The Unusual Thief

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Shady Shit

The scene, a courtyard hidden in-between two of the bigger buildings in Westport; the Palace of Pussy and The Food Hall, the atmosphere tense and full of stench. This small patch of muddy, mildewed land acts as a receptacle for the garbage produced by the two businesses. The ripe smell of rotting foodstuffs, used condoms and soiled sheets permeates the air. The rubbish is piled high in sacks, and in the air around them is a miasma of flies, the buzzing of their wings an unpleasant constant background noise. The courtyard is a kind of headquarters for the vermin of the city they feed, reproduce and fight here regularly, but not today. Today the courtyard has a new occupant. Currently a decapitated corpse is lying in the courtyard, on a nearby bench the estranged head has been placed, its tongue lolling out of its mouth. Surrounding the body are a dozen or so large rats and seagulls, all are unconscious, and some of the seabirds have been plucked bald. A few are waking up and to their amusement are finding that no matter how hard they flap their featherless wings they cannot fly. A few of the bags of rubbish shift slightly. A snout pushes out from a gap in-between two sacks, it twitches, sniffing the air. The sacks move more violently as the large, smelly rat pulls itself free of them. The thing is immense for a rat; patches of its fur have been torn off by rivals and ineffective traps. The rat on seeing the body prepares to eat it, moving cautiously forward it sniffs the air for signs of danger. As it nears the body, it begins to sniff again unsure of the scent. The rat squeals as a hand grabs it roughly around its midsection, the body stands up holding the rat. Paul’s laughter echoes around the courtyard as he commands his body to stun the rat. His other hand comes up towards the rat holding a small black device, which he presses against it. ZZAAPP! The rat spasms, ZAAAP! Again the rat twitches, its claws curling and uncurling, ZZZAAAPP! ZAP! ZZZAP! The rat finally stops struggling; its black fur smoking gently. Paul is impressed; the most a rat had taken was two zaps but the seagulls were the winners they usually took about six or seven on average. Placing the rat on the floor he kicks it into a rousing seagull. Paul’s body walks to the bench and retrieves his head. He’s waited for a long time now and created his game of ‘Surprise the seagull’ out of boredom. Shortly another man enters the courtyard, a short fat man red of face and dressed in fine silks

“Paul?” he asks, in a squeaky voice

Paul raises his head to shoulder level to allow conversation and acknowledges him

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Very glad to meet you!” the blubbery man bubbles “Although you have a strange name, where are you from exactly?”

“Where I’m from is not important, can you sort me out?” Paul was using his business attitude, short and to the point

“Well, what you’re asking is not difficult but I fail to see why we should help you.” the fat man also had a business attitude. He looks confused as for the first time he notices the singed rodents and bald birds

“I will repay you double the value of the goods I’m asking for, not to mention that little favour I did for you earlier.” Paul reminds him.

“Ahem” the fat man looks embarrassed “You make a good argument, but I am a business man and as sure as I am that your word is good, no one ever made a profit on trust and good faith alone.”

“In that case I will offer collateral, my body, you can keep it until I come back, just look after it alright?”

The fat man feels suspicion but cannot fail to be impressed by Paul’s offer

“Well!” he replies in a flustered voice “I guess it’s something you’ll certainly come back for!”

Paul in calm reassurance agrees that he will indeed return for his body

“Is it a deal then?” asks Paul

The fat man thinks for a second, his hand on his chin. Paul holds his head closer to the fat man’s face, opening his eyes wide

“Ok, ok” says the fat man as he caves in. Dealing with decapitated people always unnerved him

“I will take your body as good will collateral and deliver the goods you require, when will you return with the full payment?”

“I’ll be back soon. Take the stuff to the docks, pier one hundred and eighty seven.”

“The goods will be there within the next six hours, make sure your body is also ready for collection” the fat man turns to leave but adds in a menacing tone

“Don’t fuck with me Paul, or I’ll have you hunted down and the life ripped out of you”

“Whatever” replies Paul nonchalantly, the fat man waddles carefully out of the courtyard. Paul watches him go then with his free hand reaches into his pocket and retrieves the mobile phone Ache had given him. He begins to dial a number.

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