Oct 17, 2013

Bobbert's Good Intentions

Farcequin part 5.

If you missed parts one through four and are morbidly curious and/or horrified but can't look away in the same way you rubberneck on the freeway looking at a five-car pileup, click here.

. Surely it’s suppertime by now, Elfreda thought, eyeing the long shadows cast by the sagebrush along the garnet-colored ground. She couldn’t, however, keep from watching Bobbert as he dove into the pool. She gasped as he wrestled a 20-foot croc up onto shore, dragging it by the tail. The danger had her frozen in horror, and the sight of his muscled back and shoulders as he knelt on the monster’s ridged back, pressing it to the ground, as with one deft stroke he slit the creature’s throat, allowing its gore to spill out over the red mud….
“Good one, Sir,” one of the farmhands said, tipping his hat to Bobbert. “Likely get at least a hundred purses and belts out of that one.”
Bobbert nodded curtly, dusted himself off. He turned in Elfreda’s direction and she immediately began shoveling again, shoveling with real intent—keeping her eyes on her task.
“How are you holding up?” He asked. She shivered, sensing his presence as he walked up behind her.
“Fine,” she said tartly.
“You need different boots,” he observed, watching her slide a little in the crocodile refuse.
“I’m fine,” she repeated, turning to glance at him, running her hand over the damp hair around her face, which stuck to her cheeks annoyingly in perfect, gleaming copper rings. ,
After a moment, a moment in which she was intensely aware of the heat of him, standing so close to her; of his breathing, still labored after dispatching the crocodile, he walked away. As soon as she was sure his attention had returned to the creature—now being skinned and disemboweled and dismembered—she leaned weakly on the shovel and put a hand to her brow.
All day they worked tiring, back-breaking jobs. After Elfreda had cleaned the croc pool, Bobbert asked her to feed them, and she climbed the precarious ladder up to the feeding platform, balancing two large buckets of dead skunks, rabbits and raccoons. Carefully, timidly, she dropped the carcasses one by one and the crocs leapt, snapping them up before they even hit the water. One croc came very close to the platform—within three feet. He was a 30-footer; scarred on the face with eyes that seemed cold, intelligent, and evil. He seemed to eye Elfreda appraisingly as he rose up into the air toward her, snapped savagely at the rabbit she had flung into the air, and disappeared back into the pool with a spectacular splash that left her entire front soaked in muddy spatter.
After her buckets were empty, she descended she sadly regarded her genuine leather, five-inch-heel Louboutin boots. She would never again be able to wear them in decent company. She smelled like crocodiles and skunks. She was terribly hungry as well. Lunch, while filling—crocodile steaks seared to perfection, served with a light rose wine which she’d had rather a little too much of—had been quick and hurried, and she felt like she hadn’t eaten for a lifetime
“Time to turn in for the day,” she was relieved to hear Bobbert say. She hurried toward the house, not really wanting to walk with any of the men, but he caught up and fell into step with her. She ignored him, straightening her back and trying to keep her knees from shaking with the strain of her tried muscles. Again she was intensely aware of his rugged presence, half-covered with blood and other substances.
“Ready to call Uncle?” he finally spoke when they were almost to the house.
She turned to him, her eyes blazing like angry agates. “Never,” she spat. “Though I think your line of work is despicable. Raising those poor brutes in a tiny pool and then killing them for… for their skins!”
Something in his face hardened. He took her arm with a bruising strength and walked faster, forcing her to stumble to keep up. “And what do you know of it, missy?” He growled. “Grown up in a clean little house with a clean little yard. A little different when you see life as it really is, at its root, isn’t it?”
She didn’t say a word, but bit her lip again, wincing when fresh blood flowed and she realized she’d bit it in the same place she had the day before.
“Best take care of that,” Bobbert said, flinging her arm away when they arrived at the doorstep. “Not a good idea to be bleeding around rabid crocs.”
“R-rabid?” Elfreda said.
“That’s right,” he replied grimly. “The rangers bring them to us. We make them comfortable as long as we can… feed them, make the end of their life something better than it would be otherwise, and give them a quick, easy death. We use the skins,” he shrugged, “it’s our way of keeping the operation going. All this,” he stretched his hand out to indicate the mansion, its many dark gables and foreboding arched windows, precarious tottering towers and acres of immaculate flowerbeds, “is, as you know, family money. I don’t have to work, Gayle.” He paused, and his face softened. “And you don’t have to, either.”
But Gayle’s humiliation had turned to stubbornness and anger, blazing and intractable as her beautiful coils of hair rippling like flame in the evening breeze. She turned away from him without answering and marched inside, not caring that she left mud all over the floor—part blood, part crocodile refuse. I’ll stick it out, she told herself. I’ll stick it out and prove to Bobbert I’m not what he thinks I am; I’m not some silly society girl who cares about nothing but purses and belts. I’ll show him. I’ll show him what Elfreda Ardmore is made of and exactly what kind of woman he’s planning to marry, even if it means losing all my boots, and limbs, in the process.

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