It’s been a long time since I blogged, and I didn’t want to give up on this month’s quota like last month’s. So, I tried to find a piece of short fiction that all of you might enjoy, and found Mr. Grunge on one of my folders. I hope you like it!
If someone wanted quick, dirty money with no questions asked, they went to Mr. Grunge. Nobody knows his real name, but the word ‘Grunge’ being involved in something was the equivalent of The Queen being associated with a heist. Starting off as a modest chimney sweep, making a living cleaning other people’s soot-filled chimneys, he soon realized that he was more ambitious than he thought. He wanted to clean money, and he did. Soon, he became the kingpin of the illegal money trade, specializing in havala and laundering. The man was a scabby midget, shabbily dressed, with an unhealthy predisposition towards all things money can buy. Despite living in a salubrious neighbourhood with the who’s who of the media and fashion industries for neighbours, he was still his same grungy self, and the name stuck.
Mr. Grunge couldn’t stand too many people, and if he was preparing for a kill, he would buy a special handgun, put their name down on them in his calligraphic handwriting, and store it in the dry carved metal box in the whiskey larder. There was only one person who could get as far as his dining table- it was his teenage grand nephew, Alzac. Alzac was an incessant chatterbox. Listening to him talk was like turning on a radio, and letting it hum in the background as a distraction, while letting one focus on more important and pressing tasks. He was a cocaine addict and a high school drop-out.
He hoped to be reckoned as the next Grunge, and spent a whale load of time with his grand uncle, desperately trying to master the art of the trade. His voice was raspy, with a moist bend to it, as if he were a seventy-five-year-old trapped in an adolescent’s body. He punctuated his thoughts with power, money, possession, and other things he didn’t know anything about.
‘Borba,’ he called to his great uncle. ‘I’ve been asking you for two years now. When will you teach me how I can become a boss like you?’
‘What shzit. You can never be a boss. You have weak business skills, and you’re a terrible strategist. You are at best a masterpiece in the zoo.’
This greatly offended Alzac, but he knew better than to argue.
‘Fine, Borba. How should I prove my worth to you?’
Grunge smiled. He was prepared for this day, planned even. ‘Go fetch a piece of paper and some pencils.’
Bringing back the paper and pencils with a raw excitement like a child been given Lego pieces, Grunge asked him to draw up the series of steps leading to a kidnapping. ‘Kidnapping? But we are money launderers,’ whined Alzac.
‘Just write the damn thing.’ Alzac, slowly but surely racked his brain as he tried to arrange chronologically the events leading up to a successful kidnapping. With diagrams on gagging, and explanations on power, he tried his best.
‘Here, Borba. See this,’ he presented the sheet of paper to Grunge, pleased with himself. ‘What is this, shit-head?’ Where is the part about the money?’
‘That’s pretty obvious, don’t you think? Who would kidnap somebody if it wasn’t for the money?’
‘The obvious is often understated. The “obvious” is the backbone of this trade. If you didn’t know that, you won’t survive a day.’
‘Sorry, Borba. I promise to do better again soon. Will you teach me boss trades then?’ a sudden lightness in his voice gripped the room.
Muttering under his breath, Grunge excused himself in order to take his afternoon nap. In the dark cellar-like room that he slept, Grunge liked the burning of the candles, and the dance of the flames on the grey plastered walls. The chime of the large wooden clock reverberated across the sparsely decorated house, skittering the rats in the cellar.
Alzac, turned to his stash of coke wedged in the small gap between the whiskey larder and the wall, his sleeve tugging at the loose knob. A loud crash was followed by a revelation. In the amber of the dark afternoon, a flame was ablaze in Grunge’s room, the small helpless candles having gained enormous power. The fire spread across the room, asphyxiating the once kingpin of the money trade, and the tabloids would scream of his fatal ‘accident’.
A frail boy pushed his hoodie behind and walked out of Grunge’s room.
‘Have fun in hell, Borba. I have the shotgun you labelled with my name.’