Dalby Udder’s school days had been memorable in one respect. He had failed to do much forward planning. Even choosing a pudding before he had eaten his main course proved an intellectual challenge too far. So it was no surprise that his interview with the career’s master proved to be one of frustration for the master. ‘You’ve never even considered life after school?’ Mr Plinth couldn’t hide his incredulity. ‘Pop star? Footballer? Prime Minister? Vacuous Reality Star?’
‘No sir.’ Dalby’s ability to remain impervious to sarcasm was already highly developed, albeit in an instinctive rather than deliberate fashion.
Herman Plinth studied this blank canvas and scribbled a note. ‘Take this to the address I’ve written, knock three times and ask for the Psycho. Tell him Herman says thanks for mother and we’re now even.’ He paused, perhaps momentarily concerned about the path on which he was directing this naive young lad. ‘If you ever need a hand, sorting things out with your new employer, then don’t hesitate to call.’ He felt pretty sure he would never have to fulfil this promise.
Dutifully Dalby did as he was instructed. The door on which he knocked was clearly old and scarred in indescribable ways but which left most sentient visitors with an immediately antipathy to constipation. Dalby, while sentient in a strictly Linnaean sense, failed to conceive what such a confection of marks might mean for the observer and knocked with a confidence to which the door was unused. As a result the resulting echo was less underworldly and more underwhelming.
‘Yes?’ The Eye that appeared around the frame suggested to a keener observer than Dalby that it might once have belonged to a different face.
‘Hi. A note. For Psycho.’
A hand, gnarled by time and torture snapped through the gap and dragged a surprised Dalby inside. ‘We don’t use that homonym here, lad.’ The eye/face/hand combo were but parts of a sparse lean figure dressed in black leather and incongruous plaid slippers. He read the note and turned inside. ‘With me, lad.’
Dalby followed. In short order he was sworn into the Disreputables, apprenticed to the Pater, or Psycho to those who ‘needed a job doing’ and taught the basic principles of commercial assassination and body dismemberment. Dalby was a willing learner but his inability to think too far ahead made his mentors feel he was something of a liability on the termination side of the business, though in terms of personalised butchery he appeared to have something of an aptitude.
Thus it was that, one dank afternoon he found himself left with a wheel barrow, two thirds of an uncooperative planning officer and a rather out of date map, standing in Nethermost Wood with one instruction in mind. ‘Hide the parts.’
The crack or rift in the stone appeared to Dalby to be perfect for what Pater had instructed.
Quite why it was that day that Dalby discovered curiosity is perhaps one of the mysteries of the universe, up there with the offside rule and the point of Prince Edward. Suffice it to say as he pulled the packages from the barrow and laid them out it occurred to him that some of the parts were missing – the Pater had considered it prudent not to share with Dalby the fact that he had dispatched the remaining parts to a local pig farm.
Dalby was naturally concerned that if he was to do his job properly he should dispose of a complete and anatomically correct deceased. It was as he mulled over his dilemma that the words of Mr Plinth came flooding back. Yes, he could do with the hand Mr Plinth had offered those months ago. Dalby looked at the jigsaw laid out on the grass in front of him. Two in fact.
This was written in response to Sue Vincent’s latest #writephoto prompt here