The Last Nursery Rhyme
Roddy looked anxiously up and down the dark street before walking up to his front door. It was a quiet night on the little London street. Roddy would have preferred some noise. The silence was too unsettling. One more glance before he turned his key in the lock and he quickly slipped inside. As he shut and locked the door, he breathed a sigh of relief and reached for the light switch.
As the light came on, rough hands grabbed him from either side. Two large men had ahold of him. Roddy let out a cry of surprise and fear as they spun him around to face his living room.
“Now, now, Roddy,” said the man who sat in Roddy’s favorite arm chair. “Don’t want to annoy the neighbors do we?”
The man wore a red striped barker’s jacket, straw hat and white pants. From his jacket breast pocket, a glossy candy cane stuck out. He wore round wire rimmed spectacles and held a cane made entirely of finger bones. Roddy knew this horror to be the crime boss called, Mother Goose. Since this was also his boss, Roddy felt cold.
“We have something important to discuss, don’t we, Roddy?” Mother Goose smiled with un-nerving calm.
“I didn’t do nuthin’, MG, I swear. I been good for you, real good,” Roddy pleaded.
Mother Goose stood up, “Is that so?”
Roddy nodded fast, hoping his boss would buy it.
“That’s not what I heard,” Mother Goose shook his head slowly with an exaggerated frown, “You know, Roddy, we had a very large shipment come in from New York last week. A shipment we were very careful to conceal in every way.” Mother Goose moved closer to Roddy, “Oddly enough, however, that shipment was seized.”
Roddy eyed the cane and hoped that all he would have to do is lose a finger to it. Most mistakes were made up for that way because Mother Goose like the Yakuza way of doing things. But Mother Goose was far more sinister than they could ever be.
“You listening, Roddy ol boy?” Mother Goose tapped Roddy on the forehead with the cane.
“Yeah, Mother, but I had nothing to do with it, I swear. Whoever told you I did is lying to protect himself, MG!”
Mother Goose leaned in close and dropped his voice to a whisper, “Do you mean to accuse the Hag of being a liar, Roddy? Would you like to say that to her face then?”
At this point, Roddy didn’t know which way was out of the frying pan and into the fire. No one messed with the Hag, not even Mother Goose. Roddy shook his head ‘no’ as the color drained from his face.
“Right! So we’ll just deal with this right here! That means just one thing to do!” Mother Goose smiled
Roddy prayed to lose a finger, even a hand.
“Tie him to the chair in the corner boys and make it nice and tight. We can’t have him moving a single muscle,” Mother Goose ordered.
“What?” Roddy cried out, “Ah no, MG, not Little Jack Horner, anything but that!”
“Well, what did you expect, Roddy? I have a mult-million dollar shipment to retrieve. Did you think one of your fingers was worth that much? Your whole arm isn’t worth that much.”
“Take em both!”
The two rugged men tied Roddy down to the chair around his torso, legs and arms. They even put a strap around his neck. The chair had been bolted to the floor earlier. Roddy couldn’t do much but wiggle fingers and turn his head slightly.
Mother Goose lifted a pie from a nearby table, “I hope you like this, Roddy. I made it just for you.” He set the pie in Roddy’s lap where Roddy shivered and stared down at it in horror. Mother Goose continued, “Now do be real still and set a good example, won’t you?”
“Please, MG, come on! I can turn this around!”
Mother Goose smiled and walked out the door with the two henchmen Next to those men, Mother Goose was a small man, but neither of them would cross their boss like Roddy did.They closed the door behind them and walked out and across the street. Across from Roddy’s house was an adjoining street and the three men walked down that way a good distance from the house to a waiting red sedan. Mother Goose turned to look at Roddy’s house and reached into his pocket.
Roddy’s face streamed with tears and he glanced around desperately and finally began to shout, “Help meeeee! Somebody help m….”
The explosion brought daylight to the little street as Roddy’s house became a giant ball of fire and debris. The concussive force of the blast shattered windows on cars and nearby homes. The house next to Roddy’s was caught up in the blast and on fire. Next came the clatter of falling debris and car alarms.
“Ahhh, fireworks and music,” Mother Goose mused, “how beautiful. Well, off we go boys. Mother has work to do.”
The three men climbed into the sedan and drove away. Roddy made a terrible mistake and for that, earned his last nursery rhyme.