by Colin P. Davies
Table of Contents
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Pestworld (aka Benedict Benoletti’s World) has no indigenous flora or fauna. Its terraforming and seeding are models of sophistication and execution; nectar for the academic bees of the ancient worlds. History begins with the landfall of humans — the first cave painting was with an aerosol and the only fossil record is Country and Western.
The creature came scuttling down the rocky hillside towards Old Fools’ Square. Only moments behind ran a short stocky man, his leaps assured and his toothy smile confident, his black trench coat flapping in the wind of the chase. Pursued and pursuer hit the cobbled ground at almost the same instant. A torrent of disturbed stones tumbled around them.
Townsfolk at the white-canopied market stalls paused in their shopping. Children stopped skipping.
Finding its path hampered by humans, the creature turned and reared up on its hind legs. Its human-like head was now on a level with Parvo’s. It drew back its top lip, mimicking Parvo’s pronounced front teeth; its hairless skull already mocked Parvo’s shaved head. Man and creature made eye contact and once again Parvo found himself quietly reciting the Pestmeister litany: “Pests have no souls, pests have no humanity, pests have no rights...”
The creature raised its bulbous forepaws in front of its chin and began to dance lightly on its heavily-furred feet. Parvo had faced mckenzie pugilists before and knew they were all southpaws, so when it moved in with a straight right to his jaw, he slipped the punch easily. His own right hook hammered into its gut — spittle fountained from its pouting lips. As its guard fell, exposing its chin, Parvo’s left fist knocked the creature off its feet. It lay limp on the hard ground. Its furry chest rose and fell rapidly.
“...and ten,” said Parvo. He shook his left hand to relieve the pain. He should have worn gloves.
The watching crowd had lost interest and turned back to their shopping. Skipping ropes slapped again upon the cobbles. Parvo shrugged and bowed to nobody.
“Next time don’t lead with the right,” he said, as he unclipped the cuffs from his belt. “But of course... there won’t be a next time.”
As he cuffed the creature’s legs and phoned for a collection cart, he thought back over this last month, his first month in post. He still wasn’t past his unease at winning the position of Pestmeister of the Parish over his more conventional classmates. It seemed his extraordinary skills had been recognised. He certainly considered himself the best of the graduates. And so far it had been easy, almost too easy for a man of his ambition.
But a letter had arrived this morning.
Everything was about to change.
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Copyright © 2007 by Colin P. Davies