Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Eric Soapwort

Eric Soapwort was a butcher by trade, so chopping off a few arms and legs for church sacrifice didn't bother him particularly.  He put on his heaviest apron, the one that went right down to his ankles, hefted his cleaver a couple of times for the look of the thing, and brought it smoothly down on the first wrist.  A seven-fingered hand fell to the ground, and a voice nearby said, "Ow!  You rotter!"  Eric ignored it, and located the second wrist.  A few seconds later, a second hand was lying on the ground next to the first.
It had puzzled him when the vicar first asked him if he thought he could handle church sacrifice.
"I'm not sure what you mean, guv," he'd replied, thinking it was probably about money.  The vicar smiled a thin-lipped little smile at the guv and waved his hands laconically.
"Church sacrifice," he said, his voice all Home Counties and his vowels elongated and wobbly.  Some of the more elderly and female of his parishioners told him weekly that he should be on Radio 4.  "We need someone to chop bits off the sacrifice, otherwise it's not a sacrifice, is it?"
"Well," said Eric, "I can chop things up mate, that's not a problem.  I can do you some lovely sausages afterwards as well if you like, or the missus can, she's a dab hand with the spicing.  But –"
"But what?"  The vicar had a half-smile on his lips and a full-blown full-moon howl in his eyes.
"But... isn't this Church of England?  I thought we'd done away with all the sacrifice stuff because it was messy and... well... expensive?"
"Everything these days is expensive," said the vicar, and Eric found himself nodding automatically.  It was true.  Even the supermarket's own-brand economy goods now came in shit you shouldn't eat and luxury shit that won't kill you this week flavours now.  He checked the meat products when the wife forced him to go in there, and had been impressed to discovered both that they were now putting Polyfilla in their English Bangers and that they were passing fillet of rat off as Parisian Steak.  He'd put the economy digestives back after that and bought the expensive ones, on the grounds that they probably wouldn't explode when he dunked them in his tea.
"Everything is expensive, and yet the church is essentially free for anyone who walks through the door.  The collection plate collects less each week," and he paused meaningfully here, "and so we need to do something to attract the crowds.  Live sacrifice works well, and isn't strictly against our interpretation of the Bible."
"The Bible says to sacrifice people?" Eric has heard a lot about the Bible but never picked a copy up.
"Everywhere," said the vicar with a sigh.  "But that's not the point.  It specifically does not set down prohibitions regarding advertising campaigns, or describe in much detail what should be done with those not made in God's image."
"No, not them Eric.  If you're available for the sacrifice though, I can explain more then."
And so Eric found himself butchering live aliens on a Thursday evening, slightly curious about where the church had found them from and how they managed to speak English, at least until he'd cut most of their appendages off.  Then they turned pale blue and died.
The vicar grinned to himself, and readied a sermon on how the Godless would speak in tongues to persuade the God-fearing, and crossed another alien off the list.  Soon the nest would be eradicated.

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