Something for the Weakened

Unsubmittable. That’s What You Are.

Friday, May 20th, 2011 by Alastair

A month or so ago I was invited to contribute to a magazine that friend of the site Paul edits. Details on the availability of that when I have them. The remit was to put together something no more than 40 lines long related to the theme of food. I came up with a few ideas about what to write about – a first person narrative of a communion wafer briefly turning into Christ, something relating to cannibalism, a vague idea about a not terribly amusing misunderstanding between ‘hare’ and ‘hair’. I didn’t actually try and write any of those up, but did have a crack at two of my ideas. What follows is the one that I didn’t bother submitting as it was weaker conceptually and I had no idea how to end it satisfactorily. Make of it what you will.

“Urgh!”

“What?”

“There’s meat in the cupboard!”

“Yeah.”

“But that’s disgusting.”

“No it’s not. It’s dinner.”

“You expect me to eat that?”

“If you want to eat what I’m cooking, then yes, I suppose I do.”

“So what’s it doing in the cupboard?”

“Defrosting.”

“Couldn’t it do that somewhere more appropriate? Like the fridge perhaps?”

“I only took it out at lunchtime. No way a piece that size would defrost quickly enough in the fridge.”

“Doesn’t seem very hygienic.”

“It’ll be fine. I often stick stuff in there to thaw.”

“But did you have to stick my tea towel on top of it?”

“Well I didn’t want flies getting at it. That would be grim.”

“But it’s all bloody now.”

“We’ve run out of cling film and slinging it in a carrier bag seemed more than a little bit manky. Besides its not that bloody really, is it?”

“Now you mention it, no. No it’s not. How come?”

“It’s special.”

“Special?”

“Uh-huh.”

“I’m not sure I like the sound of that.”

“It’ll be fine. I’m told its very tasty.”

“Well what is it?”

“Guess.”

“Um . . . beef?”

“No. Look closer.”

“Err . . . oh! Is that an eye?”

“Yep.”

“Oh God! Where did you get it?”

“Found it.”

“Jesus! Where?”

“It was lying around at work. I think someone left it.”

“We can’t eat this!”

“Course we can. It’s supposed to be really tasty.”

“No, no, no.”

“We can’t let it go to waste.”

“Well I’m certainly not putting it in my mouth.”

“Then you’ll just have to go hungry then.”

“I think I can live with that. It’s gross!”

“Don’t be silly.”

“But it is!”

“Oh come on. Don’t tell me you’re having moral issues with this?”

“Well . . . no, no, it’s not that.”

“Really?”

“Okay, maybe a bit.”

“Come on. What does it matter? Meat is meat.”

Transparency report – The original hand written draft only goes as far as the line “We can’t let it go to waste.” Everything following on from that I wrote over the past twenty minutes or so. I’m not a hundred percent happy with the whole thing. The use of ’special’ makes it feel too indebted to The League of Gentlemen, which wasn’t at the forefront of my mind when I wrote it but does seem to have influenced it somewhat. One of my reasons for abandoning the piece when I did was that I wasn’t sure how to end it (though the main one was because I was getting uncomfortable sat in my garden, propped up by the pole that holds up the washing line). I think keeping things ambiguous was the best way to go with it, as some of the conceits I’d come up with would have made it a little more horrible than it is now. Some of the resolutions involved ‘The Defroster’ working in a hospital, being a guard in a concentration camp, doing something that involved him working near or with roadkill (my initial thinking was to definitely make the meat squirrel) and probably a couple of others. All and none of these are true in terms of the tale. Pick one or make up your own. The whole thing is of course based on my own habit of defrosting meat in cupboards, because it is often a better way to do it than in the fridge. Though I have had countless people moan about this idiosyncracy, I have never actually cooked for anyone other than myself with cupboard meat. This is partly through cheapness and selfishness, though mainly because no one would ever want to eat anything I’d serve up to them. They’re probably right you know.

2 Responses to “Unsubmittable. That’s What You Are.”

  1. deejayem says:

    I’d say it’s an allegory for the existential crisis. Are we not all, in some sense, defrosting meat in a cupboard called life?

    The apotheosis of the wafer is a genius idea! Do it!

  2. Alastair says:

    Glad someone’s finally picked up on my metatextual genius. It’s about time frankly. But what does existential mean? And crisis?

    Might try and knock out the wafer idea one day. Will wait and see if the Tunnocks newsletter will commission me first.

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