The Ultimate TG Experience
by McKenzie Rigby
as told to Andy Hollis and Jaye Michael
Chapter Sixteen -- All Dolled Up
The rain fell in sheets and the wind, gusting first this way and then that, made Corey Plaz's umbrella useless. He was completely soaked by the time he had run the short distance from his car to the employee entrance by the loading dock of Scagliola's Body Works. With his umbrella in one hand and his briefcase in the other, Corey leaned an elbow heavily on the doorbell while cursing fluently; hoping it would get him inside just a little bit faster. Furious, he was ready to start pounding on the door when it finally opened.
"Wet out there, ain't it Mr. Plaz?" The man who opened the door was short, but his hunched back made him seem even shorter. He has been working at the Body Works even longer than Plaz, and Plaz had been there almost twenty years in just about every capacity possible, yet he still didn't know the other man's last name.
"Yes Iggy, it's a little wet out there," Corey snarled back through gritted teeth as he shook as much of the water from his clothes as he could. It left a sizable puddle.
"I better mop that up or someone'll get hurt."
"Good idea-and don't leave the damn mop bucket in front of the bathroom like you always do. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have work do to. Is Rigby here yet?"
"No sir, but I found out that someone left the wax bath on. I got burned. It hurt," Iggy reported, proudly displaying his hand for Plaz to see. Is Mister Rigby okay? I'll pray for him. Mama says I pray good."
"Great! You pray, because I'm going to kill that son of a bitch if he doesn't show up by the time I get to the office and confirm the order for tonight," Plaz grumbled, ignoring everything but the fact that the only other person doing the mannequin assembly for tomorrow's orders was missing in action. "I need him tonight." Corey stalked off to the Pit, as everyone but Corey called the mannequin staging area that was his office. He didn't bother the check whether Iggy limped off to get a mop. Without Rigby, it would be a very long and hectic night. He'd even have to do some work.
Corey had just finished laying out the parts for the second group of twenty mannequins he needed to set up when Rigby strode cheerfully into the Pit. "Hi Mr. Plaz. Just a bit wet out there tonight, isn't it?"
"You're late! Where were you?"
"So much for small talk," Rigby responded, trying unsuccessfully for humor. "Didn't you check the answering machine? I live in a basement apartment and it flooded. When I left, there was already about six inches on the floor. I got everything of value as high off the floor as I could and then came to work."
"The answering machine is in the administrative offices on the other side of the building. You know I wouldn't take the time to go all the way over there, especially when there's so much to do tonight. You know, being the owner's son does not give you the right to just blow off work when you feel like it. Consider yourself docked the two hours and get to work. The orders are on the table there. Start rounding up the parts."
"Dock me?" Rigby began gathering items as he spoke. "How many times have I spent my own time just to make sure one last rush order went out on time? My home is under water. I would think you could cut me just a bit of slack."
"Slack? By my estimates, you owe this company thousands of dollars for the work you haven't done."
"Owe the company time? We'll let my father decide that. I'm outta here." They had gradually moved to the edge of the Pit area, near the loading docks, as they argued. Rigby interrupted his departure to turn back and confront Plaz one last time. "Hell! I've been carrying you for years you…"
"Don't you walk away from me, you little snot," Plaz shouted as he grabbed at Rigby when the younger man started to turn away. Afterwards, he could never quite decide how it had happened. Possibly, Rigby had tripped on his feet as he tried to turn. Surely Plaz's attempt to stop Rigby could have had no impact on what happened next.
As Rigby fell backward, his head bounced off the two-inch thick solid-steel fender of the company's palette loader. There was a loud thud and Rigby crumbled to the floor, unmoving.
"Rigby, you little snot! Rigby! Rigby?"
When Rigby failed to respond, Plaz kicked him.
"Rigby?" Plaz knelt beside the body and checked for a pulse.
There was none.
Plaz ran toward his office to call 911, but as he picked up the telephone, he hesitated. He had told Iggy he was going to kill Rigby. The little man might not be the brightest light, but he had a good memory. He'll tell the police. Oh shit! They'll think I killed the stupid bastard. He slumped into his desk chair and held his head in hands feeling sorry for himself and thinking furiously.
It was not until Plaz raised his head and looked out the glass wall of his office that the idea struck him. His first sight was of Rigby's body, still lying on the ground by the loading dock. I've got to get rid of that body, he thought, but where. His eyes scanned the warehouse and factory that was Scagliola's Body Works. That was it! The factory. Hadn't that idiot Iggy said the wax bath was still hot?
Plaz hurried to the wax bath. Sure enough, it was still on. The wax was bubbling away at 800°F, more than hot enough.
First, Plaz dragged the body to the wax bath and threw it in. Then, after a few moments to recover from his exertions, he grabbed the mop and bucket from in front of the bathroom where Iggy always left it to mop up the blood stains that showed where Rigby's body had been dragged. But not before cursing at himself for not using the loader to make his life easier and vowing not to make the any more stupid mistakes.
An hour later, Plaz had just finished another set of mannequins for delivery when Iggy hobbled by. "Hi Mr. Plaz. Do you or Mr. Rigby want anything for your break?"
"No Iggy, and Rigby hasn't shown up yet. You told me as much when I came in tonight. Remember?"
"Sure Mr. Plaz. I 'member. But he come in after you. Ain't he here?"
"I haven't seen him yet, but I'd certainly like to-so I can fire his lazy ass. If you see him, tell him I want to see him immediately."
"'Kay, Mr. Plaz. I'll find him and tell him. I'm good at finding things." He started to leave, but hesitated. Turning back, Iggy added, "I guess I gotta pray harder." Then he bowed his head, assumed a respectful position with hands cupped by his mouth and began to pray.
Plaz rolled his eyes. Ignoring the comment, he interrupted the quietly praying moron. "Iggy?"
"Yes Mr. Plaz?"
"Get me a large coffee with cream and extra sugar. And the biggest chocolate donut you can find. I'm feeling hungry tonight."
"Yes, Mr. Plaz."
When Iggy left, Plaz ran to the wax bath and pulled Rigby's body from it with a long handled dredging hook. He had guessed right. The flesh was roasted and soft to the point where it was sloughing off the skeleton in large chunks. Quickly using the hook, he pulled the majority of the flesh from the skeleton, leaving only the skeleton and interior organs.
The roasted skin was cut into sections, stuffed into garbage bags and tossed into the company dumpster. Luckily, the rain had stopped.
Hauling a hanging hook over to the body, he pulled the chain it hung from until he had sufficient slack. Then he jammed the hook into the shoulder blades. Pushing the lift button on the control switch hanging beside him, Plaz raised the remains high enough to get the feet off the floor, and then used the hook to drag it to the nearest mold. Positioning it between the sides of the open mold, he slammed the mold closed.
The next part was tricky. Wax had to be poured from the bath into the mold, but not so much that it overflowed the mold. It took only a few moments to connect the pump and piping to send wax from the bath to the mold. Plaz was about to start the pump when he cursed and undid the mold. Reaching carefully around the body, Plaz greased the mold so the wax would not stick. Then he closed it back up and started pumping wax.
Plaz jerked in surprise when Iggy came back just as Plaz finished pouring the mold.
"Here's the coffee you asked for Mr. Plaz. There weren't no chocolate donuts. I'm sorry, Mr. Plaz. Real sorry."
"Don't worry about it Iggy. Thank you for the coffee."
"No problem Mr. Plaz. I'm just sorry about the donut. I asked and everything. They just didn't have none."
"Like I said Iggy. Don't worry about it."
"'Kay Mr. Plaz. If you say so, I won't worry about the donut. Say, did you do a mold tonight?"
"No Iggy. I don't have the time and it's not my job. Have you found Rigby yet?"
"No Mr. Plaz. I ain't found Mr. Rigby. I'll keep looking-and praying. But I don't remember no mold."
"Of course there must have been a mold. Maybe you didn't notice or just forgot after burning yourself. You know I wouldn't have time for such nonsense, especially when Rigby still hasn't shown up. In fact, why don't you find him like you promised?"
"'Kay Mr. Plaz. I'll find him. I promise." With that, Iggy quickly left the area.
While he waited for the wax to dry, Plaz sipped at his coffee and finished the last of the shipments for the next day. A couple of times he even found himself whistling and ruefully thought to himself that if it was going to make him feel this good, he should have killed Rigby long ago.
The mold was finally cool enough to open and Plaz did so. Hoisting the newly covered wax form, he carefully checked it to make certain that no bones or organs were evident and he was pleased to find that the wax had covered everything evenly. A little bit of light sanding removed the rough edges where the two sides of the molds met. Grabbing a pair, Plaz popped plastic eyes in, spread some makeup-luckily, dramatic was more than acceptable so he didn't have to be too careful-and then sprayed the entire body with a fixative designed to protect the wax from damage.
And now Plaz thought with a chuckle, Rigby-or what was left of him-was a beautiful, if rather shallow and plastic, young woman. Then, he actually laughed out loud at the thought of Rigby gracing the aisle of some woman's wear department for many years to come. At least no one would consider him a pervert in his current condition.
Now the only question was how to dispose of the new mannequin. Looking back, Plaz realized he had made things more difficult for himself when he hadn't just put the whole body in the garbage. But maybe it wouldn't be so bad. On all those crime shows on television, the body, even in parts, always turned up at some inconvenient time to trip up the criminal. At least now, no one would recognize the skin as a body part. The only thing that might be safer would be if he were to tan it and make it into a jacket or something. Humm. An interesting idea. For a moment, Plaz actually considered quickly going out to the dumpster and grabbing the bags with the skin to toss into the back seat of his car. Nah. That would be too gross.
"Hi Mr. Plaz," Iggy waved cheerfully. "I got to talk to the police again today." It was another stormy night, much like the one when Rigby had died-er, disappeared, but at least Iggy had been on the job this time and opened the door immediately. Plaz was still soaked, but not quite so grumpy.
"Again?" Plaz asked as he signed in. "Why?"
"Mr. Rigby. He's still missing."
"So? Certainly they don't think you had anything to do with his death, do they Iggy?"
"I don't know Mr. Plaz. They don't tell me nothing. They just ask questions."
"Well, I wouldn't worry about it Iggy." Suddenly, Plaz turned pale.
"Are you 'kay Mr. Plaz? You don't look good. Maybe I should pray for you too?"
"Thank you Iggy. I'm fine. You don't need to pray for me. Say, would you mind if I borrowed the sign-in book? I'd like to make sure I haven't missed a day or two."
"'Kay Mr. Plaz."
"Is Danny here yet?" Danny was Rigby's replacement. Not being a relative, he was much more careful to do exactly as Plaz told him. The only problem was that, like Iggy, he wasn't that smart. In fact, he was probably dumber than Iggy, so without regular checks, the work just didn't get done.
"Sure is Mr. Plaz."
"Good. I'll see you Iggy." With that, Plaz grabbed the sign-in book and nearly ran to his office. After checking the invoices outlining the night's work, he got Danny working and locked himself in his office.
The first thing he did was close the blinds on his window and door. Then he grabbed the sign-in book and flipped back to the day of Rigby's death, five months ago. Both Iggy's and his signature were there in black and white, but, with a sigh of relief, he realized that Rigby had forgotten to sign in. Another loose end wrapped up. Without that signature, no one could prove Rigby had ever been in the factory that night. Of course, with his skin decomposing in some landfill and his skeleton currently serving as a mannequin in another country, there really wasn't too much to worry about.
"Hey Mr. Plaz," Danny called as he knocked on the glass window. "Could you come out here?"
"What's wrong now Danny?"
"I found something."
Plaz sighed. Danny was always 'finding something.' "I'll be right out," he called.
Closing the sign-in book and carefully putting it back where it had been filed, Plaz opened the door to see Danny standing in front of him, but he didn't have his usual, slightly vacant stare and he was wearing some sort of strange hat.
"Okay Danny, what did you find this time? And what's that thing on your head?"
It was the last question he asked before blinding pain drove him into unconsciousness.
When he came to, Plaz found himself with his hands stretched upward, tied to a lift hook. His feet barely touched the floor. No, looking down, he realized they weren't on the floor. He was standing precariously on a mannequin and his feet were tied to it so that he could not move.
He started to ask what the hell was going on when he saw Danny. The boy-actually he was a man, but it was hard to think of him that way considering how child-like he usually acted-had a fiery glow in his eyes that Plaz had never seen before. They stared crazily at him, but there was more; they were angry eyes, angry, insane eyes. It was like Plaz was looking into the pits of Hell as he looked into those eyes. They sucked him in, further and further with promises of torture most exquisite, horror most intense. They-he tore his eyes away from them, feeling real fear, but the view before him did not get any better.
On the floor beside Danny were two plastic garbage bags filled with something. They looked vaguely like the two bags into which he'd stuffed Rigby's skin, but that couldn't be. Those bags had to be long gone, decomposing somewhere in a landfill. Danny hadn't even been working at Scagliola's when Rigby had died. Plaz decided he must have been imagining things because of the weather and his conversation with Iggy.
Then he looked up again and saw what was on Danny's head. It wasn't a hat, or even a bad wig. It was the upper portion of the skin from a human head. Plaz could see the roughly cut edge as it started just above Danny's eyebrows and curved down behind the ears to just above the boy's collar and then back up again on the other side. As he watched, something small, and white, and wriggly peered out from underneath it for a moment before disappearing back underneath it. And the color, it was reddish blond, just like Rigby's.
Plaz screamed-and screamed-and SCREAMED. Then he fainted.
When Plaz woke up the second time, both Iggy and Danny were sitting on the floor about twenty feet away, watching him and waiting. When Plaz's eyes opened, they got up. Each picked up a bag and strolled over to him.
"Ah, you're awake Plaz," Danny said. "We were beginning to wonder if I might not have struck you a bit too hard."
"How do you like my new leg, Mr. Plaz?" Iggy asked and did a brief dance around the bound man. His limp was completely gone.
"That's enough Iggy. We have a promise to keep and work to do," Danny gently chided.
"'Kay, but I like my new leg."
"And I like my new brain. It's nice to actually know what's going on in the world around me for once."
With that, ignoring Plaz's curses, threats, screams and pleadings, they undid their bags and allowed the contents to ooze out onto the warehouse floor. It was skin. Rigby's skin.
Once it had been completely emptied from the bags, it seemed to combine into one. Then, excruciatingly slowly, the combined skin continued to slide toward Plaz.
"What the hell is going on here? Iggy! Danny! Let me go."
"Sorry Mr. Plaz," Danny responded. We can't do that. We made a deal. Didn't we Iggy?"
Iggy nodded in agreement.
"What do you mean you can't let me go? Do you want me to have you arrested? You'll go to jail. Is that what you want?"
"He promised us that wouldn't happen and we believe him."
"Him? Him who? What are you two lunatics babbling about?"
"Why Mr. Rigby of course. Surely you remember him. After all, you killed him."
The mass of skin had come within a foot of Plaz's feet. He was feeling a tremendous urgency to get away from it and tried desperately to loosen his feet, too somehow slide the bindings off his legs so he could escape.
"What are you talking about Rigby's d…disappeared. Iggy and I were just talking about it." Iggy nodded his agreement again.
"That's not completely true. Is it Mr. Plaz? You were going to say dead, not disappeared. Mr. Rigby is dead and that's all that remains of him. It's his skin. The skin that you took from him."
"That's impossible. Even if I had done what you say, he disappeared months ago. Any skin would have rotted or been eaten by vermin by now."
"It almost was, but then Mr. Rigby made a deal with the rats and they protected him and brought him back here, to the very dumpster where you left him. It was slow work. They had to hide him during the day and it was hard for them to drag him. That's why it took so long for him to have his revenge. That's where Iggy found him. Mr. Plaz made a deal with Iggy too. He gave him a good leg.
"This is insane. You're both insane. Now release me this instant," Plaz demanded.
"I don't think so. You see, Mr. Rigby made a deal with me too. Just like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz, I got a brain-a good brain, one that works so well that I know that you're bluffing. Did you know that before tonight, I wouldn't have known what a bluff was?"
"That's great. That's wonderful. Now let me go and I'll make a deal with you. I'll make you an offer you can't refuse."
The last came out in a snarl. Combined with the glare from Plaz's eyes and the rictus of his face, Plaz could have scared the bravest soul, but not Iggy or Danny.
The oozing flesh had made it to the top of the mannequin. It was mere inches from Plaz's foot. The bound man's snarl broke, to be replaced with terror as he realized how close it had come. Forgetting about his two captors, Plaz redoubled his struggles to escape.
"Oh, I almost forgot to tell you what's about to happen Mr. Plaz," Danny spoke over the noise of the struggles. You're going to provide the skeleton and organs for Mr. Rigby. You see he's coming back. And I also forgot to tell you what the rats took for their part in helping Mr. Rigby return. They wanted to create a race of super rats, so they took his genitals.
"Of course, after having given up all that flesh, Mr. Rigby recognizes that he needs to make a few compromises."
Plaz looked down. The flesh had bunched up and formed into a remarkably close approximation of a cobra head, poised and ready to strike. But it held still, as if waiting for Danny to finish.
"I wasn't completely accurate when I said that Mr. Rigby was coming back. There just isn't enough of him left to do that."
Plaz's eyes brightened. Maybe there was hope. Maybe the vile thing preparing to attack him was overextended. Maybe he might live through this after all.
"Mr. Rigby told me you might show hope when I said that," Danny laughed. "He said to wait for that look before continuing. Now I can tell you the rest.
"I was inaccurate when I said that Mr. Rigby was coming back. As I said, he's had to make some compromises. There just isn't enough of him to make a full-grown man and he has no interest in being a child again. It will actually be Mrs. Rigby who comes back."
With that Danny and Iggy turned and left. Just before the cobra head struck, Danny complemented Iggy on what a good job of praying he'd done.
Mac sat at the computer, staring at the latest critique of his stories. Sure enough, Wally the Weasel had his—no her two cents thrown in.
“Once again, Big Mac Rigby has inflicted another piece of incomprehensible writing on this list. In “Resistance is Futile”, Mr. Rigby is showing that he is as casual about the English Language as he is about his own health….”
Although all of the other letters actually liked the story, pseudoscience and political absurdity aside, Wally had to trash it.
“Not this time,” Mac said aloud, to Igor. He walked over to the phone, picked up the receiver and dialed his sister’s number.
“Hello?” Janice answered.
“We need to talk, and not just about your inability to read and critique fiction, Ms. Weasel.”
“Well, you finally figured that out, did you?”
“I had wondered why your attacks were so personal,” McKenzie added. “You know, honest critiques are one thing, but what did you hope to get out of the drivel you wrote?”
“I thought maybe, just maybe you would get the message that you could do so much better than those stories on the list. You have talent, McKenzie, not much, but some, and you are wasting it.”
“Because I like the stories I write, most of the people on the list like them, too. It would be a waste of my talent if I didn’t write, not what I write, Janice.” Mac considered hanging up the phone, but shook his head. “You’ve made your point, let it go.”
“And if I don’t?” she asked, sweetly.
“I will ruin you, online. I’m not a computer geek for nothing, Sis. Wally the Weasel is dead, okay?”
Janice sighed, then cleared her throat. “Okay, but you can’t blame me for trying. I love you, I really do, and I am worried about you.”
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER SIXTEEN
The Mansion and the Madame
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