Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mr. Bingles

The Ventriloquist's dummy was no wooden facsimile, but a real boy, dead and mummified. It was his brother. They weren't twins but they looked alike enough that the boy looked a tiny version of the man. They'd done the act for fifteen years, since Andrew, the older brother was sixteen. Phillip, the younger brother, never got any older.

But his skin was yellowing as it tightened into a leather mask, pulling tighter around it's skull. Andrew applied a moisturizer daily. Of course, moving the jaw muscles wasn't good for Phillip's cheeks, but the effect was uncanny when he spoke.

"We're getting second billed behind a juggler."

"Is that you Mr. Bingles?"

"You know that's not my name, Andrew."

"What do you want! Why do you torture me!"

"The Great Kuranski must die!

"We can't keep killing off everyone who stands in our way!"

"We must!"

Alexander Kuranzki was practicing a new routine when Andrew snatched a pin from it's orbit and smashed the juggler on the head with it. He knocked Kuranski's teeth out and jammed the smashed up teeth and flesh back into his throat, choking him to death.

When your talking mummy brother tells you to do something, you do it.

That night, Andrew noticed the retired Sergeant McDonald in the audience. In Pittsburg, he'd come backstage to compliment the duo on their act, and ask some innocuous questions about the craft, never mentioning the recent passing of the local magician who usually headlined the show. What was he doing in Kentucky?

Andrew mulled it over, right there on stage. Phillip was turning yellow and stiff, and quite frankly, his timing wasn't what it used to be. He had blood on his hands and now maybe a man on his trail. Killing the competition still wasn't bringing the kind of following they needed. Maybe ventriloquism was a dead art. He didn't know what to do, so he just sat there, waiting for whatever was coming. He'd stopped moving his lips a long time ago.

--Dan Kilian


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