#11 – Red meat

Welcome! Here is this week’s Flash, posted in the order received.

The theme is Red Meat.

Glass Shrimp by Ziggy Blicharz

MOO by Marcus Speh

The cows turned as I mooed deeply from within my chest. When they began to move towards us, the bull looked nervous and pushed his harem around and away. I mooed again and now a stampede began. I looked at my daughter and before the splendid wild cows reached us, I could see a glimpse of admiration in her eyes: the men in her future would have to be able to moo just like that. Nothing less would do for her, this much was clear.

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Red Meat by Darryl Price

Red as an eye blinking in disbelief.
Red as a mistake you should have
known better than to make. Red as
a moment in a photograph where you
are looking in the wrong direction. Red

as a gift lost in the sand.
Red as a meeting between a man
and a goddess. Red as a letter
curling into its lamenting dream for the
last time ever before the transformation to

ash. Some are only living as blind
fish in a cave of commercials. They
eat theirs with a well-done tongue that
sticks itself out begging for more. Some
are fatter than the stars. While others

are teetering on the brink of repulsion,
picking up the slick plastic edges with
two delicate fingertips at a time. After
the dump it becomes more paper meat,
pink but still red.Still flying bone.

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Stickers by Susan Tepper

So my sister hooks me up with this girl who just got out of the looney bin. I’m not shitting you. Lucinda, the girl’s name. A situation straight out of a horror movie. Except my sister says she’s a very cool girl who got screwed by life.

Anyways… we make a plan to wear red T-shirts and meet near the sign outside Chuckie Cheese.

And she’s not bad from a distance, her blonde hair in a perky pony. I wave and she waves. But then we get close and she’s got these little stickers stuck to her face. A few on her cheeks and three lined up across her forehead.

I’m reading some really small letters and numbers on them. I’m wondering if they’re passes to get in and out of the looney bin— like they stamp your arm to get in a club.

She looks straight through me. “Fruit stickers, if you must know.”

“What?”

She taps her forehead reciting: “Lemon from Chile, Sun World Black Plum, 4038 California avocado.”

“You wear fruit stickers on your face?”

Lucinda smiles beatifically. “I only eat fruits and vegetables.”

I scratch under my T-shirt cursing my sister for setting me up with this sticker chick freak.

“Um. Do you think you could peel them off for the movie?”

She squints. “Why should I?”

It is a good question. I’ll give her that.

She’s waiting; her face looks hungry.

“I believe in meat,” I say.

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Red Meat by Estelle Bruno

I’m waiting at my local train station for the train to take me to the city.
Meeting friends for shopping and lunch.

The train finally comes chugging near my station, blowing that horn,
when it stops suddenly, just before reaching the platform.

It seems someone at that moment decided to jump from behind
some bushes that line next to the tracks.

Jumps, Wham – gone in a split second.

So I’m thinking how many burgers could that red meat make?

But, no buns!

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Slices by Dorothee Lang

It was one of the first things she did after they opened the wall. That’s at least what she told me years later, more than 1000 miles from Berlin, over a meal that started with Carpaccio and ended with Tiramisu.

Back then, in those new, open days of November 1989, she took the bus to Alexanderplatz. From there, she went to the checkpoint that marked the border of her world for decades. Now the passage to the other side of the city was open.

She walked down the once familiar streets of Berlin, walked down Kurfürstendamm, walked through Tiergarten, walked along the street of the 17th June. And finally, walked into a butcher’s shop. Stood there, and gazed at the different kind of sausages.

“And they really are all for sale?” she inquired.

“Ja sicher,” the man behind the counter said, “Yes sure”.

She still couldn’t believe it. She asked for ten slices, each from a different sausage, and explained that she was from the other side.

The man behind the counter cut and wrapped up the slices, and added some salami for free. “From Italy,” he said.

She thanked him, carefully placed the bundle in her bag, and walked back. At Alexanderplatz, she sat down on a bench. Her feet hurt, but she didn’t care. She opened the bundle, and savoured the slices, slowly, one after the other. She made it as far as the fourth before she broke down in tears.

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His toe began throbbing and he flung the bed sheets off of him. The
mattress creaked as he sat up in bed. His head pounded and he felt
faint when he tried to stand. He lay back on the bed and watched the
blades of the fan whir above him. The episode finally passed and he
fell asleep.

The next day, he had dinner at a steakhouse. He cut his tenderloin
into cubes until a thin layer of blood coated the plate. His heart
beat quickened as he took the first bite. He chewed quickly and
swallowed and cleared his palate with a swig of beer. He leaned back
on his chair, content and satiated.

He stayed up late that night, guzzling one beer after another, and
awoke to sunshine. He smiled. No pain. The doctors were all wrong. He
wouldn’t have to change his diet. He celebrated by lighting the grill.

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Red Dreams by Al McDermid

It was the same dream, the same dream every night for, for how long I couldn’t remember, the same burning, searing flesh, streaming blood, rivers of it, every night without fail. I awoke with a start, disoriented, my mouth dry. I looked over at the clock. At ten-to-six, with no reason to try for more sleep, my feet found the floor and I sat while my head cleared. All that blood.

I trudged into my kitchen to find something to eat, reading the labels of state-provided supplements; oatmeal, scrambled eggs, prune Danish. I decided to splurge and have the apple pie. Hardly mattered. They all tasted pretty much the same and nowhere near what the labels called the stuff, though hardly anyone alive knew the difference. Those few of us that did remember never spoke of these things, even to each other.

I sat nibbling on the biscuit, wrestling with the images from the dream, the bloody charred flesh, so real I hear the hot metal, so immediate I smell it. I shook off the sensation, washed down the last of the pie supplement with what passed for coffee, and dressed for work. Once there, one thought propelled through drudgery, the same thought, day after day, the thought of sleep, of sleep and the dream, the dream of red, succulent, rare, juicy meat.

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Flush by Matt Potter

“Your gums will be red raw and a perfect entry point for HIV,” she said. “Never clean your teeth beforehand if you’re going to suck cock.”

I shrank into the kitchen chair. It was 1989. I was seventeen. Two minutes earlier I’d told her I thought I was gay.

“Are you fucking anyone, Dudley?”

She was my mother. And unfortunately, a sexual health nurse.

“Are you a bottom or a top?”

My eyes stared blankly and my lips clamped shut, stilling the screaming voice inside.

“First impressions really count. You need to make up your mind.”

I shifted in the chair. My mother’s favourite child-rearing mantra – I can talk to my children about anything – was swallowing me whole.

“No one likes an indecisive sexual partner.”

Oh, I definitely knew I was gay, but my sexual experience amounted to nothing beyond constant furious masturbation and watching men’s gymnastics on television. In practical terms, I didn’t know one end of a hard-on from another.

“It’s a big world out there, and there are plenty of cute, well-hung men just waiting to get into your trousers, sweetie.”

She had never called me sweetie before.

She hummed. “Maybe I should give you my old dildo to practice with.”

I stood up. I left the room. I walked outside and down the driveway and to my best friend Daren’s house. And vowed to learn all I could about menopause, and assault her with the hair-raising facts just after her first hot flush.

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Venison by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

It was disgusting, but Emily couldn’t stop looking at it.

Every time she came into the garage to get a book or a box of next season’s clothes, she’d open up the freezer, and no matter how long ago hunting had closed, it would be full of meat. Worse, no matter how far Mark had gotten in the butchering process, all she could think of was Bambi’s mom.

It had been one thing to respect hunting from a distance. Of course it’s more honest to shoot your own prey than to buy it, sanitized and certified cruelty-free, from Whole Foods. But to marry a hunter and have the carcasses in her home, to kiss a man who could hold a gun and end a life . . .

—Well, shit. What do you do when you’re a vegan and hunting turns you on?

Emily closed the door and called his name.

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Naked to the bar by Ryder Collins

Dear Exxy,

Thanks for the FB friending and what’s up message. Part of me’s writing you back just cos; the pragmatic core of me that’s trying to do something with my life since we knew each other as hot and sexing food service junkies is writing you back because you live in San Fran now and I live in a small Southern town and MLA’s coming up. I have this fantasy of, between interviews, if I have any, you and I meeting up in the Hilton or whatever lobby bar and I’m wearing a suit skirt but garters and lace and leather underneath and you’ll just know and show up. Dirty punk rock, from my past; a huge Rollins sun tattoo on your back. Although I know it’s a sun cos I saw it rising and setting and rising and setting, all those times we kicked it, I don’t know if it’s really a Henry Rollins tattoo or if that’s some sort of connotation I picked up. But if I started talking about the connotations of sun tattoos and Henry Rollins and then started analyzing what it all meant: sexuality, othering, being marked, marking, gender politics, queerness, you’d probably leave said bar, lobby, whatever. Or not even show up.

So, forget all that; right now I’m drinking a tallboy of PBR and remembering how we busted our asses closing. Just so we could make it to the bar before last call, together.

Yours.

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The Mad Caravan by Michael Webb

“You can’t say that,” she said firmly. I looked into Susan’s face, haggard with the long hours we were keeping. She looked older now than when we started this mad caravan.

“Why not? It’s true.”

“I know it’s true, you know it’s true.” She adopted the tone of a kindergarten teacher when she was upset with me. “But those people, the ones out there-they don’t want to admit it to themselves. So if you tell them, they’re going to punish you for it. Punish us.”

“But it’s true. They know it’s true. Everybody knows it’s true. Even my opponent.”

“Look, I know that. But we have to campaign now, so we get the chance to govern later. You hired me because I know how to win. You’re paying me to tell you that, even though it’s true, you can’t say it. Not here, not now.” She had lost the kindergarten teacher vibe, now putting the edge into her words that a wife has. She knew this tone well-3 ex husbands could testify to that. “If you say it, both sides are going to lay into you, with both barrels-it would be like throwing red meat in front of hungry lions. You can’t feed those people, not now.”

I smiled at her.

“Now go out there and show them what you’re made of,” she said.

“I will,” I thought.

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The Hunter by Linda Simoni-Wastila

Even at night the desert swelters. Sweat drips from my forehead, fogging the scope, veneering the sparse mustache tracing my lip. Perched in the granite outcropping and hidden behind camel thorn, I wait for dawn, when animals venture forth for food, for water and mating, before the sun sends them back to shadows.

“Do it for honor,” the elders said. “Do it for your manhood.”

I am blessed with a sharp eye, a steady hand, and do not yet taste fear. The elders chose me for this hunt, for of all our clansmen, I have the greatest accuracy. With one shot I can kill a hare from a stone’s throw or fell a bat in flight. This week I killed the leopard preying on our goats after other men had failed.

But I am a poet, not a hunter; even as I crouch amidst the rocks I weave words in my head.

Listen to the sand, to the tale it tells,

the spirits of the prophets joined with the One.

Gold silhouettes the distant ridge. My arms tremble, from the heat, from the weight of the Kalashnikov, from the exhaustion of anticipation. Below, a pale rectangle of light spills from the hut onto the scorched poppy field. My finger curls around the trigger, and I pray for the animal souls I’ve taken – panther, gazelle, hyena, vulture.

“It is only meat,” I murmur as the Commander greets the day.

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The Tank by Catherine Russell

JoAnne hated grocery shopping. Though she couldn’t wait to leave, she took the longer route to the next item on her list so she would bypass the cold and sinister deparment in the store’s back.

Dammit. They’d moved her son’s favorite cookies to the rear endcap.

She breathed deep and turned the cart around. Her son hung onto the handle and wrinkled his nose at the cases of meat. Soon the large tank nearby drew his attention. “What’s that, Mom?” he asked, pressing his small hand against the glass.

The aquarium’s only occupants piled together, stacked upon each other with claws bound by large thick bands. No cheerful animated divers or sparkly castles graced the freezing water.

“Those are lobsters,” she said, though what she really thought was They’re doomed.

Though their cold induced lethargy pained her, she knew that all too soon they would know heat. “Let’s go,” she told her son, grabbed a box of cookies, and turned the cart around, anxious to leave the Happy Time Grocery’s meat department.

The little boy waved farewell to the lobsters and ran to catch up with his mother.

In her wake, her neighbors shopped and picked out the creature’s they’d have for that night’s family dinner.

THE END

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White Death by Matthew A. Hamilton

He flipped his legs over the side of the boat, put on his fins. His friend, Jason, checked the spear gun.

“Good to go,” Jason said. “You good?”

Tom was an experienced free diver and hunter. “No problem. Let’s get something big this time.”

“This is where John caught that jack mackerel last year,” Jason said, “so I don’t think there’ll be a problem.”

Tom jumped into a dark cloud of blood and guts from the chum bucket. Bubbles rocketed up his sides, popped when they hit the surface. Small fish swam nearby, easy kills, but he waited. He was patient. He could hold his breath for a long time. He wanted the big kill.

Then he saw them, where the coral reef dropped off. A small school of dogtooth tuna swam 10 meters below him, oblivious to the danger. He bent his legs forward and pushed down, forced his body into a vertical motion, aimed his spear gun.

Suddenly, a sharp pain assaulted his leg. He looked up, saw a cloud of blood above his knee and the white underbelly of a great white shark. He stayed focused, didn’t panic, twisted his body around, surfaced.

“Jason! Shark!” he yelled. “Get me in the boat!”

Then he was gone.

Jason rushed forward with the boat. He poked with the safety hook inside the patch of crimson-blue. Nothing. Jellied foam mingled with the starboard side. White death surrounded his friend. There was nothing he could do to save him.

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Red Meat by Derin Attwood

I’ve decided not to like you. I’m going to kick you to the curb. It’s not personal, not really. Truth to tell, it’s got less and less personal over the months. I mean, I find you great to look at. Eye candy? Are men eye candy? I enjoyed having you escort me, fuss over me, except that’s happened less and less. My girlfriends are jealous. They’ll think I’m an idiot throwing you over. Some of them will assume you’ve given me the flick. Maybe I need to do it in front of them. Do I have the courage?

I don’t want this to continue. It’s taken me a while to accept it. You’re a totally inward looking, selfish, opinionated, stupid prig. We’ve dated for eight months. I know all about you. I know you hate your boss and your father. I know you are envious of your brother, a little too fond of your sister. You’re idiosyncratic. Actually you’re an idiot. Sweet? Not really. You think you’re the most important thing in my life. I’ve got news for you buddy. I know you love yourself. So, now you can have you – all to yourself.

Yes, I’m bloody irate. After eight months, you know nothing about me. I mean the restaurant tonight. A steak bar. Nice but their menu stated with pride, ‘Nothing Green to Eat- All YOU get is Meat! Meat! Meat. Badly scanned and punctuated, but hell, hadn’t you noticed? I’m a vegetarian!

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Red Meat by Susan Gibb

His back hung in flayed strips like the carcasses of cattle where she bought meat to make meals for a husband she loved.

He was a robber, a thief of emotions, caught and branded by law an adulterer. She found him on her way home, barely alive, moaning and rolling in the cool dirt of the alley. Sand ground into the torn flesh of his back, flowing blood like an overturned vase seeping water into a carpet. Colors ran, intermingled.

She hid him in the shack at the back of their walled yard. She moved tools, brought a blanket, a candle and some water and wine. She cleaned the ragged landscape of his back and dressed it with cotton. He whispered thanks between warnings. She shushed him and left him to sleep.

He told her about the woman. He cried when he spoke her name. He said her eyes still burned into his own, her lips healed his wounds with the memory of kisses. He said that he wished that he too had been put to death.

She kept him hidden for nearly a week. He insisted that he would leave the next day.

He was gone, as he’d said, but he had been seen by her neighbor, a bitter old widow she disliked.

She sang as she prepared the evening meal, happy to no longer have a secret kept from her husband, when they came and took her away.

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Winter Was Hard by Damian Pullen

Cycling home we saw a farmer standing by his sheep, with his shotgun on his shoulder. On the radio Paul Locke said respect the rule of law.

It got really cold and they closed the school. We went down to the river and caught a couple of small trout. Not really enough for five of us and Solo, but Dad made a big thing about it, so we went again. It rained and Dane lost his hook, so we collected firewood instead and came home, freezing and hungry.

When Dad went hunting with a neighbour someone stole our firewood, and Solo disappeared. Dad came back all dirty the next day, saying it wasn’t really safe out there, too many desperate people looking for food. We’d never eaten goat before, and it tasted and smelled weird. You had to chew it for ages. Mum said eat up, a billion Indians can’t be wrong. Susie started crying in bed that night. She asked if people eat cats.

Dad is busy digging the lawn up and planting seed trays. He brings them in at night. He reckons there’s another month of frosts to go. A man came to the door selling possums for $10 each, but we didn’t buy one.

Tonight for supper we had potatoes, with salt on. Just like the Irish in the bad old days, Mum said. The butter is all gone.

We all sleep in the same room, and Dad won’t let us listen to the radio any more.

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Flesh and blood by Claire King

Sunday, city farm. Bickering on the bus as always. Panic swells my throat. But then for once they click, finding shared delight in suckling lambs and pot-bellied pigs.

“Lamb chops,” I say. “Bacon.”

Their heartbreak is followed by cheese sandwich solidarity.

On Monday I cook coq au vin. Fatty yellow skin detached and floating in the sauce. Folded arms and pushed away plates. Stereo disgust.

On Tuesday I bake trout, slimy with garlic butter. Bones and eyes left in.

“Fish are not vegetables,” they say, their fingers locked under the table.

Tonight I serve up bleeding lumps of gristly flesh.

“Cows,” I say, and wince at the slamming doors.

I stand outside their room as they close ranks, tearing me to pieces with whispers sharp as butchers knives. My fingers pick idly at malignant cells and the hall clock marks the minutes that remain.

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RA by Katherine Nabity

Red meat is not her problem.

Red meat is willing. Pull-ups, sit-ups, pushups. Leg presses, calf raises, hamstring curls. Stadium bleachers, soccer field suicides, tabata on the rowing machine. Boat pose, plow pose, downward-facing dog. Red meat takes the beating and repairs, reforms, becomes stronger.

The others are the traitors.

Yellow-white lymph carries confused aggressors, attempting to make her immune to herself. Under attack, the clear membranes in her joints react in the only way they know and produce more fluid, now yellowed with inflammation. Beige cartilage, pressed on by the ballooning humour, erodes into pearly bone. Around distorted bones, gray tendons and ligaments are compromised and can no longer cradle joints as they should. Long creamy nerves passionately report the destruction.

She doesn’t want to hear the report.

Red meat is willing.

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Room: A Word Problem by Stephen Hastings-King

Path

Posit a room from remembering. Arrange windows around its perimeter, a perimeter that is open, is continuously self-correcting.

Position a table. A glass with rings of red wine, cutlery and a plate. An architecture of couscous and partially chewed red meat. A salad dressed with indifference.

Make a place to sit. The setting is not yours.

Fork

On the wall a silent film grand piano is intermittently burning. Each time you watch, head cocked.

Construct a trapezoid; A the fire B the knife C a shadow that is modulating a room of remembering. D something. Over there. Somewhere.

Convergences

The wave of a hand the cuff of a shirt and the ways space and duration fold into themselves.

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He lived in the city, and always cut at an angle, but never against the grain. The slightest trace of a wince around the eyes, and it was done.

The obscurity of his compulsions did nothing to diminish his pleasures, secured as they were by the knowledge that even his tiniest actions participated in the general outwitting of fate that was his true purpose. Red meat he’d given up long ago, a personal choice in a personal regimen of care and healthy-mindedness. The lucky have choices, after all, and he could think of no reason for abstaining. He looked down at the fish. “You had your spawning ground, my friend, and this, as you can see, is mine. And who would dare say anything more to either of us about the anonymous structures within which our individual destinies are transcribed?” The dead fish quite sensibly chose to remain silent, in the face of such a cultivated solipsism.

Just then he made another cut, but an almost imperceptible tremor seized hold of his hand, and the knife’s movements were no longer considered, measured and ordered, but unbound, chaotic and frightening. The cultivated noise of the diners shifted and fractured, suggesting meanings he could not comprehend.

He remembered, in the moments before he lost consciousness, what it had been like.

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Standing in line at the McDonald’s on Bank Street in Whangarei, Hemi does a quick survey of the last few hundred years and blames everything on red meat – his parents’ diabetes, his brother’s alcoholism, his nephew’s inability to read. As he sees things, for the longest time his people had satisfied themselves with birds, fish and the flesh of their enemies. When the Europeans first arrived, they were welcomed not only for their nails and muskets but for their rumps, thighs, calves and biceps. But the holds of their wooden ships were also filled with sheep, cows, and pigs. Hemi imagines his Maori ancestors standing barefoot on the beach, their mouths watering and their tewhatewha and taiaha at the ready, only to have their appetites overwhelmed by a relentless flood of protein. It swept ashore on two legs and four, a tidal wave of weaponry and grazing that washed away the , turned the landscape into pasture, and never receded. Today on these islands there are twice as many cows as people, four times as many sheep as cows, and the pigs are running the place. Hemi slaps a $10 note on the counter — Kate Sheppard’s face stares up at him, but he doesn’t really mind. That said, when he pays with a $20, he always make sure to turn the Queen face down. He orders a Grand Angus for himself and Happy Meals for his kids from the pale-faced girl in uniform. And he smiles, warm and genuine.

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Eating 1,400 Slim Jims—can kill you. Duh!

(But what a delicious way to die.)

Even so, I made sure to stop at 1,399 and feeling the need for a
little air, hit the sidewalk for some up-tempo hoofing.

Just off Angus Street I got abducted by a cabal of long bearded skinny
guys. They screamed at me, “What’s the sodium count Kenneth?”

I said “Who’s Kenneth?”

One of them said “Oops.”

They drove me around for hours anyway, until one of them called me
“Gurudas” and knocked me out. When I came around I was alone and still
stunned. It was dark and as I groped around I realized I was in a low
cage, surrounded by narrow spaced bars and then my finger struck
something, a crudely fashioned tray. It was filled with little bowls
of salad bar stuff, radical shit: sprouts, sliced roots, some damp
ribbon-like leaves that smelled of the sea and a cup of tepid liquid
with twigs floating around.

I was simultaneously repulsed by and attracted to the strange tactile
sensations which met my groping fingers and then in time curiously, my
tongue. Hunger came over me suddenly, voraciously.

Crouched over on all fours in the dark, I reached out and pawed for
the tray. My mouth overflowing with a tangle of sprouts, I crunched
down, slowly at first and then rhythmically, as if in time to the
beating of my anxious heart until hungry no more, I finally,
painlessly, passed a gas wicked enough to burn away all that enclosed
me and was free again at last.

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“Don’t say anything that would embarrass me. You know.” My vegan son said.

“I would never do that, son.”

Kaden announced two years ago that he was a vegan. I accommodated this: no meat, no eggs, no dairy, nothing from an animal… not even honey. Sometimes, we prepared two meals, but we also ate together.

In his senior year of high school, he had invited his sweetheart, also a vegan, home for dinner.

“Just don’t show her the naked baby pictures and the ones with me taking a bath with bubble head and bubble beard… just be normal, okay?”

I snickered and his mother responded, “We just want you kids to have a good time.”

“Huh?” The doorbell rang and Kaden, the vegan, ran around in a circle, patted his straight emo hair, and then answered the door.

We ate Mediterranean: couscous, falafel, baba ganoush. I had learned a lot in two years.

“Everything was delicious.” The girl with the straight black hair and red tips said.

“We’re glad you enjoyed it.” My wife replied. Kaden stared back at her, ready to intercept any stray conversation.

“Have you always eaten this way?” The girl asked.

“Oh no,” I said. I could see my son’s eye between strands of hair. “Couple months before my son made the announcement, we had a barbeque at my buddy’s house. The steaks came out incredibly rare. You should have seen my vegan son. He was licking the blood off the plate.”

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Shift by Jen Rose

“You’re the worst vegetarian ever.” She sipped red wine with a smirk, her eyes following the waiter that carried their order away. A salad for her. Steak for him.

“People change. The iron’s good for me.”

“Then maybe you should be drinking this.”

His blood wasn’t the only thing anemic. Every question, comment, sly grin or teasing glance from his dinner companion dragged only weak replies from him. She’d always left him speechless, but this was different, like meeting her all over again.

He didn’t want to talk. He wanted to study her, watch for a telling twitch, a darkening of the eyes… anything to confirm the truth.

Her glass trembled as she set it on the table. She dipped her head forward, dark, unkempt curls masking her expression.

“So…” He tried to start a conversation. The words braced themselves.

“So?” She raised an eyebrow, but her face was unreadable.

He huffed, closed his eyes, laughed a little. “This is awkward.”

“Tell me about it.”

He turned and studied a distant table, finally taking a sip of his own drink.

“Oh, I get it now.”

He looked her way again. Her brown eyes were emphatic, dark, but sparkling. Almost comforting.

“What?”

She leaned forward and grinned. “You got that steak to distract me if I shift and try to rip your head off?”

“Um…”

She leaned back, laughed, and was her old self again. “Good idea.”

He smiled. Werewolf or not, the sound of her laugh made the danger worthwhile.

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The Nebbish by Guy Yasko

I

Only the Nebbish is present when the new Roomer arrives with his bags.
The Roomer takes a seat on the sofa in front of the picture window. The
Nebbish takes a chair across the room.

– You’ll be down here until i leave.

The Nebbish doesn’t explain, but begins a discourse on why he wears only
undyed cotton. He connects each element of the explanation with a
rationality whose net effect is to subvert that same rationality.

The Roomer observes that the dusty cotton brings out the pink in the
Nebbish’s face.

II

The kitchen is dark and the Roomer squints to find the unminced garlic
on the cutting board. He finishes mincing, adds the garlic to the
frying pan, and moves on to the chicken. The Nebbish watches from
behind.

– I’m going to have to throw that cutting board away now.

The Roomer turns. His face asks “Why?”

– You put your knife on it.

– Sorry. I’ll wash it.

– It doesn’t wash off.

III

The collection of incongruous and incommensurate purposes and personages
within the car can only be held together in the rationality of a dream.
The Roomer isn’t sure why he is in the car or where it is headed, but
the scenery says southbound Lake Shore Drive. As they pass Lincoln Park
Zoo, he asks “How does he come to terms with his meat nature, that he
is 150 pounds of red meat?”

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In Order by John Wentworth Chapin

Stranded. They tried to figure out what would spoil first and eat that. The ground beef was already warm, but they were beyond the point of caring about taste. They ate small, cautious bites at first. She said it tasted like when she was little and she would snack on meatloaf meat with her mom while she cooked. He didn’t answer but took another bite.

It was like biting his own mouth, and he wondered aloud how his mouth knew to chew only the cow meat and not the Jim meat. She suggested that they wait and see when they got hungry next. Maybe they’d be rescued. Maybe not. But no point in just eating all the food. He asked if she wanted to dance and she thought about it before saying no. It just seemed like too desperate an attempt to make things better. He asked what was wrong with that, and she didn’t have an answer.

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Meatballs by Walter Bjorkman

Totally uninspired by the theme Red Meat, the writer decides to immerse himself in the equivalent of Method Acting, deciding to eat red meat tonight. And the next. And the next. Fully aware the Method Writer has eaten red meat the same 3 times in the last six months.

Mmmmmmmmeatballs and spaghetti crowned with a thick, stick to the top of the pot tomato sauce, laced with thin sliced garlic-sauteed green peppers and mushrooms, frosted with an aged rime of Pecorino Toscano.

One and one quarter pound packs of highly fatted ground are the smallest pre-packaged ones on the shelves, perfect for three days of red meat indulgence. No filler used, just fresh ground peppercorns, minced scallion and a dash of sea salt. Browned in olive oil over high heat to perfection. Set to simmer in the over-sized pot as the sauce reduces, mingling just slightly its meaty juice into the fold.

Gotta make this all at one time, the greater the volume, the better the cooking, the mellower the taste. Big fat meatballs too, not those tiny cocktail ones.

“It’s floating!!!”

“Huh?”

“Your shit is floating in the bowl, you didn’t flush all the way as usual.”

“Well, so it floats, what’s that mean?”

“Animal fat. You agreed to go vegan. Our last chance to make a go of it, you know how much it means to me. After four months, I go away for the weekend, and you’re back into the red meat! I want a divorce.”

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Remedy by Michelle Elvy

The fact that my dad moved out did not surprise me. It had been coming a long time. I had expected it, even wanted it. What surprised me was the scene I found when I came home from soccer practice that day. I walked through the kitchen door, saw Mom standing at the long kitchen counter, the one we climbed on as kids and helped roll biscuits on. She held a meat mallet in one hand, tenderizing steaks for dinner. Across the room was Dad, leaning on the table drinking a Budweiser, looking as if nothing had happened though his sweaty brow and shaky hand told me otherwise. And then there was my older brother Robbie, sitting on a chair in the middle of the room, his eye swelling yellow and green the size of a baseball. My mother looked up briefly. My brother appeared beaten, but his one good eye told me otherwise. No one spoke. Then Dad grabbed a steak off the counter — a thick juicy one that Mom had not yet pulverized — and placed it gently on Robbie’s eye. “It’ll help,” he said, as he made for the door. He glanced back once, not at my mother and not at me, but at Robbie, who half-shrugged, half-nodded.

My mother took the floppy Popeye-remedy from Robbie’s eye, offered him a cold-pack and a dose of ibuprofen instead. Then she placed the steak on the counter and pounded it tender.

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The Editors of 52|250 thank Ziggy Blicharz for his photograph, Glass Shrimp, this week. We asked Ziggy about his passion for photography. Here’s what he said:

I’m just a mechanic.
I use tools that allow me to create something that I like to believe is tasteful and pleasing.
Whether with wood, plaster, paint or photographs, I hope to make something that will last.
It’s allowed my “career” to change with my interests.

The tools were cameras and film.

It would have been nice to have the tool of digital during that slice.

You can find Ziggy at Classic Wall Works.

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Filed under Wk #11 - Red meat

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