Brain Power by Rhys Clarke
Chapter Two: The Travelling Salesman
Exactly one year and one week after Samantha realised that she had fallen in love with her man-child of an employer, there was an unexpected ring of Byron’s doorbell. Samantha answered it and found herself face to face with the most peculiar man she had ever set eyes on.
The man was very tall and broad, with roughly the same build as a Silverback Gorilla. His neck was a thick slab of meat, punctuated by thick, purple veins and his face was broad and grey. The man’s eyes rolled as he grinned at her, his yellow teeth shining with thick globs of saliva. The man’s arms were absurdly long, and so were his fingers, which brushed the undersides of his bulbous knees. The man was dressed in a black, pinstriped suit and black bowler hat. In one hand he grasped at the handle of a very large, metal case. As Samantha opened the door, the huge man beamed at her and tipped his hat.
‘Good morning, my dear lady,’ croaked the man-his voice was little more than a strangled whisper. Samantha blinked, plastered a polite smile on her face and replied with a curt:
‘Can I help you?’
The man grinned. The yellow fangs at the back of his mouth gleamed as they were exposed to the light.
‘My name is Alfred K. Broderick. The “K” is silent. I was hoping I could speak to your employer, Mr Byron Wittaker. I have something for him that I think he’d be very interested in buying.’
‘I’m very sorry,’ replied Samantha, with professional sincerity, ‘but Mr. Wittaker is very busy at the mo-’
‘Is somewhere there, Sam?’ Byron’s childish squeal cut across her polite rebuttal. Moments later, he was at her side, his curly blonde mop peeking out past the door.
‘Who’s this guy?’ asked Byron, recoiling at the sight of the well-dressed giant. Broderick’s already wide smile stretched to even greater proportions, so that the pointed ends of his grin met the fleshy lobes of his ears. Broderick tipped his hat to Byron and waved the giant metal case below the millionaire’s nose.
‘Mr. Whittaker,’ rasped Broderick, ‘I was hoping to speak to you! I’ve got something here that I think you’d be very interested in buying!’
‘Oh?’ Byron tilted his head and gave the man a friendly but puzzled smile, ‘what’s that then?’
‘Mr. Whittaker,’ Samantha interrupted, quietly, ‘you’ve got a meeting with your Financial Advisor in an hour. I don’t think we really have the time-’
‘Don’t be silly, Sam!’ cried Byron, ‘we’ve got a couple of minutes to spare! Let’s hear him out-I have to say, I’m very interested to see what’s inside that big shiny box! Come inside, Mr. Broderick. Sam, could you make us both a cup of tea?’
‘Let’s get down to business,’ said Broderick, once Samantha had prepared a pot of tea for the two men. They were sitting in one of Byron’s many spare bedrooms. Bryon had plonked himself down on a giant red bean bag and was sipping his cut of tea through a long, metal straw. Broderick had balanced his giant frame on the edge of a little footstool and was using his giant metal case as a makeshift coffee table.
‘Mr. Whittaker,’ croaked Broderick, ‘I’m very much aware of your current financial predicament. Let’s not concern ourselves with the hows and why’s, the point is: I know your Father’s company is in a very bad way. I also know that you yourself are on the edge of financial ruin and that your fellow men-of-business are looking to carve up your family’s estate amongst themselves. Let’s not worry about how I know these things. Once you just accept that I do know these things, we can talk about what I have to offer you.’
‘And, what do you have to offer me?’ said Byron. Samantha could tell by the glazed expression on his face that he had already accepted the strange insight that Broderick seemed to possess regarding his own state of affairs. Samantha licked her lips. The air in Byron’s spare bedroom had gone quite cold.
Broderick grinned. As graceful as a swan, he placed his little cup of tea on the floor and, with a flourish of his thick, hairy claws, snapped open the lock of the giant, metal case. There was a powerful hissing sound and, suddenly, the room was filled with thick clouds of white smoke. Byron coughed and whimpered for somebody to open the window. Samantha gagged, tears streaming down her face. In the midst of the thick curtains of smoke she saw the huge black blot of Broderick, reaching into the open case. Samantha rushed over to Byron’s window and threw it open, retching.
The smoke-curtains drifted apart. Broderick was sitting on the little stool, grinning from ear to ear. In his massive hands he held a strange contraption. It looked like a glass dome with a thick silvery base. Out of the bottom of this metal base sprouted dozens and dozens of wires, some of which trailed off, disappeared into the recesses of his large metal case. Inside the dome was a thick mass of bloated, pink-grey flesh. It took Samantha several moments to realise what she was looking at and, when she did, she screamed.
It was a brain.
A human brain.
Broderick chuckled with delight as Samantha screamed in horror and Byron gaped in bewilderment.
‘I have a solution, Mr. Whittaker!’ cried Broderick, his eyes rolling with excitement.