“You will come to a… fantastic restaurant… with us tonight.”
It was typical of Mr. Park to tell rather than to ask. As Superintendent of Education, he was so accustomed to getting his way that he rarely bothered to pose a question.
Late that afternoon, after teaching my usual hours at the Catholic Middle School, I found myself climbing in beside Mr. Park in the back of a large black towncar driven by a gaunt old man in a cap.
“Daniel!” exclaimed Mr. Park. “You will enjoy.”
Was I ever in for a surprise: the restaurant on the countryside to which the driver took us turned out to serve the meat (and organs) of just one certain animal – horse.
As I sat chewing, I thought of the majestic yellow ochre horse I had seen in photos of the Lascaux cave in France, how we had admired this animal for twenty thousand years.
I thought of the enormous, lucent eyes of the horses I’d hand-fed and ridden in my youth.
I thought of the gunslinging hero of the spaghetti western galloping on his trusty steed, laying a cloud of dust as he sped toward the horizon.
I thought about the moral turpitude of eating an animal being directly correlated with the intelligence of that animal.
Still, I chewed. And made eye contact with Mr. Park and the other men in black suits, and hummed “mmm” with my cheeks bulging and sweat beading on my brow.
It was just that one time that I ate horse. (And I never did try dog soup.) But it was a meal to last a lifetime, because guilt never goes away.
The Just Jot it January and #SoCs prompt this week is to choose a word which begins with ‘oc’ and to use that word in our stream of consciousness writing.