MiSC. Piggy*

(a porcine blast from the past)

Once as she was walking in front of the shops on her way back from the supermarket, Esther caught a distorted reflection of herself. Considering what the doctors had told her about her blood pressure, she was surprised at what she saw in the glass. She was smiling. Smiling in spite of what she had done; in spite of all the money she had just spent on bacon. Yes, bacon.

Eating a mouthful of pig meat was, to her, a euphoric experience. Cocaine, amphetamine—Esther would have none of these when she had access to the most pleasurable high of them all: bacon. She had six slices of corn-covered peameal (she liked it dripping with maple syrup) right before her prom; she always said it was the best night of her life. Bacon, her friends cleverly joked, was Esther’s beacon.

Her glutton (lust?) for bacon would be Esther’s ruin. The bacon never lasted, yet the bills from Shopsy’s never stopped coming. She pawned her watch, her Datsun, her 24-inch TV. She needed money to pay off the box boys in the deli—she sold everything except her “Ingenio” fast-fry pan and her grease-absorbent paper towels.

In her more lucid moments, Esther could not escape the dread which suffocated her. She remembered the doomsaying of Franco, her childhood butcher: “Beware the Pig! It has the Demon’s flesh—tasty, yes, but treacherous indeed. Bacon leads to Fear, Fear leads to Hate. Hate leads to Suffering!”

She would change in the future, she vowed, and switch to veal, or maybe lamb. “Tomorrow,” she said, “I spit aside the Demon flesh!” Today however, she would dine lavishly on the base hogmeats; with her belly full today, she needn’t worry about tomorrow. The fleeting ecstasy of bacon (yes, bacon) carried Esther blindly from one day to the next, from this deli to that deli, each one a small step down a slippery slope toward pork-fed damnation. Each rubbery, gristly morsel was an agent of bittersweet self-indictment.

Ultimately, Esther could not give up bacon, a fact she refuted even to the last, though it killed her. Her half-hearted attempts at rehabilitation invariably relapsed into some all-night BLT binge. Tears streaming down her face, she would polish off side after side until vomiting herself to sleep.

But one night the bacon sizzled louder than before; the vomit came early, and Esther never woke up.

The next morning, on the cover of Newsweek the ironic headline ran, “Baco-tine Patch the real deal—Docs go hog wild over cure for pork addiction.”

The good news came too late for Esther though. The cholesterol had taken its toll. Too long had she floundered about in the cesspools of gluttony and hot grease. Her coffin was like a ‘non-stick’ receptacle, claiming innocence for Esther’s overdose; a wooden skillet, which buried her bloated, bacon-addled body.

*appeared in the Queen’s Journal, Sept 28, 1999

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