The Serial Killers’ Tea Party

 

I’d say the worst thing about being a serial killer is the sense of isolation.

I mean, I know a sense of isolation is pretty much a prerequisite for turning to serial killing in the first place, but that doesn’t mean one does not at times have a yearning for the company of others in terms of a shared interest.

A while ago, I decided to do something about it. It would be nice, I thought, to get together with other serials from time to time and swap stories, plan for the future and so on. I could make one of my dipping sauces. I mean, why not? Of course, I knew it would not be easy to organise such an event. I didn’t know any other serial killers, so I couldn’t exactly invite them over; and advertising is pretty much out of the question, given the illegality of what brings us together, never mind the public disapproval.

Of course, other social outcasts manage it. Take drug addicts, for example. According to the films, they all get together in designated places and inject or smoke their drugs as a community. Lovely. They must be very sociable gatherings, it seems to me. I imagine whoever is hosting would provide nibbles of some sort, and once they’re all high on their heroin-crack, drug addicts are probably jolly decent company, I should say. I wonder how the drug addicts know where and when these get-togethers are. Anyway, at the time I was planning my little serial-killer soiree, I basically had no idea how to go about it.

And then I got lucky.

What happened was, I had developed this irrational hatred of a stranger I caught looking at me funny on the tube one night, so I followed him home and made a note of his address, then went back to my own place to ‘tool up’. I returned later the same evening, broke into his flat and repeatedly stabbed him with a set of rather sharp Japanese carving knives. His girlfriend was a welcome, if unintended, fellow-victim, having popped round for a game of Trivial Pursuit. Anyway, there was blood all over the place by the end of it. I’d worn my all-over plastic mac, of course, so I didn’t get any of the incriminating stuff on my actual clothes, and I’d just got out of the mac, ready to burn it in the kitchen bin, when there was a knock at the door. Normally, I’d just ignore any nosy neighbour coming down to complain about the noise (there had been rather a lot of screaming, to be fair), but this one was a bit of a persistent chap. He kept saying, ‘I know you’re in there, Peter, I can hear you,’ and things like that, so in the end I decided I’d open the door and drag him in to a certain death. It would have to be a strangulation because I couldn’t risk any more blood without my mac on, but a strangulation is all right now and then. So off I went to the door.

‘Hello,’ he said, unfazed by my unexpected presence. ‘Is Peter having a party?’

‘Yes,’ I answered brightly. ‘Would you like to come in?’

He was a right speccy nerd of a guy, all smarmy and eager to please. I got the feeling he and Peter weren’t exactly friends, as he acted rather surprised at my invitation. So he came in and was standing in Peter’s narrow hallway, his throat all ready to welcome my suffocating embrace, when I noticed the glint of a blade in his jacket pocket. Hello, I thought to myself, that looks like rather a substantial knife to be bringing to a neighbour’s party. I put down my hands and asked him what exactly he wanted with Peter and then he went for it, one arm darting back towards his pocket. He was quick, but not quick enough: I grabbed his arm and twisted it around his back with ease, being much stronger than him in the upper body department.

‘Have you come here to kill your neighbour?’ I asked.

‘What the hell is it to you, anyway?’ came the gruff reply.

‘What have you got against Peter, I’d like to know?’

‘I just hate him. Him and that stupid bitch! They’re always … doing it … you know. It’s disgusting! I can hear them! Disgusting!’

‘I see. Tell me, were you socially isolated as a child, would you say?’

‘What?’

‘You know, did you feel left out of peer-group gatherings? When the others were laughing at a clown, did you want to kill them all? When they played pass the parcel, did you hope the parcel was a bomb? Because, if you did, I think we might have something in common.’

Well, that was it: I’d touched a nerve; he opened right up. Not only had he been an isolated infant, but a sexually repressed adolescent too, and then an ever so slightly sociopathic young man into the bargain, with a string of kills to his name. He told me all about it and before long we were firm friends. OK, not friends exactly, but we had an understanding, a murderously perverted understanding. I shared my handiwork with him and he very kindly helped me cut up the bodies in the bathtub. Everything was bagged and ready to go, much quicker than usual, and I think both of us saw the advantage to that, so I suggested meeting up again sometime, promising that on the next occasion I’d be the bag man and he could take the lead. Well, that suited him down to the ground, so we swapped numbers and he promised to call next time he felt one of his urges coming on.

Now I had a companion in my chosen hobby, I could start making plans for a tea party. I had considered a picnic lunch, but thought afternoon tea sounded more civilized and a picnic suggested too much fiddling about with Tupperware. Quite apart from anything else, all my Tupperware was already in the freezer, filled with human organs and whatnot, whereas my china tea service was rarely used, so that was that settled. I would still need a few more to join us, though, I thought.

Funnily enough, my new friend sorted that for me. We hadn’t told each other our names, of course, but I knew it was him as soon as he called the following week – I guess it was the heavy breathing. Anyway, he had a yen for a bit of bloodshed and suggested we meet up at the central bus station. A lot of northerners end up there, seeking refuge in the big city from whatever personal hell they have left behind (Manchester, usually). They’re easy to pick up and people rarely come looking for them. Thankfully, the northern economic downturn seems to be pretty much a constant, and what with the poor being continually priced out of the housing market, it means there’s a steady stream of the northern homeless littering our London terminuses. I myself have often popped down the bus station when I’ve felt like causing the unnecessary and painful demise of some young chap. And that’s when it hit me – if both of us had hit on this place independently for a spot of serial killing, chances are so had a whole bunch of others: the bus station was probably ripe with serials! Armed with this idea, once I got down there and met up with whatsisname, I let him keep his eyes open for a victim while I kept mine peeled for others like us.

Well, to cut a long story short (and to really brutally cut it, hacking at the veins and slicing the main arteries for good measure), the northerners’ bus station turned out to be a gold mine. Not only did I hook up with a new pal that night, but return journeys on subsequent occasions led to further psychopathic killer contacts being established, and it wasn’t long before I had a functioning network of like-minded souls (dead souls, but souls nonetheless) on my radar. However, I am getting ahead of myself. I expect you want to return to that first night at the bus station, don’t you, and hear how we got on? Very well.

The Phil-Killer (as I thought of him in my mad little head) had spotted a potential target sitting outside a McDonalds, trying to have a little doze. It was just as we were sidling up to this chap, who looked about seventeen, I should say, that another serial pounced first. Still a little distance away, we watched as a bald-headed tubby guy gently shook our man awake and started offering him cigarettes, money, crisps, a place to sleep for the night and so on. His Bald Tubbiness wore a large, wooden cross around his neck, so we surmised he was pretending to be from some sort of religious charity or something. Whatever his story, it seemed pretty convincing, as the chap was up and following him in no time.

That’s when we stepped in. Phil had already come intending to masquerade as a plain-clothes copper and so he brought out a fake ID, which caused Baldy a bit of private panic. While Phil then explained the real situation to the Reverend Tub, I detained Northern Muck Man in conversation, convincing him we were the Holy Trinity and persuading him to come worship at our altar. Before long, a three-way kill was on the cards and off we all went to the local ‘church’. This was actually a waste-ground area a couple of miles’ walk away. It was a bit of a trek, but waste-ground areas are not that easy to find in central London these days. I think this was some sort of public building project, abandoned when public-service funding had been cut. Fortunately, it was perfect for a little bit of cutting of our own.

Of course, I’d promised Phil the kill, so to speak, and now Baldy wanted in, so a little bit of negotiation was required. We let the new man chop the guy’s extremities off first – ears, nose, fingers and toes, that sort of thing – then Phil finished him off, going in through the stomach and working his way up, as I remember. As further consolation for the new guy, we let him cut the throats of a couple of pissed-up women we passed on the way back, and I did a homeless man by Euston tube, just to keep my hand in. Lovely Jubbly, as the cockneys say.

And so it was, just a few weeks later, that I had assembled an informal social group of serial killers. I was getting sick of the sight of that bus station, to be honest, but there were twelve of us by now, all pretty much recruited the same way, and that seemed enough twisted murderers to be going on with. When you think about it, there’s a lovely sort of osmotic symmetry about the relative growth of homeless poor people cluttering up our gutters and psychopathic serial killers keen to flush them down the drain. I suppose that, just as the bus station is the logical terminus for the dispossessed, severing their arteries is the logical endpoint of neoliberal capitalism, too.  If it is their own ‘bad choices’ that have kept the poor in their state of poverty, it seems only right that some sort of punishment should accrue; and when it comes to punishment, there’s none better than a serial for dishing it out!

Of course, my merry band and I could no longer get by using made-up nicknames for each other, especially as we all tended to make up different nicknames. Baldy, for example (who wanted to be known as The Vein Man – honestly!) called The Phil-Killer by the moniker of Deep Throat. Oh, the confusion that could cause! Some nicknames were clever, I will concede that – one east-end fellow who had a penchant for cutting off his victims’ kneecaps and genitalia was christened Cockney Cock Knee by some witty slasher amongst us, but most names were just lazy, like the cannibal who was inevitably referred to as Hannibal by the less imaginative. In the end, there was such an argument about the nicknames, that it was agreed we would have to find some sort of fair and equitable system. A recent cabinet reshuffle in the government prompted us to choose politicians’ names, randomly distributed between us. Thus it was that I soon found myself in the company of a Cameron, an Osborne, a Morgan and even a rather evil-smelling Jeremy Hunt. Phil the Killer became Michael Gove, I believe, while Baldy was resigned to Theresa May.

Now that the details were sorted, it was time to prepare for the tea party. The whole government (our collective name) was excited by the idea of a social activity in which they could actually take part without feeling ostracised, and a time and place was duly set and agreed: three weeks next Sunday, Primrose Hill. Lovely! Of course, Primrose Hill is one of the posher London locations, and this was no accident. We wanted to be ‘out and proud’, as it were, showing that serial killers can also be civilized human beings, if only given the time, space and respect to which we are entitled. It was unlikely that any of us would find suitable victims in the posh hunting-grounds of Primrose Hill. Indeed, it was rather to be hoped the tea party might offer us some sort of reconciliation with the world of ‘the normals’. Well, you  never know.

A list was drawn up of all the government ministers and we signed up for which food items we would bring along. Of course, no one wanted to be left out (God forbid!), so the menu expanded until the event was beginning to resemble the picnic lunch I’d originally rejected. Luckily, the Tupperware problem was sorted by the aforementioned cannibal, whose government name was Duncan-Smith. This chap had plenty of spare Tupperware as he only used it to store food temporarily. I signed up for a range of meat items because it gave me an excuse to toddle along to my local butcher’s the day before the party.

I love my local butcher’s shop – partly, I suppose, because it does conform very well to my idea of what a traditional butcher’s should look like. There is a carved figure over the door, representing the old-fashioned butcher in his red and white-striped apron, all jolly cheeks, black moustache and raised cleaver; there is a solid brass bell that rings merrily to announce the arrival of each new customer; and there are rows and rows of delicious meat products, all laid out on lawn-green mats amidst sprinklings of sawdust and beneath protective glass. Even the men themselves, a father and two sons that run the place, look like the ideal of their trade: each of them is a big, burly chap, red of face and portly of stomach. Their high blood pressure and sweaty brows speak volumes of their love of meat, and to watch them at work is a joy in itself. I went there often, not to purchase dead animals so much, but to see the way they cut them. I loved observing their large hands enfold a pig’s belly, their clumsy-looking sausage fingers manipulate the meat and operate the slicer with unexpected dexterity. On a normal day, I might buy a chicken or a couple of chops. Today, I bought two dozen drumsticks, some cold ham, a few pounds of sausage meat and, because I wanted to see a hefty butcher wield a cleaver, a loin of pork. It was with a twinkle in my eye and a look of admiration (I believe) from the trio of meaty shopkeepers, that I quit their establishment and returned to my own domicile to make my preparations for the morrow.

The sausage meat I made into three dozen very tasty sausage rolls with the help of some delicate, flaky pastry that, once cooked, crumbled at the slightest touch. The ham was immediately transformed into ham sandwiches with mustard instead of margarine, a personal favourite and a tangy delight for any tongue. With the drumsticks, I followed my own recipe for fried chicken, again with a mustard coating, but this time mixed herbs, breadcrumbs and chilli flakes adorned the dish. That woman off the television does something similar, but without the chilli, and I fancy even she would agree my recipe was superior (she had better agree, or she might find herself boiled in a pot of her own blood!). Finally, my culinary preparations were complete and I had only a night of solitude to survive before the big event!

I have always found it difficult to sleep when I am nervous or anxious about something and thus it proved the night before the tea party. I ended up going down to the all-night convenience store, about a mile off (just far enough, but not too far). There I came across a drunk old sod no one could possibly care about staggering away into the night clutching a bar of chocolate and some cans of cider. Waiting until I was sure there could be no witnesses, I dragged the old soak down a dark alley and cut his throat with my Swiss Army knife. Inspired by my butcher friends, I had him bent over on all fours like an old sow and let him bleed out in the alleyway before repeatedly inserting the knife in his filthy old rectum, just for good measure. The whole kill was very satisfying and I could imagine the father-and-son butcher team smiling in approval at my method.

The next morning dawned bright and blue with not a cloud upon the horizon, either literal or metaphorical. Excited by the prospect of social chit-chat and a veritable smorgasbord of culinary delights, I arrived early at the agreed spot. Only myself and Theresa May were present, the latter spreading chequered picnic blankets all over the place. As well as the meat products, I had brought flasks of Earl Grey and my china tea service. As I was laying cups and saucers upon May’s blankets, Cameron, Osborne and Gove appeared separately, closely followed by Gibb, Morgan and the others. There were no absentees and, I am pleased to reflect, the first gathering of the government cabinet – the kitchen cabinet, I should say – started off as a roaring success.

The spread of refreshing delicacies was indeed one to be envied. Apart from my own contribution, there were cucumber sandwiches, a rather tasty assortment of home-made biscuits from George Osborne, an absolutely delicious Black Forest Gateau and some rather nice crisps, hand-cooked by Ian Duncan-Smith. Conversation covered a range of topics, although – somewhat inevitably, I suppose – a lot of it did focus on our own chosen peccadilloes. I listened to a long and detailed discussion between Cameron and Fallon about the best way to extricate a human eyeball with a meat skewer; there was a fascinating debate about auto-asphyxiation as a murder-suicide pact between several of our ministers; and Nicky Morgan held forth for twenty minutes on different methods of making a hat out of human testicles. All in all, it was a fascinating time.

However, the merry mood atop Primrose Hill was not to last, I’m afraid. I suppose it was inevitable that a social affair full of mass murderers might, sooner or later, turn ugly. Perhaps, dear reader, you had already anticipated such a turn of events. If so, you will not be disappointed with what I shall now relate. If not, God Bless You for having such an idealised conception of human nature. Long may your illusions persist!

The trouble centred around Duncan-Smith’s crisps. The man himself assured us that they were smoky bacon flavour, and indeed most of the assembled throng were content to take his word for this. I myself assented to the description: the crisps certainly had that salty-porky taste one associates with commercially-produced savoury bacon snacks. At the same time, the crisps had a certain distinct flavour, a flavour that some might describe as ‘aromatic’, others ‘pungent’. It was this quality, describe it how you will, that seemed to ensure the freshness and home-madeness of the snack. However, some saw in it a more sinister design. Duncan-Smith, you see, was the cannibal whom earlier we had lazily nicknamed Hannibal. One or two (Michael Gove prominent amongst them, as I remember) began to whisper that human flesh was supposed to taste very much like pork scratchings. Duncan-Smith, flushed with the success of his home-baked treat and with perhaps one too many cups of Earl Grey swilling around inside him, eventually admitted that the crisps were indeed of human origin. It was this admission that opened the floodgates, or, perhaps I should say, the blood-gates!

To give Duncan-Smith his due, the story behind the making of the crisps was a fascinating one. It seemed that the father of a rather large family of Polish immigrants had recently had his benefits stopped, causing them to lose their home and face a few nights on the streets. They had found a communal bed for the night in a skip down the road from one of the cannibal’s favourite hangouts. With all the assiduousness of a hungry lion, Duncan-Smith had leapt into the skip a couple of nights back, bashed each of the family over the head with a length of piping he had found (‘a pole for the Poles’, he told us) and carted them off to his place one at a time. He had taken their skin off with a cheese slice, deep fried it to a golden crispiness and served it up to his fellow cabinet ministers with none of us any the wiser. There we were, all unbeknownst, literally feeding off the poor! You had to hand it to him – it was a first-rate cannibal prank. You can’t say those flesh-eaters don’t have a sense of humour!

Unfortunately, the rest of the government did not share this humour. Not every serial, it soon transpired, liked to be served his fellow humans’ fried skin without his knowledge, and it was not long before a whole group of angry psychos jumped Duncan-Smith and started to exact a cruel revenge. The poor chap had his intestines forcibly removed and fed to him, ‘a taste of his own medicine’, according to his tormentors, and, you have to admit, there was a certain logic to their actions.

Duncan-Smith, though, had his own band of support within the group, and they felt the whole ‘eater-turned-eaten’ thing was a step too far. Before he knew what was what, David Cameron found his nostrils split open by a switchblade and then the top of his head sliced off with a machete. Stumbling around the verdant pastures of Primrose Hill, Cameron couldn’t prevent his brain matter spilling out, reddening the green of the grass, its spillage aided by a dessert spoon in the hands of Michael Gove. Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne did for each other, both attempting to fork out the eyes of the other, each being blinded as a result and at the mercy of Theresa May’s switchblade. Even Nicky Morgan was sticking the boot in before long, her steel-capped boots burying themselves in the side of the head of more than one cabinet colleague with a most satisfying crunch.

I myself, naturally, did not want to miss out on all the fun and, when I saw the broken crockery that was the result of this murderous frenzy, my gander was well and truly up, I can tell you. My trusty twelve-inch carving knife was soon thrusting in and out of the soft, pliant bellies all around me, and I was up to my elbows in blood and gore before anyone could say ‘Jack Robinson’. Or even, ‘Eurgh! Stop stabbing me!’

I’m afraid the carnage was severe. When I realised the death count was going to be in double figures, I knew straightaway what I had to do. It was a kill or be killed situation, and if there is one thing you could say about me, it is that I am not backward in coming forward, not where mass murder is concerned. I did not stop my furious cut-and-thrust until, like the final scene of Hamlet, I was surrounded by the dead bodies of those I had once counted as allies. By this time, as you can imagine, our little tea party had attracted quite a deal of attention, and the familiar wail of police sirens could be heard in the immediate neighbourhood. Hoping that my DNA would not be too liberally spread around the scene of the crime (unlike my china tea set, I am sorry to say), I hotfooted it out of there and made for home, via a circuitous route of side-streets, just in case I was followed.

Several weeks have passed since that event. You will probably have seen, dear reader, the coverage in the press of what has been (rather unimaginatively, in my opinion) titled, The Tea Party of Death. (I myself, as a private joke, prefer to call it, The Afternoon of the Long Knives.) Eleven serial killers were taken from us that day, yet none of them are mourned. I am as alone as ever I was – more so, as I no longer have even the hope of civilized company, the whole debacle of that day having put me off serial-killer tea parties forever. It was indeed a sad day for all of us and that sadness abides.

In my heart, however, I know that all is not entirely lost. This country is very good at producing men (it is mostly men) with the serial-killer mentality. Our private schools, our elite universities, our city-based corporations, they spew them out with predictable regularity. Here come these repressed, asocial entities, self-serving, believing themselves deserving of a place at the top table without having to lift a finger to get there. Here they are, resentful of anyone more human than they are (which is everyone), determined to cut them all down with a single stroke of their far-reaching scythe. Here come the serial killers with all their misplaced sense of entitlement. And here the rest of you come – their victims – readily placing your heads upon the block, tugging your forelocks, bending and scraping your knees. You’re asking for it, almost begging for it, aren’t you? Let the knife sink in, you say. Cut, cut and cut again. Is it any wonder they want to kill you? Your only hope is this: not to stop the cutting, not to heal the wounds, but to become one of the killers yourself, to join them, to wield the knife as they do, stop the heart and end the resistance.

That is what I did, certainly. I joined the serials long ago and, despite everything, I do not regret it. If you – a non-serial, a normal – met me, sat next to me on the tube perhaps, you wouldn’t know what I was. You would, I am sure, think me a perfectly personable gentleman. I would be well-dressed, well-spoken and refined; I would politely raise my hat, or smile, or offer you my seat. And at the end of your journey, when you got off the train and went your merry way, I would almost certainly not follow you home. You’d be safe with me, don’t worry.

Just as long as you didn’t look at me funny.