He could visually see the target that was inside of the animals’ head. The little space between his ears and his eyes became his target. The animals’ brain would be visualized into his sightline and the angle calculated and the movement noted, all within milliseconds. The x that lined up as God intended between the left eye, right ear and the right eye, left ear. So beautiful and simplistically complicated. Meaning he could elaborate more upon it as time would allow but wouldn’t need to if not questioned.
The smell of the animals’ breath, the rhythym of the breathing, the heart rate beating faster, all in anticipation of the moment the gun would go off. The corn and grass smell on the creature’s breath and the smell of dung just faintly whiffing past his nose. He what every moment of the “dance” was about and longed for it every time. Not because he loved the thrill of killing the animal, in fact he hated that but each time it was him accepting a challenge that life had offered before him.
He wasn’t a cruel person but simply caring. He was paid to do a job and would simply go forth. He cared deeply and in the beginning was unable to shoot beef because of the adrenaline and the surge of it through his shaking fingers. Why? The beef are huge and bigger than man generally. They spook and jump and several times have chased him through alleys and pens and over the chute. He was worried at the first that he wouldn’t be calm enough to shoot them in that heated moment. The more he got accustomed to it, the more calm he became. The more what-ifs simply didn’t matter anymore because they weren’t what-ares.
He could lovingly trace the chain and bolt that held the gate closed. He could pull that while clicking his gun on safety and laying it on a barrel close by. He could grab the chain for its legs in one deft movement, sometimes even before the kicking animal would commence its’ violent death throes. Sometimes the throes would begin before the chain was pulled taut on its’ feet. Those times would force him to wait until it was safe for he had been in several painful incidents involving the chain flying off and pelting him.
He would swiftly use his knife to slice through the hide and clear to the jugular and sever the windpipe. His action was smooth and speedy. His knife would slip around the back of the head and cut the spinal cord and take off the animals’ head through its axis point. He would flip the head onto the cradle and knife its’ tongue out for those customers that wanted that for food. Sometimes he could do that while still on the animal. Oftentimes, he couldn’t because of the kicking that the animal was doing. Especially on hogs, he noted, the task was much harder to accomplish because of smaller area to work with.
Suddenly, startled out of his thoughts by a door swinging open and a familiar face looking sideways at him. The face of a man he met upon arrival. He leapt off the cot and dropped like a hammers’ bag to the floor. He had momentarily forgotten his chained leg to the bed. In a heap and cursing flurry, he looked up and into Israels’ eyes.
Israel extended his hand to help him up and upright him to his former place on the cot.
“Well,” he said finally. “Welcome friend Jurgis to the Fourth Street Locker. There are fears that I have and reservations about you as of yet, which explains why you, dear sir, are chained up. I tend to sleep here in the evenings while waiting for my associate to finish closing the store. I feel and like to feel very relaxed here which is why this is sort of like a home in here. Less is more here. I would like to remain relaxed with you in our wonderful store but you must first prove that to me.”
Jurgis grumbled something akin to a thank you. His next breathless, raspy-voiced words were expressing his thoughts about the cop chasing him.
“I don’t have a warrant here. I don’t know what that cop was saying that for. I have never done anything worthy of a warrant or a run-in with police. I used to smoke marijuana but that was back where the weed was legal. Or I just never got caught, not really sure which one.”
“I see your dilemma but that cop was trying to get you an opportunity. The three hundred dollars was actually going to get you involved with someone who was going to get you your first job here starting up your own business. He had a man who just happened to vacate his push cart vending business and wanted to sell that one to you. I was unable to communicate that effectively to you and hence the disturbance. See, the hardest part of being in America is facing the first major choices. The choice to go find a job and be forever working for someone else and slaving away or going into business for yourself and learning leadership along the way. Learning how to grow and be successful. It’s rather weird to note that there is many multi-millionaires who are of foreign blood. They, unlike most born-here Americans, look around and see an opportunity to serve others and BOOM! Business is started and they behold the true American dream.”
Just at that moment the door bell buzzed and beeped again and Israel excused himself to take care of that, leaving Jurgis alone with his rampantly wild thoughts.
His thoughts drifted to the time in his life when he asked Ona to marry him. He wished this exact memory would play through his mind every day. The memory of picking her up in his beat up 90’s version Ford Ranger and how beautiful she looked in the seat next to him with her hand on his thigh and love in their eyes. The soulmate that God had sent forth to help him in this, his wild life. He remembered vividly, sweating and butterflies and feeling the ring and its’ weight in his pocket. He noted that the ring felt ridiculously warm in his pocket and he kept touching that for confirmation of his upcoming question.
He took her to his favorite location in the world. The one that she had never before been to, partly because of the smell and partly to preserve its’ special meaning to Jurgis. A warmly wonderful overview of the city was available within twenty minutes’ drive of Ona’s apartment. His apartment wasn’t far from hers and they spent their free times together. Lots of people knew of this location but noone thought it even the least bit romantic or special. It was enrapturing to see the city from the great heights of the garbage dump.
He had a certain hill of garbage he would climb when he wanted to reflect and breathe. Now that may be unappealing to some but to Jurgis who had his hands in cow and pig manure and guts daily, this was beautiful. It smelled mostly of moldy chicken, dirty diapers warmed in an oven, obnoxious odors of death and things in stages of decay but even Ona thought it awesome.
She looked around at everything she hadn’t seen in the city from a distance and was amazed that she could pick out where their residences were and where their jobs were. She could look out at the skateboarding park near their buildings and notice the ant-looking creatures as they did their various tricks and flips. The small machines from a distance that were huge up close and how that one location offered a view unlike any other. Ona herself was not a butcher but was comfortable enough fixing meat for Jurgis that she was quite a strong-stomached woman.
Today he lifted her up to the top of the garbage hill and got on his knee and….
“JURGIS!” snapped Israel, as he watched our friends’ eyes zone out for quite a few seconds. He had returned and was watching Jurgis with a sly smile sprawling across his sun-tanned face.
“Hey man, I don’t want to talk to thin air so if you don’t mind, I’d like to have you be here in the now and we can discuss these chains on your feet.”
“What would you like me to do?” replied a coolly, complacent Jurgis as he longed for the previous memory, uninterrupted.
“Would you like to get into that business?”
“I don’t know crap about business, and I’m not quite sure I could. I don’t even know the language or want to part with my money. Wouldn’t there be supplies I would need to start and that would eat the rest of my money in a hurry? I would need someone to show me the ropes and guide me along as I went.”
“I sir, am quite the businessman. I run three other businesses, two are for commercial rental properties and one is for three seperate meat shops located within twenty-five miles of here. For some reason, I still show up here and work on my butchering days to help out. I don’t need the money, I just love the work. It is where I do my greatest thinking and learning. My body knows the process so my brain can activate and contribute.”
“So how did you find me?” Asked Jurgis because that thought had plagued him for a couple of minutes in this conversation.