THE CHARACTER IS A BUTCHER.
GIVE HIM A BACK STORY – CONSIDER HIS HOME LIFE, HOBBIES, SUPERSTITIONS, APPEARANCE OR RELATIONSHIPS.
IN POEM OR SHORT FLASH FICTION, GIVE THIS BUTCHER SOME CHARACTER.
REDMAN’S MEATS: FINAL CHOPS, by Walter J Wojtanik
Redman’s Meats was closing. Stanley Redman had dedicated thirty-seven years in the family business. Like his father and his father before him, Stanley had been a staple in the neighborhood and a friend to all who knew him. But it was no longer viable to keep it going. He was losing money in the process. He had lost a lot in those thirty-seven years. Stan’s dad (and partner) had died just three years into his apprenticeship. He lost a part of a finger from an errant blow of his cleaver. He lost two wives. One to his long hours at the shop, and the latest Mrs. Redman to cancer four year ago.
Stan had earned his rest. He knew he would miss the daily grind, but he was becoming fine with it. Maybe he would meet someone again, he thought. But who was he kidding? Stanley had grown more rotund over the years. His walrus-like mustache took on the hue to match his balding pate. He hated how old it made him appear. Stan knew one thing. It was indeed time.
Business was very slow and by mid-afternoon he knew. Looking around the shop, the butcher recalled so many faces that graced his establishment. Customers and employees came to mind. Memories all. Even the day that he got robbed at gunpoint. The young man was scared and confused. Stanley felt sorry for him. The greatest joy he felt was when the young man came back to apologize. Redman gave him a job; he was the best worker he ever had. It made him sad that there was no one in the family that could have carried on in his shoes.
He wiped the counter. Stan cut two steaks for home, one for himself and one for Champ his dog. Tonight they “celebrate”. He locked the freezer and reached for the light switch. The bell above the white enamel door chimed. It was Mrs. Kazminski. She was one of the last remnants of a neighborhood that he remembered from long ago, when people cared about each other more than they did now.
“Mrs. Kazminski, I’m sorry, but I’m closing” Stanley lamented.
She waved a hand at him and spoke.
“Nevermind. I need pork chops!”
The butcher thought a moment. He knew his father never would turn a customer… an old friend, away. Stanley took off his coat. He donned his apron and stepped behind the glass case. Four pork chops, two porterhouse steaks and a pound slab of liverwurst found their way into the butcher paper. Redman handed Mrs. Kazminski the chops last.
“Here you go Mrs. K. This one’s on me. No charge.”
She smiled a grateful smile and turned to leave.
“Your father would be so proud!” She called over her shoulder.
I like this fellow, Walt. When I first looked at this prompt my first thought was the movie “Marty” with Ernest Borgnine. Ever see it?
Yes. A classic for sure! Borgnine made a name for himself then. I didn’t even think about it but there is a parallel.
Superb writing, this.
I love Stan the man! What a great neighborhood character.
Here’s a bit of silliness, written in the n onet format:
The butcher and the baker turned to
the candlestickmaker for help
with their upcoming wedding:
One white pillar candle.
A baker’s dozen
tapers in blue.
A bit of fun, but far from silly, Darlene! A wonderful take on the prompt.
a nice nonet
Yes. to the nines
I like this nonet, Darlene.
Mike, The Butcher
In a butcher’s life you meet
all types of people–some chat
some eye the scale–they think I’d cheat
them, but I’m an honest man, white cap.
Customers ask for cooking tips,
I like giving them suggestions.
My wife tends to snip at me
if I interrupt her preparations.
Sometimes being the friendly type
Can get you into hot water
like when a woman talks about Mike–
that’s me–too much; husband’s veins get tauter.
I’m not an unattractive guy
though my apron has blood spots
I play in a band nearby
after cleaning up a lot.
I have three kids I’m devoted to,
strictly a family man.
If you flirt and I flirt just know it’s true
My wife, kids, and guitar are my life’s plan.
I spy done, Sara! A wonderful glimpse of someone that is more that meat and blood stained apron! I like this.
Let’s try “So well done…” my thumbs are too big for my phone keyboard sometimes.
Thanks, Walt. Fun prompt!
BERTRAM HAS A RAZOR-SHARP MIND
Our butcher teaches evolution
with passion almost feverish;
so much so that, oftentimes,
his arguments are cleaverish.
He holds no truck with creationism,
but still I think, as his work stops,
he should be teaching devolution
when pigs wind up as pork chops.
You’re a cut-up, William! Love your work!
Hilarious, in your unique style, William!
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