Sharp plastic smacks the air,
weird colors writhing in thin, wiry bundles.
The Meatman lays his wares to dry.
Beef and Pastrami, Turkey and Culler.
A sick, syncopated thud shifts the room.
The butcher is at work as well. A writhing, vital spirit is shredded to sliced bits. The power of the animal is castrated for the consumer.
A flick of the wrist, and an airy whooshing is heard. Quiet waves of red form around him, building into a cascading yet controlled torrent of packaged flesh. A whirlwind of Boar’s Heads, a cyclone of Venison!
Each red loses definition to another. A flat, boring scarlet is the only color you see.
Suddenly, with a small, yet quick movenent, the control of it showing you the years of pent-up experience in his stocky frame, he… Affects a section of the fleshy tornado. From red are born two distinct shades of rouge, three slides of a deep and dangerous purple, and one rosy pink. Suddenly, like modern art in motion, you are staring at a slide-by-slide tunnel of perfectly assorted meats, so vibrant and powerful that the frail glass panes might just shatter under the stress of even walling it in.
Row by row by column, flicks of skin unchanged since takeoff lay next to their once-precious cargo as the din of this spectacle quiets unspectacularly.
Where once whirled a gourmet hurricane is now empty space, and the contents are flat, perfectly flat on the streakshined steel.
The Meatman lowers his arms and breathes a deep, slow sigh, perfectly content with his work.
The audience is mad.
They’re rapping the windows, whining in increasingly shriller voices about how this “master" lost control before the cyclone was its greatest.
These people have obviously never been here before.
If you look around for those who have, you wouldn’t have found them before now. They have just stepped inside from the cold, and are lightly doffing their sailor’s caps to get the flurries out.
They walk past the customers, the windows, and the once-white archway that marks the edge of the store. They are always smiling.
The disappointed first-timers trot like nervous cattle out the doorway. A group of tourists lower their cameras and jog lightly in the foggy streets to their next destination. A little boy curls his lip and bawls for want of something he will never be able to describe.
His brother is a bit happier, however, and still staring through the glass.
The meatman, in the middle of the commotion, has hung up his cleaver and tossed his gloves. He’s undoing his apron when the men from before walk in. They all smile and pat each other on the back and chat for a very small amount of time before a mutual silence befalls them.
They walk slowly, almost somberly, to the center of the room. Their smiles are visibly sincere.
They look down at the rows of meat.
They do nothing else for a long time. They are still smiling such great, happy smiles, like they’ve been plastered on somehow.
The little boy who is still looking looks down, but he is too short to see the top of the tables.
He walks slowly over to his grandfather and looks up.
They are both smiling smiles of great happiness amd sincerity.
On his grandfather’s shoulders, he sees a thin line of dark, rusted red slowly grow as they carefully walk over. It wavers, then expands, then bursts into the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
It is a sea of meat.
It sparkles and glistens. It flows and wobbles. It flicks dark, scarlet droplets as red and whorled as Jupiter.
It opens- Upward, if viewed from above. Some natural set of color swill and formless equality has resulted in limitless depth. Your shadow extends for leagues, perhaps forever, here. It is not awe, but perhaps another similar emotion that gels you to the spot and submerges you silently in the deep red ocean of struggling beauty and inevitable rot.
Windows of spiral-cut steel pop out of nothing at all.
A fleet of uninvited tables.
A saucer of white hefts watery glory.
A hefty thud signals the seating of many.
The sea is then defamed by countless slurps and gurgles as it rolls and shifts down the throats of the Meatman and company.
It is destroyed in an instant. All pretense of this being and artistic display is shot to hell.
They eat neat and greedily. Experienced eaters.
Every motion efficient, though not exactly thoughtful.
By this time, everyone has left, except for the small brothers and ther grandfather.
When they are done, they pat their stomachs, toss their plates, and make small talk before leaving quietly.
The grandfather gently guides his grandchildren out of the door, closing it behind him.