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Shylock's Demand

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I love people, I really do. You might say I'm a social butterfly, able to mix and mingle with just about any crowd, laughing with them and chatting them up with hardly an effort. People are like sheep, they gather in herds, and herds are best when they remain docile. So I put on my best smile and approach, observing them from afar for a few moments to get the general feel of the group. What are they talking about? Who's leading the conversation? Are they friends? Once I know their disposition, I move in, introducing myself and buying everyone a drink, all the better to make them think well of me.

Better they remain docile. I join the conversation, becoming the center of attention, laughing along with them and examining them on a more individual basis. Is she shy, or just playing coy? Is he really the macho man he thinks he is, or is his bluster nothing more than hot air? Is he new in town? How many connections does he have? He's tired, it's been a long night, and the alcohol hasn't helped, either. I pick the salesman, he's a little on the scrawny side, but I know he won't put up much of a fight either. Like I said, easy.

After the discussion and the boozing, the salesman stumbles out into the parking lot, cursing and fumbling with his keys. I approach, gliding across the surface of the asphalt as if it were smooth ice. I ask him if he needs a ride home, I smile, pointing to 'my car', in reality, I'm just pointing at a random car not far away. I've never even driven a car. He shakes his head, but I insist. I glance around. We're alone.

I don't hesitate, my arm shoots forward, smashing into his gut and forcing the air from his lungs. He crumples like a paper cup as I hit him again, letting him draw in just enough air before I wrap a length of cloth around his mouth, silencing him. I hope I haven't ruptured anything, that would ruin the experience. I quickly pull the zip-ties from my jacket, securing his hands and feet before I search his person for his car keys. Finding them, I pop the trunk of his sedan and force him into the machine, slamming the lid shut as his eyes fill with drunken fear. Like I said, easy.

My prey wakes up, he's afraid, and I'm glad. Fear adds a certain something to the whole experience. I'm seated at a flimsy card table, using a knife and fork to take apart a meal I have just prepared on a paper plate. The knife rips the plate apart, as it's already soaked through with blood, but that's not important, its the effect that matters. Regardless, the knife does it's job, and I spear a piece of food with my fork, lifting it into the light so he can see it before I pop it into my mouth. He starts crying, weeping through the rag gagging him and struggling hopelessly against the four vices clamped around his hands and feet. Well, foot. I figured if he was out, I might as well have an appetizer before the entree. I ate his fear as eagerly and as hungrily as I ate his foot, letting his horror at the act feel me with joy. I laugh as he turns his head as far as he is able to see the burned stump where his foot used to be. I'm going to enjoy this.

The skin came away easily enough, the Ginsu deboning knife doing its bloody work with its usual deftness. As usual, I hung the skin (all in one long strip, I'm very good at my hobby, even with him struggling about at whatnot) up on a laundry line running through the cellar (so I can tan it later). After that, I gave him a second mouth by cutting through his neck with the hacksaw. I missed his screaming after that, but in my defense, I was getting peckish. Flipping him over, I slit him open with my Zip knife ('opens game just like a zipper' is their motto) and removed his organs, which I then washed in the tub I had prepared and took upstairs for preparation. I peeled the meat off of his bones easily, and went to work packaging and freezing it for later.

I prepared about a pound for myself that night, pan-frying it the way momma used to, adding in some choice spices and herbs before drizzling some orange juice on it. I had prepared it just right, the fear melting into the meat and making it especially tasty. As I ate, I was reminded of an old Shakespeare play, the Merchant of Venice, where Shylock demanded a pound of Antonio's flesh as payment. Well, I think to myself, it seems that I've come to collect.

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