, Klaus Kinski, Max Shreck, and Lon Chaney. In addition, there were ½ dozen David Bowie shots, all of which clearly showed why he’d been chosen to play Jon Blaylock in “The Hunger.” In fact, the entire room was sort of a shrine to vampirism, strewn w/regalia from the popular mythology. The book shelves were cluttered with vampire titles: “I am Legend,” “Interview with the Vampire,” “Salem’s Lot,” “Dracula,” the whole Fred Saberhagen series. There was a large candle in the shape of a human skull, and a large mirror w/a black tapestry slung over it.

“Jesus. When you say you’re a believer, you don’t lie.”

“Larry got me into all this. I nearly freaked the first time I saw it. He’s just a monster-movie lover, but I’ve become a believer. I used to just read and watch gory things just for the hell of it, but after reading a few of his books, I started to believe. I may believe, but I’m scared as hell of ‘em.”

“So, why all the posters and books?”

“They’re Larrys. I can’t ask him to get rid of them. Besides, I’ve gotten used to ‘em.”

“Maybe after looking over a few of these books, I’ll become a believer, too.”

“I don’t think you’ll ever become a believer. You don’t even believe in the afterlife.”

“You never know.”

“Yeah, well, I’m gona take a shower. Make yourself at home. The remote for the TV is on the bed. Feel free to turn on whatever you like.”

“Yeah, sure.”

 

After my shower, I found him reading over “Interview with the Vampire.” “Interesting?” I asked.

“Yeah. Get a load of this. ‘”Vampires are killers,’ he said now. ‘Predators. Whose all-seeing eyes were meant to give them detachment. The ability to see human life in its entirety, not w/any mawkish sorrow but w/a thrilling satisfaction in being the end of that life, in having a hand in the divine plan.’” Weird.”

“Not weird, true. Think about it; that’s exactly what they are; predators. They live to kill, and they kill to live.”

“Sounds reasonable.”

So, I set up the guest room for him, and absolutely nothing happened for the whole three days. He left the morning before Larry was expected. Ten minutes after Detrich left, that guy came back. I turned away from the sink and he was at our table. I almost had a corinary.

“You need not be afraid of vampires, m’lady. We won’t cause a believer any harm.”

“But what do you want?”

“You to be my queen.”

“Suppose I refuse?”

“You won’t refuse.”

“How can you be sure?”

“Trust me.”

Just then, I heard the limmo pull up. I looked out the window then back to my visitor. He wasn’t there. He vanished. I rushed outside to see Larry. He got out of the limmo dressed in a oxford, a pale blue argyle sweater, and tan cords. I ran up to him and hugged him hard. He stroked my hair with a large hand and asked in a gentle voice, “Hunny, what’s wrong?”

I looked up at him, tears bubbling up into my eyes. “He showed up again.”

“While Detrich was here?”

“No. Detrich left 15 minutes ago. The guy showed up a few minutes before you pulled up.”

“You’re really upset about this, aren’t you?” I nodded. “I’ve never known you to be so scared. My gosh. Kevin’s told me stories about how he and his friends tried to scare you when you were 8. You were always a tough little thing.”

“Kevin never tried to be a vampire.”

“Come on inside and you can tell me what happened.”

So he took me inside, made me a cup of coffee, while I explained what happened. “So, what you’re saying is that my making you believe in vampires has caused this thing to come after you?”

“Yeah. That’s about the size of it.”

“Oh, jeeze.” He reached for my hand across the table. “I’m sorry hun. It’s my fault this is happening to you.”

“No. It’s my fault for believing. I should’ve just kept reading for fun, not for facts.”

“But still, it was my fault for introducing you to the world of vampires.”

I slid around and sat on his lap. “You, my dear, can do no wrong.” And I kissed him.

“But still, I introduced you to the wonderful world of vampires.” He said it like a character from an $11 monster movie where space ships were tupper wear bowls.

“You’re a nut. Ya know that?”

“Yeah. But I got another nut to keep me company.” He kissed me. I looked at my watch.

“Oh, hun. I’m gona be late for work.”

“I’m glad I don’t have a steady job.”

“If you did, I’d never’ve met you thru Kevin.”

“True. Now I’m really gald I don’t have a steady job.”

“Thanx. I think. Where are the keys to the RX-7? I couldn’t find ‘em the whole time you were gone. I had to use the Porsche and you know what a bad part of town that is. Lucky it wasn’t stolen.”

“Outside of a police station? I should hope not. They’re in the liquor cabinet.”

“Why?”

“I figured you’d find them there.” He cracked a huge smile and laughed.

I swatted him w/the roll of paper towels that were on the table. “I am NOT an alchey, Mr. Bird.”

“Sure, sure. And I’m Queen Victoria.”

“An occasional drink now and then doesn’t make me – forget it. I lost this one. I gotta go. Love ya.”

“Love ya too.”

I kissed him. “I’ll be back at about 5 to cook dinner.”

“We have chefs for that.”

“I know. But I like to cook. Listen, give the ENTIRE staff – except the guards at the gate – the night off. If you know what I mean.”

“Message comprehended. Don’t worry if I’m not here when you get back. I need to pick up a few items at Caldors.”

“I’ll never get used to you shopping at Caldors.”

“Why?”

“You get paid like $36M a year, live in this gorgeous mansion, drive a Porsche, RX-7, own a limmo, and have a rather large staff of servants. You can afford better.”

“Maybe I can afford better, but I don’t WANT better.”

“You’re crazy. Ya know that?”

“So I’ve been told.”

 

I go to work and as usual, I get shot on a call. I go back to the precinct, and Barney tells me, “Marq, this is the 4th time in 4 months that you’ve been shot. I’m gona have to get you a desk job.”

“Do that and I’ll quit.”

“You’re not serious, are you?”

“Dead serious. I don’t need a desk job, and you can’t afford to lose anybody.” And that was the end of it.

 

After work, Larry was right. He wasn’t home. So, I put my things away, grabbed my “Quiche & Fondue Me” apron, and started to cook chicken a la king w/white wine truffles. But, just as I finished setting the table, I turned around and that dude was there. I’d kinda gotten used to him by now. “Hey,” I said. “Now what do you want?”

“Your decision.”

My thick NY accent became even thicker. “Decision? You said I won’t refuse. I can’t win.”

“That’s right. You can’t.”

“Why do you only show up when I’m alone?”

“It’s more convieniant. Besides, I don’t want to talk to anybody else.”

“’Scuse me. I gotta put my chicken in. Why do you want me for your queen? I’m just a cop.”

“You’re a believer.”

“There’ve gotta be others out there.”

“Yes, but none quite as interesting as you.”

“Interesting? Me? No.” I said in joking disbelief.

“Yes. You are a true believer, but you are also afraid of us. That makes you special. If you are afraid, you are vounerable.”

“Who’s afraid? Besides, I’ve gotten used to you.”

“You may have gotten used to me, but not to my powers.”

“Lemmie ask you something; how can I be y our queen when I’m devoted to someone else?”

“You are referring to the basketball player you live with.” I nodded. “That is infatuation. Not love.”

“How would you know?”

“I have been watching you. The way the two of you act around each other. I know infatuation when I see it.”

I stopped chopping peppers, pointed the rather large knife at him and said, “I don’t think you DO know the difference between <3 and infatuation. Have you ever been in <3? In either life I mean.”

“Never.”

“Then how would you know? I love Larry. Out of all my 27 years of life, I’ve never loved anybody more. If this was just infatuation it would be over by now. I trust my feelings, and this is love. Now, I don’t care what you do, I’m not gona be your queen. You can look, but you can’t touch.”

Just then, Larry showed up from the next room, clapping. My guest turned in surprise. “Jesus,” Larry said. “You’re right. He looks dead.”

“That’s ‘cos he IS dead,” I said.

“So, this is our vampire,” Larry said.

“The name’s Rudy Pasko.” He extended a pale h and to Larry.

“Save it. You, my – vampire, are not getting my girlfriend as your queen. I don’t care what you do, you’re not getting her.”

Rudy hung his head and said “True love. The only thing to deny a vampire his queen. You win.” He got up and left the room.

I put the knife down, wiped my hands on my apron, and put my arms around Larry. “How long were you there for?”

“When you asked him how you could be his queen when you’re devoted to me…Did you mean it?”

“You know I did.”

He lifted me up on to the chair. “Now that’s more like it,” he said. “You’re more my height.”

“Can I help it if Kevin inherited Dad’s height?”

“I guess not. But I <3 you anyway.”

“I love you too, Lar.”

We kissed, forgot about dinner, and went right to the bedroom.

END.