By John Xero
In the end, aren’t we all just meat and bone and guts all piled into a greasy sack?
“You gonna eat that?” Benny asked through a mouthful of hash brown, waving his fork at the last sausage on Mitch’s plate.
Mitch looked blankly back at him.
There’s machinery in there as well. Bits of gristle and flesh that make things go up and down and wave around. Flapping things. Springy things.
“Earth to Mitch. You home, buddy?”
Bits of potato sprayed from Benny’s flapping mouth hole.
There is something else, call it a spirit or a spark. Hesitate, perhaps, to call it intelligence. Something that coordinates, and something that rises above even that, something that defines an individual.
Mitch shrugged loosely, “Sure. Have the sausage.”
Benny didn’t hesitate. His fork leapt the Formica tabletop
and speared the sausage. To his credit he did pause, a moment, before biting it in half.
Long enough to speak.
“You don’t look right. You’re thinking.”
Outside the café the world scrolled onwards. Meat sacks in their tin cans. Meat sacks taking smaller meat bags for walks on bits of string. Meat sacks hanging on to each other as if they might suddenly fall off, or fall apart.
Benny shoved the last piece of greasy breakfast into his toothy hole. The ground pork went round and round in his mouth, and his tongue flapped words at Mitch, meat in meat in meat in meat, “What’s up, buddy? The job getting to you? I seen it before, grave digging ain’t for everybody, most people don’t like to think too much about death, you know, about what happens to our bodies afterwards, just dropped in a hole. I mean, sure there’s all that serious business, pomp and whatchamacallit circumstance, but that’s more for the living, ain’t it? Or is it Jeanine again? It is, ain’t it? Jeanine. I thought we were over that. She’s old news, and we’re better off without her. She was never good enough for you, buddy.”
Bits of meat, doing meat things, making more meat to do meat things all over again.
Mitch sighed and focussed on Benny, “She was too good for me, Benny. We both know that.”
“Hey, I’m trying to cheer you up here. Besides, you’re a thinker, look at you, thinking away, and let’s face it, she… well, she wasn’t, was she?”
And inside the meat some brightness you might call a person. Some shine that makes them special. Except, get rid of all the flesh and guts and bones and bits and there is no spark, no spirit, there’s nothing, at all, just blood stains and scratch marks.
Time and bleach gets rid of even those.
“Listen, buddy, what say I fix you up on a date. There’s this friend of Sally’s; she’s not, well, she ain’t the prettiest, but she’s proper clever, and funny. You gotta get over Jeanine. She left you. Walked out of your life. Vanished. You gotta stop waiting on her to come back.”
Author Bio: John Xero has been publishing flash fiction on the internet for a decade and a half. Fiction of all lengths is the *legal* way you strip away all the fleshy bits and expose the monsters within.
He is the editor at 101fiction.com. He will almost definitely one day maybe tweet more @xeroverse