by Art Wright
Mr. Parasite summoned me to appear in his office.
“At ease. Can you work some O.T. tonight, kid? Earn something extra—maybe treat that Maggie to a nice steak dinner?” And with a lascivious wink, he added, “Who knows? Maybe you’ll get lucky and she’ll want some sauss-eege for dessert?”
“Sure, Herr Commissar. What’s the scam?”
“Earl is out sick with the—tiles—or something. He’s eaten up with creeping crud and—Christ!” He gagged into his handkerchief. “I might have to fire the poor bastard. We can’t risk infecting our precious meat you know. Can I count on you to assemble an urgent order?” He produced a clipboard. “The truck must leave by 8:00 sharp. It’s a big shipment for a big customer”.
“Aye aye, Captain Bligh.”
He laughed. “Good. Now let me finish my lunch in peace. I will inspect your progress later.”
Parasite’s lunch was a bowl of red goulash smelling like questionable pork and aftershave. Shreds of meat protruded from his dental gaps like tiny fingers trying to escape the final indignity of his intestinal sewer. (They say his wife was a mail order bride from somewhere. I imagine that foul stew contained remnants of political defectors or other assorted, liquidated wise guys. That would explain the aftershave smell.) I was glad to get back to work.
This place wasn’t a slaughterhouse. The meat arrived D.O.A. from overseas I imagine, judging from the strange writing on the containers. And the inspectors that came around sure didn’t look or smell too official. I recall nosing around one time. “So what do these initials stand for?”
“Ah, ze stand for Knock-vurst, Grok-vurst undt Brat-vurst”.
“Hmmm—can’t recollect ever having no Grok-wurst. Which wurst is best?”
“Mind your own beezness.”
I almost retorted, “Meat is my business, Igor,” but figured I was already close to trouble. Instead, I winked and said, “Have a nice day, comrade.” Parasite caught wind and gave me a savage kick.
Sometimes we got unidentifiable stuff in crudely wrapped chunks. “Yugoslavian Unlabeled Mystery Meat” is what we jokingly called it, or “YUMM” for short. YUMM was sold at a discount to soup kitchens, prisons, schools, etc.
After several exhausting hours, I smelled the stench of cologne and Parasite appeared from the suffocating mist. “Bene! You did good,” he exclaimed upon final inspection. The all-important shipment would leave on time and the almighty dollars would change hands. But little did anyone know that I messed around with the order, replacing some pork roasts with the sinister mystery meat. Anyway, I figured as long as it gets stewed and nobody runs DNA tests I’m in the clear.
Suddenly, Parasite paused. He picked up a hunk of YUMM and just stared—for a LONG time. Was he wise to my prank? I tensed up, ready to splatter his nose and bolt. But then the mood shifted, “I think I’ll take this home to Ivana. She does wonders with the stuff.”
And I took Maggie out for that steak after all. Worked up a mean appetite in there.