Live carps at the market – short story

-I simply can’t stand people’s desensitization. The fact that animals have been exploited for thousands of years doesn’t mean it’s right. People are used to eating that which used to be a part of a sentient being’s body and they don’t even give it a second thought. Pork ribs and beef steak are delicious… That’s all that matters to them. Humanity has gone down the toilet.

-I know. We shouldn’t have passed by the market. I forgot they were selling live carps today.

-It’s not us who should stay home, but those barbarians. Why don’t they bring a small black boy and auction him while they’re at it? Aren’t the authorities going to do anything about it? Constantly passing stupid laws to prevent pulls, and they can’t take fifteen minutes in parliament to address this issue?

-Society has lost its direction. By the way: We have only fifteen minutes left of our daily quota.

-Come on, man! You know as well as I do that that measure is completely arbitrary. Do you think five minutes more or less outside are the difference between life and death?

-No, I’m just saying… In case a cop stops and asks us how long we’ve been out.

-Don’t be ridiculous. They don’t even show up to prevent this act of cruelty from happening in the middle of the market and you believe they’ll care how long we’ve been out? It’s all a charade, so the government can wash its hands and say: “We told you to stay in, so it’s your fault you died.”

-Last night they pulled Jimmy.

-What?! Why the heck you didn’t tell me at once? Were you planning on throwing it casually into the conversation? Just: “Oh, yes, delicious falafel and, by the way, Jimmy died last night.”

-He didn’t die, though.

-What?! He was just left back at his house door with a note? “See you next time, buddy”?

-Something like that. You didn’t know? It happens often.

-What do you mean? You know I don’t listen to governmental nonsense. I heard, but I thought it was a myth to give people hope of seeing their loved ones back one day.

-Well, it’s not. There are already many people who claim to have returned, and I chatted with Jimmy this morning. He’s shaken, but he says he’s OK. Besides the shock, there’s apparently nothing wrong with him.

-Incredible! But what happened? Does he remember anything?

-Nahh, but he says he feels relieved.

-Well, I would be, if I had survived death… And also, now he knows he’s immune.

-Exactly. You can’t get pulled twice.

-Although I’ve heard lightning does strike twice the same place sometimes.

-Yes, that’s a myth, but it’s proven that you can’t get pulled twice. It’s never happened.

-Well, I’m glad for Jimmy, but what you say we buy some doughnuts before heading back home?

-Yes, we need something for breakfast. But let’s go to the one on Czeslawa; I heard they fried them in lard in the other one.

-Sons of bitches! And I ate those! They could’ve fried doughnuts in rapeseed oil like civilized people, but no, they needed to dip them in boiling pig’s fat to give them an extra je ne sais quoi…

-Yes, I just heard it too and I was as shocked as you.

-Look at that, they can’t even breathe! I need to say something. Come.

-Leave it alone.

-I can’t. Someone needs to do something.

………..

-Would you like to suffocate in a crowded place like your fish do?

-And would you like your nose to bleed like the previous kid who annoyed me?

-Oh, yeah. Be the brute you really are for full disclosure. Why don’t you also tell me why evolution doesn’t exist because we can’t possibly come from monkeys and why the measures to prevent pulls are effective, you brain-dead PIS voter! Come on! Force me to have an unwanted baby, you brute!

-OK, kid, calm down a bit. Just go away please. I’m simply doing my job of keeping the fish fresh. I don’t have the means to ensure it’s properly frozen all the time and many people prefer it fresh so they don’t need to thaw it.

-I think what they prefer is to remember how savage they are by gutting the life out of those poor creatures.

-Someone needs to do it.

-No one needs to do it! Eat plants and fruits like evolved sentient beings do!

-But, we wouldn’t be evolved were it not for meat consumption, which allowed the exponential growth of hominids’ brains. See, I’m not a creationist after all…

-Yes, and were it not for the First World War, Poznan would still belong to Germany and I would probably not be hearing this idiocy right now… We don’t need meat anymore in our diet. We have supermarkets with plant products and vege-restaurants everywhere!

-You’re right, and I applaud you for consuming conscientiously.

-And meanwhile, you promote a barbarian act in the middle of the street?

-We are still animals. Aren’t we?

-You, Sir. No doubt.

……………..

-Let’s go, Tomek.

-Told you to let it be. Why would you even waste breath on such a senseless beast? He doesn’t speak our language. He only understands basic instincts.

-Have you seen a cow cry? I’ve seen more humanity in one cow’s tear than in many of those animals who call themselves humans.

-I’ve seen it, and the horror on their faces before being butchered. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy, but I do wish it upon meat eaters.

-I wish they pulled all the meat eaters from Earth.

-That’s quite a plan. Go pitch your idea to the aliens.

-That would be a win-win. The civilized people could go out for more than an hour a day and also be rid of barbarity.

-Yes. And the aliens would have their guinea pigs to experiment on.

-Or to fuck or to use as pawns in a real life chess game… whatever they do with the pulled. But I actually think they’re in a better place. The aliens are obviously a superior species. I’m sure whatever they do to the pulled ones, they enjoy it more than Earth.

-What about not seeing your loved ones again?

-Yes, just like those poor fish… Suffocating until a bastard comes and picks you to throw you in his bathtub to be his kids’ toy before becoming their dinner.

-That’s just sick. But what if they eat them?

-The fish eat the kids?

-No! What if the aliens pull people to eat them?

-That’s the dumbest idea I’ve heard today… And I’ve talked to a neanderthal fisherman.

-OK, but hear me out. I’ve read that most of the people they pull are happy.

-What do you mean? They’re happy to be pulled?

-No, they only pull happy people.

-What?! Did you catch stupidity from the fish man?

-It’s a theory developed on some forums. Sometimes they pull unhappy people, and those are the only ones that come back.

-Are you fucking with me? Just admit that the fish man is a relative of yours and you have neanderthal blood running through your brain.

-It’s not a joke. I think it’s true. The returned ones like Jimmy are never happy people.

-OK, so you base your whole theory on Jimmy being hopeless … What do you expect from him? He’s still waiting for Weronika, although he knows she’s seeing someone else. How do you expect such a dumb ass to be happy?

-I know it sounds like paranoia. That’s why the government doesn’t talk about it. But the facts speak for themselves. Unhappiness is the only plausible link they could find among the returned, and the relatives and friends of people who never come back generally agree that they were joyful people.

-OK, let’s say I don’t call the madhouse on you and I agree to this hypothesis. What then? Should we all be miserable as Jimmy and pine after a dumb girl? And most importantly: what difference does it make to the aliens whether we’re happy or not? Are they trying to steal our laughter or something?

-I think the next hypothesis would sound even more ridiculous to you.

-Tomi, you can’t possibly sound more ridiculous to me now. Right now, I’d totally bet you were brainwashed by aliens last night and returned for breakfast.

-OK. There’s another thing the pulled ones have in common: They were all in shape.

-OK, so let’s all eat like pigs and fall hopelessly in love with someone right now then.

-At the beginning, it only made sense. They were happy people, so they led a healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet. But then, people started wondering about the returned ones. For instance Jimmy. He’s slim; he’s in good shape, the same as many others who were returned. So the hypothesis is that a person needs to be in good shape and happy to be taken. Both requisites need to be fulfilled. And the even stranger hypothesis is based on the idea that these beings, though more evolved, are still sentient beings like us, so the question is raised: What would you need lower species for and only when they are physically and psychologically healthy.

-You puzzle me, Tomi. I have no idea.

-Well, many believe that if they are equally or more evolved than us, for sure they wouldn’t want their food to suffer from stress before eating it, so they only consume free range animals.

-What in hell?! Tomi, are you off some medications that I didn’t know about?

-I thought it was crazy too, but listen to what Jimmy told me. He said he was covered in a slimy, viscous substance, which he thought to be alien slobber. That’s when it hit me as true. Why a more evolved species would want to do research on us. What could they possibly gain? And what is the first thing we, humans, did with most animals we found?

-We threw stones at them?

-Yes, and checked whether they were edible.

-But why would they be meat eaters? From all the food in the universe, why would they come to Earth to hunt us?

-See, there’s something to it, but this part may be a little stranger than the rest.

-For fuck’s sake, Tomi, end with all the theatrics and tell me already!

-The truth is that there might be an advanced civilization that’s fond of meat, because it’s more of an ethical than an intellectual question. And, if they’re evolved, they wouldn’t hunt their food; that’s savage…

-What else is there to do then?.. Oh.. Tomi, no…don’t tell me…

-Yes, they’re farming us. They’re allowing us to grow free range. So free range that they only take a few of us per season… The leanest and least stressed ones. There have been ancient descriptions of the pulls, but not till recently they started returning the ones with too much stress. It seems that our meat has become spoiled by our modern habits, so not many of us are wholesome today.

-So then we’re saved by our unhealthy habits?

-Not really. They’ve been analyzing alien slobber for years, and every time they find greater amounts of alcohol and heme particles from synthesized leghemoglobin.

-What? So they are becoming alcoholic vegans?

-In a sense. They use the alcohol to spice up their food, because they want it to taste like us. Apparently alcohol and heme particles are what gives human meat its characteristic flavor, at least to their palates.

-Well, that’s great news! So much drama to give such good news. They’ll stop eating us then. They’ll become civilized vegans like us.

-I don’t think you get it, Piotr. They are farming us right now, but when they stop eating us, they’ll start farming soy beans and vegetables instead. They say climate change is not coincidental, and that even worse things will come. Volcanoes, earthquakes and droughts are apparently just farming tools with which they weed and plow the land before sowing.

-Oh my God, Tom. Who would have thought that veganism would bite us in the ass.

-Who would’ve thought it, Piotr. Who would’ve thought it …

soyjuanma86

I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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