“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.