"The Mad Licker" 

“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.

    “Bill- I’ve a bit of bad news for you I’m afraid.”

    “You’re full of bad news, what the hell do you mean, clean freak?” Bill snapped, but he was softening thinking about poor old Daisy- probably somebody’s grandmother. However, he had licked her, he had licked her just the same.

    “It’s about your last victim Bill …Daisy,” Stickweiler baited the Mild but Mad Licker.

    Daisy?” Bill said, seeing the woman’s face off in the distance through his tears and the glaze of a fordone licker. “Did you say Daisy? What about Daisy, sanipad?”

    Stickweiler bristled at the derogatory term, often used against Sanitarian State officials, but he would have revanche; he breathed deep… and then lied.

    “Ms. Daisy Constantine, 89 years of age, died yesterday due to toxigenic bacteria.” Stickweiler and the assault team covered their mouthpieces to stifle snickers.

    “Died? Died? How could she die? I just licked her for Chrissakes,” Mild Bill felt as if a horse had kicked his head, or as if he’d been licked, himself.  He was licked… just like his victims. He was licked. And that poor old Daisy…

    “She died Bill. It happens. Bacteria kills. Now open the door, it’s over.” This wasn’t so much a command as just the next line in a script playing out. The door would open.

    Mild Bill stood up, unlatched all three locks, glanced at some of the areas of the door he had licked bare, and stepped backwards to the middle of the room; and there he stood stonily, awaiting his fate.

    Stickweiler entered.

    The Sanitarian Assault Team swarmed in around him and begirded the Mad Licker. They were outfitted for germ warfare, but with some exception for mobility. The smaller respirators were being employed because Bill was considered only a Level Two Bacterial Risk. His medical records had been reviewed and he was disease free and in fairly good health according to Vector Inspectors. They figured his breath was probably even minty.

    “William Mosley: State Vector Number 17” Stickweiler said, his compassion from behind the door melting away, “you are hereby to be neutralized before you are tried for the safety of the State, and those who will be forced to deal with your filth.” Stickweiler stopped reading and instructed his team, “The titanium stock, now.”

    Mild Bill was bewildered with the odd looking contraption that appeared from nowhere. It was a four-foot hand held stock, which locked the head and hands within girdled enclosures: a domino center left the Vectors mouth exposed.

    “I never meant to kill anybody,” Bill garbled peccantly.

    “The old lady didn’t die you fool,” Stickweiler laughed, “Sanitarian tactics Bill, that’s all. She suffered some gastric distress thanks to you, but she’s alive and kickin. And she says she wants your tongue Bill, and we aim to give it to her.”

    “What!” Mild Bill’s eyes grew behind the mail.

    “Sanitarian People’s Republic protocol, Bill. Suspected Vectors like yourself…and I said suspected… will be neutralized by total glossectomy on capture; it’s a safety precaution Bill. You’re a dangerous fella with that muscle in your mouth. You must be one of those leftist bleeding hearts who still believes in petting, or…kissing…or even copulation?” Stickweiler removed a hawksbill knife from his bioware suit.

    “Yes!” Bill shrieked; the Licker became mad. “I do! And throat diving! And all unhygienic acts! I’ll suck toes! Lick wounds…analingus! I’ll lick you, you pristine bastard!”

    Mild Bill’s disease surfaced wholly then, with a fiercely flicking and spatterous tongue; madness gazed through the stock at the knife, and the cheek above the respirator.    O’ to lick!

    Bill’s last words were not juste for the terminal Licker, for not only was Stickweiler a devout defender of the State, but he also had his own neurosis concerning cleanliness. He was a germicidal compulsive who never touched another human being. The mere thought of a lick was intolerable to his system. The Mad Licker’s neutralization went badly, and he died…eventually.

    Ms. Constantine was actually an evil old bitch, who rejoiced at the news of Bill’s capture and repeated her request for the tongue. She was denied. She accidentally spit on Stickweiler while wrongfully assuming he was the Complaint Department, like are found in most sterile stores.

    She was neutralized.

    The Sanitarians never compromise.

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