Friday, December 12, 2014

Whole Hog

He broke into the trailer after the fairgrounds closed. Watched the pig races earlier and something gripped him—told him to save those little fuckers. It was probably the seven beers and whiskey doing the driving, but he ignored those thoughts. He was the hero—liberator of the oppressed swine.

The trailer was wide—larger than the one he’d seen the carnies shuffle the pigs into. He was sure this was the one, though—had a picture of a smiling hog with speed lines poking out of its rear. The pigs were nowhere to be seen. Didn’t matter, they were probably further in the back.

He took another sip of rye—it stung and warmed his chest. The taste was so nice he took another pull. Before he knew it, the bottle was empty. A full fifth of whiskey sitting in his gut, spurring him on. It numbed him—taught him to be a hero between acidic burps.

He clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. Called out, “Here piggy,” in a half slurred sing-song.

Something shuffled ahead of him in the darkness. The liquor wasn’t giving tips on steeling his spine anymore—no—now it painted his back a bold shade of yellow from neck to ass. He stopped moving. Tried to make out the shapes in the dark—the scrape on the floorboard, the huff of expelled air.

His eyes acclimated and he made out what was at the far end of the trailer. A large box; chicken wire mesh and old wood. Inside, an oblong mass on four legs—it breathed. He leaned in, squinted. Caught sight of the big sucker—was one of those pot-bellied pigs that closed out the races for laughs. It stunk to high hell and was much larger than any of the pigs he’d seen prior. He dug his fingers into his front shirt pocket and procured a Zippo—stoked a spark and the butane soaked wick provided low light. Ignored the pang he felt at forgetting he had the lighter at all.

The pig noticed—turned to him and gave a curt snort.

Above its cage was a banner—said “Happy Retirement – Herbie”.

Retirement for a race pig and it was still locked in a cage. This would be the pig’s lucky day. He unlatched the small door and let it swing open. “Come on. We’re getting outta here.” He felt excitement—new purpose.

The pig felt the opposite of this. It backed away. Found comfort in the shit-coated corner of its cage. Snorted its disagreement.

The complaint fell on deaf, drunk ears. “Don’t be scared, fella.” He crouched and stepped into the cage. Duck walked towards the pig. The cage wobbled—not as solidly built as it appeared. He reached a hand out and brushed its snout. “Don’t be…”

The pig’s teeth slid clean through his middle and index fingers. He jerked his hand back, unaware that he had been maimed. The liquor kept the pain at bay, but it still came. His eyes locked onto where he once had a five-fingered hand—now weeping red and showing bone. The pig charged forward, knocking him onto his back. It hovered over him—butt its head against flank. Satisfied that he was helpless, the pig bit at him again—this time, at his midsection. Now it was emboldened enough to nip elsewhere—the throat being a convenient place—that quieted the screaming.


The sheriff examined the body. Local drunk, midsection used as a trough by an old, fat pig. The pig’s body was found at the other end of the trailer. It died only hours after making a meal of the idiot.

He stood up and turned to his deputy. “What got the pig?” He looked over at the animal’s body—it’s eyes half-closed and rheumy. Its mouth was open, tongue lolling and blue. Horseflies thicker than his fingertips flew circled the hog.

The deputy chuckled. “You’d never guess.”

“That’s why I asked yah.”

The deputy shook his head. “Died of alcohol poisoning. Fella he ate had enough in him to kill both of ‘em twice over.”

The sheriff nodded. Held back laughter. “Can’t make this shit up.”