Do you have pets?
I keep pigs myself. Beautiful animals you know. Ou’ back there I currently ‘ave ten stunning Yorkshires in pens wai’ing to be slaugh’ered. Getting too big you see, need room for the younger generation as they say. Beautiful animals, well when they’re in a good mood that is. There’s a lot o’ meat on them boys. When they get ‘ungry they get real riled up. Nearly one thousan’ pound each! Can you Adam and Eve it? Did you know they will eat just about anything… And I mean anything.
But… you’ll be finding that out shortly.
It was my ol’ dads fault really. He was obsessed with ‘em, but then again, it were ‘is bread and bu’er you see. Can’t fault ‘im on that one, he did what was needed to put food on our table, and there was a war on you see. Pigs could fetch a pretty penny back then too. Lard was needed for the nation and my ol’ man was very clever at ge’in ‘is pigs lardy. Wasn’ till years la’er I realised ‘is secret.
We were lucky he didn’t ‘ave to go fight like the other dads out there. Not all o’em made it back neither did they. Well, he wan’ed to, but what with ‘is leg an’ all they wouldn’ let ‘im would they. That got to my old dad that did. ‘e’d curse an’ blind about that one till the pigs came ‘ome.
Does this ‘atchet look sharp enough to you? You’re right, a little time on the grind stone wont ‘urt. We got time after all.
He used to make a fair penny at the local markets sellin’ his pigs, you know. Until the war ended an’ there wasn’ as much need for lardy pigs any more. He ‘ad issues with PSE, Pale, soft, exudative meat you see. Of course we didn’ know much about stress and genetics in animals then. Couldn’ make anythin’ anymore. Not enough to feed us lot anyway. That’s when the drinkin’ star’ed and he got mean!
I remember one year, it was Christmas, must ‘ave been in the early fifties I think. It was the last year I saw any of my family. When the incident ‘appened.
Those ropes to tight? Well, don’ you fret, won’ be for much longer now.
Where was I? It was about fifty two or three. I must ‘ave been about 15 I think. I was a small boy for me age, not like now! Me an’ my sister were always ge’in into trouble. Off out terrorising the few farms around us that made any money. Stealin’ their chickin’s and pu’in rat poison in the animal feed. O’ those were the days, such fun.
He must ‘ave been drinkin’ for ‘ours that day cos when we got in that evening he was in a right foul mood. ‘Ad a run in with ol’ McCreedy down the road who’d blamed ‘im for his bad luck with ‘is poultries where abou’s. Of course, it ‘ad been us, but that’s irrelevent ain’ it really. Ol’ McCreedy gave my dad a good ba’ering anyway an’ he was in a stinkin’ mood when we got back. Drink does that to you though, that’s why I never touch the stuff. Not a drop in my long fifty years. Turns you nuts you see.
He smacked me around the ‘ead and split me lip wide open. Then turned on me sister and broke ‘er nose too; the blood gushed down the front of her pretty dress. I tried to stop ‘im at that point, but it just made things worse. He snapped my arm like it was nothin’ more than a twig under ‘is trac’ors wheel. She was screaming and I, I am not afraid to admit, was in tears. He was a big man my ol’ dad, just like ‘is swine.
He dragged us both out the ‘ouse in one of ‘is big ‘ands an’ threw us in with ‘is gigantic pigs. The only big ones he still ‘ad left, two big mean old boys who’d been alive for what seemed like forever. All snarls and scar tissues they was.
We huddled in the corner, the smell of pig shit filling our noses; or atleast mine, she couldn’t smell anything’ other than ‘er own blood. My arm flopped at my side, the pain excruciating. My sister was still cryin’, blood bubbling from ‘er broken nose. I think it was the cryin that did it. Those pigs weren’ ‘appy about that at all. It got ‘em running an’ snarlin’. Chargin’ at us and just as we though’ they would run us down they’d turn away and come at us again.
They worked ‘emselves into a frenzy in no time and before we knew it… they charged one last time!
They ate ‘er face. I can still picture it perfectly. Every scream she made. The blood gushing from the orifices that were left. ‘er nose was gone, ‘er lips hung by threads like dead flowers on brittle stalks. I vividly remember the larger of the two turn away from ‘her mutilated beauty after ‘aving ‘is fill. ‘er eye dangled, caught between its teeth. She stopped making that mixed gurgling, whimpering sound after that. I though’ to me self ‘ow beau’iful she looked now. ‘Ow powerful those beasts were.
I don’ remember much of what ‘appened next. Those beasts left me alone though, to this day I don’ know why. I seem to remember that ol’ McCreedy ‘ad turned up with the police. Apparen’ly he’d come over before to apologise to me father and ‘eard the ruckus coming from the pig shed.
My ol’ father spent the rest of ‘is years in prison and I never saw ‘im again. My sister, with no face, only survived a few weeks before she passed an’ my ol’ ma, filled with shame, took ‘er own life not long after that!
But, my ol’ man, god could he grow a good pig, best in the county. The reason those big lads took such a likin’ to my sisters face was because they’d been reared on flesh, the irony smell of blood, and the sounds of screams and sobs. They though’ dinner had been served.
Now, as I said before, I’m really sorry abou’ this. But my pigs need a last meal to get their weight up before they’re taken to the slaughter ‘ouse, it’s all done on bulk you see, an’ well someone’s got to feed ‘em.
© Phen Weston