Earth Reference Year 2397.92 AD
The stench was unbearable!
Ogus Torquefester screwed up his sagging, folded face in disgust. “What
in flesh’s name is that?”
Getting heavily to his feet, he hauled his massive frame around and smashed
open the kitchen’s double doors with his gut. Smoke billowed out.
Ogus instantly vomited down the front of his tent-like apron as the smell
totally saturated the air around him. He made his way forward, wiping away
the half-digested noodles that clung to his many chins. Pots and pans littered
the floor of the filthy kitchen, covered in a black tar-like substance of
unknown origin. “Explain yourself, you flatulent little dung smoker!”
At the other end of the kitchen Ogus’s cook looked at him from behind
the carcass of a skinned racing cow. “It is not my fault.” The
cook said, pushing the slaughtered animal away. It smacked onto the tiled
floor and oozed vital fluids. “I could not have predicted this fiasco.”
Ogus snarled. “I said explain yourself, damn it!”
The cook approached the abundant mass of his boss. For an underling of such
low status he showed an amazing lack of fear. “There was no barf-beetle
blood left to add to the Dredd-Sour sauce I was making. I decided that dim-cat
blood would make an ideal substitute, so I added that instead.” He
Ogus looked to where his cook was pointing. His beloved pet was hanging
over the sauce pot, blood still dripping from its slashed throat.
The cook continued. “As you can see, it reacted badly with the other
ingredients and generated the putrid fragrance that currently fills the
air. It is therefore the cat’s fault. I am vindicated.”
Ogus Torquefester grabbed the cook around the neck with his large left hand
and squeezed. “You ignorant little puff weasel! It’s common
culinary knowledge that dim-cat blood is far too volatile and unpredictable
to ever use as an ingredient in anything!”
The flab ridden restaurant owner held his cook up against the window in
one of the kitchen’s doors and pressed his face hard against the glass.
“Look! Everyone’s left! And they haven’t paid! You’ve
lost me an entire evening’s profit, and you killed my beloved pet,
Douglas!” Ogus swung the cook around and with his right hand smacked
him hard across the face. The cook’s silly looking hat fell into a
vat of boiling oil and disintegrated. The cook’s scarred and crusted
bald scalp was exposed, his only hair being two matted black clumps behind
his ears. “Is this how you repay me after all I’ve done for
The cook stared at his boss. “You have done nothing for me.”
Ogus bellowed with anger. “I found you torn and broken in a refuse
pit on the city limits! You were skin and bone and could hardly talk! I
gave you food, a job, and free accommodation in my cheese cellar! I saved
you from deterioration beyond reason!” With a mighty swing of his
arm, he threw the cook into a pile of saucepans. The noise was deafening.
“Clean this place up!”
“No.” the cook said, getting to his feet.
The overblown Ogus was taken aback. “Are you refusing to do what I
“I am the ruler of this establishment. You will do my bidding without
“You are nothing!” the cook said sharply. A look of evil contempt
spread over the cook’s features. “I was once the supreme overlord
of a million death ogres. I had an unholy army of the night and an incredible
fleet of devastating starships. I destroyed civilisations and played with
the entrails of anyone I wished. I had more power that you can contemplate,
and I will have that power again!”
“How dare you lie to me!”
“I am not lying.”
Ogus spat at the cook. “You are insane. No-one with that much power
and control could lose it all completely, unless they were supremely stupid.
If there’s any truth to what you say then you, my wretched little
smudge-monger, are the most stupid, unintelligent, doltish, bovine bucket
of cattle piss that I’ve ever set eyes on!”
The cook frowned for a second, and then smiled.
Ogus shivered. He had never seen his kitchen slave smile before, and would
never expect to - the drudgery of his work and the filth of his surroundings
should have ensured that. This was not a smile of joy and happiness, though.
This smile exuded depravity and immorality with cantankerous perfection.
This smile discharged doom at a sickening rate. The grossly overweight restaurant
owner quickly made an executive decision. “You’re fired! Get
out! I want all of your pitiful belongings out of my cheese cellar in five
The cook broadened his smile.
Ogus noticed that sweat was forming on his own brow. He felt fearful. “Move
it, damn you! Leave!”
Still smiling, the cook grabbed a nearby gutting knife and slowly approached.
Ogus shivered and backed away. “D… Don’t be silly, I’m
sure you’ll find somewhere else to work.”
“You’re a sad, lard-coated ball of irrelevant matter.”
The cook said calmly, continuing his approach. “You must be so depressed
with your appearance, and also the dire level of success in your life.”
“Not at all.” Ogus said shakily, instantly falling for the cook’s
psychological trick. He stopped his retreat as his back hit a wall. “I
built this place from scratch with some money left to me by my mother.”
The cook stopped a couple of paces in front of Ogus. “You’re
fibbing, aren’t you?!”
“Yes you are. And I want to help you.”
“Indeed. You’re mistreatment of me proves that you have deep
emotional pain and suffering. I wish to stop that pain and suffering, or
at least stop you thinking about it.”
Ogus thought to himself. This strange and sinister cook had a point. He
had been feeling a little low lately, ever since Mildred Margenfagargleshaft
had left him for a balder and fatter man. “You’re right. I am
feeling downhearted and blue. But how can you stop me from feeling like
The cook’s face seemed to light up with devilish delight. “Ha
harr!!!” he yelled. “I’ll do it like this!” With
sprite-like speed, the cook leapt into the air and somersaulted in a blur
Ogus Torquefester Felt a sharp pain shoot through his neck. There was a
crunch, another sharp jab of pain - then a thud. Ogus found himself slumped
on the floor against the wall. He flinched as the cook pulled the gutting
knife out of his neck. A warm taste filled his mouth. He tried to talk but
only managed to cough blood. He tried to move but his body did not respond.
The cook licked some of the blood off the knife and then looked at Ogus.
“You’re not thinking of your emotional pain now, are you? Am
I good, or what?”
Ogus’s eyes began to water. He felt faint.
“Before you die,” the cook said, “there’s something
I want to show you.” He raised the knife. “I want you to see
The huge restaurant owner shivered.
“Don’t worry.” the cook said in a soothing tone. “You
won’t feel any pain. I severed your spinal column at the base of your
skull. There’s no better anaesthetic!”
Before Ogus could react, or at least try to react, the cook slammed the
knife into his chest, cracking his solar plexus in two.
“Ha harr!!!” the cook screeched. He pulled down hard on the
blade and sliced cleanly through the multiple layers of blubber, exposing
Ogus’s internal organs. Ogus looked down in horror.
After making a large enough incision, the cook threw away the knife. Using
his bare hands, he pushed the sides of the gaping wound apart. Ribs snapped
and cartilage tore as Ogus’s chest opened up like a pair of barn doors.
Reaching inside, the cook pulled out organ after organ - first a large,
alcohol swollen liver, then a tar-filled lung, then a cholesterol-ridden
heart. Finally, the intestines. Blood, as expected, flooded the floor.
Ogus stared in disbelief as he watched the cook wrap his intestinal tract
around his body and prance around like a boy band member. He felt a tug
as the end connected to him pulled him away from the wall. Ogus was now
lying on his back facing the ceiling. The image was fading fast.
The cook’s face appeared over him. “Ha Harr!!! You did a good
job! I was indeed weak and feeble when you found me but now I’m stronger
than ever. The time has come for me to ‘fly the nest’. Good
bye, chubby buddy. Hope you enjoyed seeing yourself hollowed out like a
Ogus had no energy left now and closed his eyes. The last thing he heard
was a whisper in his ear. “Before you go, oh bulbous one, let me just
tell you that your empty husk has given me a great idea to get off this
rank planet of yours without being recognised. Thank you so much for giving
up your pointless life for me, although why should I thank you? I am, after
all, Lawrence, Lord of all that is frigid and dreadful, and you are nothing!”
Ogus finally realised who this man was. He had heard of this Lawrence. He
had also heard years ago on one of the vid-channels that he was supposed
to be dead - sucked out of a bounty hunter ship in sub-space. No-one, not
even Lord Lawrence could survive that! There had been sightings, though,
many of them - reported for years after, but surely they were merely rumours.
Just rumours… Not true at all…