Divide and Conquer

Boris: butcher.

I watch his knife twinkle, his eyes gleam like jellyfish beneath a compassas blade meets slab, the flesh aroused, divided, gaping.

The merry butcher says there's no future in it.

"All I do is split asunder."

Mincemeat, a dab, peels and drifts from his bloody apron to the floor.

"No one's forcing you."

He glares. "My father"

He wavers.

"Well that may be true, God knows," I say, "but-"

"Ach. Anyway, what else am I capable of? It's all I know."

"There's much to know?" I ask.

Boris explains the carnal arts, that they are based on the dual principlesof incisiveness and acuity. He says that we have to conquer ourselves firstand foremost.

"No abacus could calculate the ratio precisely", he confides to me, "but Iestimate that I usually get through the bone with two thrusts."

He raises his blade.

"And I hit slab on. three."

"Every time?" I ask.

"Yes. There's a knack to it."

"Doesn't the violence bother you?"

"Not at all. It's dead meat."

Boris shares his tales of thrilling rending, he says it's mathematical.

Me: skeptical, logical.

"You think I'm just hacking, don't you?" he asks.

"Oh no!" I insist. "I can see that there has to be some art and logic toit."

"Yes." Boris pauses to reflect. "It's logical alright."

We both consider the merry butcher's plight. He wipes his hands across hischest. I bide my time.

"Anyway", Boris cracks the meditation open, "I forget my manners. What can Ido you for?"

"Oh nothing. Just 'Good Luck' and that. I just wanted to tell you that Iadmire what you're doing."

Boris beams. "Thank you, my friend. Others would call me a sinner."

"Well." I collect my thoughts, arrange expressions.

"I just have to leave these packages off too." The plastic handles bite intomy skin. "I'll put them by the window."

Outside, a busy pavement.

"Well," I say. "It's-"

"Listen, I can't get up obviously, but I appreciate you coming."

I don't think he does. He won't let me finish.

"Would you close the front door on your way out? Don't let the landlady see you leave."

"I will," I says, "I won't."

About the author:

Emmet Cole is a writer from Ireland, now living in Austin, Texas. Emmet has credits in The Irish Times, Red Herring, CIRCA, BookView Ireland, and numerous other outlets. He writes "Joyous Anarchy", an irregular arts column on The Modern Word website and has short fiction forthcoming in Monkey Bicycle. For more info, check out his website at www.emmetcole.com.