Coat Check [Horror/Drama/Commentary]


This comic has been wonderfully drawn by Hugh Madden – it will be appearing in the upcoming Short, Dark & Peculiar!


4 pages, 4-6 panels per page.


Louise (Lou) is a coat check girl at a semi-upmarket venue – it’s not clear what the event is.

Rich elderly guests enter, leave their coats and leave generous tips. Once they’re all in, she talks to the manager, Javed.

He spots that there’s blood on her hands. It appears that it came from one of the coats. Louise searches and searches, until she turns around holding a human heart in her hand.

Javed and Louise worry that there must be a killer on the loose and this is his coat. They try to deduce who the coat could belong to. Javed prepares to enter the ballroom where the event is underway, to try to identify the owner.

A nice old man appears and says sorry for the trouble – thanks for finding the offering in his coat pocket. He grabs the heart, puts a twenty pound note in the tip jar, then heads back in.

There’s a moment of silence between Lou and Javed. They contemplate whether to see what’s happening in the ballroom.

Louise looks over at the tip jar. “We could…” she says, “But – you know… They tip really well.”


Just to unpack this a bit, what I’d like to convey in this one is that we can very easily get behind the hunt for a single bad person, but when a number of people are doing something questionable, there’s a normalising effect. It’s a bigger problem, harder to deal with, more morally ambiguous – and that makes it all the more tempting to just be grateful for the money these morally ambiguous agents hand over… It’s also a classic story of the middle class that’s paid off (albeit minimally) by the upper class to keep them under the thumb!

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