Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Comeuppance

At this intelligence, in which he seemingly evinced little interest, Mr. Bloom gazed abstractedly for the space of a half a second or so in the direction of a bucketdredger, rejoicing in the farfamed name of Eblana, moored alongside Customhouse quay and quite possibly out of repair, whereupon he observed evasively: "Everybody gets their own ration of luck, they say."

Four bodies had already been found. Weighted down, wrapped in sheets, their throats garroted by a burgundy ascot and dumped in the harbor. Judging from the condition of the women they had been there for some time. It would take time to identify them but Bloom’s instincts told him they were some of the missing prostitutes.

Across the channel at the end of the pier Mr. Bloom could see his nemesis Horace Blackstone III. Horace had always lived his life to suit himself and his dark pleasures. He had enough money to buy his way out of trouble. Drunk and disorderly, petty larcenies were just a few of the offenses skirted, all bought off with daddy’s money. This time would be no different, Horace thought smugly.

Bloom looked up just as another body was deposited on the pier. Cheryl Morgan, this one was still in good enough shape for him to recognize. She was a pretty girl and much to young to have ended up at the bottom of the harbor. She had no family, no one to morn her death; she was just another prostitute who paid for her sins with her life. When Bloom looked back to where Blackstone had been standing he had evaporated along with the mornings mist.

Mr. Bloom walked into the Haberdashery on Gold Street. He had a hunch. The ascot was of an exceptional quality and fabric. It wasn’t off the rack. Although the ocean water and rotting flesh had degraded the fabric he hoped Mr. Singer could identify it and more to the point who it had been made for. It was mere moments and Mr. Bloom had his answer. Stuffing the soggy ascot in his pocket he walked straight to Blackstone’s Brownstone. The maid informed Bloom that Mr. Blackstone was not in nor did she know when to expect him. Bloom turned away from the door and walked back along the waterfront. Something was off. He scanned the ships in the harbor, not sure what he was looking for. Just then the clipper Lucks Lady sailed out from behind the Eblana. Standing on the bow was Horace, smiling from ear to ear giving Bloom a vigorous wave. Blackstone was getting away with murder. But what he didn’t realize, due to his grandstanding, was that he was only inches away from the bow of the frigate Comeuppance. The jolt sent Blackstone tumbling ass over teakettle, catching him as he tumbled in the bowline. Now it was Blooms turn to grin. Blackstone swung, hung by the neck, bouncing against the sides of the boat. Luck sure is a fickle mistress.

5 comments:

dive said...

Comeuppance is such a great word, Prudence.

Yikes! What a horror story!
I love the detail of the "burgundy ascot" and the glorious phrase "ass over teakettle".

I must confess I joined Mister Bloom in his huge grin at the end of this one. A wonderful end to a sorry tale and such a fitting title.
Excellent!

Scout said...

Ah, and he got his comeuppance. Very clever, Pru, and what a horrid picture of having him dangling at the end. Wonderful.

Dear Prudence said...

Thanks Dive. When I used ass in last weeks story my mom told me it skewed the cadence of the story. It wasn't as highbrowed as the rest of the dialog. Oh, well.

Thanks Robyn. It certainly was a bitch of a sentence this week. Dive better keep his promise and give us a bit of a breather with next weeks sentence.

Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt said...

LOL! I love it! And yes, I adore the word "comeuppance" as well.

I also appreciate ironic justice : )

MmeBenaut said...

Brilliant Prudence - I love some of your phrases too, especially the ass over teakettle one. I might have to use that in some dialog with my niece!