338 • Assassin (2)

338 • Assassin (2)

The one time I served Jack the Ripper
He’d come in my shop for a kipper.
With his dagger and cloak
He seemed quite a good bloke
Till he slew a small poodle named Pippa.

Society encourages us to think badly of a serial killer, yet one recognises this shop-girl’s guilty admiration for her celebrity customer, flaunting the characteristic costume of his profession. Here Jack’s conduct, while admittedly uncivilised, is readily rationalised, inasmuch as any domesticated dog – especially the scion of so ornamental and unnatural a breed – is already Dead to Nature. Had the fish emporium chosen to host a free-range, genetically unmodified cur, the self-styled ‘Ripper’ – like any common-or-garden customer – would doubtless have been torn to pieces a good while before the completion of his intended purchase. But it’s easy to be wise after the event.

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