The dining room of the Myrmecology club was abuzz with talk of the latest controversial membership decision as Mr. Musings sat down to take tea with his old school chum, Mr. Butterworth, at their usual table. After they had exchanged the customary pleasantries, the friends partook in a brief debate about whether it was ethically justified for the election committee to admit Lord Charmley, just because the man knew a thing or two about ants.
“I don’t like it. He’s not the right sort. Never much of a sportsman.”
“Plays a bit of gin rummy now and again, I understand.”
“Oh does he? Perhaps I have misjudged the old fellow.”
After this essential matter was dealt with, Mr. Butterworth cleared his throat before uttering,
“I’m a horse.”
This came as more than a slight surprise to Mr. Musings, who had of course noticed his friend’s distinctive physiognomy, but had assumed that his broad features were of the kind regularly encountered in those who have spent any length of time on the rugby pitch, and a long face was a trait common to many noble families. Butterworth’s large eyes and long eyelashes, much admired by ladies, had always been coveted by Musings.
“Good heavens! So you are.”
“Does it bother you?”
“Not at all. Must be awfully nice.”
“Oh yes, it is.”
“Running through the open fields and all that…”
“Oh certainly, that is rather pleasant.”
Mr. Musings tried to consider the all of the implications of his friend’s admission. Fortunately, he had an extensive knowledge of all things equine.
“Would you not prefer your tea from a trough? Perhaps a bucket?”
“That would be considerably simpler, wouldn’t it? It’s awfully difficult to drink from these delicate china cups. Always toppling them over. Pay a fortune in damages. Why, it’s brilliant! Never even considered it. How delightfully simple! What a brainy fellow you are! I can always rely on you, T-S.”
Satisfied that he had now demonstrated the high degree of tolerance and understanding he had for his friend’s condition, Mr. Musing’s attention returned to his tea. He always found himself especially thirsty after any length of time spent deep in thought.
At that moment, a small man in an elegant green smoking jacket was sworn in and shown to a table occupied by several patrons that were all equally long in the jowl. His mouth was cruel, his nose extensive, and his moustache over-trimmed. He positively reeked of the continent.
“Hello, a new member perhaps?” said Mr. Musings, motioning towards the stranger with his teacup. At the sight of the aforementioned individual Mr. Butterworth was clearly taken aback, a spasm knotting his face to reveal a good portion of his gums. Once he had recovered and taken a moment to collected himself, he stood.
“Pardon me, there is something that I need to attend to.”
“I will be back momentarily. Shan’t be long.”
“Take your time, old hor… good fellow. Please don’t rush on my account.”
Mr. Butterworth’s gaze never wavered from the stranger in the green coat as he made his way across the room, dishing out polite pardons to those he accidently bumped into on the way, and, being uncommonly wide, he often found himself doing so (he was a horse after all). Mr. Musings, watching on with interest, wondered if his friend was previously acquainted with the chap he now approached with such determination.
When he finally reached his destination, Butterworth gently nudged the man in the green jacket on the shoulder with his snout. The stranger turned around, and only managed to produce a pathetic whimper before Mr. Butterworth knocked him on his ear with considerable violence.
Several of the younger patrons turned around with interest at this spectacle, but many of the more established members continued drinking their milky tea and dunking their soldiers into their boiled eggs, as they always did, without any sign of stirring whatever.
Butterworth, eyes wide and nostrils flared, produced a piercing whinny before proceeding to stamp on the stranger. His brutal blows tore into the man’s stomach, broke his legs, and finally crushed his cranium; which caved in like a slightly undercooked egg under the spoon of an especially vigorous older patron. When the beating ceased, Butterworth’s hooves were caked with viscera, yellowed with fat, and dripping with blood.
“Must have known the fellow” Mr. Musings said to himself, curiosity satisfied, as he placed his cup gently to his lips once again.