The Red Peeler
by B.J. Thrower
Alice the Shrew was still a fat drab in Hell, where the heat was such a bane she was forced to yank her skirt up her thighs. Sitting on the low stool, she steamed, sweat dripping in the wooden bucket between her chubby, exposed knees. She wished she could take off her skin and sit in her bones.
The familiar dairy kine were the skeletons, though, with sharp horns and rotten udders. One bony bovine stood waiting above the bucket for her deft touch, but milking them was a sick joke!
Directing her ire at the appropriate person, Alice snapped, “Ya ever tried to squeeze a drop from a decayed milch cow, ya putrid varlet? It ain’t easy!”
“Why no, I have not,” said the rumbling voice, with hearty laughter from the Red Peeler. She labelled him that way since his scarlet skin resembled firelight, plus he had big, pokey, red horns too. His black eyes was two twinkling coals. Alice could see quite well that it weren’t unusual in this hot place to have her own knees in plain sight, since this bloody chapman wore even less with a casual, white goods filibeg draped around his midsection. Ankles crossed, propped on an elbow, he lounged on a nearby boulder like it were fancy furniture, instead of a hard-ass rock.
And he made endless demands, like some bold copper with a nightstick. He was a nasty, bossy knave, in her opinion.
In amusement, he added, “Milking is your eternal task, Shrew, for your sins.”
“What sins ya be yammerin’ on about is what I’d like to know!”
Naturally, he had a reply, “General harassment of wizards, to start. When a wizard changed your cows to skeletons for throwing rocks at him, you sold blood-milk dandied-up with spices to the local villagers from your barn. Your herd has accompanied you here, so you may continue your work.”
She snorted. “Ya might think I’m of low condition, some baseborn cottier. But I want ya to picture this, ya nithing, coxcomb lordling: These teats I wrangle? They’s ya dick!”
Bellowing laughter again.