Humans don’t taste good in sandwiches. It doesn’t matter which cut you use, how you cook it, what kind of bread: it’s always the same, chewy disappointment.
Malcolm’s been good to her. Not in life – in life he was a tool – but he’s seen her right in death. People waste a lot of time trying to drop the pounds, but it’s always the larger folk that taste the best. Malcolm had a belly to be proud of, like a squidgy bowling ball. It made a cracking roast for the family, nice thick gravy, plenty of grease for the spuds. It’s impossible to tell the difference between a human and a pig when they’re laid bare on the table. Malcolm was a pig anyway.
It’s the perfect solution for vegetarians. The poor little farm babies don’t deserve to die, but plenty of humans do. She’s doing the world a favour and feeding her family at the same time. Ultimate ethics.
But nobody likes the dregs. There’s a reason the shit bits usually end up reconstituted and deep-fried. The hands and feet are tough and gristly. Don’t even start on the penis – that won’t pass for a sausage.
Boy-child’s had enough of sausages, Girl-child’s refusing to so much as look at another stew, Man-child still can’t be arsed to make his own dinner. If she can’t stick it in sandwiches, she’s got to work twice as hard to get it down their throats. No one could ever accuse her of lacking dedication to her family.
She shuts the garage door behind her, checking the kids are out of the way. The key to the chest-freezer’s been in her bra so long, it’s going green from the sweat. She tugs at the padlock and lifts the freezer door. The kids are still dumb enough to think that this is where the ice creams get locked away. Suckers.
The freezer’s getting empty. She’ll need a new kill soon. Only the dregs left: a handful of ribs, a shin, and a lung. They’ve done well with this one. Turns out brain tastes alright thinly sliced and coated in batter. But what to do with this lot….
When in doubt: Pinterest. She shuts the freezer, sits on the lid, and searches her phone for recipes for rubbish meat. It’s strangely difficult to find dishes using human. People are such prudes.
She’s done all of this. There’s only so many curries you can make, and one-pot meals never seem to fit in one pot. Going to have to get creative.
She jumps off the freezer and locks it, shuts the garage door behind her and heads inside. Man-child is slumped on the sofa, legs sprawled, tongue only just staying in his mouth. She tells him he’s going to have to look after his own kids for half an hour. He grunts.
It’s warm enough to head out without a coat. The sun’s just high enough to make itself known, the air’s still. Summer’s on its way. This is how it feels when the kill is over, and the gore cleaned away. It’s a peaceful sense of something good to come. Something tasty.
She’s in need of something to hide the taste of lung. The signs swinging above the supermarket aisles aren’t particularly helpful. She browses the pasta sauces. Basil is the most sadistic herb and it’s in bloody everything. She tries the world foods section. Nothing grabs her attention. They are not having another curry.
Boy-child and Girl-child quite like the rip-off section – they learnt the hard-way that Nando’s is best served on chicken only. She isn’t that kind of mum. She feeds her kids properly, five-and-day and all home-made. She will not give in to the ready-made shite or sugary sauces. She’s got some standards.
This is a waste of time. She walks empty-handed out of the store and heads home.
They sit round the table, her perfect little family. Boy-child picks his nose, Girl-child sips at her drink, sending more backwash into the cup than she took out of it. Man-child plays on his phone - helpful as always.
She eases her way to the table, placing the tray of sliced meat in the centre. It was hard work preparing that, so many vessels to remove. At least Malcolm wasn’t a smoker. She’s made that mistake before. She starts to serve, spooning the lung out onto their plates, next to the broccoli and peas. She bats the phone out of Man-child’s hand, clears her throat, and tells them to start.
Forks tap against plates, kicking the peas around rather than actually eating them. Nobody touches the meat. Now that she looks at it, it is pretty grey. She stabs it with her fork. It takes more force than it should to pierce the flesh. She tries nibbling at the edge, but it’s too tough for her incisors. It’s going to have to be all or nothing. She shoves the lot in and starts to chew. It’s edible. At least, mechanically, it is possible to chew. The taste, on the other hand, isn’t so good. Foul.
She spits it into some kitchen roll and asks if anyone is planning on eating anything tonight. More grunts. What a failure of a mother. Her kids are barely literate, her husband’s a useless lump, and she can’t even put a decent dinner on the table. There’s only one thing for it.
She stands from the table, marches to the kitchen and opens the forbidden cupboard. There, at the back of the shelf, lurks the most appalling thing known to man, the most sinful of sinners, the absolute worst thing she could feed her kids, bar none. Walking back to the table, she trembles with the horror of what she is about to do.
She coughs, coughs again. They look up from the table. Their eyes widen. The significance of the event is not lost on them. She reaches out, placing the bottle next to the oven tray. They all lunge at once.
Ketchup. Tomato ketchup everywhere. Food in bellies. Plates cleared. She needs a drink.
About the Author
Emma Jones lives in the Peak District and teaches alongside her writing. Having just finished her Creative Writing Masters at Lancaster University, she is now looking for her next challenge. She is always ready for Christmas and easily bribed with chocolate.