3.21.2015 Journal Prompt

Source: http://ncpedia.org/warren-wilson-college
Source: http://ncpedia.org/warren-wilson-college

March 21, 2015: They were so young.

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One thought on “3.21.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. The man at the farm said as how bacon came from pigs. We was each holding a hot-water-bottle-bellied piglet in the cradle of us arms when he said it. I laughed. I thought he was making fun. No one else laughed. He said that he kept the piglets and he fed ‘em till they was as fat as beer barrels and so heavy he couldn’t lift ‘em ‘cept with a rope and a team of sweating men. And then he took ‘em pigs in the back of his pick-up and delivered ‘em to Sly, the butcher.

    Sly’s shop smells of blood and sawdust and shit. If’n you go inside, you has to watch you don’t brush up against the carcasses hanging on metal hooks. They ain’t insides, and they ain’t got heads or skin so you can’t tell what those animals is. I never knowed they could be pigs. The man at the farm saying that about the piglets and I wasn’t sure I could ever eat bacon again.

    ‘Or sausages or chops,’ the man said. He was red faced and flabby and I reckon he din’t have no trouble eating all the cuts of a pig.

    The piglet I was holding had a name. It was called Figgus. It kept snuffling and sighing and squirming ‘gainst me. And it was a deal to hold it and not drop it. I kept saying, ‘There there now,’ and making noises like a dove cooing.

    ‘I reckon as Figgus has taken a real shine to you, lad,’ the man said.

    ‘Cept it was me as had taken a shine to Figgus. It had a look in its eye, see, like it understood I meant it no harm. And when it was squiggling, it wasn’t like it was trying to break free, but like it was trying to get closer to me.

    I kept going back to the farm over the next few weeks. We got to feed ‘em if we asked, pouring porridge, and the ends of carrots, and potato peelings and bread-ends, all into a trough. They din’t have no manners at all, ‘em piglets. Our mam sometimes said me and my brother ate like pigs, but seeing ’em piglets stepping into the trough and sucking up the food and not chewing it like mam said you should, well, I don’t think me and Stevie was anything like pigs when we was eating.

    It din’t take long for ‘em piglets to be too big for me to lift. Figgus still came when I called him and I fed him apple cores and cabbage stalks that I’d saved up specially. He looked at me everytime, like he was intelligent enough he could remember who I was.

    The man at the farm kept an eye on me. He said to mind when I was feeding Figgus, as he would bite my hand off and never know that he’d done it. I think the man was making fun when he said that, but I was careful all the same. He said as how the pigs was doing well this year, fattening up quicker than before. He said he was well satisfied with that and he said I was helping. Then he said that when they was about 200 pounds he’d send ‘em off to sly to get their throats cut and he reckoned to be sending ’em off early this year.

    It was when he said that about the 200 pounds and the early send-off that I realized I was only shortening Figgus’ life by feeding him so handsomely. I felt right guilty about that and I ate all my apple cores after that and I stopped going to the farm and I tried to put Figgus out of my head. But whenever mam took me to Sly’s Butcher shop, I looked a little closer at the hanging carcasses, they was taller as a man with their legs all stretched, and I kept wondering which one of ‘em was Figgus, and I felt sad and sick both at the same time.

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