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Beneath the red slate roof Horace steamed a large copper pan of mussels. The wooden spoon in his other hand stirred the white wine sauce. That bastard Baptiste at the market always sold him putrid pitiful mussels, but tonight they were plump and delicious.

Horace brought out three plates of seafood. Under the bulbous red pitted nose of Baptiste the sweet garlic and parsley vapours rose. A plate for Baptiste’s wife. And his little six-year-old daughter too, pretty pink bows in her flaxen hair.

Birds flew over the market in the tiny French town. That swine Jean-Paul fingered through the garments, his nostrils arched, his lip curled. ‘Horace, you fool! I can give you nothing more than three francs for these rags.’ Horace did not accept the offer of the horrid hook-nosed trader, for the garments were the finely-stitched silks of a fat oyster.

At that bastard Baptiste’s house the garments were scattered using cotton gloves. The seafood merchant still sat naked at the table, bloated, along with his wife and daughter. Jean-Paul’s fingerprints were pressed into the silks. And the steamy poisonous sauce filled the whole room and the kitchen where the crimson cook lay.