Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Killing the P.I.G.

The slaughtering was done by the chief cook himself – a former army cook, middle-aged and tough as iron – while Vasily Petrovich helped. It turned out to be not so easy. The enormous, immobile Mashka, who had been overfed on warm greasy kitchen slops till she weighed over 400 pounds, took to flight like a bird when the slaughterers crossed the threshold of her pen. She had evidently guessed what they had come for, even though the chef hid the knife behind his back.

They had a terrible time throwing her. First in turn and then together Vasily Petrovich and the chef sprawled out on the dirty floor boards, trying to get hold of Mashka’s legs. But with an agility inspired by her fear of death, the heavy sow, almost blinded by fat, kept slipping out of their clutching hands and dashing about the pen with heartrending squeals.

Finally they managed to throw her onto her back. The chef took the long knife and, with a neatly calculated movement, plunged the thin, narrow blade under the sow’s left leg and pulled the knife sharply toward himself. - Yury Nagibin