The Chemist

In Fiction on December 4, 2012 at 10:50 pm


The Chemist

The chemist was lank and pale and had a liquid smile.

“I want to thank you, gentlemen,” he said.

Henry sipped his drink. To both sides, half a dozen men nursed amber spirits and listened thoughtfully. They had come for their payment.

“Our product is unique among narcotics in that it is readily absorbed in the bone,” the chemist said. “This affords certain advantages, not least of which is ease of transport.”

He gave them a shallow bow.

“We prefer to move the product in cadavers, of course, but every now and then a border must be crossed, and for this we rely upon fine young gentlemen such as yourselves. You’ve done an admirable job.”

He smiled.

“How are the drinks?”

“Fine, sir,” Henry took it upon himself to reply. “Just fine.”

The chemist waited a moment, observing them carefully.

“Splendid,” he said, and he strode across the room to a door. “Let me show you the process.”

The next room stank like death and roared with a sound like the fires of hell. A conveyor belt zigzagged the floor, lurching from the weight of bodies piled upon bodies. Here and there they slid from the sides and collapsed on the floor like abandoned marionettes.

“It’s quite ingenious, really,” the chemist called over the din. “In those ovens, there, the skin and muscle is boiled from the bones….”

He circled to bring them round to another perspective.

“…which then fall into these chutes, here, to the gears, which crush them to a fine powder. Soon the recycled product will be ready for market.”

The men shifted uncomfortably.

“What about us, sir?” Henry asked.


“Live bodies, sir. How do you get the product out then?”

The chemist turned away, folding his hands behind his back as a wasp might fold its wings.

“Oh,” he said. “The same way, naturally.”

And suddenly the man to Henry’s left hit the floor, shattering his glass and splashing what remained of his drink across the concrete.

This is my response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge, 33-333 words on the prompt crush (it clocks in at 332). Head to the link to check out the rest of this week’s stories!

Leave your comments, criticisms and various other what-have-you below.

  1. I admit, I envy the way your narrative is so beautiful and so horrible at the same time. And I mean that in the nice, wow kind of envy, not the soul eating Iago type. But ayiyiyi, so friggin’ creepy!

  2. Love the way he folded his hands. Yes, very creepy.

  3. Deliciously dark. Great description and natural dialogue. You consistently delight me.

    • Well your comments are consistent confidence boosters, so I thank you! (tell all your publisher friends 🙂 )

      • If I had publisher friends, I wouldn’t be writing a blog… You and I must have the same publisher friends ; – )

      • Presumably UK posted yahoo UK. Holland Barrett srtoes sell acai berry supplements UK. forget hype surrounding acai berry. promote weight loss comparable many skinned berries terms antioxidant potential .. being blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries, bilberries, red grapes, plums, etc. pomegranates [available time year] a source antioxidants, dates, raisins prunes. want lose weight a calorie-controlled diet cutting out many unhealthy sugary/fatty snacks coupled a healthy exercise regime way .

  4. I think I saw it coming. But then I have been reading a lot of Dahl lately!

  5. excellent… Love that last bit – The same way, naturally.

    • Thanks, Lexy! This one took a bit more editing than my stories normally do, so I’m glad especially the end seems ok. I thought about having him say nothing at all

  6. I love it. Very classy and well written. Yours is my favorite, so far.

    • Well thanks! I really appreciate that – I’m slowly working my way through the list and I’m loving the stories so far. I’m glad you came to read mine!

  7. Man, I knew that was going somewhere bad the second he started talking about border crossings. Exquisitely horrifying!

    • Ha, kind of like one of those episodes of “locked up abroad” right? Never offer to be a mule, I’m telling ya!

    • I have discovered your blog today and I love it!! You make very beufaiutl things and your tutorials are very good. I will add your blog to my list. Congratulations for your works!!

  8. The wasp wings were a lovely touch. Nice piece sir 🙂

  9. Yikes! This is creepy. I think I’ll just bring my own bottle of water everywhere…just to be safe!

  10. Fucking brilliant.
    *makes note not to accept any drinks from Brian*

  11. I am wary when people offer drinks for no reason! Like you said, a dark story indeed.

  12. I really liked your story. Ingenious.

  13. […] There is a great blog called Pinionpost that is managed by the talented Brian Benoit. He takes on all manner of writing challenges giving you a chance to read some finely crafted bits of prose such as this week’s chilling offering, “The Chemist.” […]

  14. […] is my response to this week’s Trifecta Writing Challenge: Idle. Let the record show that, unlike some of my previous posts, this one is in no way twisted or sadistic or indicative of a disturbed mind. Yes, I’m really […]

  15. Brian, found the recommendation at your interview on Trifecta. My God, from the “liquid chemist” to the final moment (a Serling moment: “To Serve Man” is a COOKBOOK!!”), you “had me at hello.”

    Holding his hands “as a wasp might fold its wings.” Shudder! Amy

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