I’m sure, dear Tattlers, you’ve read what the Times had to say on the subject of Hannibal Lecter’s trial and conviction on seventeen counts of first-degree murder and cannibalism, and on the heroic actions of Private Detective Emerson Cod and his special agent, known to the mainstream press simply as “the Pie-maker.”
But you haven’t heard how it all started, how the eight of us (dead girl Charlotte Charles, known then only by the name ‘Chuck’; her aunts, the Darling Mermaid Darlings; Emerson and his Pie-maker; Olive Snook; Dr. Lecter; and yours truly) sat around the aunts’ kitchen table on Sunday nights and enjoyed Lecter’s cooking. Horrible to admit, I know, but there’s no sense pretending it didn’t happen.
It was June when Aunt Lily dropped the serving plate into the center of the table with a clatter and a scream. “It’s beating,” she said. “Oh, God, it’s alive - Olive, my shotgun, quickly!”
It was Chuck who dug her fingers into the pastry and pulled it free - a human heart that throbbed out a few last, shuddering beats, and went still.
A moment of silence, and then … “How unexpected,” said Lecter, a faint, voyeuristic smile twitching at one corner of his mouth. “One of us kills them, and one brings them back to life. We shall have to figure out which, no?”
There was a smack from the other end of the table, and every head in the room whipped around to stare at Emerson Cod as he slammed his palms down on the table and got breathlessly to his feet. “Unexpected?” he said, mopping at his brow with a starched dinner napkin. “I think the word you’re looking for is just damn freaky.”
I don’t think anyone else noticed the white flash of Lecter’s teeth as he sipped from his wine glass, his gaze never once leaving Cod’s. A challenge, a first move, the white queen’s-pawn to lead. You know how much I hate chess metaphors, but how else can I make you understand exactly what Lecter thought of us?
You, dear reader, have never seen those teeth.
(Inspired by this post.)