Brexmeat

Published September 17, 2019 by Naomi Rettig

Tony scraped up scraps of cartilage and bones that the machine had spat out. He tossed them into the incinerator while whistling ‘Another One Bites the Dust’. The stench didn’t bother him, he’d been a butcher before being imprisoned, humans smelled the same as animals to him. Ben didn’t have the same stomach as Tony, and even though he wore a face mask it was a struggle to not gag constantly.

Tony wiped his chunky calloused hands on his already bloodstained apron. ‘C’mon lad, time for a brew.’

Ben didn’t know if he could keep a cup of tea inside him, but he wasn’t going to turn down an opportunity to get off the factory floor. He peeled his sweaty gloves off, left them on the table, and followed Tony into the small staffroom.

Tony already had the kettle switched on and was putting sugar in his mug. ‘Sugar?’

‘No thanks.’ Ben sat down on one of the blue plastic chairs and took his face mask off.

Tony smiled. ‘You’ll get used to it.’ He placed the mugs on the table and sat opposite Ben. ‘What you in for? Must be bad to be working production.’

‘Cyber fraud.’

Tony laughed. ‘What a waste. You’ve thrown your life away for hacking?’

‘I only moved money from one account to another, they got it all back, I’ll be out soon when I’m up for parole.’

Tony belly laughed again. ‘If you’re here in production parole isn’t on the cards for you.’

‘I don’t understand?’

‘Prisoners on the production line are never leaving here. Life means life here.’

‘But I didn’t get life, I got four years, so I’ll be out in two.’

‘So naïve. How old are you?’

‘Twenty-two.’

Tony stopped smiling and shook his head. ‘You don’t have any family, do you?’

‘No, how do you know that?’

‘Because if you’re not here on production because you’re a lifer it’s because you don’t have family. No one to miss you or report you when you don’t get out.’

Ben stared down at the table, trying not to cry or pass out.

‘Lots of people here are the alone.’ Tony slurped some of his tea. ‘Not usually youngsters like you though.’

‘But I got a sentence, in a court, they can’t keep me here.’

‘They can do what want, they’re the government.’

‘People need to know this.’

‘People need to not know this, that’s why none of us on production will ever get out or have contact with anyone outside.’

‘I can’t stay here forever.’

‘You don’t have a choice. Unless you want to kill yourself, that’s your only choice. But then you’d end up in a sausage or a pie like the refugees and illegals.’

‘Surely that’s better than butchering and cooking people every day.’

Tony shrugged. ‘Depends on your view. Roof over my head, food in my belly, library full of books, gym to work out in. Throats to slit every day. I got a better life in here than I did outside.’

‘Doesn’t it make you sick? Killing innocent people? And eating them? Sending them out to be eaten by the public?’

Tony laughed and finished his tea. ‘Lad, no one is innocent in life, all have sin. I used to butcher animals for a living, human carcasses are no different. I’m in here for life, for murder. I killed my wife for sleeping around. I was happy killing the woman I loved most in the world, killing people I don’t know is a cinch.’

Ben stared at Tony, frightened to ask him anymore.

‘And eating them? You eat the flesh of a cow or pig, there’s no difference with a human. Flesh is flesh. You’re not a veggie are you?’

‘No.’

‘Well there you go then.’

‘The government should tell the people what they’re doing.’

‘Too many snowflakes like you would have a meltdown. It’s better if they don’t know.’

‘It’s dishonest, it’s wrong.’

‘Says you, banged up for stealing.’

‘I was stealing from companies who could afford it.’

‘Still deception however you want to dress it up. How would you solve the problem? Millions of hungry people on our island with not enough food to feed everyone, no help from the EU as we stuck two fingers up to them, thousands of illegals and refugees turning up here trying to take our depleted food from us.’

‘I don’t know. But I know this is wrong.’

Tony shrugged. ‘Embrace it or die. Going through the motions will drive you mad if you don’t believe it’s for the greater cause. I’ve seen many that breakdown. A few months ago a lad about your age threw himself in the furnace. Jerry. What a waste. Burnt to a crisp like pork crackling. He had a lot of meat on him, would have fed a good many people. Selfish really.’

‘I guess he wasn’t thinking straight.’

‘Well if you ever feel like throwing yourself in the furnace, don’t. Give me the heads up and I’ll make it quick for you, neat slit to the throat. Might even make sure I get a product you end up in.’

Ben pushed his tea away from him, the urge to vomit was swelling.

An alarm rang out for a short burst making Ben flinch and a red light flashed over one of the double doors on the production floor.

‘Fresh meat.’ Tony stood up. ‘You been shown how to slit a throat properly?’

The colour drained away from Ben’s face. ‘No.’

‘Time for me to teach you then.’ Tony smiled and walked out the room.

Ben put his mask over his mouth and nose, took a deep breath, and slowly followed.

Tony picked up a six-inch knife from the wall rack. ‘This is the best knife. Sharp like a shark, cuts through flesh like a hot knife through butter.’

They walked towards the doors, silent now but red light still flashing.

‘Now you can watch me do one, then you can have a go.’

‘I don’t want to, can’t you do it all?’

‘I could, but you need to be able to do it. If you can’t do the whole job then that choice of sausage or worker will be taken away from you.’Tony put his hand on the door handle. ‘Don’t look into their eyes, it’ll make it harder for you.’ He opened the door and muffled shouts and cries began immediately.

Inside the white sterile room were ten naked people of male and female assortment bound securely by ropes, gagged and sat on the floor. Ages varied from twenty to sixty. All were shaking and wide eyed. Tony stepped into the room, followed by Ben who was struggling to pull his gloves on to his tremoring hands.

‘Start anywhere you like, some choose youngest to oldest or vice versa, I just work my way around the room.’ Tony seemed oblivious to the muffled cries and screams.

Ben automatically looked into sets of eyes as he scanned the room. He could feel himself hyperventilating and wished he would just pass out.

Tony approached the first livestock. A man in his forties, dark skinned, average build, trying to plead through his gag. Tony grabbed his hair and held him firmly upright. ‘You need to hold them still, it’s quicker for them that way.’ He placed the knife at the left side of the terrified man’s throat. ‘Start right over here and go in deep and slice across. The deeper you go the quicker it’ll be over for them. Don’t go doing stupid little papercuts coz you haven’t got the balls; it’ll make it worse for them and you.’ Tony sliced in one quick movement. Blood spurted out and then flowed down the naked man’s chest. The man’s throat gargled, his eyes grew wider, then he was motionless.

The remaining nine people screamed and cried from behind their gags.

Even with the mask over his nose Ben could smell faeces and urine as well as the iron aroma of the blood. It took all his focus not to vomit.

Tony turned and handed the knife to Ben. ‘You’re up. Better do one before you hit the deck.’

Ben took the knife reluctantly, his hands trembled more, and he felt so hot and sticky. Number two of the livestock was a pale Eastern European looking woman in her twenties. She was silent and staring at Ben with frozen terror. He put the knife tentatively to her throat, she pushed back against the wall and started to scream. Ben held her by her hair and gripped the knife with more force.

Ben’s mouth was dry, his tongue felt paralysed in its arid cave, he could barely whisper. ‘I’m sorry.’

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Eurovision. My Top Three.

Published May 11, 2019 by Naomi Rettig

1. Iceland. Hatati, Hatrid mun sigra.
Mattius has the perfectly chiselled features of an angel, with the voice of a hellhound chewing razor blades. If the Kurgan from Highlander was singing, this is what he’d sound like. I love this but I think this song is a Marmite song, love it or hate it but no bland on the fence opinion. If you don’t like a shouty vocal the song is available to download as the karaoke version, just the music and Klemens singing the higher chorus. Their stage outfits are outrageously fabulous. Cyber punk bondage. This has outraged a few people, which quite frankly is ridiculous, how can you be outraged by the human body in wipe clean PVC. I think the staging would work better with more nudity myself!

2. Azerbaijan. Chingiz, Truth.
This is a catchy pop tune that stays in my head long after hearing it, in a good way. Great vocals, and a great video (even though I’m not judging it on that). It makes me shimmy (in private) and I’m now often singing part of the chorus ‘just shut up about it’ in my head when people annoy me. That’s quite a lot.

3. Norway. Keiino, Spirit in the Sky.
The three singers’ voices compliment each other well. When I sing and dance the routine myself I play all three roles, and while I love being Alexandra and Tom it’s when I’m singing and dancing to Fred’s bits that I’m my most bouncy. It’s fun, uplifting, and full of energy. Keiino performing it that is, not me.

Other songs I like that didn’t quite make my top three are San Marino, Switzerland, Australia, Finland, Cyprus, Estonia, and Spain. But they made it to my top ten. Bring on Eurovision!

Mine

Published April 30, 2019 by Naomi Rettig

You’re my special someone ‘til the end of time,
My gin and tonic to my splash of lime.
You’re my small umbrella in my exotic cocktail,
My refreshing breeze propelling my sail.
You’re my reason to wake with a smile on my face,
My obedient pet to hug and embrace.
You’re my sparkling star in the darkest of night,
My shining beacon and my guiding light.
You’re my positive thought snuggling in my head,
My freshly washed sheets straddling across my bed.
You’re my motivation for living life true,
My excitement for starting over anew.
You’re my obsession, possession, lover for life,
My soul companion during the afterlife.
You’re my morning coffee, that shot of caffeine,
My wonderful servant, and I am your Queen.

Suggestions for my Doctor’s surgery suggestion box

Published February 17, 2019 by Naomi Rettig

Sat waiting for my diabetic review at the doctors, and waiting, and waiting, I spot their suggestion box. So after nearly an hour past my appointment time I thought I’d amuse myself. The following is what will greet the practice manager when she opens the suggestion box.

1. The waiting room needs to be renamed ‘The Executive Lounge’ for starters. Calling it the waiting room is setting the scene for misery and gloom and low expectations. It would be more uplifting to be told ‘take a seat in the executive lounge’ when you check in.

2. When using the self-service check in system it can leave an anxious patient anxious when they sit down, wondering if they completed all the stages correctly. I suggest the machine be programmed with a fanfare to be played loudly if completed correctly. Maybe a burst of confetti for the 100th correct user.

3. The waiting room/executive lounge can get quite tedious when waiting for any length of time. Even though your information slides are informative they are mind numbingly boring on repeat for an hour. I realise a TV licence is an extravagant expense, and fraught with its own problems (I might want to watch This Morning, another patient might prefer Homes Under the Hammer) so how about hiring out mini DVD players with headphones for a small fee. You could profit from patients’ boredom and patients would be less cranky if kept waiting. If not DVD players, then how about just headphones for hire with a selection of music. Patients could have their own little silent discos or classical calm. Music therapy. The headphones could vibrate when the patient is called through, but if I’m jiggling to a bouncy track I would leave them on while sashaying along the corridor.

4. Heated flooring in the nurse’s rooms would be lovely. When you have to take your shoes and socks off for diabetic foot testing it can be a bit chilly in winter. This isn’t a diva request, I have dainty, delicate, size 9, diabetic feet. If this is too much expense a fluffy bath mat could be a substitute.

5. Waiting in the executive lounge would be improved with food and drink. I would like coffee but some of the other patients I saw I wouldn’t trust with a hot beverage, so I think you’d have to play it safe with a water cooler. Food wise it would have to be something healthy too, yawn, so maybe fruit and nuts. Maybe just fruit as too many people have nut allergies these days. Actually, scrap this suggestion as an apple and a glass of water sounds too much like a minimalist still life set up.

6. Thinking of painting, a little bit of art therapy in the executive lounge would be good while people wait. But again, having seen a lot of the other patients I wouldn’t trust them with crayons let alone squidgy paint.

7. Lava lamps. Calming and therapeutic. I suggest you have a plethora of lava lamps placed around the executive lounge. The other surgery in town has a fish tank which is calming to watch, except when children tap on the glass, that increases anxiety, of the fish and myself. Thus, lava lamps would be a good distraction for anxious patients, inquisitive children, and people who like watching blobs bob up and down.

I hope these suggestions help.

Leap

Published February 17, 2019 by Naomi Rettig

Sat against this rock I am hidden from the world. Invisible and insignificant.

Facing outwards, I hear the ocean caressing the rocks further below me, I see the lit lighthouse standing proud, alone but confident, defiant against the blackness of the unknown ocean stretching ahead of it.

Facing inland I see couples illuminated by candlelight through the restaurant picture windows, laughing, smiling, touching. I don’t know which I’m more envious of, the people exchanging loving looks, or the ocean full of freedom and hypnotic hope.

I don’t think I’ll ever find anyone to look lovingly at me, to be their whole world in that moment and moments more. I am not worthy of another’s love. Even I don’t love myself so how can I expect it from another. No one could find me special, wonderful, their guiding light. I will never be someone’s lighthouse, someone’s restaurant gazer.

I will be the lone rock sitter, the solo sea starer, the self-placed exile. I long to be with someone special, as much as I long to leap into the ocean, to float away from pain. Maybe I should take that leap, find the lighthouse for me.

Why am I so scared of sitting in that window? The remote sea seems less terrifying to me. I have a blackness within, it spreads and dims my vision. It smothers my clarity at times. At times I don’t know if I’ll leap when my dark secret self swirls deep. The sea speaks to me, it says listen to me, follow me, join me, stay with me.

I close my eyes as wind joins waves in beautiful orchestral crescendos.

Inhaling salted air, I breathe life into me.

Today is not a leap day.

Reasons to be my Valentine

Published February 14, 2019 by Naomi Rettig

1. I’d give you my last Rolo. From a multipack. After I’d licked it.

2. No need for a hot water bottle at night. I’m hot. Temperature wise. (This perk is not so perky in the summer months.)

3. I’m not a fussy eater, so you can take me anywhere. But not a steakhouse or a sushi bar. Or a Nandos.

4. I can write you poetry or write you into a story as the hero. But if you annoy me, I will kill you off, fictionally.

5. I make excellent tiramisu.

6. I’m not a good dancer, so you will look fabulous if dancing with me.

7. I can’t run fast. This isn’t a negative point, if we are being chased by zombies or muggers then I will get caught first enabling you to escape.

8. I’m an excellent organiser. Your future holidays will be planned with military precision allowing you to merely relax and enjoy yourself. When scheduled to.

9. I’m a vegetarian so I’m cheap to feed. Although any money saved on meat will probably be reallocated to chocolate or marzipan.

10. I don’t get scared at horror films so can look after you if you do. But I will probably hide behind a door to scare you if you take a trip to the toilet.

11. As a non-drinker I can be your designated driver. Oh, if I could drive that is. But I can still look after you and make sure you get home safe. And draw on your face and take photos.

12. I will take a bullet for you. Not such a grand gesture, having depression I’d take a bullet for anyone. But it’s still a perk worth considering.

13. I give great cuddles. My extra fat layers give added squish. It’s like cuddling the Ghostbusters Stay Puft marshmallow man. But less sticky.

14. You can watch me dancing in my fringed swimsuit to Eurovision. This is a special V.I.P part of the package, never been seen by anyone before. (After seeing once you have the option to opt out of further shows.)

15. You get unfiltered access to my brain. (Again, you do have the option to opt out of this perk.)

Observations from my mini break to Jersey, February 2019

Published February 9, 2019 by Naomi Rettig

Welsh cakes from the executive lounge in Cardiff airport don’t taste as delicious when you swallow them down for the second time on the plane. It’s about getting the balance right between comfort eating for flight anxiety and leaving enough room in your stomach for Welsh cake tumbling. I haven’t quite got this balance correct yet.

The synthesiser drum beats on Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ are perfectly matched with my heart beat on take off in the plane. Except when my heart got to 145 bpm.

I’m glad the windows on a plane don’t open as when looking down on the fluffy clouds my brain thought it would be a great idea to jump out and feel how spongy they’d be on the way through them.

If you sit in the last seat at the back of the plane, on a small propeller plane, you get to hear all the juicy gossip from the airhostesses as they sit by there. Especially on a flight where no one else is sat anywhere near. The downside though is you never get closure, I’ll never know if Hazel got rid of her lacklustre boyfriend that she was deliberating over.

I still get excited when I get Jersey notes in my change, foreign currency! I know it’s the same currency as the UK but having the different bank notes with a smiling not stoic queen on them makes me smiley too and feel like I’m in exotic lands.

I still get excited when visiting my favourite lighthouse at Corbiere. I still pretend I’m on a star trek set when walking through the boulders. I always wonder if I’d get told off if I got deliberately trapped out there. I want to feel isolation panic, but not get banned from lighthouses. I always walk out at the peak of low tide to be extra safe, but I think on my next visit I’ll be more risqué with my timings.

My favourite bench on the top of the cliff looking down onto Portlet Bay is still my favourite bench in the world, and I feel territorial if I see anyone else approach it. That’s my bench. It’s this spot that would be the place I’d leap from if I was going to jump off a cliff to end it all. But if anyone reads this in the future from an insurance company it was a windy day and I fell accidentally.

My second favourite bench on top of the cliff between St Brelade’s Bay and Ouaisne Bay is still my second favourite bench in the world. But always try to remember that there is a tier behind the bench that someone else could sit on, so when you think you’re say there by yourself, taking photos of your horror toys and talking to yourself, you may be being observed and judged by a silent man and his equally silent dog. And being judged by a dog is quite harsh.

I nearly went to a church service, by choice. My favourite church is St Brelade’s parish church and I love sitting in there by myself. I’m an atheist but for some weird reason when I sit in this church I always feel overcome with emotion and cry. Probably my evil demons having a panic inside me. I got to the church on the Sunday ten minutes before a service was going to start and deliberated on going in. I’ve only ever been to a church service on occasions such as weddings, funerals, and christenings, never for a ‘regular’ service. I decided not to go in because I didn’t want the magic of the church to be broken by sharing it with other people, and I felt like I would be spotted as an imposter when I entered. I loitered around the graves instead chatting to the dead.

Once again, even though at a different hotel to my last visit, I had a lovely Portuguese waiter brightening my mornings at breakfast. I should visit Portugal/Madeira.

I love hearing the clanking of boats in a deserted harbour at night. It makes me think of Jaws and I get comforting excited chills in my upper spine and left femur.

I often feel that having anxiety and depression is a bit mean and maybe someone else could have my anxiety instead, but sometimes I can see why I have the two together. The depression part of my brain always wants me to walk into the sea and keep walking and never come back. But the anxiety part of my brain won’t let me go into the water past my knees without shouting ‘shark’ at me and making me retreat to dry land.

I broke tradition of going to the cinema for a holiday film. I did go to the cinema and sat down in the foyer to choose what film I was going to see but there were lots of people and children there. Too peoply for me so I absorbed the smell of the cinema then left.

I aggravated my knee injury by walking ten miles a day, but when the coast and scenery is as amazing as Jersey it’s hard not to want to walk everywhere. But walking back from Normoint Point to St Aubin was my ultimate nemesis, it looked a lot nearer on the map and I did a lot of internal head swearing.

The railway track walk from Corbiere lighthouse to St Aubin was reviewed as a delight. But the day after my nemesis walk was probably not a good time to do this as I felt anything but delightful. Lots of benches along the route though to rest up so that was good!

Walking along St Brelade’s Bay is so relaxing and calming, until your brain keeps noticing the little worm casts in the sand and tells you that you’re about to be attacked by ‘Tremors’ like creatures at any moment. Cue a middle-aged lady in purple go from smiling strolling mode to panicked limping run mode, much to some dog walkers amusement.

I’m still disappointed that I see an abundance of dogs on the island but no cats. If I get to live in Jersey I shall have twenty cats to attempt to bring some balance.

I discovered the lovely Venezuelan lady in Costa Coffee in St Aubin brightens everyone’s day. She makes it impossible not to smile.

The bus drivers are still so friendly and polite, and the buses run like clockwork. All bus companies should strive to be like Jersey Buses.

The Old Court House in St Aubin is a wonderful place to stay and I would stay there again. With an old staircase and indoor well dating from 1450 it’s magical staying in a part of history.

I didn’t know there was a chapel in Jersey airport until I accidentally stumbled into it while trying to locate departure gate nine.

I still love Jersey, it’s still my favourite place on the planet, my go to happy place. And only eight months until I go back!