They have been craving the lamb since the first and last time they were there. They can't get the lamb out of their heads, can't get the sensation out of their mouths.
The plate is brought to the table, the aroma sweet and mild. The meat is fork-tender, beautifully rare and pink, not bloody. It is meat that melts against the tongue, the flesh of something half-angel or even this:
"Baby," he says. "It's almost like I'm eating filet of baby."
"Well we are," she says.
"No, I mean baby human. A human baby."
"It said 'lamb' on the menu," she says. "That's a baby."
"How old do you figure?" he asks.
"I've no idea," she says.
"Less than a week?" he asks.
"Honestly, I haven't a clue," she says.
"Can't be more than a year."
"Your guess is as good as mine."
"When does it become a sheep then? Become that mutton?"
"Couldn't tell you."
He takes a sip of wine. "What if it really was a baby human we're eating?" he asks. "Could you blame the chef? You know how delicious-looking they can be. All fat little arms and legs. Juicy little buttocks. I wouldn't be surprised, based on the succulence of this magnificent entrée, that I could walk into that kitchen right now and find evidence of butchered infants."
"And would it stop you?" she asks.
"Stop me from what?" he asks back. "This?"
He spears the last piece of meat on her plate.
"Not a fucking chance."
He comes for dinner.
Mum sends me outside to cut fresh mint to go with the leg roasting in the oven. Easter is a late arrival and met with a sudden rush of spring. And so we have mint plants growing tall and green against the warm side of the house. Soon enough it will be pushing up everywhere, annoyingly invasive, but right at this moment, with the soft scent of roasting meat floating into the cool evening from the kitchen's open window, the blessing of something fresh from the garden for this meal is special indeed. I pick the young leaves from the stems, one by one, taking my time.
In the garden, there are tulips fat with buds and irresistible. I snap their stems and take them in. Mum yells at me while he stands there. They were meant to blossom fully in a day or two.
It begins to snow while we are eating. We say nothing. In the warmth of the dining room, the tulips open, jumping alive and staining the tablecloth with pollen.
He leans across the table. He is drunk and grinning. He whispers.
"Does my face look okay to you?"
"Your face looks fine," I say. "Why do you ask?"
"Because," he says, "my smile feels so big on my face right now, the corners of my lips must be poking past my cheeks."
It was April and we were so ready for it. But that sudden snow hung around for another week and a half. As for the tulips, I know did the right thing.
My tonsils have been freshly pulled. A young girl, no more than 14, stands at my bedside and asks me if I want the boiled chicken or the shepherd's pie. I am 7. I choose the pie. The shepherd's pie. I lie and wait for the girl's return, and think of pastry filled with soft-wool clouds of cool meringue, sweet and full of comfort. I think of Jesus in the kitchen. What she brings me is a square tin tray of fatty meat and woody carrots, glazed with a layer of watery mashed potatoes.
It is an insult to shepherds and pies everywhere.
Please realize this was
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/lambbell.html]
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PLEASE NOTE PARTICULAR ITEMS OF SPECIALNESS
bullfight review's first issue includes
many people you know
as does the combined hobart/monkeybiycle #3
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schroll's novel called the famous and the anonymous is out -
here's an interview, one eyeshot contributor to another, all about it
tobias seamon's the magician's study is out - it's very pretty looking
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