Saturday 24 June 2017

You Are What You Eat by Nettie Thomson

I was fifteen when Daddy caught me fucking the pig.
I hadn’t long got home from school and was still thinking about Ellie Guntherson and the way her skirt slid up her thigh, white as the moon and just as distant. My pecker strained against the rough cotton of my work pants as I pushed the wheelbarrow into the barn where our pigs were chowing down. There was only me and them and nothing but my zipper in the way of relief so I poured slops into the trough and set to work.
I was grunting as much as the pig was squealing and between us, we made such a racket that I didn’t hear Daddy. First I knew he was there was when his arm, covered in a dirty plaid shirt, and holding a hunting knife, shot over my shoulder and into the pig’s belly. Blood pumped out with the same rhythm as I deposited my seed.
Daddy drew his arm back and slapped me so hard I bit clean through my tongue. I stumbled backwards and Daddy, without turning round to look at me said, “Go and get cleaned up, boy.”
I stayed in my room til Mama called me down for supper.
Mama wouldn’t look me in the eye but Daddy watched me as I sat down and saw what was on the plate before me. Mashed potatoes and turnips squatted next to fried pork chops, the grease oozing into the vegetables, shining in the kitchen light.
I looked at Daddy, cheeks burning.
“What’s wrong, son? Supper not to your liking?”
I shook my head. Daddy leaned across the table and grabbed my fork, spearing a chop and pushing it into my face.
“Eat. You fuck it, you eat it.”
That night in bed I could hear Daddy pumping into Mama, the old bed springs squeaking and the headboard hammering.
Next morning Daddy was out in the fields before I got up. In the kitchen Mama, her dirty robe belted loosely at her waist, stood at the sink, washing dishes.
“You’ll get your own breakfast,” she said and walked out.
When Daddy got back at dinnertime, it was only me and him. He washed up and began to eat.
“Where’s your Mama?” he asked.
“Had to go out.”
He grunted and began to eat, putting a forkful of meat and potatoes into his mouth.
“Did she make this before she left?”
I shook my head.
“You did this?” his eyes widened in surprise.
“Yes, sir.”
“It’s good, son. But it ain’t pork.”
“No, sir.”
He took another forkful and used his hand to wipe the gravy running down his chin.
“What is it, son? And ain’t that your Mama’s purse over there? Why would she go out and leave her purse?”
I stood up and held his gaze as I dropped Mama’s dirty robe on the table.
“Well, Daddy, like you said. You fuck it. You eat it.”


2024 Wigleaf Longlisting

Huge congratulations to Lisa Alletson whose 2024 FlashFlood piece, ' Translucent ' made the Wigleaf Top 50 longlist! You can read th...