Revolution Meat (Last Part)

After cleaning up the kitchen, Marsella Blume stood out beneath the carport with a cigarette and three fingers of whiskey in an iced glass. She exhaled toward the heavens and laughed to herself. “What a fool I’ve married,” she said, her thoughts lighthearted at first but then she suddenly deeply regretted most of what she had done with her life, and she almost started to cry. “I live on a planet of murderers and I’m the only one who seems to care. Rubbish.” She tossed the glass out into the street and listened for the glory of the scattering smashing.

The record store downtown was open late on most nights because it was the cool thing to do. The sidewalk there was dirty, and rebellious teens loitered about talking loudly and laughing and playing music out of their cars. Marsella pushed on the door of silver metal and heavy smudged glass and went in. The place smelled like the smoking of marijuana. Loud music blared from hidden speakers. She went over to the area where they had the alternative rock, post-punk indie music CDs. S, S, S, she was looking for something that began with S. Then her fingers hit on it. The Smiths. The album was titled Meat is Murder and she pulled it from its place and looked it over. “Hmm, this used to be one of my favorites,” Marsella mumbled to herself aloud. “How strange that I had forgotten about it for all these years and then suddenly it comes back to me… Memories do tend to return to find you and shake you at the most unexpected times in our lives.”

Marsella went to the counter and presented what she wanted to buy. The young man with blue hair and piercings that made his face look like a pincushion looked at the CD and then looked at her. He made a weird face with his already weird face.

Marsella gave him a playful smile. “Don’t you get it, Johnny? It’s for me.” She handed him the money, took her change and bag, and walked out of the store and to her car.


Marsella drove fast and in complete disregard for the laws of the prickly electric night. She had the windows rolled down and the volume of the stereo was turned up high to overtake the whoosh of the air blowing in. She had track 10 on repeat, and the lyrics of Meat is Murder burrowed into her head and stoked the flames of her disenchantment with human beings and the world in general:

Heifer whines could be human cries
Closer comes the screaming knife
This beautiful creature must die
This beautiful creature must die
A death for no reason
And death for no reason is murder

And the flesh you so fancifully fry
Is not succulent, tasty or kind
It’s death for no reason
And death for no reason is murder
And the calf that you carve with a smile
It is murder
And the turkey you festively slice
It is murder
Do you know how animals die?…

“Do you know how animals die!?” Marsella screamed out as she brought the car to a stop in the nearly empty parking lot of the grocery store. She got out of the car and went around to the back and popped open the trunk. She reached inside and pulled out the can of red paint she had pilfered from her husband’s work shed, set it on the ground, and undid the lid with the screwing end of a standard screwdriver. She dumped some of the paint on the ground and watched it pool and slowly spread like a wound. The unnatural smell of it drove up her nose. She took a breath, and then she went inside the store.

The lights were bright, and they hurt her eyes as they buzzed and dazzled above her. The place was mostly empty except for the lone cashier flipping through a magazine, the young night stockers tossing boxes around, along with a few zombified customers perhaps craving a midnight pot pie. No one paid her any attention as she strolled down the cereal aisle with an opened bucket of red paint. When she got to the meat department, it was barren as a midnight graveyard in western Oklahoma. She heard wolves howl. She heard people chittering and giggling somewhere off in the distance. The music up above was sterilized, vomit-inducing ass hat glitter pop.

The custom meat case was empty, the animal flesh now removed, and the area behind was dark and quiet. Marsella looked around again before setting the paint can down and kneeling beside it. She dipped two fingers deep into the paint like it was a woman spread wide, pulled them out, and then wrote Meat is Murder, Don’t Ya Know? in a crooked, dripping scrawl against the exterior plexiglass of the meat case. She stood and looked at her handiwork as it continued to slowly bleed on itself, a very fitting touch to her art she proudly decided.

Next, she went over to the display case where they had all the packaged meat and she gripped the paint can in two hands, cocked it back and thrust it forward repeatedly as she haphazardly splashed the glossy red all over the chicken and their bones, the ground beef, the roasts, the steaks, the lamb, the porkchops, and all the groaning loins they had stacked there like genocide bodies.

“Hey!” someone suddenly yelled out from somewhere behind her. “What the hell are you doing there!?”

She turned just as the man got to her and she threw red paint on him, took the can by the carrying handle and whopped him upside the head with it as hard as she could. He made a pain-filled grunt like ooomphhh, then slipped and fell. She dropped the can with a clank and dashed down the soda aisle toward the front doors. For a woman of 39, she flew out of there like a wild bird, got into her car and sped off just as two other grocery store workers came hustling out after her screaming and yelling and carrying on as if she had just possibly committed a felony.

Marsella Blume sat in her car at the end of her block with the engine purring. She blew cigarette smoke out the open window as her eyes fixed on her house that sat like a morbid shell down the street and to the left. The air around the neighborhood was salted city orange and misty. The Smiths were still bubbling out from the stereo, but quieter now for she didn’t want to wake anyone. She took a final puff and then threw the butt out the window like she was Josey Wales cool. She pulled the shifter back into the D position and stomped her foot on the gas pedal. The car shot off surprisingly fast and Marsella gripped the steering wheel as she aimed the engine block straight for the corner of the house where her husband was hopelessly waiting beyond the brick and glass.

The impact was more violent than she expected, and her body snapped back and forth as the car drilled into the house. And it looked like being in an automatic car wash, she thought, with that suffocating blizzard of water and soap blotting out the windshield, the weighty thunder of the mechanical mops as they molested the filth away, the quaking turbulence of the high-powered dryers as one’s vehicle slowly emerged from the wash tunnel like a turtle’s head checking to see if it was safe out in the world.

Through the chaos she saw her husband’s startled face as his body was thrown back as if by a poltergeist, the bowl of buttered popcorn just moments before in his lap now curling high in the air and scattering its contents like youthful mischief. And then she watched as the debris rained down all around her in dust wallowed slow motion, bricks and glass and splintered wood hitting the car, and the sound came like ludicrous hail, and Marsella felt like she would soon be buried alive by the burdens of her own madness.


When Marsella opened her eyes, the butcher was sitting in a chair beside her hospital bed. There was something wrapped in fancy paper on the bedside table. She didn’t recognize him at first without the hair net, but the eyes were familiar. Those unsettling eyes were very blue as she recalled, almost a fake blue.

“Hello,” she managed to say. Her eyelids fluttered to batter away the stinging light.

“Hi. Do you remember me?” the man said, leaning in closer.

“You’re the butcher.”

“That’s right. How are you feeling?”

“Not terrible, but far from wonderful,” she said, and she tried to sit up more. “How did you… Why are you here?” She looked around the room trying to establish more thoroughly where she was.

“I read all about it in the newspapers. I just knew it had to be you,” he said. “The policeman let me in to quickly visit.”

“The policeman?”

The butcher turned his head and nodded. “Outside the door. I’m afraid you’re under guard.”

“I did something bad, didn’t I?”

The butcher sighed but tried to smile. “You made a terrible mess of my meat department. I’m afraid in your attempt to save the beasts, however, you inadvertently cast most of them off to the trash bin… So, in that effort, it seems you failed. But that’s really the least of your concerns considering the other charges.”

“Other charges?”

“Felonious assault. Aggravated homicide.”

“Aggravated!?”

“Don’t you know you killed your husband in a very terrible way? They had to pull him from the rubble piece by piece.”

Marsella shook her head in denial.

“They didn’t tell you?”

“Perhaps someone did. I can’t remember much… Just the cigarette and the grainy light and the music and the sound of the engine beating faster… And then it was just like a terrible storm but then bright like heaven.”

The butcher beamed at her with a gentle butcher-like smile. “Maybe you escorted him part way, hmm?”

“Huh?”

“Your husband. To heaven.”

“I do doubt it,” Marsella said. “He was a terrible person. He really was.”

“We’re all terrible people who do terrible things at times. We are after all, merely animals.”

“But I must have loved him at one time. I mean, real human love. Don’t you think?”

“Doesn’t appear that way, now does it, considering your present-tense situation,” the butcher with blue eyes said coldly. He glanced up at the black and white clock on the wall. “I’m afraid my time is limited so I must be on my way. But there’s a present for you there. I don’t really know why I felt you deserved a gift; I suppose I’m strangely sentimental like that. Hopefully you can do something with it before you go off to jail.”

She looked up at him, puzzled. Then he drew closer to her, and she jerked back when he bent to grasp her hand and shake it. “Good luck,” he whispered. He made himself upright again and looked down at her. His eyes were taking pictures.

“You aren’t really a butcher, are you?” Marsella said as her gaze crawled up his body and to his face.

“We’re all butchers,” he said, and he turned and walked out of the room without another word.

Marsella drowsily sat up on the edge of the bed and reached for the present on the bedside table. She shook it like a curious child, and then carefully peeled it open. Inside was a package of meat — a flank steak. It was the color of a broken heart and lightly marbled with thin rivers of greasy cotton. Some blood pooled in the white tray. She drew it closer to her face and studied it and her soul shook like grass in the dawn of spring.

She poked a hole in the plastic wrap with a finger and stripped it away. She lifted the meat out and held it in her hands. It was cold. It was wet. It was heavy. She opened her mouth wide, moved her head forward, and clamped her teeth down hard on the animal flesh. She fiercely strained and pulled until a piece tore off. She chewed on it slowly, ingested it, and went in for another bite… And then it was another and another and yet another until the whole cut of the meat was gone from the space in front of her and slowly sliding down into her belly in various shaped chunks.

She went into the bathroom and turned on the light. Her animal reflection stared back at her from the other side of the mirror. She barely recognized herself. An ugly murderous stain bloomed around her mouth like a pink flower. She grinned at herself; a thin film of red juice was still collected on her teeth. Then the screams of all the beasts she had ever known crawled up from her bloated belly and into her head. And there they stayed and got comfortable, always calling to her until the death chamber of man snuffed her out forever like a quick puff of breath on a flame.

END


Revolution Meat (First Part)

Marsella Blume woke up on the wrong side of a lifetime of wishful thinking.

The house in the manicured suburb where she lived was quiet. She gathered some fresh clothes and took a long hot shower full of steam and soap. She had to be clean for him. She had to smell good.

Once dressed and properly perfumed, she went downstairs to the kitchen. An orange cat rubbed against her legs and purred. The cat’s name was Alex, and he was hungry so she undid a fresh can of food and plopped it into a bowl. The cat smacked at it mercilessly while Marsella brewed herself a cup of light roast coffee. She drank it down quickly and rushed out to her car that sat beneath a carport. She looked at herself in the rear-view mirror and dabbed at her face with a fingertip to smooth the makeup one last time before pulling away.

As she drove toward the Lucky U Motorlodge to meet the man she was cheating on her husband with, she went through a grocery list in her head for when she would do the shopping following her affair appointment. Gravy. Fat-free milk. Scouring pads. Cat litter. Onions… Meat.

She bit at her frosted lip, worried, hoping she would remember everything. She scolded herself for not writing things down like any sane person would, but she usually relied on her own overloaded mind instead, readily at the cost of her own personal derailments. And the boxcars were piling up.

When she finally pulled into the gravely lot at the Lucky U, she shut the car down in a space in front of room No. 9. He appeared in the window without a shirt on and smiled at her through the glass. Part of her wanted to throw it in reverse and tear out of there and drive to the other side of the world. Another part of her wanted to break the rules of decency.

The next thing she knew she was lying on her back in the uncomfortable bed, and she mindlessly studied the ceiling while he thrust himself inside her. The landscape moved annoyingly — a visual jolt every time he went deep that was beginning to make her head swim. She closed her eyes and thought of Niagara Falls in the spring. She could hear the thunderous flow of the water as it went over the edge and fell with a power like no other. Who was this seemingly random person above her this time? He wasn’t nearly as strong as the falls. She had her hands on his upper arms that weren’t even very muscular. She looked up at his unappealing face, now twisted with his own hard work and pleasure. He was breathing like a marathon banshee and dripping sweat onto her face as he slapped against her skin.

“Please don’t cum inside me,” she warned him.  “Not today. I don’t want to feel it today.”

His dead eyes went wide as he looked at her face. “I may not be able to help it,” he grunted. “You’re a dream come true.”

She suddenly turned away and tried to get out from under him by twisting her body. He popped out of her like a cork from a bottle.

“What the hell! What are you doing?” he wanted to know.

“I’m suddenly not in the mood,” she said as she straightened herself on the edge of the bed. “And I’m not anyone’s dream so don’t say that ever again.”

He scoffed in frustration and went to sit on the opposite edge of the bed. He was trying to catch his breath as he moved his hair out of his eyes. He reached for his pack of cigarettes on the nightstand and lit one. He just sat there naked and smoked quietly.

Why had she even chosen him, she thought, as the room filled with the haze of his smoke. Glenn. What an inconsequential name, she thought to herself. They worked together in the real estate office. He was an assistant to the more experienced brokers like herself. How did it even happen? She tried to recall. Then the memory suddenly bobbed to the surface of her jumbled mind like a dumpling in boiling water. One day they were driving in his car together, just the two of them, and they were on their way to the home of a prospective client out in the country who had a very large house they wanted to sell. They had been listening to the radio and laughing about something. He purposely reached over and touched her leg. She instructed him to pull off in a secluded spot and then she found herself leaning in and kissing him. He kissed her back ferociously like he’d never known love. She recalls seeing the glint of her wedding ring as she held his rough face. Soon after, her top was undone, and his hands were on her. She knew she had to stop, but she couldn’t. Then her head had fallen into his lap and this essential stranger was in her mouth, and then she began to cry because it wasn’t love. It was never love, but still, she kept at it. And now she was trapped in a cheap motel room once again, and she didn’t want him at all anymore.

She got up and walked past him without a word and into the bathroom to take a shower. But there was no erasing him from the hard drive of her body — only time and keen personal deception could do that, maybe. He was long gone when she came back out. The key to the room sat on her pillow atop a one-dollar bill.


Marsella Blume always ended up with the shopping cart that didn’t go straight or had a wonky wheel that rattled and drew unwanted attention. It was just her lot in life, she achingly figured.

She steered her trolley down the shiny, well landscaped aisles of boxes and cans and bottles and bags and tins and sacks and pouches until she reached the meat department at the very back of the store. The chilled and brightly lit cases gently hummed. She drew closer and peered down at the animal flesh neatly cut and presented atop the white foam trays wrapped in plastic. She studied all the various hunks of animal flesh. Some were bright red like blood. Others the color of well-tanned human beings. Others still were pale as a sun-bleached shell on a sandy beach or like a distant breakthrough muddied star in space.

She picked up a package of flank steak. She wondered to herself. Flank? She didn’t know what that even meant. The only thing she knew was that she was staring at a piece of animal flesh. It was the flesh of an animal that once walked around and ate grass or something like that, she thought. It breathed. It looked at the sun or stood on a hill in the rain. It had eyes and a brain. And now she was holding a piece of it in her hand. How incredibly odd, she thought. How when you really think about it, the truth of the matter is human beings savagely kill other living things, cut them up into pieces, wrap them up neat and tight and sell them for profit. Then we burn them, chew them up and swallow them down into our collective guts in a celebratory sort of way.

A man in a white lab coat streaked with red and with a hair net atop his head that made him look extremely peculiar smiled at her as he stocked more packages of animal flesh beside her. His eyes were alien blue and twirled like old time camera flashcubes when he smiled. “Can I help you find a particular cut?” he asked her politely.

Marsella looked at him. “Is that blood on your company uniform?”

He looked down at himself. “Yes, it is.”

She was alarmed. “Where did it come from?”

He looked at her strangely, but then again, he was used to odd birds swooping in from the ridiculous world. “I work in the meat department. I’m a butcher.”

“So, you cut up animals back there?” Marsella asked with a nod of her head toward an unknown space beyond them.

The butcher chuckled at her. “Not really. They come to us already cut up. We just cut them up more.”

“So that they fit neatly in all these little packages or in trays in your fancy little case over there?”

“That’s right. We take it right down to the point of purchase and consumption… Are you sure there’s nothing I can help you find?”

“Can you show me where you work?”

He made a puzzled face. “I’m sorry, mam. We can’t allow customers into our production area.”

“Then can you tell me what a flank steak is?”

The butcher cleared his throat and thought about it as he looked at her. “Listen. You seem nice enough. I’ll let you come back and look at my beef chart and I can show you exactly where the flank comes from.”

Marsella suddenly brightened. “Really?”

“Sure… But you can’t say anything to anyone. Okay?”

“Okay. But what about my shopping cart?”

“Just leave it. We’ll only be a minute or two.”

She followed him to an area behind the custom meat counter and through a set of swinging metal doors with two little square windows on each one. He led her to a white plastic table that was stained pink from repetitive butchering. Above the table was a big poster with a drawing of a cow except the cow was divided up into all sorts of different parts and the parts were labeled and color-coded. He pointed to the one marked flank. It was blue.

“See there. The flank is at the bottom of the cow, just forward of the rear quarter.”

Marsella’s eyes slow danced across the chart, and it almost made her feel like she was back in her high school biology class. It nearly smelled the same — like death and bleach. “I never imagined such a thing,” she said.

“Well, where did you think meat came from?” the butcher asked with a tone of sarcasm that made her feel stupid.

“I guess I never really thought about it,” she said. “I suppose like most people don’t.”

“Well,” the butcher smiled. “There’s a bloody reality behind every shiny facade.”

“I suppose that’s true,” she said, returning the smile.


The flank steak Marsella had purchased sizzled and smoked as it hit the hot cast-iron skillet. She turned to look at her husband who was sitting at the table behind her flipping through a day-old newspaper.

He sensed her looking at him. “What’s the occasion?” he asked.

“Huh?”

“Steak. You never cook steak.”

“Oh,” Marsella fumbled in her thoughts. “I decided I would try something different. The butcher recommended it.”

He moved the newspaper away from his face and beamed at her from across the gap between them. “The butcher? What butcher?”

“The one who works at the grocery store. He was very helpful. Did you know they have a huge poster of a cow back there and it shows all the different ways they cut up that poor animal?”

“He showed you a poster?”

“Yes.”

Her husband sneered with suspicion. “Did he show you anything else?”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” she wanted to know.

Her husband mumbled something undecipherable and rattled the newspaper in frustration. “Don’t burn it,” he said louder.

Marsella jabbed a large fork into the cooking flank steak and it bled out, the juices smoking and sizzling loudly in the pan. “I won’t,” she meekly answered.

She set two plates down. Her husband looked up at her from across the table and smiled after she took her seat. “This looks amazing,” he said as he unfurled his napkin. “I’m hungry as a dinosaur.”

Marsella looked down at her meal as he worked his knife and fork into the slab of animal flesh before him. His utensils scraped and clinked against the oval plate, and that combined with the sounds of his prehistoric chewing made her skin crawl and her teeth hurt.

She crinkled her nose at the hunk of flank steak before her. She thrust her fork in followed by her knife. She sawed, pierced the piece she had dislodged from the bigger piece and brought it to her mouth. She pushed it in and started chewing. The taste of salt and blood and iron played out strongly on her tongue. She forced herself to swallow and then she gagged a bit.

Her husband quickly glanced up at her. “Are you okay?”

She ran her tongue across her lips and fake smiled. “Do you see what we are doing?” she said, and she took a sip of water.

He looked confused. “I thought we were having dinner,” he answered.

“Yes. But no. Think about what we’re doing. I mean really think about it.”

He looked at his plate and then back up at her. “I’m having a steak, some potatoes, green beans…”

“No!” she blurted it out. “I want you to think about it at a much deeper level. Why can’t you ever do that!?”

He slammed his knife and fork down and they rattled angrily against his plate. “What the hell do you want me to say!? And I’m sorry if I’m not as intelligent as you supposedly wish me to be.”

“Do you not see it!?”

“See what, Marsella!?”

“We’re eating animal flesh! Look at your plate. That used to be a living breathing being with a heart and a brain and eyes to look upon the world with.”

He rolled his own eyes at her and wiped at his mouth with a napkin. “Oh Jesus. Here we go.”

“What!?”

“Is this your way of telling me you’ve decided to become a vegetarian now?”

“I may consider it.”

“Because of your great enlightenment following your visit with the butcher? I bet you won’t swear off all meat,” he scoffed.

She avoided his comment for the moment but filed it on the horizon of her memory. “Don’t you see how heinous it all is?”

“Heinous?”

“We stand over all these poor animals like gods and treat them horribly while we fatten them up just so we can cut them to pieces and then cut them to more pieces until the pieces are just the right size of convenience for the bloodthirsty bah, bah, bah consumers. Look at what you had in your mouth! Look at it!”

He watched her carefully in case she physically attacked him, and then he looked down at his plate.

“That’s right,” she continued. “We cut them up into little bits and package them up nice and friendly like and stack them in a refrigerated fluorescent case for the humans to prey upon with their watering eyes and nimble fingers. Oh, but to all of them it’s just a good piece of meat. It’s just something we breed and harvest to feed ourselves. We’ve turned other living creatures into a commodity to buy and sell by the pound! And then you put it in your mouth and shit it out later! Does that not bother you in the slightest?”

“It’s simply the cycle of life, Marsella. The cycle of life,” he answered sternly.

“It’s barbaric. If a man did that to another man, they’d send him to the electric chair and then some… And how many people out there do you think would even buy a steak after watching it gutted and plucked straight from a cow right in front of them? Hmm. Would you?”

He stood up. He was perturbed and he yelled at her. “I don’t know what you want me to do about it! It’s just the way it is, Marsella, and I’m sorry, but there are a lot of things in this crooked world far darker than you realize or wish them to be. But man is at the top of the food chain. That’s reality. It’s where God put us. It’s called survival of the fittest. Cows weren’t meant to plow fields or operate machines or be doctors. If you don’t like it, then go ahead and stop eating meat, but I for one will continue to eat meat because humans are carnivores… And I happen to like it.”  

“Omnivores,” she said dejectedly.

“What?”

“Human beings are omnivores. Maybe if you educated yourself, read a few more books, you’d know that.”

“Why is this suddenly turning into an attack against me. Jesus Christ, Marsella! All I wanted to do was enjoy my dinner and you launch into this psychobabble about meat and insult my level of intelligence. I won’t stand for it anymore.”

He snatched up his plate and started to walk away.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m going to finish my dinner in the den. There’s a game on I want to watch. And I would appreciate it if you just left me alone with my subpar thoughts.”

TO BE CONTINUED


The Temples of Celestial Evacuation

I floated above the road from out of LipLock, Tejas earlier in the day and headed north, then east. I rumbled along with the roar of it all past that Tulia place again, into the belly of the Yellow City and then back out again like a screaming colon blow.

There was a place further down the road there that looked like some gleaming white Zionic temple minus Moroni but turned out to be some angelic rest stop – a sort of place for celestial evacuation I suppose. It was a high-tech joint with sliding doors, acid-high neon and brightly buffed tiles. The walls were decorated with all sorts of Americana logos and pop posters made to look like they sprang right out from the 1950s – they were going for the whole Route 66 celebratory theme, but an earth closet is still an earth closet and making pee is still making pee. I guess it was comforting enough for weary travelers and indeed kept very clean. I saw an immigrant from Nicaragua wildly mopping the floor with mad vigor and I sort of shook my head and laughed at the fact that Wild West rest stops are kept better looking than most of the towns and the cities – and I guess immigrants are fine in our country as long as they are cleaning up after our savage releases.

I stopped for the night in the town of El Torino, Oklahoma. Clint Eastwood was working the front desk of the glowing green hotel and he was kind of grumpy and called me a “punk.” There was a dirty steak place just down the road from where I was staying and I went there for some supper, as my lady friend Ms. Tinkachook says.

The hostess was a sad and desperate-looking white-skinned soul who didn’t smile much and merely mumbled. I followed her and she seated me in the section for all the lonely people who ate by themselves. The joint had been kicked around in the crotch a few times it seemed – a greasy sort of place with smudged windows and a smell more fit for a bowling alley than a restaurant. I felt the need for the animalistic Reverend Jim to be there with a big ol’ bottle of hand sanitizer to baptize me in, but like most men of Bog, he must have had his hands tied by other spiritual and cleansing emergencies.

The waitress chick was a spotted-owl kind of gal reeking of sad spirit and boredom. She strolled about the place with little sense of purpose and recited to all her tables the same rehearsed speech that lacked any sense of genuine care for her work, but I understood her malaise completely, even though I was convinced she hated me.

I ordered an 8 oz. top sirloin that looked pale and beaten but tasted good nonetheless when slathered with some sauce. I got fries too, a salad and some warm bread with cinnamon butter. The food was decent enough for what it was and anyways I was never one to complain in a restaurant. I never thought it wise to piss someone off who was handling my food. There was a table across the way from me with a couple of moms and their dirty kids plus a husband or boyfriend or two. They loudly bitched at the waitress about their steaks not being cooked as they wanted, and they passed their plates back to her and she humped off to the kitchen to turn them back in. I could imagine the cook growling and spitting on the meat or shoving it down his pants and jiggling around a bit to add some of his own spice and sizzle.

My steak was good, and I scarfed it down quickly. And that’s all I said: “It’s good. Thank you.” She smiled halfheartedly and I knew she had better problems than me.

But I had been there before too. I had my time – those days so completely overtaken by life’s strife that I could hardly move or utter a word. Those days of hurt – like a hatchet buried in my skull cap and someone cranking on the handle. There is a laundry list of agonies I have endured that I really don’t want to talk about now except to say it was all about busted up hearts and people dying in real bad ways and there were plenty of times I just wanted to snuff it as Alex DeLarge says. Lights out like a hammer to a lightbulb. No more pawing and panting at the stars like some broken bird who felt like he would never ever fly again. Hopefully I’ve come around to the other side of those ills and I will press on, for there is nothing left to do.