“None of you will of course mind dying. You got better places to be than this spiritual shit-hole, and you’ve been waiting for me to come for quite a long time, I suspect. If you don’t mind me saying, I’d be thanking me for what I plan to do. They claim when you get there, angels will be waiting, and eternal bliss will be the reward for your cowering servitude.”
The hair should have suggested much, but was contradictory. It shone like a worn nickel and had lost the dark brown tone years ago. Now it was fully silver and grown far out and pulled into a single mass and held unified by a rubber band. It was a long and simple ponytail- the token symbolism of a recognizable social process. When you walked behind this man named Malcolm, you thought you knew something about him.
Except this hair and the deep cuts of wrinkles that bracketed his mouth and demarcated his kind and habitual smile contradicted the two hand-guns visibly tucked into his waist-band and the menacing shotgun he held in his thin and lengthy arms.
As for the chicken costume, we figured it was some kind of exoskeleton. When a guy appears out of nowhere and starts barking orders directly into your brain, you don't ask questions--even if he is dressed like a dork.
We followed him into the temple, hypnotised by the rhythmic FLOP FLOP FLOP of his big yellow feet. The domed ceiling whirred with CCTV lenses and we took it in turns not to walk next to him just in case they were webcams.
I looked around the room, unsure what to do. There is a protocol for this kind of thing, but this man defied all protocol. "Who's first?" he asked.
I heard the shuffle of feet, but no one spoke. Eyes locked on Malcolm's eyes; what should have been repellant was electric.
His gaze fell on me and his blue-eyed stare was cold. "You, boy." He was yards away, but I felt his breath on my neck and it was cold; it raised bumps like chicken skin. "You first. Why are you here?"
My mouth was dry, but I had practiced for this, rehearsed the words in my mind--over and over. I met his gaze. "Sir, I want to work at Kentucky Fried Chicken because..."
Opening: Scott from Oregon.....Continuation: WO/Iago/Anon.