Size / / /

Such a mess the Master makes with his plate—

My days, you'd think he slaughtered a sow,

What with all the gristle and bone and

Great red streaks. You'll be scrubbing this one 'til

Tuesday next, you mind me. Reminds me of

One of them paintings what hangs down

London way by that mad fella—what?

Oh, yes, love, I been to London sev'ral times!

The Master brings me 'round whenever he needs

To restock his larders. He's grown quite accustomed

To my cooking, love, so he spoils me a bit now and then—

Lets me spend time looking about in the shops, or

Going to the Museum when I feel the odd urge.

He's a good man, the Master—oh, a bit private, surely,

Keeps to himself, doesn't speak much to the new help,

I know. Still, long as you do your work and don't go

Getting above your station, you'll do just fine, dear.

Just you remember, curiosity is a teacup for the Devil,

That's what my old Gran used to say—wise

Woman, Gran, she worked for the Master

Since she was barely able to turn a spit,

Bless her soul. How old is the Master? Oh, love,

You don't want to go 'bout asking questions

Like that. Remember what I said about curiosity?

We lose so many girls, lovely girls like yourself,

Who can't seem to leave the Master's affairs to

The Master, girls that just can't . . . well, enough of that.

You just do your work like a good young lass should

And you won't have no troubles here. The Master

Likes a quiet household, he does, and he pays right well

To make sure we all know how to hold our tongues.

Oh, but listen to me go rattling on like an old

Gossip. 'Ere, love, I shouldn't do this, but

You're trembling. It's a bit damp in here, I must say—

You finish up what dishes you have there, then

Meet me in the kitchen. We'll have some hot tea

And a lovely snack, and you'll be feeling warm and

Safe as houses in no time. What's that, love?

Will we be having what the Master had?

No, dearie. Watch your station, dove, remember?

The Master's meals might prove a bit, well,

Rich for the likes of us . . .

Mikal Trimm's short stories and poems have appeared in numerous venues over the last few years. Recent or forthcoming works may be found in Helix, Postscripts, Weird Tales, Black Gate, and Interfictions, as well as in our archives. You can learn more about Mikal from his website, or email him at
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