October 25th, 2011


Fiction: draft

Every evening, after a hard day at work, the Butcher would slowly climb the stairs at the back of the shop, carefully untying and taking off his apron. Handing the apron to his wife, he would make his way to the little room off the kitchen, where a steaming bath would be waiting.

Meanwhile, the Butcher's wife set to work. Spreading the apron across the kitchen table, she would take a large knife and carefully scrape the apron clean. The Butcher's wife pulled the knife on a long, slow stroke, revealing the rough texture of the fabric. Then she wiped the knife off into a copper bowl and scraped again.

And again.

Meanwhile, the Butcher would begin to sing in the tub, as the soapy water was stained pink.

Once the entire apron was scraped bare, the Butcher's wife tossed the apron into a pot of water already boiling on the stove. She then poured a bit of oatmeal, or breadcrumbs, or cornmeal into the copper pot and began to work it into the blood and gristle and fat from the Butcher's apron. If available, she would add salt, pepper, or herbs pinched from the little flowerpots on the windowsill.

The Butcher's song was interrupted as he ducked under the water, scrubbing the blood and gore from his hair.

The Butcher's wife squeezed the blood-meal and meat into a casing, twisted tight the ends, and lowered it into the boiling pot, then fished out the apron and hung it from the window to dry.

When the Butcher emerged, glowing and pink, wrapped in a warm white robe, the Butcher's wife served up half the sausage on a bed of pickled cabbage, with sharp cheese and strong mustard. The Butcher would gnaw the other half cold as he headed down the stairs in the morning, hours before sunrise, the loose strings of his apron dangling behind.