Gaargh, No Hands Mick’s one of me oldest mates, and me truest friend. We’ve endured both peril and pleasure together; fondled, plundered and squealed like girls in the face of danger. His life’s a testament to the dangers of ship-board life and his hands if he had any, would finger the poorly completed accident book.
When first we met I was but a scrap of a lad, making me name as a lad-ye-goes-to-when-there’s-a-thing-ye-wants. Aye these were the days before we had words for things and had to adopt the Teutonic habits of paragraph-long job titles. Me business card was the size of a cartwheel. It hindered me trade but once I’d nailed it to a cartwheel all was well.
One bright day I was plying me trade in the whoring district of Onomatopoeia Peninsula. Twas a trying place where the local dialect supplemented mime with expressive sound effects. Ye ‘ho-ho jiggly-squirt’ (night-lady to ye) quarter drew the sailors and merchants from afar and I was mostly spared the annoyance of orderin’ a mug of ‘glug-glug’ or a sandwich o’ ‘nom-nom gristle-crack’. Here I’d suffer only ye calls o’ what ‘slip-slap’ or ‘glom-glom-gobbly-spurt’ were on offer. There was a constant demand for ales and spirits, powders, unguents, potions, bandages, sandwiches, Vulcanised nether-garb, feathery-tickles and sherbert. All this and more I toted in me cart.
I arrived by Madame Bosombèrt’s Shoppe of Gargantuan Lady Spelunking with a fresh barrel of hog fat for their corsets. Tis a weighty thing, the lard of a pig so I lobbed a stone at the lad lurkin’ in an alley. The prospect of pence drew him out and his manly mitts were ideal for manhandling the oink-grease into the hookery. Mick was an accomplished travelling musician, down on his luck and denuded of music since hocking his cello for lodgings.
We chatted while shuffling the rendered piglet gunk into the ladies’ dressing chambers. Yarr, the sight of ‘em had me itchin’ for a harpoon. Like perfumed whales, lowin’ to one another in the local parlance o’ hoots and giggles. I was banging in the fat tap when Madame Bosombèrt herself bustled in, like a coach bearing down upon blind children. “Oho young Pigheart! Sweet Ignatius,” (she’d a misplaced fondness for me youth), “and a friend.” Her shadow fell across Mick. He flinched like a rabbit beneath an eagle. She snatched up his hands with delight, crooning softly to herself as she pawed his paws, like so: “Aaaaaaarrrrr,” (tis her soothin’ purr to which I attribute me own success with the ladyfolk), “get ye fingers in that grease lad.” Mick was rigid with terror, and not in a good way, him bein’ but young and unscholarly in the lady ways.
His lean fingers massaged hog fat into the mammoth miss’s midriff meat till she declared herself sufficiently slickened to be shod. Mick’s youthful hesitance faded away and he leaped at the chance to gird the girl in whalebone. His nimble fingers played a concerto up the knots and ribbons and he heaved it closed, forcing a pair o’ beluga whales to surface beneath Madame Bosombèrt’s chin. The poor lad could scarce draw his eyes from their creamy goodness.
And so Dextrous Mick the Finger Lad got two jobs in one day; ladies’ girdle-hitcher and carter’s mate. We competed for the monster maidens affections, jealous of their massive love muffins. Gaargh, to press and squeeze them titanic bosoms… Our rivalry was mostly jovial, yet our envy spilled into pranks and mild violence. It caused Mick to poison me rum so I crashed me cart into a handsome lass; the horse hat diminished her beauty and me rib count. Ahar, I hid lobsters in Mick’s britches and later woke at sea bound to an octopus. Aye, they were good times.
O’course the accident changed much of that. On that fateful day Madame Bosombèrt summoned him with some urgency. A fancy customer was making a special request: that they bind together at hip and shoulder a pair of wenches in mimicry of his fantasied Siamese twins. Aye, twas an unusual request, being both creepy and intriguing.
There was no trouble in enstrappin’ the lasses: Mick’s delicate digits kept ‘em gigglin’ as he pushed their kidneys into their lungs. Ye fetish came askew when the gentleman himself, one Arnold Hornthrust demanded that he be belted into his bucking babe bronco. Poor Mick was half into his Carrick Bend when the deviant gent’s desire overwhelmed him and he hurdled the knotted woman bundle erotically. He failed to note Mick’s hands trapped and twisting under his triad o’ lust. The moanin’ and thrashing was only three quarters pleasure as Mick was tossed and ground beneath their bound bulk. With an unhealthy crunch his hands, pressed white and numb against the writhing flesh twisted one way and he another. He was free, but with mitts so misshapen they seemed more crab than hand.
It took me twenty minutes o’ snap, crackle and pop to straighten his fingers out, and half that spent topping him up with rum. His dextrous paws had had a narrow escape and I bound ‘em with strips of pork bone (which I conveniently had about me person) so’s they’d not wriggle at night. Now, tis possible that were a slight error on my part for I’d also neglected to feed Rancid Albert, the mongrel dogmonkey who slept on and urinated from the roof of our cart.
Morning found Mick hungover and stumpy at the wrist. The poor lad was fairly devastated, but I cheered his ill mood with a bottle of rum and the finest implement man’s ever wrought upon this earth – the humble drinking straw. Twas a sad substitute for a fist full of fingers but with that same straw he retrieved his knuckles from Rancid Albert and bloodily avenged himself on Hornthrust, towards whom I directed Mick’s wrath. The colossal courtesans we courted lamented the loss of his fine fingers but he managed to prove himself otherwise dextrous enough: “look, no hands” became his cry in both love and war.