The Hunter


Carefully he carried his kill back home. It was smaller than the others he had hunted, but still, it would put some meat in the freezer for the next month or so. 

Without incident he arrived back at the cabin. The Hunter did not enter the homemade dwelling, but continued on to the little shed out back. Unlike the cabin, which was rustic and dated, the shed was brightly lit with fluorescent lamps hung overhead. Two powerful generators kept a rust-spotted freezer running and cold. The Hunter allowed the kill to slide from his shoulders onto the blood-stained table to be cleaned and dressed. But that task would have to wait. The hour was approaching seven p.m., the time he partook of dinner each night without fail. 

He opened the freezer and removed the tightly wrapped remnants of his previous kill. It was a roast, light brown in color and butchered from the breast of the kill. Even frozen solid it would not take long to cook. 

The Hunter locked the shed and returned to the cabin. He unwrapped the roast and placed it in the grease-stained cast iron kettle hanging above the fireplace's flames. He added in a cup of lukewarm rain water taken from a barrel just outside the door. The ladle barely disturbed the surface of the water. Whatever sediment and bacteria that poured into the barrel from the roof remained settled near the bottom.

Reaching into an oaken chest nearby, the Hunter removed two placemats to use on the dinner table. He selected two coasters for their glasses - floppy disks, their faded labels said - and set them on the table. Normally he chose one of each, but tonight he would not dine alone. 

With a single last look around the cabin, the Hunter set out for the little shed to complete that night's work. He arranged the kill on the table, stretching it out so that it was on its back. The Hunter pulled on his blood-spattered canvas apron, stumbling a bit over his hunting gear - the tire iron he had used to kill his prey in one of the dark alleys in the big city. He placed the tire iron on a high shelf nearby and prepared to clean his kill. 

He always used the instructions he found on the vhs tape someone had thrown away along with the machine to play it. There was no picture, and the sound on the tape cut in and out in spots but it played enough for him to hear that the instructor was a woman who said her name was Julia Child, and she spoke with some kind of foreign accent.  

"Today, I am ... to show .... how to clean and dress ....
Step one. Cut the head off ... the blood to drain.
Step two. Now cut off ... feet at the joint.
... three. Turn the ... over and... straight down the breastbone.
...Reach into the cavity and scoop everthing out....

Step by step this Julia continued, until the kill was butchered and ready for freezing or eating.

The Hunter wiped his hands on a bloody towel and slowly wrapped each piece of the kill in butcher paper and  aluminum foil. He placed them inside the freezer and  closed the lid. He grabbed the head of the latest kill by her beaded braids and carried her into the cabin. He arranged  the decapitated head on the table so that it would be facing the chair in which he sat. "Dinner is just about ready," he said aloud. "I'll be back as soon as I wash up."


End Notes:

The vhs tape is a Julia Child cooking video and the portion the Hunter uses is her recipe on how to butcher and dress a chicken.