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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10 responses to “Venison by Elizabeth Kate Switaj

  1. Matt Potter

    Ha ha – this is very amusing, and in a short space neatly encapsulates the problem of believing one thing and feeling (what should be) the opposite.

  2. This story had me going until the end. I realize the ending was supposed to be funny, but if she supports hunting (even from a distance) she can’t be vegan. It’s not just a diet, but a complete philosophy and lifestyle. A vegan might be married to a meat eater or hunter, but I seriously doubt they would be turned on by it. I only point this out because the ending doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the story.

    Other than that, I thought the story was very well written. The description and her thought process up to the reveal was interesting and engaging. It really held my interest! :)

  3. Al McDermid

    William James said, “The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.” Just never thought I’d see it applied to meat.

    Kind of expected ‘red meat’ to spawn stories such as this, but it’s great to see the expected delivered with such an unexpected twist of irony. Great job.

  4. Roxanne

    Yeah, I’m going to have to agree with ganymeder on this one. Being a vegan turned on by hunting is like a good mother turned on by kiddy porn or a feminist turned on by rape: morally contradictory & extremely unlikely if not impossible!

  5. Sure, no one’s ever turned on by things they find ethically wrong ever. I suggest you take your ideological issues up with the character, not me.

  6. Al McDermid

    I have to side with the author here. This is fiction; take it up with the character.

    To say that this character’s love for the hunter is “morally contradictory & extremely unlikely if not impossible!” would seem to imply that humans are always internally consistent (were that true, writing fiction would be much more difficult).

    Equating hunting with kiddie porn and rape is going too far. As the story notes, it’s much more honest then getting one’s meat from the supermarket, where someone else has done the (very) dirty work.

    Furthermore, were it not for meat-eating, we’d still be living in trees, picking lice off of one another. Yes, circumstances have now changed to the point that we need to seriously rethink our eating habits, but strident ideological scoldings are not going to convince anyone. Whether we’re talking politics, religion, or diet, no one likes being preached to, not even preachers.

  7. Roxanne

    Ummmm…I think there’s been some misreading of the tone of my comment. I was not particularly upset when I wrote that. Though, now I kind of am. I did not mean to either 1. enforce my ideological issues on any one 2. scold or 3. preach. It was meant as literary criticism. I know that people have flaws, that we all live with personal inconsistencies, and that drawing on this facet of human nature is often what makes fiction magical. By writing “morally contradictory & extremely unlikely if not impossible!” I was being careful with my words to NOT state inexplicably that “humans are always internally consistent,” but to clarify that in this scenario the contradiction was taken to extremes. As a vegetarian who grew-up with parents and siblings that hunted, I was speaking from personal experience, stating that I found it extremely difficult to relate to the protagonist, as it seems as if she would share a similar sadness/frustration/disgust with those who kill animals unnecessarily for both food and pleasure.

    I apologize if I offended anyone, but I stick behind my argument. I also don’t think I’m the one doing scolding here…

  8. Well, I very much liked the story, very well-written, and nothing turns me on more than a conflicted flawed character… and if hypocrisy is part of the mix, so much the better! Best, the story got some strong reactions, so yay!!!!!! Peace…

  9. Pingback: Wk #11 – Red Meat « 52|250 A Year of Flash

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