Two short and dark Christmas tales come together in this atypical and highly inappropriate holiday fare. In Christmas Dinner, a woman wonders if she will ever be cured of her hidden obsession with meat. Meanwhile, The Grey Santa wants some colour in his life, but will finding the red and white put him on the list of the nice, or the naughty? There is nothing edifying about these tales and reading it will make you either hug your family closer, or make them run away from you.
Excerpt from Christmas Dinner:
Diana’s eyes fell on a butcher’s knife on the shelf behind the cash register. Immediately, the butcher reached for it.
“This is heavy duty stuff. Industrial strength,” he said. He placed the knife gently on the counter. It was in a simple box with cardboard backing and a plastic cover. There was a red bow on it, so the knife would look more festive.
Fingering the blade gently, she thought about the santoku knife she had at home. It was adequate.
“I’ll take it.”
“Different knives for different meat,” Tate said, as he rang up the purchase.
He passed her the knife, nodding as he did.
“The feel of the meat, soft and yielding as it cleaves cleanly under our blade. It’s a strong experience, always different, always good. Like a religion, you know.”
He snapped on a pair of gloves and started arranging the hams on the counter. He stopped at a chunk of honey-cured ham and caressed it.
“And the rituals, sharpening the knives, different knives for different meat, different cuts for different meat. It makes me feel safe. Secure.”
The butcher absently caressed a chunk of honey-cured ham with his gloved hand.
“Perhaps you think me strange, talking about my craft this way,” he said.
“I’m just wondering what you’re trying to imply here.”
“No implications, Ma’am. I’m proud of the meat I’ve carved and put on display here. They’re like children to me. It gives me anxiety if I think they’re going to the wrong people, to be used in the wrong way. But I see it in your eyes. In the way you assess the meat. The way you looked at that knife.”
Did he know?
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