Igor wended his weary way up the hill to the castle. He had been to the gym, a tiring end to a very tiring day off. He looked down at his old trainers. His toes were poking out through the front. And no wonder, on the pittance the Count paid him.
He hated being a limping. slightly sinister, stooped, hand wringing servant, he had always wanted to be a hairdresser.
As a boy, he had enjoyed practicing his art on the long haired goats on a neighbouring farm. They were the most elegantly coiffed animals in the village. The farmer was puzzled at first when a goat would approach one of his fences sporting a pink shaggy perm or a platinum blonde spiky crop. He assumed it was caused by the seeds from genetically modified crops growing among his grass. It hadn't seemed to have affected the milk, though. That was the main thing.
Igor's father...Igor, had been horrified when learning his son's ambition.
''Son, you will be the Count's limping, stooped, slightly sinister, hand-wringing servant.'' he had said, It's expected of you. My father was, and my father's father, and my father's father's fath....''
''Stop!'' Igor had said. He didn't want all fourteen generations recited. It would take all night and dad would be late for work.
''Dad, It's my dream. And I'm very talented. Have you seen Karl Muller's goats? I could win competitions, be stylist to the stars, open a world famous salon....'' He tailed off. He knew it was no use. It was his fate to follow in dad's footsteps,
Well, that had been many years ago. On the day his father had wrung his hands for the last time, Igor the 15th had trudged up the hill to the castle, and had been doing so daily except for alternate Wednesdays, ever since.
It wasn't a difficult job, and it wasn't challenging. All he really had to do was answer the door, making sure that his stoop was sufficiently low, his limp pronounced enough, that he wrung his hands correctly, and spoke in a suitably sinister manner. However, there were drawbacks. All this limping, hand-wringing and long term stooping played havoc with his posture, which is why he had recently joined the fitness studio. He also had to take care not to look too sinister when he was off duty. It played havoc with the old social life.
His other duties were to lock up, keep the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses away - the master and mistress weren't keen on them, for some reason - and cook the odd meal. The master and mistress didn't eat much. No wonder they were both so slim, he thought.
He reached the servants' entrance to the castle, and went into his stoop. He had to, anyway, because his door was only three feet high. Still, it served as a reminder. On his first day at work he had gone in via the main door, and Mrs Smeralda had been rather alarmed to see a six-foot three man enter the hall. The master had given him stiff talking to.
He limped through the doorway, his hands clasped, ready to begin wringing and donned his best sinister expression. But he could not help thinking that life could have been so different, had he defied his father and followed his dream of crimpers and straighteners, precision cutting and razoring. He sighed.
As he approached the scullery he almost straightened up in surprise. There were strange voices behind the door. Women's voices. He tried the door. It was locked!
''Be patient there, you guys.'' said one of the voices. ''Won't be long now. All good things take time, you know. It'll be worth the wait.''
He sniffed the air, wringing his hands, out of habit, and grimacing.
One thing was for certain. The master and mistress would not be happy. The smell of garlic was almost overpowering.