Bank Manager Makeover

The new and improved, digitally remastered and re-branded, The Killing of a Bank Manager; it’s got a new cover. And to celebrate, here’s an extract from the Paul Kavanagh classic.


Mr. Walker ran a chubby thumb over the rosaceous labyrinth that dappled his bulbous nose. Lovely beef that, he rhapsodised, with the charm of a salesmen, the blood smeared over his white jacket did not distress him, nor the huge cleaver smeared and dripping. He overtly enjoyed selling. The man was built like a cathedral. Mr. Walker’s rubicund cheeks fluttered with laughter. The air he expelled was filled with cooked meats that emanated from his gut. The Son’s face spoke of Saturday football matches, smoky boozers and loud betting shops.

The bell tolled and entered Mrs. Duggan on unsteady legs. The old woman smiled and finally loosened her grip upon her bag. The police are confused, they haven’t a clue, they’ve no ideas, Mrs. Duggan said. They’ll get him, Mr. Walker said, wiping his hands clean upon his apron. They always do. They should remove his testes, Mrs. Duggan said, removing her purse from her bag. I could do that service for them, Mr. Walker said grinning, holding heavenward a very long sharp knife dripping in blood and piss. All three brayed with laughter. Where’s that lovely boy? Mrs. Duggan asked looking beyond Mr. Walker’s shadow.

Meticulously, in two white sheets, gleaming, Mr. Walker wrapped the tripe safely. A Detective Bob Collinsworth was on the television with a parade of dead girls behind him, Mrs. Duggan said, removing a crisp note from the gaping purse. What is this world coming to? Mr. Walker said, removing the crisp note from between trembling fingers. One bomb here and one bomb there, off, off, they go, the Son chirped. He removes their heads, Mrs. Duggan said collecting the parcel. Mr. Walker quickly calculated with pencil on a gleaming white sheet of paper. He fumbled with his fat fingers, picking out the right coins.

Human sacrifice, the Son said. Be quiet dolt, Mr. Walker said handing over the rattling coins to Mrs. Duggan. Lovely, tripe that. Lovely, with milk and onions. Eying the scattered coins in her trembling hand Mrs. Duggan, frowning, complained, I remember when you could get a cartful for thruppence. Those were the days, Mr. Walker bellowed, beaming.

The cooked meat moves down the gullet into darkness, grinding, chewing, digesting, regurgitating, long, twisting tube, a tube from the mouth to the anus, mouth, stomach, and small intestine, mucosa, gorging upon waste, produce digestive juices, the liver and the pancreas, cooked meat, teeth quickly chew, a journey down the esophagus into the stomach, and then the small intestine, dissolves into the juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine, propelled into the colon, where it remains, until the faeces is expelled by a bowel movement.

The door flew open and in huge strides entered an irascible customer. Mr. Walker smiled, waved goodbye to the shuffling excited old lady, and disappeared swiftly with a craving for a cigarette leaving only the Son at the counter. Sausages, the customer barked eying pugnaciously the lackadaisical Son.

Like clockwork
they are,
thought Henry.


Three years, three long bloody years of cutting up bulls, cows, oxen, pigs, sheep, goats, lambs, chickens, roosters, turkeys, and ducks, three long years of blood, of cutting through muscles, tendons, heart, arteries, veins, eyes, nose, lips, gums, teeth, throat, windpipe, oesophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small and large intestine, bronchial tubes, lungs, brain, spinal cord, nerves, etc. etc., three long years of watching blood turn from red to brown, three long years of the reek of iron in the nostrils. Three long bloody years of slicing, cutting, hacking, sawing, but those three years of slicing, cutting, hacking, sawing would now pay off, for bulls hearts look like man’s heart, cows livers look like man’s liver, oxen arteries look like man’s arteries, pigs veins look like man’s veins, sheep stomachs look like man’s stomach, goats lungs look like man’s lungs, lambs eyes look like man’s eyes, chickens feet look like man’s feet, roosters windpipes look like man’s windpipe, turkeys lips look like man’s lips, and ducks nerves look like man’s nerves.


Villains, bad guys, bastards, blackguards, brutes, caitiffs, creeps, criminals, devils, dirty dogs, enfant terribles, evildoers, knaves, libertines, lowlifes, malefactors, mischief-makers, miscreants.
(Henry stopped).
The goat for man symbolises the darkside, the horny, sex-crazed self. No man likes to admit to himself that he is subservient, a slave, a slobbering slave, fundamentally subservient to his penis, what is the penis, only a mass of nerve endings, the second most grotesque appendage, the tongue being the first, thus man created a symbol to soften the blow, the humiliation, the inevitable, a scapegoat. Pan, a lecherous god, is always portrayed with the physiognomy of the goat. Pan was an Akadian god, one of the goatish Panes. The Panes were depicted as goat-footed men, with the tails, bushy beards, snub noses, pointed ears and horns of a goat. As horny, sex-crazed fertility spirits, they were often depicted with erect members.
(Dante says that Adam and Eve’s paradise lasted only six hours, whereas I say Henry and Laura’s paradise lasted six minutes.)
O how the subconscious speaks, filled with jealousy, hate and lust. His eyes travelled lugubriously up those legs, he couldn’t, he couldn’t he wouldn’t but he did, her knees, he stopped.
What’s the book? he asked.
Hamlet, she answered. Me teacher says it’s the greatest play ever.
I don’t get it, Hamlet is the hero, but he kills Polonius which causes the death of the girl he loved.
All books, good books as well as bad books, big books, little books, clever books, stupid books, books with pictures, books without pictures, but Henry could not find the book that he wanted to present to Laura. Henry was banging into everything like a blind Polyphemus. He couldn’t get past Amir Khusrau Anvari Asadi, Firdausi Bahar Omar Khayyam Sana Iqbal Parvin Sa’di Jami.
The dank reek of books found no egress for the door was closed. Henry pinched his nostrils together and breathed in quick succession through his mouth until he thought he could handle the mildew.

The Romans not only ransacked Greece but also produced copies of Greek sculptures. Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Klee and Matisse have been prodigiously forged.
Henry kept away from Modern Art.
Blah blah blah … Foucault, blah blah blah … Roland Barthes blah blah blah … You know there was once an epoch where windbags were mocked.
Lucian mocked Socrates, he mocked Plato. In Lucian’s Symposium, the diners get blinding drunk, tell smutty tales and behave badly.
The House Fly, Musca Domestica Linn., Its Structure, Habits, Development, Relation to Disease and Control by W. D. Hunter.
On a heuristic viewpoint concerning the production and transformation of light.

Henry surveyed the rows of books, the hardwood floor, the filthy ceiling, he straightened his back, he lifted himself upon his tiptoes, being upright, he was presented with a different room, a list of books that he had planned on reading some time in the future, books he knew he had to read and books he knew would change his outlook on life, Leon Battista Alberti, Euclid’s Optica, Nostradamus, Vitruvius’ Ten Books on Architecture, John Pecham’s Perspectiva communis and finally Bacon’s Opus Majus.

Photographs of The Seine, The Eiffel Tower, The Palais Garnier, Stéphane Mallarmé, Avenue de Clichy, Gauguin & Van Gogh, Père Lachaise, Jacques-Louis David, Honoré de Balzac, Eiffel Rive Gauche, Rue du Gros Caillou, Musée du Quai Branly, Arc de Triomphe, Montparnasse, Degas’s Little Dancer. Maybe, one day she would go and live with him in Paris.

Outside on the High Street the homeless lined the way like Olympian Gods, inert, inanimated, cold marble, and not living. Nobody really saw them, but their metaphysical presence could be felt. Larry the owner of Chaucer Secondhandbooks watched Henry closely as he hurried from book to book. Write what you know, the intellectual Alex Nash said readjusting the thick spectacles. Homer was blind, Petronius was blind drunk, and Marlowe was simply drunk, Larry rhapsodised, craning his neck around a tower of books. Did Shakespeare ever travel to the Americas? Henry found himself looking at a book of love poetry. No way could he purchase such a book. We are here, we eat, we defecate, we are no more, Larry said, quickly blinking.
The same with the word.
Yes. How many times has the word yes been used?
Recycled … a wheel of repetition.

The Killing of a Bank Manager by Paul Kavanagh is out now.

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