Skeletonized…

bates-motelNorman had gotten into taxidermy rather strangely when his dog had been run down suddenly and unexpectedly on the road when she ran into traffic.  The anguished teenager was no stranger to death, having suffered the loss of his father earlier, and repressing the knowledge that his mother had been involved.  Determined not to suffer the loss of his pet as well, Norman carried the lifeless body of his dog to the father of a classmate, a friend whose father practiced taxidermy.  He allowed Norman to watch as he attached the animal’s hide on a a frame, gradually creating a mount which served as a lasting tribute to the dog, a pet transfixed in space who would always be there for him.

In time, Norman would acquire the skills and secrets of taxidermy from his friend’s father, and begin to practice the art himself, beginning with small animals like birds and progressing to ever larger ones such as squirrels, rabbits, and the occasional road-killed dog or cat.  As his skills grew, Norman added additional tools and techniques to his repertoire,  learning how to articulate animal skeletons so they alone could be mounted in realistic poses.  Articulating a skeleton required removal of the animal’s flesh through immersion in a “maceration vat” containing caustic chemicals that would eat through the body to the bone.

As Norman grew into adulthood, he became quite an accomplished taxidermist, filling his home with a variety of mounted animals and skeletons, and coming to prefer their company to that of his fellow men.  He became increasingly reclusive, having little contact with people save for those few who stopped to seek lodging at the family-run business, the Bates Motel…

These are violent times, however, and society’s filth flows in a muddy current down the roadways of America.  It accordingly came to pass that a small town passing punk saw in the nearly darkened motel an opportunity to find some easy money to fuel his drug addiction.  He entered the small motel lobby behind which Norman maintained his taxidermy studio, occupying time there that evening as he waited for an unlikely traveler seeking a room.  Hearing the door open, Norman entered the lobby from the rear entrance. 

A gun was promptly waved in his face by a small and nervous man who demanded all of Norman’s money.  Taken by surprise, Norman assured the unwelcome visitor that he would comply, but would need to go to the back room to fetch the cash.  The assailant followed along, waving his gun and warning Norman that there had better be no funny business…

The sight that greeted the robber’s eyes upon entering Norman’s taxidermy studio struck him as anything but funny, however.  Dozens of mounted animals and skeletons of varying sizes appeared to rear up at the unsuspecting thief, whose nervousness was booted up to an even higher level by their appearance.  Seeing the man’s distraction, Norman decided to take advantage of it: his late mother and he had worked so hard for their money, after all…

Norman grabbed for the man’s gun and they struggled, wrestling for control of the weapon along the crowded aisles of the taxidermy studio.  So intent was the frantic robber on maintaining control of his gun that he didn’t notice the large maceration tank sitting on the floor.  His leg impacted on the heavy side of the metal tank, and thrown off-balance by Norman’s weight, the man suddenly lost his balance, and toppled into the tank.

Caustic fluids immediately covered every inch of the man’s body, burning into every bodily orifice.  An explosion of pain caused the would-be thief to gasp involuntarily, which drove toxic liquids into his lungs.  Sputtering, gasping, blinded, and fully panicked, the man grasped desperately for the sides of the tank but lost his grip, causing him to be plunged again into the roiling waters for a deadly baptism. Norman heard a muffled scream which again drove fluids into the man’s mouth, further choking and burning him internally.  His frantic thrashing gradually lessened until he was still beneath the waters of the maceration tank, which patiently and inexorably continued their work.

Norman Bates considered his situation.  There had already been too many police coming about the motel, asking questions and making accusations; he needed no more of that.  On the other hand, no one would be likely to notice the absence of one more drifter best left forgotten.  All Norman needed to do was to dispose of the man’s car, which could be abandoned in another location.  It could be traceable to the unwelcome visitor, but not to Norman himself. 

The maceration tank would tell no tales, and as to the body contained within it, it would within a number of days be fully skeletonized.  Those questioning his possession of human remains could learn that they were available from medical supply houses, and even the secondary market.  A consumer economy was a wonderful thing.  Norman had never articulated a human skeleton before, and looked forward to the challenge…

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