September 2022

Back to Issue 12

Benny from Boom

By Keith Nunes

Benny van Diemen is from the suburb of Bosstraat in Boom, Belgium,

where today it’s 17C and partly cloudy.


He once worked in one of the many brick factories in the area, which

boasts first class Rupelian clay.


Boom is notable for hosting the largest annual dance music festival in

the world, Tomorrowland.


The city dates back to around the year 1300. The people of

Boom, Bomenaar’s, venerate a statue of the Lady of Boom, although

no-one can explain why or when the veneration  began, but 

prize-winning baker Stoph van Zeest reckons she was the mistress of

the great Charles the Bold, who boldly stole wives and girlfriends at

the point of his expensive swords.


Benny has been killing rats. His business is built on dead rats.

His rat-killing efficacy is legendary.


He’s the only lauded ‘serial killer’ in the district. There are one or two

others but they’re being sought by the police.


The Antwerp district’s police crime clearance rate is one of the

highest in the Lowland countries, mainly because they’ve become

adept at framing vagrants and drug addicts for crimes they haven’t



But they leave Benny alone because Benny also has a high clearance

rate – he kills, on average, 190 rats a day.


He built his own crematorium for the vermin he slaughters,

thereby cutting out the middle-man.


Benny is dating Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester, a Danish member of

the British royal family, or so he says.


Truth is, his Birgitte is a dog breeder who works for

Animates in the neighbouring town of Mechelen, where Ludwig van

Beethoven’s family originated, hence the ‘van’ instead of the usual

German ‘von’. 


“I play piano accordion,” she tells Benny on their first Euro-Trash 

Matchmaking Agency date.


“I love the accordion music,” he says, not mentioning till later in their

dating life that his mother was murdered with a piano accordion by

her lover while she was married to Benny’s father, whose accordion

was used in the heinous crime.


A young musician neighbour, hearing the accordion being banged

loudly, had taken note of the keys being rendered and wrote a

song, which later hit the top of the pop charts in Belgium.


He called the tune, ‘It’s murder getting up in the morning’.


The songwriter, Joss van Joos, became very rich and retired to a farm

near Boom where he has Benny kill the rats that infest his barn.


“He has the knack,” says Joss, in a radio advert Benny has been

running locally.


Benny finally asked Birgitte to marry him while they were listening to

Joss van Joos’s big hit one Sunday after an enormous lunch.


Birgitte said “No”.