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Book: The Face of Satan's Bog
Chapter 3: Lord of Cold Shadows

After twenty three minutes of precision gouging and scooping, Lawrence had finally managed to hollow out the lifeless carcass of Ogus Torquefester. A mass of bloodied bones lay all over the kitchen floor - many with ligaments and cholesterol ridden muscles still attached. A sea of congealing blood coated the floor’s cracked and uneven tiles. There was very little blubber lying around, it was all needed inside the body for padding, otherwise the expansive area of skin that the overblown restaurateur had grown would hang unconvincingly off Lawrence’s emaciated frame.

Lawrence took a step back and admired his work. It was a cold, if not very calculated crime, and he liked it - loved it - cherished it! It had been years since he’d burrowed this far down into his evil side. He had tried to become a good, honest, and hardworking citizen of this ordinary, average world - tried and hated it. And that hatred of normality and banality had finally kicked out and spoken to him - no, shouted at him. And he’d listened.

“Ha harr!!!” he shouted. “I am not defeated! I will rise again!” The lord of gloom pranced around in a demonic fashion. “I will build a mother of a vessel, brimming with weapons of obvious mass devastation. I will acquire wealth beyond the fantasies of overlords and spend it irresponsibly!” Lawrence stopped prancing and slowly raised himself up onto his toes. After pausing for a couple of seconds, he whispered in a squeaky voice. “And I’ll do it today!”

Leaping over to the carcass of Ogus, he crawled inside. Once he had squeezed his legs and arms into the dead guy’s hollowed out appendages, Lawrence hauled the body up to its feet. Ogus Torquefester was a much taller and heavier man than Lawrence, so it was a struggle. It was uncomfortable too, as Lawrence’s head only reached into the neck.

After a few minutes of unsteadiness, Lawrence finally got the hang of walking around. There was only one problem - the gaping slit in Ogus’s chest and abdomen. Reaching out with a hefty arm, Lawrence grabbed a long jacket that was hanging on the kitchen’s coat rack and, with difficulty, put it on. Ogus Torquefester’s bloodied and lacerated body was covered. After zipping up the front, the huge chest wound was concealed perfectly. “Excellent!” yelled the lord of cold shadows. “It begins!”

Lawrence stomped ponderously out of the kitchen and through the restaurant, using the slit in Ogus’s neck to see where he was going. The field of view was narrow but adequate. Lawrence smiled. The whole experience was enjoyably weird. Although wet and slushy, the mass of blubber swilling around his limbs felt soothing, almost sensual! Being completely and utterly inside another person was like regressing back to the womb - warm, comforting, and pleasing. A bit too damp, though.

Opening the front door, Lawrence manoeuvred the lard-ridden corpse out into the crowded street.

Buht City was small compared to the enormous metropolitan masses found on the central worlds. With a population of less than ten million, and its sparse collection of skyscrapers, it could feel positively spacious at times. Claustrophobia was never a problem, not even in the city’s underprivileged inner districts. In fact, ‘dull’ was the only word that sprung to mind when anyone was asked to describe Buht City. No tourist attractions, no record-breaking athletes, no brutal crime syndicates, no rampant prostitution - nothing that would make the city a desirable place to visit for anyone. Only one fact about Buht City was remotely interesting - it was the base for the headquarters of ‘Mister Blister’s Plastic Cups’, the largest plastic cup manufacturer in the known galaxy. The company supplied over ninety percent of cups used by vending machines, parties, cafes, and dentists. With net profits of eight trillion credits in the last year alone, ‘Mister Blister’s Plastic Cups’ was one of the wealthiest and most boring businesses ever conceived.

Lawrence’s keen mind, and the fact that he’d accidentally glanced through the business pages yesterday, meant that he new all about ‘Mister Blister’s Plastic Cups’. He peered out of the slit in Ogus’s neck and looked up at the company’s head-office building. The giant gothic three-hundred storey edifice dwarfed everything else in the city’s business district. At its pinnacle, partly obscured by a badly placed low cloud, a huge red neon cup blinked slowly in the darkening evening sky.

Smiling with unlawful intent, Lawrence heaved the hollow corpse of Ogus Torquefester towards the towering building.

After thirty minutes of extreme exertion, Lawrence arrived at the base of the Blister Tower. Pushing on the large revolving door, he managed to squeeze the bulbous frame of Ogus into the lobby. Making his way through the mass of grey-faced, grey-suited old executives, Lawrence stumbled heavily over to the reception desk.

From behind a mass of plastic cup samples, an old woman, her face prune-like and powdered, turned on her swivel chair to face him. She let out a short shriek when she saw the fat and blood stained restaurant owner. After composing herself, she spoke. “Welcome to Blister Tower, the head office of ‘Mister Blister’s Plastic Cups’. How can I help you?”

Lawrence had to make his reply look and sound convincing. Pulling his right arm out of Ogus’s right arm, he pushed it up through the neck and into the mouth. He moved the corpse’s lower jaw in time with his voice. “I would like to see Mister Blister. I have a business proposition for him.”

The old receptionist wiped the splashes of blood from her face and replied. “I’m afraid Mister Blister will not see you.”

With tremendous difficulty, Lawrence quashed the urge to bite off the insolent hag’s throat. “Why?” he asked, moving the jaw up and down one again.

“Mister Blister will only see you if your proposition is proved to be viable and hugely profitable. One of our sales-consultants will be able to determine that. Let me see if any of them are available.”

Lawrence watched the irritating receptionist as she tapped away at her data-console. Thoughts of scalping her passed enticingly through his mind.

“Ah.” she said, looking up. “Mister Humdinger is available. Give me your name and I’ll make an appointment for you to see him right now.”

Lawrence forced himself to stay calm in the face of such sickly and superficial politeness. “Ogus Torquefester.”

The ageing receptionist tapped away at her console. “OK, Mister Torquefester, Mister Humdinger is on level sixty-one. Please take elevator ‘C’.” She pointed to the back of the lobby.

Using his right hand, Lawrence made the head of Ogus nod, then turned and began walking towards the elevator.

“Mister Torquefester?” the old woman said.

“What?!” Lawrence shouted.

“Forgive me for mentioning it, but you look seriously ill.”

“I feel fine!”

“But your face is blood-stained and zombie-like. Is there something I can get you? A hot lemon drink, perhaps?”

“No. I had a nose bleed just before I got here. I’m OK now.”

“Well, if you say so.”

“I do!”

Lawrence turned and resumed his course for the elevator. Fortunately, the old receptionist said no more. One more word and Lawrence would have snapped and removed her pelvis in the most awkward manner possible.

A few minutes later Mister Humdinger met Lawrence outside the elevator on level sixty-one. “Good to see you, Mister Torquefester.” He said, shaking Ogus’s limp hand. He failed to hide the look of disgust on his face.

“Let’s get this over with quickly,” Lawrence said sharply, already bored with the situation. “I’m a busy man!”

“Aren’t we all!” Mister Humdinger said cheerfully. “Please take a seat.”

Lawrence slumped the body of Ogus onto a sofa, instantly staining the fabric with dark semi-clotted blood. The sales-consultant sat opposite.

“Well,” Mister Humdinger said. “What is your proposition?”

Lawrence started to spout bullshit. “I am Ogus Torqufester, president of Torquefester Restaurants. Perhaps you have heard of me?”

The sales-consultant looked thoughtful. “I must admit that I haven’t. I know of a shabby little restaurant called ‘Torquefester’s Grease Pot - I pass it on the way to work. It looks so awful. I never thought of there being more of them.”

“There are twenty thousand outlets throughout the Odious Sector.” Lawrence said, moving Ogus’s mouth in a most convincing way. “The local one here in Buht City is, unfortunately, the worst one. In fact, painful though it was, I had to sack the manager this very afternoon for his poor performance record.”

The sales-consultant nodded. “A difficult but shrewd move, Mister Torquefester. Business is business, after all. He must have been very upset to lose his job, though.”

An unseen smile spread across Lawrence’s face. “He was gutted.”

After pausing to hold in a bout of demonic laughter, Lawrence continued. “My restaurants use four-million plastic cups a day. My current supplier is over-priced and always delivers late. I wish your company to become my new supplier. I assume this is of interest to you?”

Mister Humdinger beamed. “Indeed it is!”

Lawrence made the deal as sweet as possible. “I will pay your usual rates. I am rich and can’t be bothered to negotiate a bulk-order discount.”

The sales-consultant made some frenzied calculations on his hand-held data console. “That’s worth one and a half billion credits a year to us!” he cried, failing to hide his excitement.

“As this deal is so valuable,” Lawrence said. “I wish to deal with Mister Blister personally.”

The sales-consultant calmed himself. “There’s no need. I can handle all the details. If you’d just like to…”

Lawrence interrupted. “I said that I want to deal with Mister Blister personally. Arrange a meeting with him immediately.”

“Mister Blister prefers that all sales-consultants handle the preliminary…”

“Do as I ask!” Lawrence shouted. “Otherwise I’ll withdraw my order and you’ll lose your commission!”

At the mention of loosing his commission Mister Humdinger caved in completely. “Of course. Please accept my apologies. Excuse me while I make the arrangements.”

The sales-consultant wandered over to a comms-station at the other side of the room. In less than a minute, he returned.

“Because of the huge profit involved,” Mister Humdinger said. “Mister Blister has kindly made an exception on this occasion. He’ll be happy to see you right away.”

Lawrence awkwardly pulled the carcass of Ogus Torquefester up to a standing position. “It’s about time.”

“I’ll accompany you.”

“No. I wish to speak to him alone.”

The sales-consultant paused for a moment. “Well… All right, if you insist. Mister Blister’s office is on the top level. The elevator will take you all the way.”

Lawrence nodded Ogus’s head and entered the elevator.

Mister Blister’s office was gigantic, taking up all the available space on level 300. Huge floor to ceiling windows on each wall revealed panoramic views of the city lights far below. Flashes of red from the two hundred metre tall neon cup occasionally illuminated the room through the ceiling’s skylights. The look of extreme opulence in this office was a total contrast to the functional and administrative look of the lobby and the other levels.

Lawrence plodded thirty metres across the deep pile carpet towards the desk at the opposite side of the room. Behind it sat a man - a very fat man, bearded and grey-haired. Lawrence halted Ogus’s corpse right in front of the desk.

The man behind the desk spoke. “I am Rodney Blister, founder and leader of ‘Mister Blister’s Plastic Cups’. Please be seated, Ogus.” Rodney Blister motioned towards the chair next to Lawrence.

Remembering the difficulty he’d had trying to stand up earlier, Lawrence shook Ogus’s head. “I prefer to stand, Rodney.”

Mister Blister eyed the bloodied form of Ogus curiously. “As you wish. Mister Humdinger has told me of your wish to purchase four-million of my cups per day. That would make you and your company one of our most important customers.”

“Of course it would.”

“I find it strange that you wouldn’t deal with Mister Humdinger, though. He is one of my finest sales-consultants. Why did you insist on seeing me personally?”

Bullshit continued to flow freely from Lawrence. “I only deal with the highest ranking people. To deal with anyone else is beneath me.”

Rodney Blister agreed. “I understand. I often feel that anyone below the status of chairman or president is worthless and irrelevant. Right, I guess we should get down to business and sort out a contract.”

“Not just yet. First, I wish to know some details about your company to make sure you are stable and able to fulfil my needs.”

“Of course. Ask away.”

“What is the value of your assets?”

Rodney Blister smiled. “Huge!”

Lawrence fought to hold back his annoyance. “Be specific!”

“Well, we have manufacturing plants on fifty-three planets, offices in more than five-thousand cities, and almost forty-thousand ‘Mister Blister’s Party Supplies’ outlets spread across seven sectors. The total asset value at the last count was over six-thousand-trillion credits. That puts ‘Mister Blister’s Plastic Cups’ in the top five most outrageously wealthy companies of all time!”

Lawrence grinned devilishly. An expression of evil satisfaction spread across his face. The expression wasn’t transferred to Ogus Torquefester’s face which remained pallid and lifeless.

“You don’t seem impressed?” Rodney Blister said. “My company’s extraordinary success obviously does not please you!”

“On the contrary. It pleases me a great deal. its value should be just enough for my needs.”

“What do you mean?”

“Ha harr!!!” Lawrence yelled. Using the gutting knife he’d cunningly brought with him, he swiftly cut himself out of Ogus Torquefester’s body. Slabs of skin and blubber spread across the office.

The look on Mister Blister’s face turned from cool superiority to total terror in seconds.

Lawrence leapt over the desk and landed feet first on Rodney Blister, kicking hard. The founder and leader of ‘Mister Blister’s Plastic Cups’ flew out of his chair and rolled several metres across the office floor. He slammed into a window, cutting open his head.

Lawrence stood over him. “Do you recognise me?”

Mister Blister looked up. A look of petrified realisation filled his face. “You’re… You’re… No. You can’t be!”

“Oh yes I can!”

“Lord Lawrence! No! The bounty hunters’ finished you! It was major news for months! Every channel ran documentaries about your demise and thirteen part semi-fictional dramas on your life and…”

Rodney Blister was interrupted by the gutting knife as it entered his throat. He gargled blood as the knife rapidly sliced open his chest and gut.

“Ha ha ha harr!!!” screamed Lawrence. He watched as Mister Blister’s eyelids flickered then stopped. His eyes assumed a lifeless stare.

The plan to end all plans was working brilliantly! Lawrence gutted Rodney Blister with relish.

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