Short Story Month: Dare you gaze into the Cockney abyss?

Andy Capp (Short Story Month #19)

There’s nothing funnier than a wife-beating drunk, is there? Nope. Except: what if said individual is also an unrepentant serial killer? Ah, there’s the comedy sweet spot.

Since the dawn of time, the lovable rogue Andy Capp has tickled our collective funny bones through a sui generis picaresque of Cockney accents, alcoholism, spousal abuse, unemployment, gambling, and rugby. Yet we’ve rarely (if ever) been allowed a look beneath the omnipresent flat cap that eternally conceals his mince pies (read: eyes) from the reader.

And for good reason: like fellow low-hats Beetle Bailey and Dumb Donald (although Donald saw fit to carve eyeholes into his pink stocking hat, the better to spark terror in the victim), to dare gaze into the bloodshot orbs of The Capp is to get a glimpse into the naked soul of Apollyon. Within him lurk the corrosive spirits of myriad daemons, dybbuks, jinn, and killers: Asag the fish boiler; Andhaka the abductor; Belial the worthless; Suanggi the cannibal; Jack the Ripper; Ted Bundy.

At first, Andy the Capped began his spree for the money alone; not for an honest days work is ol’ Andy. Yet after a time he discovered he had not only a knack for the old ultraviolence but a genuine lust for blood. Now he terrorizes East Enders as he adds  tongues, eyeballs, and spleens to his trophy case, and woe to the person who dares walk the night unaccompanied or unarmed.

Here, our poor victim gets off lightly, forced to inhale the water of the Thames until he quickly expires. If he’d not been skint, Andy would have taken his time, pulling the man into a nearby alley to lovingly harvest his skin, humming God Save the Queen all the while.