Happily Ever After?

extortion

Photo: Natalie Orenstein, Berkeleyside

“Do you believe in happily ever after?” Kristy popped another one of her strange questions as she and her fiancée Mike were standing in line for the sando of the day, which today was Green Garlic Roasted Beef.

“No. Nothing is forever including happiness.”

“We’re going to get married in a month. Doesn’t that make you happy?”

“Of course it does, otherwise we wouldn’t be getting married.”

“Next.” Aaron, one of the butcher shop’s owners, was at the counter today and Mike felt embarrassed that his conversation with Kristy had kept him waiting.

“Two sandos of the day, Aaron.”

“Coming right up,” he said signaling a new hire who was helping him out over the lunch rush. “By the way, I agree with Mike. Happiness isn’t forever.”

“What do you mean?” Kristy sounded hurt that Aaron had sided with Mike against her.

“Did you see that sign in our window on the way in?”

“No. What about it?”

“It says “Attention: Animals’ lives are their right. Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done.”

“That’s nuts.” Mike accepted the two sandos Aaron handed him and the trio walked to the cash register. It was Kristy’s turn to pay.

“I agree. For Monica and me, owning the ‘Local Butcher Shop’ was our dream come true, our happily ever after. Then, every week, some Vegan group called Direct Action Everywhere started protesting in front of our store, even broadcasting the sounds of pigs being slaughtered over loud speakers.”

What’s that got to do with the sign?” Kristy slipped her credit card into the chip reader.

“Extortion. The group’s press coordinator said they’d agree to protest in front of our shop only twice a year rather than every week if we’d put that sign in the window. They have some sort of crazy idea of making the city of Berkeley meat free by 2025.”

Krista removed her card from the reader and put it in her wallet. Then Mike handed over her sando.

“I am so sorry, Aaron. I had no idea.”

“Kind of grinds my gears too, Mike, but legally, they can protest against us on the sidewalk every day of the week if they want to.”

“You give classes here, don’t you?” Krista took a bite of her sando.

“Sure. Poultry butchery, sausage making, stock making, the works. Why?”

She turned to Mike grinning. “I think taking some of the classes here would be a great activity to do together.”

“Plus we could support the business. I get it.” Mike had wolfed down most of his meal already.

“Look, I’ve got to get back to the counter, but stop on by later this afternoon. Monica will be in by then and we can talk more about it.”

“Sure.” Then Mike realized something. “How’s our freezer looking right now?”

Kristy thought a second. “We might be running low, but I’ll have to check.”

“We’ve got a great butcher basket program tailored for families of all sizes, including those just starting out.”

“Just what I was thinking, Aaron. We’ll do anything we can to back you up.”

“Then maybe I was wrong, Kristy.” Aaron turned toward the bride-to-be. “Friends like you two are happily ever after.”

I wrote this for Tale Weaver/Fairy Tale – #175 – June 14th – Happy Ever After hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. The idea is to use the phrase or concept “happily ever after” as the prompt for crafting a poem, short story, or other creative work.

Earlier, I read a news story titled Vegan activists ‘blackmail’ butcher into displaying sign saying killing animals is ‘violent and unjust’. Just because there’s so much misleading news online, I fact checked it, and a number of other news outlets were covering the story too, including this opinion piece at The San Francisco Chronicle.

The group Direct Action Everywhere is real as is The Local Butcher Shop which is located just a few blocks from where my wife and I used to live in Berkeley, California. They really do have a Sando of the Day, as well as hold the classes I mentioned, and have a “butcher basket” program. Oh, Aaron and Monica are the actual owners of the establishment, but the words I put in Aaron’s mouth are totally fictitious.

If I lived in Berkeley or anywhere around it, I’d patronize the heck out of this store.

I agree that vegan “activists” or any other group have a legal right to protest, but what they are doing to this business is bald-faced extortion. They’re just regular people and business owners trying to make a living.

If you’re a vegan, that’s fine and dandy. I’m not, and hopefully even if I were, I’d understand that people have the right to live different lifestyles than my own, and people have the right to run a legal business that isn’t hurting anyone. Even Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín said the activists’ pressure was “harassment – plain and simple.”

Happily ever after isn’t practical in the world we live in, but we can do things to make dismal situations like this a little better, such as what my fictional Mike and Kristy are planning, or even writing a wee tale in protest.

Yes, I know my story is horribly, painfully contrived, but I couldn’t let this miscarriage of justice go without saying something about it.

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8 thoughts on “Happily Ever After?

  1. I regret that this comment cannot be fully supportive, because the shop in question is clearly not kosher, despite the proprietor’s name, but the sign they were coerced into placing in the window is not accurate because it is absolutist and ignorant. It is not true that “… Animals’ lives are their right….”, because that statement is contrary to the biblical exception granted by the Creator of the Universe after the Great Flood. Thus the coercion to place such a sign in an establishment that does not believe such a statement is a violation of their First-Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The recent Supreme Court decision upholding a baker’s right to refuse to cooperate with the presentation of a moral (or rather, immoral) statement contrary to his religion demonstrates this.

    The subsequent statement: “… Killing them is violent and unjust, no matter how it’s done.” is entirely ignorant of the humane Jewish method of slaughter called “shechitah”, which consists of elaborate rules to ensure that the animal is killed with no violence or brutality, that the knife used is so sharp as to be virtually undetectable by the animal, and that the animal is very quickly rendered unconscious and insensate by loss of blood from the brain. Thus it certainly matters how slaughter is performed, and it need not be at all violent.

    Now if these activists wish to place the Creator who authorized animal consumption by humans in the dock to be judged and condemned for that decree, they ought to beware of the impending countersuit that will find them all deathly guilty for their own shortcomings. I wish them luck even to find a suitably authorized judge and a jurisdictional venue wherewith to try such a case; and it is certain that they will lose the ultimate appeal process. Further, they will not postpone the verdict of their own guilt more than a century (likely much less). On the other hand, if they wish merely to protest violent methods of animal slaughter, and to foster more humane ones, there are more appropriate means by which they might make such statements and propose alternatives.

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    • I’m fairly certain that none of these activists acknowledge the existence of the God of the Bible or any Creator higher than their own values system. I’d love to see these characters try something like this with the proprietor of a Halal Meat shop. Bet they wouldn’t even try because the backlash could possibly be violent.

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      • Regardless of what they may currently refuse to acknowledge, they will ultimately face Him and be judged. But you are quite likely correct that some sort of judgment might come that much sooner if they were to try their tactics against a “halal” butcher shop. Some of the patrons of such a shop might be equally as willing as the activists to disregard the niceties of free speech guarantees, expressing their own beliefs in more physically tangible ways.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I went to the activists’ website and they were kind enough to post a static image of their ambitious (or psychotic) roadmap for species equality. They are actually elevating animals to the level of human being relative to legal rights.

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  2. Glaring flaw on the activists’ website Why Animal Liberation page:

    Animal liberation is a simple idea: That every sentient being deserves the same safety, happiness, and freedom that we ask for ourselves. (emph. mine)

    To be best of my knowledge, only human beings are sentient (okay, some might make an arguement for certain sea mammals, but the jury is still out). My hamburger or salmon filet didn’t start out life as a sentient being. I’m not eating people (or even Soylent Green).

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    • I find that many people misinterpret the word “sentient”, as if it meant “intelligent” or “thinking”. What it actually means is “able to perceive or feel things”. That’s a very small portion of what makes humans valuable. A great many animals, not limited even to mammals, are capable of feeling or perceiving pain and other stimuli by which they respond and attempt to preserve their lives and otherwise conduct their lives. That does not make them equal to humans, nor humans equal to them. It is because edible, potentially kosher animals *are* sentient that the laws of “shechitah” were developed to minimize their potential for trauma and pain when they are employed to become food. So, no, humans are not the only sentient life-forms on this planet. They are not even the only ones capable of using tools or communicating among themselves. Some of them even engage a degree of planning and puzzle-solving in their strategies to survive, to eat, and to perform other life functions. I do suspect, however, that humans are the only ones who attempt to understand the communications of others, and, in fact, the only ones capable of enacting the notions we call “understanding”, “sympathy”, “empathy”, “consideration”, “compassion”, “inference”, “projection”, “denial”, and a host of others. It is their failure to understand what constitutes “the human animal”, and even more than that, “the human soul”, by which such activists fail to recognize the differences between the human animal and other animals. If they would recognize and analyze such differences, they would not attempt to equate them or presume that non-human animals should all receive the same legal or ethical treatment as humans.

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      • Okay, I had misunderstood the term. Working off of a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode where Data was in a legal proceeding to prove or disprove he was sentient, three criteria were brought forth:
        1. Intelligence
        2. Self-awareness
        3. Consciousness
        The last one is really difficult to define, believe me, I’ve tried.

        I had interpreted sentience to mean something only people (and aliens like Klingons, Vulcans, etc) possessed, but I see I am in error. Mea culpa.

        That said, I agree with your point (and mine) that such a capacity does not mean that animals are at the same level as people.

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      • Yeah, StarTrek’s writers for that episode were rather mistaken to choose the term “sentience” to encompass those three aspects of “personhood”. Another term often misunderstood is “intelligence”, which actually means the ability to exchange communication in the form of propositional notions. It does not necessarily imply thinking processes such as analysis or calculation or cogitation (though Data certainly was capable of these also). “Self-awareness” is a good criterion, and reasonably self-explanatory. “Consciousness”, however, implies “knowing”, which would seem to include an awareness of others comparable to “self-awareness”. Of course, it must be contrasted with “unconsciousness”, which ranges from unawareness of anything at all to wakeful unawareness of subconscious internal mental processes (e.g., the psychological “unconscious” self; and instinctual drives). To me, “personhood” includes aspects of both consciousness and unconscious influences; and among the conscious processes I would include the characteristics I cited in my previous post.

        Liked by 1 person

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