2004: Piglets Are Meat

2004: Piglets Are Meat

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Read after Black Sun 012.

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Point of View: Jeremy
Featured Characters: Jeremy Hollinger, Julian Hollinger
Word Count: 1012

Jeremy attempts to teach his daughter a valuable lesson about the food chain.

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“Dad. Dad. Daddy. Daaaaad. Dad! DAD!”

“Kid, kiddo, kiiiiiid, KID, what?”

“Don’t eat that hot dog!”

Jeremy Hollinger paused mid bite, a look of confusion crossing his features. After a moment her lowered the hot dog back to the wrapper balanced on his lap, then leaned back on the park bench. He rest his arm on the back, tapping his fingers against the wood as Julian hopped up to take a seat next to him. This was going to be good. It always was.

“And why can’t I enjoy this perfectly good hot dog? You know your mother is cooking today.”

Julian sucked in a deep breath. “It’s made of piglets. Meat is made of piglets.” she said gravely, as if it was the most scandalizing secret in the world.

Jesus christ, no. Not the piglets. Was his first thought. He couldn’t use that tone with his five year old daughter, though. Not if he wanted to keep eating food that was GOOD.

“Not this one. It’s all beef.” he said instead.

“Beef is made of COWS!” Julian exclaimed, casting his pre-dinner snack a horrified stare.

It took all of his willpower to keep a straight face. An entire two minutes of sitting there breathing as evenly as possible, stony-faced and silent until he could swallow all signs of laughter. When he did finally speak, there was still that hint of amusement, but at least it was tempered.

“That’s true. All meat is one animal or another.” he started carefully. “You don’t think we should eat them?”

Julian nodded seriously and crossed her arms. “It’s WRONG.”


“Because they’re living things!” she responded matter-of-factually.

Jeremy rubbed his chin with a hand, tilting his head and looking thoughtful. “Plants are also living things, though.”

Julian blinked and shifted. “…but they don’t get scared and have feelings. They don’t have souls that hurt.” she insisted.

“I see…” His fingers tapped on the bench behind her head. “Okay, what about wolves and lions? All they eat is meat. A lot of animals have to eat other animals to survive. Is that wrong too?”

This seemed to stump her. Julian fell to silence, twisting up her mouth in what he learned long ago was her thinking face. It was one of those rare moments she looked just like her mother. He had to swallow another smile.

“Um… I guess if they HAVE to… but.” Julian huffed, getting frustrated with the whole thing. “It still seems wrong. Killing things is wrong.”

“Killing things is wrong, yes. But there is a difference between killing something to survive and pointless killing. Plants are eaten by animals, bigger animals eat those, and we eat them all. There are even things that eat us. Being in the food chain is just a part of life, kid.” he explained, watching her features shift as that bit of information sank in. Somewhere in that little head of hers she was understanding, which meant he could finally take a bite of his-

“…there’s things that eat US?” Julian asked suddenly.

Shit. That probably wasn’t the brightest thing to let slip out to the kid. Sandy was going to kill him.

“Yes…” he stated slowly. “Any starving animal will take a bite out of us too.”

“You don’t mean animals, though. You mean peoples. Monsters.”

Jeremy sighed. Sometimes in the middle of these silly conversations it was easy to forget how perceptive she was. Sandy was definitely going to kill him. But he couldn’t lie to her. These were things every Hollinger needed to know as soon as they could understand them. And Julian was an irritatingly quick learner.

“Have I ever told you the difference between a person and a monster, Julian?”

She shook her head.

“A person feels everything. They think, they love, they cry, they hate. Sometimes they can get lost or try to lock it all away, but it’s still in there hiding in their soul and keeping them a person. They know they have to eat, and they respect the life that they’re taking. Some even choose not to take a life at all, because they know they can eat without having to. Monsters don’t have that. Everything that made their soul strong is gone. They only have one thought, one emotion, and that’s need. Sating that need is the only thing they care about. Killing something is the same as throwing a rock or taking a breath for them. Right and wrong and consequence doesn’t exist.”

Julian was making that thoughtful face again. “So it’s okay if things try to eat us as long as they aren’t a monster?”

What the- Oh hell and fuck. That’s not quite where he wanted to go with it. This kid was going to kill him.

“What does a cat do when a dog tries to bite it?”

“Um. It hisses and scratches and runs away?”

“Right. Julian, if anything ever tries to eat you, fight and run. Prey doesn’t lay down and die for the predator. It fights for the right to keep living. I don’t care if it’s a cat, wolf, friend, or monster – you fight like hell to survive.”

There it went again, that face. Jeremy braced for the what he knew was going to be exasperating.

“Okay. But if they promise not to kill me I’ll still let them have a bite so they don’t starve.”

Yep. Exasperating. He inwardly groaned. On the bright side, the first time some critter sank their teeth in to her, she’d change her tune real quick. …he hoped.

“Well. That’s an alarming thing to tell your poor old dad. As long as we don’t announce to the world that Julian Hollinger is a free-for-all buffet, fine. Can I eat my piglet now?”

Julian giggled. “Tell the piglet thank you first!”

Jeremy Hollinger dutifully thanked his piglet.

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