Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Everybody agreed that Paul and Mary were a perfectly matched couple. They had become  accustomed to each others shortcomings as well as virtues over the five years in which they had been together, and in honest moments of introspection even they would agree on how well their personalities interlocked. They we're a jovial pair, plump and rosy of hue, tall and broadly built and not afraid in certain circumstances to be course. They both enjoyed food and drink and excelled in preparing and dispensing it. People liked to have them at their parties because they made parties go.

It was only when Paul one day over a  piece of well hung sirloin, cooked rare over charcoal, said to Mary, " do you ever worry about animals?" that a fly appeared to be struggling in the ointment. She stopped chewing in mid-mouthful and stared at him across the table in astonishment. "Paul," she said, "are you not feeling well? I have never thought that you ever cared  a moment about the fate of the animals we eat."

"But I do. Or at least just recently I have  begun to. Just think about
 those horrible abattoirs, the planned, mechanical slaughter, the smell of blood, the animals' fear as they are penned up outside.

"For God's sake finish your steak and drink up your Nuita St George's like a good lad.

He did. But from then onwards a tension grew up between them. There was a lack of relish at mealtimes. And sometimes when they fell silent  it was not the silence of  good companionship but rather one of suspicion. From time to time they went over the  old  arguments. If  we didn't eat meat there' d be no reason to breed animals. The fields would be empty. Sheep and cattle would become extinct. We are carnivores. Why pretend not to be? But none of  that is an excuse for the captivity, exploitation and murder of our fellow creature.  And so on ...

One day Paul came back from an overseas sales conference.  As marketing director of an international drinks company he had always looked forward to such  events, where he shone as a gourmet as well as a communicator. But on this occasion his presentations had seemed to lack zest. And when he returned home he embraced Mary, squeezing her in the usual places but with a lack of enthusiasm. "Mary," he said, " there is something I have to tell you." 

She looked at him coldly for she knew that something was badly wrong and some frightful announcement was going to be made. She also knew her man.

"Mary," he said, "I'm going to..."

"Before you begin," she said, "let' s sit down to dinner. I had some foie gras sent over from Strasbourg and the Ch d'Yquem is in the Fridge. 

It struck him then that he had never in his life felt hungrier.


  1. It is true, then, that one lust or another, eventually, will do you in. Oh, but what a way to go!

    Well done! (Usual disclaimer about no pun, et cetera.)

  2. The suspense of not knowing what he was going to say and yet guessing makes the ending all the more believable. I have known several people who have tried to give up meat and gone back to it, as if they had been suffering from some illness or lapse of sound sense.

  3. Bravo - great story!

    Timely topic these days, isn't it? Can't help saying that we're presently researching those issues including GMO's, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, hormones, on and on in all our food. It makes one sick literally and mentally. We went and ordered some grass-fed beef, home butchered directly from an organic farm. I thought of my grandparents' farm where they struggled but ate well.

  4. Oh, how odd. Noticed the date just afterwards! This story must have popped up in my news feed as if it was a new one and I clicked on it to respond. Afterwards I could not find it on your front page. Thanks to History, I got back here and noticed the date. My comment still applies....