The following contains extreme violence and disturbing scenes.
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They said it was unusually warm that day even for January. School was still out for the Summer holidays so there was plenty of children around playing in the sun, wives were busy shopping at post Christmas sales and George Ashley sat behind his desk. His short pudgy arms gathered water at the pits and sweat was beginning to flow down his forehead. He tried to wipe it dry, and his eyes began to sting as the sweat trickled into them.
The old hairline had receded a fair bit in the last twenty or so years, hell, half of it was probably still here on the floor, godknows the last time it had been cleaned. Certainly the cockroaches didn't seem to mind much. His hand shifted from his brow to the last few strands that wouldn't give up on him and he looked over to the clock in the corner, tick, tick, tick, sure was a noisy old thing. It seemed a lot noisier these days and it had started to slow gradually every hour so that by the end of his shift, it was about fifteen minutes short of a day. There was talk of replacing it, keeping up with the times as they say. George chuckled at the irony.
Tick. tick, tick, the clock read 9.36am, just under an hour and half till morning tea time. Then he could go outside to eat his marmite and lettuce sandwich (always marmite and lettuce) then he would drink his coffee, then he would have himself a smoke (not inside, not these days), then he would come back in and try to take a piss (if his prostate would let him) and then finally he'd go back to his desk trying hard to catch a glimpse of the young receptionists braless nipples. Same thing every day, tick, tick, tick.
"Ashley, where are those postal forms I asked for yesterday?" George's boss had entered the office and was standing over George's desk. Troy Findlay's rich black hair was styled in probably the latest fashion and he wore a suit straight from Wall Street. Undoubtably the practiced looks and the hours under the tanning bed gave him the look of young professional go-getter, money was the key and He knew how to make it.
"I've told you before Ashley, you keep slacking off and I'll find a way to fire your fat arse."
The man certainly didn't skim on the aftershave or the breathmints.
"I've told you time and time again George, we have to work togeather, when we don't it equals counter-productivity." Counter-productivity, Troy sounded out each syllable, it's another one of those professional buzzwords cocksuckers use like 'efficiency'.
"You have to be smarter George, you have to be accountable and you have to be efficient." Troy was chopping one hand into the other.
"You have to be a part of the team George, there's no room for individuality."
Someone wants to cut back a wee bit on the Glengarry Glen Ross, George thought as he ran his fingers through his hair again. Whew it was hot, he loosened the windsor in his tie a little more, the short sleeves of his shirt began to glue to his flabby arms, tick, tick, tick. He slotted a finger into his collar and he tried to stretch it a little, no that didn't seem to do much. He looked at the sign hanging on the wall. 'Smile, later today you won't feel like it.' Twenty years it had been there staring George straight in the face and till this day he had never really understood it. It's not hard to crack a smile no matter what sort of state you're in. George let a small grin creep onto his face.
'Right then, first things first.'
George picked up the phone and called his wife. One ring, two rings, three rings, on the forth she picked up.
It sounded like she was out of breath.
"Hello Edna, it's George."
"Can you phone back, I'm busy."
"I won't keep you long from whatever it is you're doing."
"Hurry up then."
"I just phoned to say that I might be a little late home tonight."
And with that he put a finger down on the disconnect button terminating the call and laid the receiver down on the table. The dial tone sounded.
Boy it sure was hot in here, George loosened his tie a little more even though it was against regualtions. What the hell he thought and loosened it a little further.
"George, I want those postal forms NOW!"
"Yes Mr Finley."
Man, it seemed only yesterday that Troy Findley started at the Post Office and now here he was a junior manager, on the way to bigger and better things George thought. No need for old George to show him what's what anymore.
Instead of picking the forms up in front of him, George unzipped the leather bag under his desk and put his hand inside.
Seven years, seven more long, lousy years as an executive assistant to a junior. As far as rungs on a ladder went, George had just squeezed himself onto the bottom and stayed there as a stepping stone for others to climb over. He grimly hung on while others trod up his back and all over his face. Except it wasn't a ladder anymore, George grinned, it was more like a house of cards, bottoms up.
"Coming right up." George mumbled. Ah, there it was, short and sleek. He took the crossbow out of the bag. It was fairly small about the length of his forearm. It meant the arrows were short but it didn't really matter, he wouldn't be going long distance on this one. With a click he released the 'v' and the bows' draw string locked into place. Subconciously he ran a sopping hand through his hair again. Certainly no more than four metres between bow and target.
Troy Findlay pressed the button on the intercom.
'One flat white and one belgium biscuit' George thought to himself.
"One flat white and one belgium biscuit Janice."
And people had thought he had been predictable. He got up from behind his desk casually, the distance between his boss and himself was just long enough to separate the two. People could easily see that they did not hold the same position. George crossed the gap deftly and swiftly, not that young Troy would have suspected anything, George was after all a predictable man.
There weren't really any second thoughts in his mind as he raised the crossbow to the back of his bosses head. Troy was making 'dinner arrangements' for that night. 'Dinner arrrangements, power lunches, think tanks,' more buzzwords cocky buisnessmen use to make themselves appear smarter then everyone else.
"Don't worry Mr Green, I'll have those postal forms in your office by the end of the day." Troy then said something about golf and shared a little joke with whoever Mr Green was but George was still concentrating on the arrow within the crossbow.
"Yeah right," he said quietly as his finger tightened against the trigger. Tick, tick, tick, tock.
Troy started to turn his head and his face flushed.
"What the hell did you..." He stopped as his temple touched something sharp.
The arrow entered and exited through the sides of Troys head, it whiplashed violently into the desk.
George reached over Troys' body and pryed the phone from his dead fingers. He listened first before he began to speak.
"Hey Troy, are you still there?" Mr Green had heard a soft thud on the other end.
"Hey Troy." A crackle down the line sounded and an unfamiliar voice spoke. It was breathing extremely hard almost as if it was panting.
"Troy won't be able to make it to dinner tonight." It was monotonous, then the panting stopped altogeather.
"I shot him." Then an unusual chuckle and a soft click as the line went dead.
Mr Green looked into the speaker of his cellphone, very odd. Then, after a quick macarbe thought he relaxed. Who was trying to fool him, there was no gunshot in the background. He folded his phone and made a mental note to have a little chat with Troy. There was a time and a place for clownship.
"Right Edna, one more time."
Interesting, George thought. One second young Troy was alive, next second he was dead. No famous last words, no sweeping speech to be remembered by, just a slumping, lifeless, corpse. George shrugged and smacked his lips together. I guess that's just the way it goes, he thought to himself, that's life for you.
His brow furrowed and he shook his head, he didn't really understand but who did? Not Troy that was for sure, he wouldn't be doing a lot of anything anymore. George studied Troy's desk, well rightfully it should have been his but all things considered he was probably doing a little better then young Troy. Troy's girlfriend nestled between a desk planner and the wireless. George put the crossbow to her smiling face and edged her off the desk.
Crack, splinter, tock. Smile, later today you won't feel like it.
With his free hand he changed the station on the wireless until he hit the sweet soothing sounds of the fifties. Alan Radley's deep voice finished an advertisment for 'Lipman Cranberry Juice' and introduced an old 'Hermans' Hermits' song. It was one that George recognised, a classic which he hadn't heard in years. "There's a kind of hush..."
A smile shone across Georges face as he lay the crossbow down. He wrenched Troy's stapled head from the desk, turned Troys chair around and shook off Troy. The body shrugged onto the floor amd George took the seat for himself. He took his smokes from his pocket, put one in his mouth, lit it, and drew back.
"...all over the world." Just like the old days.
Janice Fletcher was having a good day. Her husband had bought their first house in the weekend and when she told her friends they had been ultra-jealous. Of course they hadn't shown it but that's all they had ever wanted to do. Plus her boss Troy was making passes at her, perhaps a promotion would be on the cards if she played them right. She was 32, she had her looks, a sensible job, fake breasts, she was doing all right. Checking to see that her cleavage was pronounced she went through the door with a coffee and a belgium biscuit.
As George swivelled on the chair, the crossbow swivalled with him. He stopped abruptly when the crossbow pointed straight at poor Janice's startled eyes.
"Check out my arrow cocksucker," he said before putting one into her face.
From close range she stood no chance, the arrow flew her head back into the wall behind her, her body flew with it. The arrow head thucked with a crispness that slightly disturbed the silence,
'Thank goodness for paper cups' George thought as he reflected on the lack of clatter.
Jeez, he'd really made a mess of her nose, but still. those pretty titties, the nipples poked out like little snakes. Such a shame really. George sighed and heaved his body out of his chair. He walked over to where Janice drooped to see what he had done. He rubbed the lanking piece under his chin as he inspected the damage. Both sides of her head appeared to be exactly the same as what they had been before he had killed her. Obviously there was a small bloody circle at the back where the arrow poked through, the soaked hair underneath it made that plain enough but the front was just a red muddied ruin. Her eyes were open but the lights didn't shine.
Such a waste. George picked up the belgium biscuit from the floor and bit into it. Much better then a Marmite and lettuce sandwich he thought as he went back to his desk, back to his leather bag and pulled out his quiver. He didn't know how many arrows he shoved in there, twenty, maybe thirty, it didn't matter. He restrung the bow with a fresh one. Whos name did this one have stamped on it? George shrugged his shoulders, his flabby belly went in and out. The heat was beginning to make him pant. He lay the loaded crossbow back on the desk and unbuttoned the top two buttons on his gradually soaking shirt. He felt his singlet underneath, the petty nylon material was no match for the flood bursting through his armpits. So, that being the problem, George unnoosed his tie and took his shirt off. It was funny how serene and wonderfully still the room had become since he had killed the people in it, just the silent tick of the clock slowely losing time and the sign telling him to 'smile, later today he might not feel like it.' Alan Radley reminded him that it was going to get hotter in the afternoon and George made a mental note to buy sunscreen on his way home.
After he had removed his singlet, George used it to try and mop up some of the sweat glistening and sliding down him. He gave a thorough cleansing to his opened pores. The singlet itself was saturated so George had to wring it tightly before cleaning himself more. As an afterthought he removed his glasses and his piggy eyes blurred for a second, when he replaced them he could see a lot better. With his sight clear George noticed the tightness around his feet. If it wasn't one thing it was another. At first it was his tie trying to throttle him now it seemed his shoelaces were trying to choke his feet. He looked at them and they started to squeeze like pythons. He untied them and took off his shoes then he realised that his socks weren't exactly harmless either, their black woollen heat was smothering. Was it any wonder he found it hard to concentrate when his clothes were trying to asphyxiate him? So, off came the socks and he placed them neatly inside his shoes. That felt better, he wiggled his white toes in the air and they fluttered. He stood up, the cold floor on his bare skin felt a little soothing. That's when he noticed how tight his belt was becoming. He felt himself turning into an hour glass as it seemed to jack up each hole. It was really beginning to cut into his flesh. He sucked in his squat gut and unleashed his stomach. Exhaling he let his gut creep back over the top of his trousers. The time didn't seem to be moving at all, tick, tick. tock. He looked at his watch and realised how tightly it was gripping his wrist. HIs hand looked pale compared to his arm so he removed it and placed it beside his belt on the floor. There that felt much better. Without all the retraints George put his shirt back on but left it unbuttoned, what the hell.
He picked up the crossbow and started towards the door. No-one was beyond his power.
For a start he just picked them off from the doorway of his office, firing just at everyone who happened to be there that day. There was no discriminating, there was no selecting, everybody was a target.
The first one caught a lady in the side of the head. He took a couple of seconds to reload before putting the next one into her son. His stomach made gurgling noises as the arrow pushed through it. With his dead mother's flying body brought the screams and after that he didn't really notice. That was the interesting thing with arrows. You could get off at least five or six before anyone really reacted to what was happening, he guessed it wasn't something his co workers and customers were expecting from good-old predictable George. He began to walk amongst them, killing them. He was a good shot, releasing and reloading, releasing and reloading. Amid the fracas, he fired one into a pram, the newspapers had a field day over that one, the crying stopped instantly. George didn't know, he guessed the arrows were a quiet sort of violence gliding through the air. a bit like fly poisen. Spray it up and watch 'em fall, one potato, two potato. three potato, four. Each time he pulled the string back he heard a soft click and he knew someone else was going to see how bad a day could be. Five potato, six potato, seven potato, more.
It's easy to stop someone with a one inch diameter head that has no brain and goes wherever you want it to. It's not easy to stop a two feet long arrow, each one so fast that they take an act of god to stop. Send 'em on terriorist missions, euthanize the people, blah, blah, blah, message delivered, cocksuckers.
An old man in a cardigan, whoosh. Reload. His wife, whoosh. Reload. Two unlucky children, whoosh. Reload. Whoosh. Reload.
It's funny the way people respond to being hunted. One lady was hiding quite plainly under a table.
"I can see you," he said and gave her a quick wave before he put one in her neck. Apparently someone had called the police because there were sirens in the distance but to George there was only the sounds Herman and his band of happy hermits telling it like it is, or what it was, or what it should be.
By the time he reached the main doors of the post office, George Ashley had written his own piece of history. The nation had never seen anything like it and prayed they would never see anything like it again. It took nine minutes according to the clock in George Ashley's office but in reality it took just four, seventeen adults, six children, one baby.
Witnesses saw a man emerge from the Post Office armed with a crossbow, in between deep breaths he had been humming an old fifties tune. He made an interesting spectacle, his shirt was unbuttoned and he wore no shoes or socks.
"Throw down your weapon and put your face in the dirt!" came the voice from the megaphone. The police stood behind the open doors of their cop cars, cautious with their shotguns cocked.
They needn't have worried, George Ashley surrended his crossbow to the ground then he did the same with the quiver. The police watched with disturbed astonishment as he began to remove the last of his clothing, he shucked off his shirt and pulled off his trousers. With the shamelessness of a child, he removed his underwear and exposed his pale fatty skin to the world.
George calmly dropped to his knees. With the pent anger inside him gone, the world went back to being the same dull place it had been before his brief intrusion. It really wasn't such a complicated place he thought as he looked at the flashing lights and the hot Summer sun. People are just people, we live, we die. It's that simple.
He put his hands behind his head and his face into the ground, Everything went white and quiet in a kind of hush that fell all over his world.
I may be stupid but at least I'm not handsome.