We Had a Friend for Dinner

We Had a Friend for Dinner

A Chapter by Jonathan Bryant Dean
"

A true story from my youth.

"

 

A hat with the bill rounded just so...

The hat was stained with grease where I took it off with my dirty hands to wipe my sweaty brow. Man it was hot that day, when my friend Nan died.
 
 Nan was particularly stunning when the sun reflected in her smoky brown eyes, like topaz jewels in the smooth setting of her dark skin. Her face was complimented by her full lips, and framed by her brown hair with frosted highlights.
 
Nan was a perfect physical specimen. She was the mother of two kids who were now grown and out on their own, so Nan was free to be her own person again.Mother had given Nan her last meal. Nan was nearly finished eating when she gasped, then even as the petechial hemorrhages were forming in the blood vesels of her soft brown eyes, she realized to late that she had not taken the time to savor her her last breath. The Heimlich maneuver would not have been an option at that late stage.    
 
My father knew the role which was his to play, he brought death’s final curtain down upon Nan’s head. To lose Nan was a crushing blow to my heart, as well as to her head.
 
Even though I had never cried before in my life, other than tears caused by an onion slice, I felt what I thought was a tear forming in my left eye. It was my first time.
 
The warm wetness began to trickle down my nose. Puzzled at this foreign sensation, I touched the presumed tear with my index finger. As I examined the substance, I realized with some satisfaction, that it was not a teardrop at all, but a bit of still warm brain matter which had landed on my cheek, leaving a path of visceral wetness upon my face.
 
The smell of blood was surprisingly sweet. In contrast to the smell that followed as her intestines evacuated one last time.

My father worked with a detached, methodical demeanor. Rather than an act of butchery, it was as though we were a Surgeon and his attendant. Though this operating theatre was not an air conditioned hospital, or even a sterile abattoir. We were on a remote Kentucky hillside, in the heat of the summer sun.
 
In that open arena, with no witness within the sound of an Eagles cry, I remember helping my father remove her head as we bisected the cadaverous form. Then we began the removal of her vital organs.
 
As we cracked open the ribs of her chest cavity, Nan’s heart beat its last note. Her lungs, filled with crimson foamy bubbles, once so deprived of breath, were at last exposed to fresh air in a final irony. I witnessed kidneys that were a healthy dark red and the liver was still bright with crimson wetness, all looking as though they were not quite dead.
 
I am not sure if Nan was an Organ Donor, but it was such a shame, as I am sure that someone could have gotten some good from those internal organs and other vital tissues.
 
 After we had dissected and reduced Nan's body so that it was recognizable as neither animal nor human; the remains were sorted and laid out upon a table. Father removed the meat from the bones, selecting what was suitable for human consumption from that which was considered waste.
 
Her feet for example, were inedible, or at least very unappetizing; while the meat of her butt and loins were nicely marbled and very tender. Nan’s lifeless form with hair all in disarray, was not a very appealing site, however, with artful precision we had successfully transformed Nan into a beautiful tray full of steaks and chops!
 
There was no dignity in death, and though I felt no remorse, I did feel a bit of a sense of a sense of shame a shame as I watched my father throw those beautiful organs to an eagerly awaiting farmyard dog. I am not sure if Nan was an organ donor.  I also wondered if the organs were safe to feed to our dog. I did not want to make the dog ill, since that would be a high price to be paid for dog food. There was little dignity in death. Even her head was offered over to the hogs in the pen.
 
That summer day was hot, and the effort caused a sweat, that caused me to take off my hat, with the bill rounded just so, to wipe my sweaty forehead. Then I noted that there was evidence of our work, on the bill of my hat. A set of bloody fingerprints now added to the grease. A red badge signified the finality of our actions. 

I remember the joyous anticipation of the evening meal as I heard my father say, “Boy, we will have meat tonight.”
 
To put this into perspective, we could not afford to butcher animals that were of use on the farm. Chickens laid eggs, cows gave milk, cats kept the rats out of the grain, and the dogs protected all of the animals. We couldn’t butcher a hog because they were still being fattened for slaughter in the fall. Hogs were fattened up on table scraps and slop,, to provide winter meat for the larder.
 
Pigs were never butchered in the heat of summer, because the meat would spoil before the family could eat a whole hog.  Therefore, to avoid butchering useful animals, Mother and Father working in concert prepared the way for Nan to provide meat for our family.
 
I will never forget Nan, since meat in the summer time was such a rare treat in the secluded Kentucky hills of my childhood. I find that as years have passed by, the memory of the taste of Nan’s flesh is no longer with me, but I do remember that it took us three days to eat her.

 Thank you Nan.

I do not have that hat any more, with the rounded bill, just so, but I do have the memories of my Nan
 
I will also remember that whenever the pantry starts to get a little bare, I will make sure I prepare all of my own food.

I'm hungry.  Do you have any friends to whom I can send an invitation for dinner?

 

JBD



© 2009 Jonathan Bryant Dean



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Featured Review

Oh goodness. The driving force behind this story is brilliant. You... ARE talking about kill and and eating a cow, not a person... right? At first I was sure that this story began with a brutal and apparently unprovoked homicide, and I really like how you never quite clarify that that isn't really what happened - remarkable subtlety! The shorter sentence and entertainingly unsophisticated vocabulary give it a very nice voice, too. You do seem to change your tenses around a little, though, which I found a little confusing, but it wasn't too much of a hinderance. Well done (or, perhaps I should say medium rare...)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.



WHAT AM I?: Nephilim WHAT AM I?: Nephilim
A teen boy gets killed, but trades his soul for another chance. He changes. A girl notices the new boy with silver eyes.

Reviews

Enjoyable read! Nice approach to being brutal and bloody. This is smart. I like your style.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 8 Years Ago


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Z
This is one I like, though brutal aha I like the whole description given in how it felt.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

HAHAHA!!!

Wonderful! Now I'm feeling the urge to whip out a bit of my insane poetry. A true inspiration you are!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


This so extremely sad, but very well written at the same time. I turn into a very different person why people mention animal cruelty, for I am a vegetarian. But this changed my mood; because it was like you where very thank ful for the food Nan had given you that night.
I'm off to read the other chapters! This one was really good though.

(:

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


Mmm...I haven't eaten lunch yet, and this story has put me in the mood for something flame-grilled and bloody.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


Mmm...I haven't eaten lunch yet, and this story has put me in the mood for something flame-grilled and bloody.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


Powerful. I will be back to find out who or what 'Nan' was. I'm guessing Nan was an animal on a farm--at least I hope so. The suspense builds like a storm over the ocean. It swept me right along hoping that Nan is what I suspect. The bloody fingerprints on the cap's bill are a vivid image--'a red badge' measuring the young boy's pride in what he has just accomplished with his father. Everyone that eats meat should read this to appreciate what goes on behind that meat counter at the super market. At least I hope Nan was that type of meat since the hook is still dangling and I have to return to read the next chaptere.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


Hmm, apart from the gimmick about it being a cow, it's just a gory description of a dissection.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


I hope you had some farva beans and a nice chianti to go along with that, just yummy.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


I love subtle stories such as this one. It is as if I read two books: One being the written lines, and the other between the lines. I look forward to finishing the other chapters. I just hope they were killing a person! I don't like when animals die in stories.
:)

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on February 6, 2008
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Author

Jonathan Bryant Dean
Jonathan Bryant Dean

Middletown, OH



About
Jonboy may make you mad, but at least he has made you think. "If you get mad, that means that you have an opinion, if you have an opinion, at least you have some conscious thought."--JonBoy There on.. more..

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