Sunday Short Story – Sheep May Safely Graze

‘Daaad, that’s disgusting, it’s still oozing blood.’

‘You can’t beat a rare 16 ounce steak, it’s your sawdust burger that looks disgusting.’

‘At least I’m not eating a sentient being.’

‘He’s not sentient anymore, besides, he had a good life roaming free and eating all that lush Scottish grass.’

‘You mean he was one of the unlucky ones, castrated, never destined to be the prize bull.’

‘That’s life…’

‘Even the prize bulls are herbivores; if they can turn grass into muscle, why do humans need meat?’

‘Your daughter’s right Geoff, even if you don’t care about the animals you eat, you need to care about your health.’

‘…and I am eating all the delicious veggies you cooked to go with my juicy steak.’

‘But you had egg and bacon for breakfast and a huge ham sandwich for lunch.’

‘From outdoor reared pigs, I thought that was okay. Humans have always been omnivorous, that is why the human race will always survive… Phew, is it me or is it hot in here. I’ll take the dog out and enjoy a death stick, ha ha.’

‘Daad, I thought you were going to try vaping.’

‘That’s for teenagers, sucking in steam that smells like a sweet shop, my grandfather smoked forty a day and…’

‘…lived to be a hundred, yes Dad, you have told us that a hundred times.’

‘Your father’s been a while.’

‘Probably chatting to next door, his smoking buddy…. Oh it’s okay, I can hear Rex… why is he barking like that?’

Geoff opened his eyes, the dreadful pain had disappeared. The sun shone in his eyes, but that couldn’t be right, it was a dark autumn evening in Mildred Avenue and where had that stupid mutt gone? Green fields, rolling hills, a meandering river, reminded him of that Scottish holiday. Peaceful, the air so fresh, no sound but the bleating of sheep. He stood up and took a few shaky steps; he had lost his glasses somewhere, but his eyesight was perfect. Sheep dotted up on the hills, cattle grazing by the river, this was paradise, but what had happened to his house, his road? Was he in a film set, or in heaven? No, there was a farmhouse in the distance, best to ask there.

No sooner had he thought this than he was there, in the yard, chickens pecking around him, a sheepdog lying in the sun, a sow brushed past, followed by her piglets.

‘Hello, anyone around?’

‘So you have arrived Geoff.’

He couldn’t see where the voice was coming from. ‘How do you know my name, who is this speaking?’

‘Your long suffering guardian angel.’

‘Ha, ha. Very funny. Am I dreaming, fell asleep on the sofa watching Countryfile?’

‘No, you’re dead.’

‘You’ll be telling me next I’m in heaven.’

‘You are, though it’s not your heaven.’

‘Whose is it then? Don’t tell me the Jehovah’s Witnesses were right all along, are there lions here?’

‘All God’s creatures, you are just seeing all the ones you have eaten.’

It dawned on him with a mixture of relief and fear; he was in intensive care, his wife and daughter must be feeling smug. All that nagging about him being an obese middle aged chap, vulnerable to Covid, going down the pub and not social distancing. Hallucinations, that’s what happened when they put you in an induced coma, not so bad, but he must not relax. He would show them, he would get better; if Boris and Trump could recover, so would he. His hallucination was still rabbiting on.

‘Your daughter was right all along. The answer is reincarnation, it’s time for you to go to your next life.’

Two could play at this game, he hadn’t finished with this life yet. ‘Okay Gabriel, or whatever your name is, who will I be next time?’

‘A pig; but don’t worry, you have earned a dispensation as you were not a bad husband and did not commit any crimes against humanity. You are about to be born in a muddy Hampshire field, suckled by a healthy sow, playing with your siblings till it’s time to go into the barn to be fattened up.’

Silly Saturday on Sunday – Supermarket Slash

Do you envy your mother or grandmother who just had to plan what to have for dinner that would be nourishing for her family? In that mythical time people talk about on Facebook – ‘I’m glad I grew up in the fifties, forties, thirties, 1890s etc.’ When everybody was happy and knew what they were having for dinner; roast on Sunday and the other six days a regular weekly roster that surely included a hearty stew and bangers and mash. We still have to eat, but the happiness of our families is the least of our worries.

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Do you dare to take part in Supermarket Slash? It’s the same as Supermarket Dash only you have to put as little as possible in your trolley.

First Stop meat aisle. If you are a vegetarian go straight to the next aisle.

If you are a carnivore have you got a good reason to be one?

FOR: We know humans are omnivorous and can eat anything, that is why they live all over the world and over the millennia have tried every diet going from blood to berries.

AGAINST: In a recent documentary viewers were shocked to discover that meat actually comes from killed animals; one person’s pet is another person’s dinner.

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Still going down the meat aisle? Is that chicken free range, was that pig outdoor reared before he was chopped. You have found a nice free range chicken and some Scottish beef, but how is it wrapped? Can that packaging be recycled?

Take your empty trolley and catch up with the vegetarians on the dairy aisle. Feel smug because scientists told us we were misinformed for decades about margarine – it’s bad, natural is better. But is that milk organic, does it come in a plastic bottle? Cheese omelette for dinner, but what about the hens, were they battery operated?

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Catch up with the vegans in grains and pulses aisle. Can’t go wrong here, or can you? How much precious water does it take to grow rice? Go straight to tofu, but how many acres of lush dairy pasture or verdant forest have to be ploughed up to grow enough tofu? Jams and spreads, what could go wrong here, a peanut butter sandwich would be filling, but read the ingredients – palm oil is OUT, put the jar back and search for 100% peanuts.

How many items do you have in your trolley, don’t go to the checkout yet, have you scrutinised the ingredients on every packet and tin for hidden sugar and dodgy additives?

If you have anything left there is one more consideration. How did all the food get to the supermarket? In big diesel guzzling trucks…

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You are out of the game, go home and start all over again. Follow the recent advice from the Chief Medical Officer on combating childhood obesity; eat only that which you have killed or grown yourself; in certain circumstances it is acceptable to pick up road kill. If going out hunting is not really your scene you could rescue some chickens from a battery farm; you would still have to kill them when their laying days were over, but it will not be so hard to catch them.

Let us know how you get on.

Friday Flash Fiction 150 – Whistleblower

It is easy to kill a man, not so easy to dispose of the body.

I never believed Tom had just left town, nor did his distraught wife, but there was no evidence of foul play.

Tom had evidence, he showed it to me; pictures on his phone, paperwork saved from the shredder. His supervisor told him to keep quiet, let the authorities do their inspections, it was not worth us all losing our jobs.

I was his supervisor.

I don’t believe our boss is a bad man, but he had become a small link in a long chain.

I had no intention of being a whistleblower, I know how easy it is for someone to disappear at Sunny Farm meat processing factory.

Now the men in white boiler suits are here to close us down; if I tell the police about Tom, can they guarantee my safety? No.

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