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"The Mad Licker"

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“Open the door Bill, the State wants you, we know who you are,” the voice filtered through the cockeyed ill-painted door with three Shlage deadbolts secured.

    Mild Bill crouched, his eyes darted and involuntarily his tongue also darted. He knew that his misdeeds would come to something, but not this. What garboil has his tongue stirred? They came again.

    “We know you’re the Mad Licker, Bill. This is commandant Stickweiler of the Sanitarian Assault Force, open the door now. Keep…your tongue…inside…your mouth and open the door!” A pounding commenced that echoed through Bill’s brain.

    It took him back.

    He was younger by a few years, but still the same old Mild Bill that everyone knew and loved, so timorous was he that the name came naturally. However, there was a dark spot on the sun for Bill, a creeper in the shadows, which yearned to dart hither and lap at the face of complete strangers. Bill became this creeper; he became the creeper that the public would know only as THE MAD LICKER, and this persona which he so fain gave into, would prove to be his undoing. What went wrong?

    “I shall recite to you the charges Bill, and refrain from calling you “mild” because you are anything but that to the Sanitarian People’s Republic. We consider you scum to be single-celled! Your charges are as follows: on December 8th, in this 14th year of Hygienic Occupation and the new Sanitarian State- all the years preceding being filthy and of no importance- you did willfully and with malice of forethought approach Daisy Constantine in the Staph Infections Shopping Complex on Intertube 20, and there…with vectorial anarchy directed at the state…and breath described by the victim as perfectly horrid!”

    On the other side of the door, Mild Bill, listening and bemoaning his victim, fell with his back against the door and sank to the floor. He stared into space remembering the shock on the poor woman’s face as he dragged his crusty tongue from chin to cheek. Raking the lanuginous fright mask with his own pleasure in mind, Bill never paid thought to why he licked, nor why any Lickers licked. It seemed in his case that he just needed human touch, and now that he did apply some thought, licking did seem mild to him- maybe mad- but mild. He took a comfort in hearing that this Daisy was still present tense. It would be too much on his conscience to hear that the old gal died for some bizarre reason.

    “I’m not finished Bill,” Stickweiler said coldly, with a poke at the door, "we charge that you did lick Ms. Constantine willfully, assaulting her with your filthy and diseased and dirty tongue!”

    “I am not diseased! That’s a lie perpetuated by the Sanitarian State! I’m as clean as the next man… the next Licker!"

    “You’re the only active Licker, Bill- 32 victims to date, and we’ve got you on satellite tape on five of those counts.” Stickweiler was not a man to tolerate walking germs like Bill for long, and he was being far too congenial for his assault team to witness. He did want to take this germ alive, however; though licensed to kill bacterianthropes when deemed necessary, he felt Bill was a study case. He also had ambivalent feelings about Bill; he might be a germ with a heart, as many of his former friends had testified that ‘Mild’ Bill would never lick anybody- he just wasn’t the type. Nevertheless, Bill was undeniably the Mad Licker, no matter what his background. The few lickers that the State had encountered prior to Bill (16) were true subversives, with very severe cases of tooth decay, halitosis, and even oral herpes, but Bill seemed different. One of the surveillance tapes revealed that Mild Bill was tearing as he left his victim. The man was obviously battling with his alter ego and felt remorse for his crimes, but he remained a grippy guy, and a threat to the State, and must be neutralized.

    “Bill, hear me now…we’re all out of patience and assault team etiquette, we may rightfully rend your door to flinders, but we don’t want to touch your filthy door, nor create a mess. So be a friend to the State and open the door Billtongue in cheek.” Stickweiler sounded almost human for once, and not the strict Sanitarian Assault Team germ killer as he was known. He would have to rectify this after Bill was sanitized. He decided on another tactic: psy-war, to play on the hibernating sanitarian he suspected lurked behind the tongue.

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