Talent. Short Story.

Joe hated disposing of the bodies, it was never any fun. Why couldn’t one of the others do it? They enjoyed it for crying out loud. That was the only reason they were making him doing it, because they knew he didn’t like it. It wasn’t like he was squeamish, no, give him a live one and he’d have them singing in a matter of minutes, then after he extracted everything they needed he could have his fun. They’d seen the bodies after he was done with them, no way could they think he was squeamish. But once the life was gone, it wasn’t really fun anymore. It was more like work than pleasure and now he found himself slicing up a cold corpse, how could anyone think this was fun? The damn thing just lay there. No screams or attempts to get away. What was the point of it? It had to be done, sure, but someone else could have done it, he was sure Larry liked this kind of thing, he sometimes volunteered. They’d all joked about what he’d done when alone with the bodies. Ick. Joe didn’t judge, whatever anyone was into, hey, it’s their thing, but this? How could it be enjoyable? He’d understand maybe if it was still warm, but cold? Cold and unmoving? Gross. He didn’t understand it and probably never would. He didn’t know who this bitch was when she was alive, he wasn’t given the option of torture. He didn’t recognise her, which wasn’t all that surprising, but usually he at least felt the person was familiar, this time she was a no one. They didn’t seem happy when they left the room though, no laughing and joking, no ribbing each other or mocking this bitch. Either they couldn’t get anything out of her, which if that was the case she was one tough bitch, or they did get everything, but really didn’t like what they heard. Joe was betting it was the latter, but if she kept her mouth shut, he was sorry to see her go. It was rare to find someone like that and it was always an absolute pleasure going up against them. Reminded him that he wasn’t infallible, but it also reminded him to stay creative, kept him on his toes.

The work was simple enough, extract information when needed, be ready to get rid of them, or leave very little marks. He’d gotten into it accidentally, they’d found him when he was having a little fun with some random guy and the boss offered him a job on the spot, said they always needed people like him. It was great, getting paid to do what you love? He didn’t need much convincing. Beyond that he didn’t really much care what they were doing. He knew there was some general plan to how things went, but that stuff always went over his head, in meetings he was usually devising new ways of inflicting pain, storing them away to test them out the next time. He knew it was more than a skill, it was an art and he needed to keep himself fresh. He didn’t want to turn stale, end up doing it for the sake of doing it than doing it for fun, or to see just how far he could go.

His friends, at least the few he had outside of work, didn’t really know what he did. Whenever they asked he’d always give some vague answer, making everything sound super, super boring. His parents didn’t know either, though he thought his father suspected. He could see that look in his father’s eye, the same one Joe got when he sized someone up, thought about what could be done to them. He was never brave enough to broach the subject. It was safer not to, after all, what if he was wrong? Then where would he be? Down a parent and with another that’d soon have to go too. It wasn’t as messy this way.
He was paid well, which always slightly confused him, even though he understood why. Normally the money was so you’d keep your mouth shut, so you wouldn’t rat on anyone or anything and you’d keep coming back, but Joe enjoyed the job, so did the others. They didn’t need an incentive like extra cash to keep them coming back. They did so willingly, and no one knew about them, not enough to try and poach them anyway. Besides, what could they offer? No one needed more money, who would want to betray their friends like that? People they knew for years? No one, that’s who.

He piled the pieces into the cart then set up the hose, quick blast of water to get rid of the surface evidence. Every few weeks someone would come in and wash the place down with cleaners, bleach and the like, Joe and his friends weren’t involved in that part though. The body suit he was wearing would be incinerated, like the others, then he’d shower here and change back into his street clothes, sometimes it was a pain in the ass, but the system worked, none of them had been caught yet. He wasn’t going to complain and start rocking the boat, where else would he find this kind of employment and find a steady supply of people to practise on? He had tried to keep track of them in the beginning, but after a while they just blended into one another.

He scanned the room, eyes going over the shiny and wet walls, checking there was nothing he had forgotten. Clothes and personal effects were in a bag in the designated space, they’d go to an incinerator soon. The walls had been washed, everything seemed properly done. He opened the door and wheeled the cart outside, smiling to himself, now that it was done, he could look forward to the next time. As he passed he checked the roster, just to double check, grinning he continued on, it was definitely his turn for the next one. He had found a strange, but interesting instrument in a hardware store, he didn’t really know what it was, but he would definitely have fun with it.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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