Abattoir

Hap had worked in the abattoir for nearly three months. He didn’t like it much. The screaming of hogs was less than a balm to his senses. It clawed at his heart, truthfully. Cows, thoroughly exsanguinated and hanging from diabolical hooks, haunted his dreams. His father, an old Communist barber, deplored meat and had subsisted, as far as Hap knew, for the last sixteen years on cabbage and quinine. Hap’s life was split between two rancorous odors. In work and at home he labored, stultified by either the red carnage of his grisly doings or the crimson flatulence of his father’s fibrous shadow. Where was a hard-working lad to go? To what sanctuary could he flee where he might toil peaceably at his own trade, no enemy to his four-legged brethren, capitalist or otherwise?

Given his options, it was only somewhat surprising that he took the neighbor’s daughter up on her offer of marriage. She agreed to cook and keep mum about his bloody smell so long as he washed as soon as he came home and gave her friends free reign of their tiny cottage every second Tuesday of the month and sometimes alternating Wednesdays for bridge and gossip. Hap agreed to these terms, moved out of his father’s house, became only a little fat, drank with companions but not to excess on the prescribed evenings of his absence, and continued to work hard in the abattoir with the ultimate goal of graduating to management so he himself wouldn’t have to kill so many creatures.

It worked out very well for everyone until the inevitable revolt of the proletariat. Hap, a genial and rotund foreman by this time, was kindly defenestrated from the roof of the abattoir. His wife was just bourgeois enough to be rounded up with her bridge fellows and placed under the supervision of the state. It was a sad state of affairs.

Except for the animals. In the several ensuing revolutions, they found themselves in the enviable position of being not only a happily mute minority but also the least ideologically inclined.

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