Dead Meat

I wrote this story some time ago as part of a writer’s workshop. I decided to open the story with dialog and as I continued to write, the dialog just kept flowing.  So, I let it flow! It was just as much fun to write as it is to read! Enjoy!

Butcher's counter

“Mel, you have nothing to worry about.  Just relax.  If you look nervous, they’ll know!”

“I can’t help it. I’ve never done anything like this before.  Are you sure no one will notice?”

“Positive.  I’ve been doing this once a month for the last year and I haven’t been caught yet.  Just act like you are checking prices.  Do a lot of inspecting so you look like a serious shopper.”

“Oh! Excuse me.”

“What?”

“I get a little windy when I’m nervous.  Sorry!”

“Mel!”

“I can’t help it Lynn!  We could go to jail!  Do you know what happens to women like us on the inside??? Do you?!”

“Mel…don’t make me slap you!  Calm down! Here…sniff some of this lavender and pull yourself together!!  I knew I shouldn’t have brought you.  Pastor’s wife’s thought you could handle this.”

“The Pastor’s wife?!  You brought the Pastor’s wife!!!!  We’re all going to hell!  You’ve corrupted the Pastor’s wife.”

“Are you kidding me?  She’s the one who told me about it!”

“What?!  Oh my gosh…oh-my-gosh! I’m involved with a cult!”

“Mel! I’m going to explain this to you one more time!  The people who own the place are blind!  Can’t see a thing and they’re deaf.  They wear hearing aid’s but Lester, the guy they hired to help them, takes them out.  He is also hired as their security guard.  He is the only sighted person here.  They treat him like dirt.  They pay him $20 a week to keep an eye on the store.”

“Lynn, he’s getting paid.  It’s not great pay, but he gets money for his services.  I don’t see how they are harming him.”

“Well let me tell you: he has to get here at 4am every morning, fix them breakfast, bathe them, drive them to doctor appointments on his dime, open and close the shop, and he’s security!  This is how he balances things out.”

“Oh Lynn, this doesn’t feel right.  It doesn’t seem right at all.  He looks happy, they look well taken care of.  Maybe we should just talk with them and see if they can’t do something to lower their prices.”

“I didn’t want to say anything, but this business has been willed to the church when the owners pass.  Right now they are the only butcher shop in the area.  We would have to travel at least 30 miles outside of town before we found reasonable prices.  Trust me, this is the best option.  The last time the community made a fuss about meat prices, everything in here went up by 10%.  Trust me Mel, we are handling this the right way.  We’re just waiting for the old bitties to croak and then the church will have another source of income.  Now, listen.  I’m going to hand you the packs of ground meat. Put them in your belly pouch.  You do have the belly pouch, right?”

“Yes.  I-I have it on.”

“Great!  Remember…meat side out!”

“Hail Mary! Full of grace…”

“Mel?”

“Hmm?”

“We are Baptist! Not Catholic!  Why are you saying ‘Hail Mary?’”

“Sorry! It was the first prayer to come to mind!”

“Quit praying and start stuffing, woman!  Hurry up!  He’s giving me the signal that they are coming over.  I won’t tell you what happened the last time someone was caught stealing from them.”

“Something happened to people? Were they hurt? What happened?! I can’t go to jail!  I don’t want to be bunk-mates with some 6 foot tall tattooed woman named Tiny! I’m a good girl! I don’t even have a parking ticket on my record and now this!”

KEEP STUFFING!!!!

“Hello Lynn! I thought that was you! How are you doing sweetie?”

“Hi Ms. Liz! I’m doing just fine! How are you feeling? I heard you were in the hospital for a few days. “

“Oh, I’m fine sweetie!  Nothing serious.  I was careless and tripped over my cat in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.  Thank God for Lester.  He was sleeping on the floor in the hallway, just in case I needed him. He broke my fall, but poor Mittens…”

“Mitten’s was hurt Ms. Liz? Will she be ok?”

Let’s just say she’s in a better place now.

“Oh! I’m so sorry to hear she died. She was with you and Miss Ethel for so long!”

“Died? Oh no sweetie! Lester said she ran away when he opened the door to let the paramedics in!  I guess she wanted to preserve her last three lives!! Heh, heh, heh!  So who is your friend here? She’s breathing a little heavy…is she ok?”

“Oh! How rude of me! This is my friend Mel! We go to the same church.  She’s new to the area and she and her husband are expecting their first child together! Isn’t that precious?”

“H-h-h-hi Ms. Liz.  V-v-very nice to meet you.”

“Oh dear! Are you well, child?  I used to be a mid-wife.  Let me feel your belly.  You sound like you might deliver any minute now! Oh my! Your belly feels…well very soft and lumpy!  Let me check your pressure! Your arm! It feels so…so…swollen!  Well, I’ve never seen such a thing! Are you sure this isn’t affecting the baby?”

“Oh! Ummm…well she is a bit of a workout diva and clutz! Her doctor told her not to workout so hard while she was pregnant, but did she listen?! Nooo! Hahahaha!  She was doing a high kick and lost her balance doing a…umm a…tae bo workout! She fell on her side injuring her arm and is suffering a little nerve damage and swelling.  The doctor said she’d be fine.”

“Is she mute, Lynn?”

“Umm…No ma’am…”

“Well, how about we let her speak for herself.  Mel?  How, are you feeling sweetie”

“Umm..uh…I…I no speaka the English..my English not good. Very bad is my English.”

“Oh…dear…well that’s too bad because I have something very important to tell you both.  Lynn, maybe you can translate for Mel.  The truth is, Ethel and I each have one good eye and one good ear.  We hired Lester to balance out our lack of visual and hearing senses.  People steal from us all the time!  It breaks our hearts because we try so hard to keep our prices low, so people don’t have to travel outside of the community for quality food.  Well, we realized not long after hiring Lester, that he was helping the thieves!”

“He’s helping the thieves? Oh the shame!  Why haven’t you fired him or called the authorities?”

“ Well, he’s not the brightest crayon in the box.  We know he’s not the master mind of the thievery that’s been going on over the last year or so.  So we’ve been working with the authorities to pinpoint who is involved and we think we have pretty solid list of all parties involved.”

“Is that so?”

“Oh yes!  Would you like to know names?”

“Well…umm…”

“Come now, Lynn!  These are your neighbors!  People you think you can trust!”

“Umm…I….uh…I would love to say and chat, but we really need to go.  Mel, probably should’nt be standing for this long….she suffers from edema…she probably needs to put her feet up.  Isn’t that right Mel?”

“Sí.”

“That’s too bad, especially since some of these people have already been picked up by the authorities.”

“There have been arrests?!  Who? How did you find out who was stealing?”

“Oh! So glad you asked!  Do you see that big, gold pig head right behind you?”

“Yes…”

“It’s a security camera!  It’s digital and all of the images are stored on our computer at home.  We go over it every evening.  These thieves are so clever!”

Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall

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10 thoughts on “Dead Meat

  1. Reblogged this on Nikewrites Blog and commented:

    It feels wrong to have a favorite piece of work. It’s like saying you have a favorite child!! But this is a story I keep coming back to because it was so much fun to put together! Enjoy!

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