Stevedores in Bedlam, pt. 1
Henrik removes the small plastic vial from his vest pocket and examines its ridiculously tiny resident. At only 14 frethings long, and slightly shorter than an Otamid, this richly textured and excruciatingly intelligent micro-pigeon would astound those who would rather not be astounded. It would shock those who had no right to be shocked. And it was destined to piss off as many as 13 small island nations. Henrik had no idea what he was getting himself into, but he would do anything to win the affections of Melamine.
At the docks, the drudgery dissipates into the atmosphere, indistinguishable from the amber haze that clings to lamppost and harlot and Squig, the portly foreman at dock 49. Henrik moves wraith-like through the mist, carefully counting the cracks between the boards and spitting in every seventh one. He pats his chest with his fist as though he were trying to release a burp – chin down; lips pursed -- as he had done for most of his 47 years, in spite of the fact that he never – to his recollection – burped. He picked up this nervous tick from his grandfather who -- unfortunately for everyone around – burped and farted without end. In fact, after he uttered his last words on his deathbed at MAV Central Hospital, Budapest; after he blinked his last blink; after he breathed his last breath, he farted his last fart. Like the last drunk to leave the pub, this fart was a little too friendly and hung around way too long. Little Henrik stood there, held his breath and nervously patted his chest. His sister ran from the room. Henrik has not seen her or heard from her since.