Friday, July 9, 2010

Go Meat!

After the last box was finally unpacked, Embry decided to celebrate. She unscrewed the top from the finest bottle of Strawberry Hill Boone’s Farm had to offer and stepped onto her patio for a smoke. The neighbors were working on their already perfect lawns. Embry looked over the jungle of weeds that made up her front yard, and flicked her cigarette. She attempted a weak wave at the neighbor next door.

Being new in town was rough, and Embry just didn’t fit in with the geriatric crowd. It wasn’t like she hadn’t seen old people before. In Arizona, they had whole communities of them, but she wasn’t used to seeing so many everywhere she went.

She made it easy for the neighbors to ignore her, and it was quiet, which she didn’t mind. It gave her time to think, reassess, and validate her life.

Across the street, the front door opened and the smallest white-haired woman made her way across the street. “Hi, dear, it looks like I got your mail today,” she said as she handed over a small bundle. “I’m Bess Michaels.”

“Thank you Mrs. Michaels,” Embry said as she took the mail. “I’m Embry Franks.”

“I know,” she said tapping the letters in Embry’s hand. “I see you got Reggie’s Flyer. He has a six hour meat sale twice a year. Everyone in town goes. The prices are amazing. You’re not a root-eating tree hugger, are you?”

“Uh… No. I’m a voracious carnivore.”

Bess laughed long and hard, clutching her side. “Well then, you’ll want to get there early, or all of the good stuff will be gone.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Michaels.”

“Oh no, you can call me Bess, or better, Grandma,” she winked. Embry couldn’t help but return the smile.

“Grandma,” a man yelled from across the street.

“Just a moment, Grandpa! I’m talking to our neighbor,” she shouted. She turned back to Embry, “That’s Grandpa. I would introduce you, but he’s really cranky before dinner. I must go and feed him. He’s a voracious carnivore too.” She laughed.

“Maybe some other time then,” Embry said as the woman turned to leave. “It was nice meeting you Be… Grandma.”

“Nice meeting you, dear.” Embry watched the old woman cross the road and disappear into her home.

That night Embry studied the flyer. She had an empty deep freeze sitting in the garage that she had received as a wedding gift; she never bothered to return it after her wedding plans soured. She could go to this sale, fill it up, and not have to leave the house for months. “6 a.m. God, that’s early,” she said to her empty cupboards.

She woke up long before the intended 6 a.m. Her alarm clock read 4:30. A shower and coffee later and it was only 5. She stared at the clock. “This is ridiculous,” she said to her coffee table, “I’ve spent all night standing in line for concert tickets. I even stood in line for six hours for the new iPhone. I don’t want to show up early for meat.”

Pulling into Reggie’s at 5:15, Embry was surprised to see a line outside of the store. She had intended to read on her phone to pass time, but instead, she exited her car and got into queue for meat.

“Grandma,” she heard a man say behind her in line, “You go for the chicken, and I will get some steak.”

“Sounds like a plan, Grandpa.” Embry laughed quietly. She was surrounded by grandmas and grandpas and they all insisted on calling each other just that. At least she wouldn’t have to remember anyone’s name.

At five minutes to six, a voice boomed from the loud speaker. “Welcome Reggie’s patrons! Today is our famous six hour meat sale. Are you excited?” A loud noise broke out from the crowd. “What was that?” the voice asked.

“Yeah!” the crowd yelled.

“I thought so,” the voice continued. “Please remember no pushing, no cursing, and absolutely… NO… Fighting. Thank you for shopping Reggie’s!”

“What the hell?” Embry said more to herself than anyone else, but it got the attention of the grandma in front of her.

“What’s wrong dear?” she asked.


“Oh yes. See that couple over there?” She pointed to a sweet old couple dressed in matching khakis. “Last year, he tripped Mrs. Walker, and his wife gouged out Mr. Walker’s good eye.”

Embry stared at the couple holding hands. They didn’t look the slightest bit violent.

“The man at the front, that’s Mr. Barney. Stay away from him. He will steal your basket when you’re not looking and hide it in the store.” Embry looked him over. He was carrying a cane.

Embry shook her head in disbelief. There was no way these people could act so badly.

“And there,” she pointed at Bess Michaels, Embry’s neighbor, “that’s the witch who bit me two years ago!”

“She bit you?”

“Yes, I had to get five stitches and a Tetanus shot… Crazy bitch went nuts when I grabbed the last pork roast.” Embry laughed. It was too much.

The fog horn blew signaling the beginning of the six hour meat sale, and a mad rush of grandmas and grandpas was at Embry’s back, pushing her. She attempted to move forward but was lifted off her feet and squeezed out of the line onto the sidewalk. She sat there for a moment dazed as the crowd filed into Reggie’s, then dusted herself off. Laughing, she got back into her car, giving up on the meat sale.

It was after dinner that evening when Embry answered a knock at the door. “Hi, Dear. I saw you had a hard time at Reggie’s this morning.”

“Yeah, maybe next time,” Embry shrugged.

“Well, I brought you a pork roast. Consider it a house warming gift,” she smiled.

“Thank you, Grandma. This is very nice.”

“You’re welcome dear. It was a great price, and I didn’t have to kill anyone for it.” She winked.


  1. I really enjoyed this. Good read!

  2. This a really entertaining story and I love the punchline. It reminds me a bit of Stephen King for some reason. A whole town of not so lovely white haired Grandma's and Grandpa's. Great character piece, well written.

  3. Great story, I really enjoyed it. I had visions of there being something more sinister about Reggie's meat sale, if I were Embry I'd do a quick head count before trying that pork roast, just in case. ;)

  4. I also thought of Stephen King when I read this!

    And laughed when Grandma said she said she didn't have to kill anyone for the pork roast. Um, she didn't really mean she would kill, did she?

    *shudder* Great spooky story! ;)

  5. Great story! Uh, is this a bit of real life, like the last meat one was? I know you're a voracious carnivore...

  6. Phew, I was a bit worried Enbry was only invited so they could use her the for shanks and rump that were to go on sale.

    Delicious tale!

    Marc Nash

  7. Ah, those innocent looking old folk.. Salt of the earth they are... Oh, wait..

    Much fun :-)
    I'm glad I'm having burgers for dinner, your fellow voracious carnivore is craving meat now!

  8. rofl That is exactly how it feels when I go shopping around here! I'd better pay more attention!

    Cool piece!

  9. Very entertaining! Like Sam, I was looking for something creepy in the meat store. You never know.....

  10. Too funny, although I, too, kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Glad no grandparents were killed in the making of this story. :-P

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  12. Death by meat - aisle two!!! So funny!!!!!!

  13. Loved this story. Clean little narrative with interesting characters. What I appreciated the most was that you resisted the temptation to the obvious: it's NOT a Stephen King type horror story. Well done.

  14. I enjoyed this so much 2...I, too, feel a burger craving coming on. Great voice in this one.

  15. Okay so I need so clarify. Of course no one dies in aisle 2 but I had visions of elderly ninjas battling it out in the grocery store. So good Tomara!!!!!! Great visuals!!!!

  16. Ha! Thanks for the wonderful comments. It's been a crazy day, and I haven't got much of my reading in.

    I can't thank you enough for reading my little story here... which was inspired by the 12 hour meat sale going on at a local store. I had intended to take it a whole other route, but I kinda like where it went instead.

    Rachelle - it's so funny you said that. When Kemari was helping me edit, her note on the very end says "Personally, I was hoping it would end with us witnessing some violence from the grandmas and grandpas. Maybe instead of leaving, Embry watches in the store window as the old people fight like villains in a batman comic. LOL"

    I considered it for a long while, but since I was severely strapped for time... this is what you got ;-)

    Thanks again!

  17. I was waiting for the meat to be people. Kind of relieved there wasn't a bloodbath on Aisle 3.

  18. This was awesome. I saw the young woman being the meat; I saw the latest old person to pass being the meat; I saw aliens spewing chemicals to addict humans being farmed for meat. I saw all of that.

    What I didn't see was a 6-hour meat sale where old folks get rowdy and bite. THAT was awesome.

    The suspense was beautiful, waiting for the other shoe to drop ... and then it does by NOT being the cliche. Beautiful!

  19. What a great story. I was envisioning all kinds of horrific things, too, but your ending is too perfect to have it any other way.

    Vicious old folks... just hilarious. Really enjoyed this.

  20. There's just something about this town, I can't put my finger on it...

    Great story, and quite a lively bunch of Grandmas & Grandpas. I'm not sure I wouldn't think about relocating out of there.

    The world was well painted - I could see and hear everything.

    Very well done.

  21. This is awesome! And I'm not just saying that because I helped edit it. ;)

    I think Embry should be invited to a bake sale and then she can start to realize that maybe the food around Grandmatown is made with some pretty mysterious ingredients.

  22. Scary old people! I'd so not stay in the neighborhood after that! And the remark that Grandpa was a voracious carnivore too gave me the chills...

    I'll go get my veggie burger now, heh. :P

  23. When I read your tweet about your inspiration, I wasn't quite sure what you were going to do with it. Like Sam, I thought it might turn sinister (a town of generic grandmas and grandpas is just eerie) but I enjoyed it as it was none the less. Good work!

  24. Good story! Oh, how sales affect people, especially those you'd never suspect. This town full of Grandma's and Grandpa's has an eerie vibe to it that could make for a neat setting in a novel.

  25. As if I needed another reason to avoid crowds.... I know just where this place is. Well done.

  26. It's funny because I'm a voracious carnivore to! XD No but sieriously great read.

  27. LOL, loved the imagery of the fighting Grandmas and Grandpas, and I'm glad that Embry didn't get turned into the Daily Special. Maybe she doesn't want to get to know her neighbors, after all.


  28. Never underestimate the elderly, they didn't get to be old by being wimpy. Very enjoyable tale. You created a world that was both totally weird and totally normal. I think that's why it feels S.K.-ish. That's a compliment in my book.

  29. That was fun. I too thought she was roast, er... toast, and was relieved when she drove off.

    I'm not sure it's realistic to kill (figuratively) for meat, but chocolate on the other hand... ;)

  30. Hmm the NewGuinea tribesmen call human flesh "Long Pork". I thought for sure there would be something about the meat being young and tender-not so many young folk about in this suburb...
    Nice work.