Carnival of Carnivores

Carnival of Carnivores

A Story by barleygirl
"

loosely based on true life . . .

"


I won’t sugar-coat this. My two elder sisters exhibit unusual holiday traditions, to say the least. I might be one of the few family members open-minded enough to attend one of their pow-wows. These would be a cross between a séance and a pioneer cookout with heavy nuances of Native American spirituality.

A hardy constitution is required. Our extensive and rather fussy family prefers winter get-togethers in a dwelling with four walls and a heater. Imagine that!

I’m impressed Ellen’s hand-built lean-to stands up to hurricane-force winds that often buffet the highest peak between San Jose and Santa Cruz. Loma Prieta also gets a smattering of snow most winters. With the recent decade of greenhouse warming, however, my occasional holiday visits haven’t been too brutal on an old gal like me. My other sister Pearl doesn’t live on the mountain, but she’s Ellen’s fairly constant sidekick for most sacred gatherings.

My four-wheel drive bumps and grinds up Ellen’s narrow rocky rutted lane for forty minutes before I finally spot a dilapidated barbed-wire gate at the end of the road. I laugh every time I see her hand-carved sign arching overhead:

Moon Ridge Retreat

“Retreat” is hyperbole if I ever heard of one. There are no neighbors within sight and no conventional dwellings anywhere on her isolated two hundred acres.

Jumping out to open the gate, I stand a moment to stare across the accordion ridges of sage chaparral. The view is startling, looking down on the non-stop metropolis of San Francisco Bay from this lofty desolate spot. It’s even more spectacular after dark, gazing upon city lights twinkling fifty miles by fifty miles to frame a pitch black bay spanned by numerous sparkling bridges.

I didn’t start attending my sisters’ pow-wows until Ellen finally got electricity on her land. Before that, I didn’t trust her rustic style of preserving and preparing wild meats she harvests out of season with immunity. Hopefully now she partakes of the modern convenience to refrigerate and freeze. My contribution to our meals has always been to grind a variety of ancient grains with mortar and pestle before making and baking hearty bread between fire-heated boulders.

As my truck crawls along the final quarter mile, I lean out my window to see if I can spot anyone frolicking around in the wilderness. Rounding the horse corral and llama pen, six hounds pick up my trail and howl my arrival to the others. I notice Ellen dancing pretty nasty against her second ex-husband who’s now married to our distant cousin. There are a few others I can’t identify from this distance. All the ladies are swirling around with colorful scarves and skimpy gypsy garb while the guys shake their naked packages in the warm breezes.

Once I park my truck and the dust settles, I get a big whiff of burning marijuana. This party is well underway so I avoid making contact with the others just yet. I want to get into my own cooking zone first. The afternoon sun is waning and I need it to coax my bread proofing along. I haul out my big flowered canvas bag which holds all my baking secrets and carry it to the table beside the lean-to. When everything is kneaded, oiled, and covered in my huge crock bowl, warming in the sun, I head down to the lower level to check out the fire.

I spot a massive hunk of flesh crusted with herbs and ready to twirl on a spit above the fire pit. Rotation is sporadic . . . whenever one or more of the stoned dancers catches a savory whiff and then remembers to check on our meal. Some lady I never met is wrapping root vegetables in heavy foil to bank against the outer coals. I expect her butt-length hair to sizzle each time she reaches into the fire to arrange her roasting tidbits.

“Hi, my name is Glenda. I’m Ellen’s baby sister.”

“I get it! You must be the good witch!” She cackles at her own mystifying humor and mutters incoherently before continuing introductions. “I’m Barbie, married to Ellen’s first husband and we live on that next ridge over there.”

“Do you mind if I arrange these fire stones for baking my bread?” I wasn’t expecting the big bouncy b**b-hug and slobbering lip-kiss that she hit me with when I stood up from the fire. “I won’t bother your yams and beets.”

Gathering my preferred collection of stones, I arrange them at the edge of the fire to cradle my bread when it’s ready for baking. To avoid prolonging my cozy conversation with Barbie the B**b Banger, I head back to the upper level to check on my bread dough.

Out of curiosity, I look around inside Ellen’s rustic lean-to. Every surface has a sprinkling of rat turds with stowed dog kibble spilling from several knotholes.

She has a fairly new chest freezer, so I open it. It’s almost full with everything neatly wrapped in beige butcher paper. Ellen’s distinctive all-capitals printing identifies each package, presumably meat. I’m relieved to notice recent date stamps on each piece.

Boar loin roast . . . venison steaks . . . whole porcupine . . . leg ‘o’ Blackie??? I flip this huge package over, trying to identify some mystery meat. It’s very heavy and certainly not recognizable as any of the regularly hunted species in this area. But hunted prey wouldn’t be named anyway, would it?

I glance around the horse corral and llama pen, sizing up the various thigh possibilities amongst Ellen’s named creatures. Then it hits me. The name of Ellen’s third and final ex-husband . . . you guessed it! When she and Blackie split, he didn’t move away from this mountaintop. They continued to cohabitate, more or less, in the huge outdoors. I presumed this wild expanse would be roomy enough to avoid any post-divorce hassles. But maybe not.

This would be the Christmas I go vegetarian.




© 2016 barleygirl



Advertise Here Advertise Here
Want to advertise here? Get started for as little as $5

Author's Note

barleygirl
This is loosely based on my eldest sister Ellen's mountain lifestyle.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

So, the rumors of cannibalism aren't just confined to the Royal Navy! This one's a hoot, my imaginative friend. Definitely, I'd stay away from the sausages.
I always enjoy these little treks you take me on, but slight familiarity with the area makes this one even more so.

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

My eldest sister really did live up on that mountain for 30-odd years & over that time, she accumula.. read more



Reviews

Haha! First, that is definitely my kind of party, minus the rat poo and kibble. Second, I love the way you told it, I just envisioned the whole thing, even Barbie unfortunately LOL. Poor old Blackie! Great story!!

Posted 10 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

9 Months Ago

Thanks so much for your fun comments! I needed to take a break becuz my mindset had become contamina.. read more
D. Connolly

9 Months Ago

Hi! I was thinking of you this weekend, and I'm glad to hear you are doing well and getting back int.. read more
tee hee. I love it. Very funny. And uggh, at the same time.

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

I never liked yukky themes, but ever since last Halloween, I've been enjoying dabbling in them! Than.. read more
So, the rumors of cannibalism aren't just confined to the Royal Navy! This one's a hoot, my imaginative friend. Definitely, I'd stay away from the sausages.
I always enjoy these little treks you take me on, but slight familiarity with the area makes this one even more so.

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

My eldest sister really did live up on that mountain for 30-odd years & over that time, she accumula.. read more
[send message][befriend] Subscribe
...
Hi Margie,....lol what an adventure, you always make me laugh. Witty, funny, entertaining writing. Hugs....
Starz x

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

Thanks for stopping by & chuckling a little! My eldest sister used to live on this desolate mountain.. read more
I would like your sister. I like to eat meat of any kind. My wife and daughters. Rarely eat meat. Maybe chicken. A very entertaining story. I miss the days of big family get together. Thank you my friend for sharing the entertaining story.
Coyote

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

Thanks for stopping by to share a story about the good ole days when we were all young enuf to sleep.. read more
Coyote Poetry

11 Months Ago

I did enjoy the story and you are welcome dear friend.
Wow this was really interesting to read. I was drawn in by the mentioning of Native American culture. I thought this was funny especially about the long haired woman, Barbie. I also chuckled at the various meats you saw. That's be enough to turn me vegetarian for a night too, even though I do consider myself a meat lover.

Thanks for posting!

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

Thanks for sharing your interest & entertainment from my story . . . my eldest sister really did liv.. read more
A great job, B. There's a lot of humour and you've set the story perfectly. If this isn't your real family Christmas dinner, (and I know it isn't), it should be.
I'm with you on Blackie. A good and fun write.

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

Actually, I have joined in a few times when my older sisters were having one of their outdoor cookou.. read more
Now that's an episode of the Walton's that I could definitely get into. :)
I'm heading into the wild up North here for new year, or Hogmanay as we call it. I have just this minute decided to live on Kit Kats and noodles until I get back. :)


Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

Hogmanay sounds like a place where people might tend to go "whole hog"!! That's my kind of celebrati.. read more
Quite the tale (and I suspect there was quite a bit of tail at this pow-wow). The unusual antics and unorganized atmosphere of the whole event was just odd enough to hold attention. I'd forgotten the title, so when I got to the "carnivorous" part, I raised an eyebrow or two. Though I suspect "Leg 'o' Blackie" wasn't the only man meat being eaten that night. 'Tis the season, I suppose.

Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

You are truly hilarious, my horn-dog friend! *wink! wink!* (((HUGS))) . . . I like the way you exten.. read more
The freestyle living that you describe indicates that you have not lost the will to enjoy joining in a madcap world. It's heartening to know that despite the famly traumas, there is still a bond that can bring pleasure.
From the reader's POV it was a highly amusing belly laugh of a story.. We city dwellers could learn a thing or two from this account, particularly about real barbecue cooking. (Hugs)))


Posted 11 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

barleygirl

11 Months Ago

Even tho sleeping on steep rocky terrain in the middle of winter can be challenging, I'd still rathe.. read more

First Page first
Previous Page prev
1
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

1451 Views
12 Reviews
Rating
Added on December 20, 2016
Last Updated on December 20, 2016

Author

barleygirl
barleygirl

Central Coast, CA



About
Just loving life & sharing my blessings. more..

Writing

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..