Blooded by Babe

Blooded by Babe

I killed a pig once, in provincial France. By killed, I mean I held its rear left leg while two men held a front leg each, and another man stabbed it in the neck. The rear right leg was held by an eight-year-old boy, who was being “blooded”, as was I.

I thought that there’d be some dignity in death, that the pig would resign to its fate and fade back into the universe’s pool of free-flowing energies, as if it would invoke some inherited knowledge of life and death and accept that its time had come.

But no. It screamed and it squealed and it kicked, until the screams and squeals were bubbling through blood, and the kicks were nothing more than spasms. There was no dignity in death, and the pig fought until the last to preserve its life. I was visibly squeamish, and the French farm folk thought that was hilarious.

Later that morning, after the pig was shaved and gutted, we retreated to the farm house for a meal and some wine, as is tradition. The meal we were served was tripe, pig’s stomach to be precise, and my plate was heaped. When I complained in private to my friend that, given how I was taking the experience, I wouldn’t be able to eat any tripe, let alone a heaped plate full, he informed me that to leave any food on my plate would be a great disrespect to my hosts.

Thus, I shovelled it in with bread and wine, at a ratio of about one teaspoon of tripe to half a baguette and three-quarters a carafe. When I finished, my hosts informed me that they’d been pulling my leg, and didn’t give a flying frog’s leg if I ate my tripe or not, they just wanted to make the Australian squirm – we’d beaten them in the rugby the night before, and this was the rugby-mad South West.

Moral of the story? Animals aren’t just throwing themselves at our shish kebabs, so be thankful, and while the French are cunts, they are funny cunts.

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