by Gazelle Buchholtz
first published at Language & Ecology 2017 http://ecolinguistics-association.org/journal
When I grasp the packaging, it wriggles in the refrigerated counter. I withdraw my hand in a snap movement, and everything goes back to calmness in the meat section. The packages are quiet again; all lie still and placed in the right rows, each with a label: minced beef, liver, pork roast, tenderloin, ham, and bacon.
I look around and see only ordinary, tranquil behavior from the other customers in the supermarket. No one else seems to struggle with alive food. I want to try to catch dinner again. My target is the juicy pink, thick slabs. The sticker on the transparent packaging shows a drawing of a happy pig with a curly tail, caught in a moment, running freely and merrily across a green field. I keep my eyes wide open to hold a grip on reality. When my fingers almost touch my dinner, the happy pig shifts mood. In an instant, it stops and snaps at me! I gasp and take back my fingers.
‘Hey, did you see that?!’, I blurt out to the man standing next to me. He looks confused. Synchronously we look down into the refrigerated counter.
‘Yes, it is cheeky prices,’ he mumbles and moves immediately further with his shopping trolley.
I refuse to be overpowered by a drawn pig, which is deceiving my sight. I look at the package out of the corner of my eye. I hold my breath, grab the edge of the packaging and fling the chops into my shopping trolley. I rush ahead and grab leeks and potatoes, which I bury the animal under. The meat behaves well on the way home in the shopping bag.
Back at home, I am enjoying a coffee in front of the TV and have almost forgotten today’s
‘Oink’, calls someone in the TV. I move to the kitchen, park the cup by the sink, and bring out
the frying pan. The old fridge rumbles louder than usual – it sounds like it grunts. The whole
kitchen quivers. I open the refrigerator door and stare at the contents inside. The cutlet bulges and
bursts out of the packaging. While I stand open-mouthed and dumbfounded with my legs like jelly,
a full-grown sow comes into the world as a cutlet origami unfolds alive. She lets out a pent-up
howl, shakes her snout and opens the foaming mouth. I get a view of the teeth that once again
belong to a wild pig. The last thing that grabs me is that she does not at all look like the pig with a
curly tail pictured on the package.
Gazelle wishes to strengthen people’s connection to the natural world with her thought-provoking stories.
She’s an associate in The Surefoot Effect, a community interest company, which aims to equip people, communities and organisations with skills for sustainability and resilience.
In her home country Denmark, she graduated with a Master of Science in communication of scientific knowledge, and a Minor in creative writing. She’s based in Scotland, and after the publication of her first fictional book ‘Sleepless tracks’ (in Danish), she works on finding ways to get stories out in English.