The shop was new; well newish having been opened the year before last. A brilliant white interior with mirrors making the tiny little shop look not that much bigger to be honest, there was room enough for one customer at a time, and that is just the way the management liked it.
Much of the room was taken up with the window display. A ten by four foot refrigerated stainless steel unit for the meat, and what meat it contained, all manner of butchers fare; poultry and game birds laid out next to rabbit, steaks and chops in rows, minced meats, roasting joints, offal and sausages, like the kind of butchers shop I grew up with in the seventies really.
Two well groomed middle aged men attended the shop, white coats and straw bowlers, and neat oiled moustaches. One was off to the side, preparing lamb chops, Barnsley chops they are called nowadays, it was just a lamb chop when I was a kid. The other jovially called out “Next, yes sir what can we do for you today?”
The old man stepped wearily up to the counter.
Ninety odd years old and definitely not all his own teeth, wrinkled he was, baggy and stooped and well past his prime.
“I’m here for the special”, he managed to rasp out in the softest of breaths.
The two men swapped meaningful glances, and the server asked “Eat in or takeaway sir?” The old man smiled, and raised his head to look at the servers face, his weak watery eyes staring into the playful eyes of the much younger man, “Ohh eat in please”
The other man stopped his chopping, and moved smoothly up to the hatch set into the counter top, “This way please.” His voiced eased out from between his lips, oily and smooth and well practised; like his movement, the swift honed way he lifted the counter top as he performed the, ‘after you sir’ mime with flawless perfection.
Who knows what thoughts were going through the old man’s head as he followed the butcher down that bright light corridor. Thoughts of his life, his coming death, the strange quirk of fate that lead him down this, lets face it, fucking weird road.
That is the last time I saw dad, I couldn’t bring myself to actually buy any long pig, let alone dad long pig, but I can’t blame those that have to.
We are in a strange new world now, not enough food to go around, an aged population, these new laws passed the year before last, well they have helped us with both of these problems, and it’s true they go voluntarily, many people count them as hero’s, but it’s still fucking weird.