by T. K. Mancia © 2002

“You ain’t keepin’ it in the house,” Mama told us when we brought it home trussed up all pink and wild eyed in Jimmy’s arms. “You know what happened last time.” Standing at the kitchen door, roly-poly arms crossed against her massive bosom, she scowled out at us. Jimmy, usually quick with his mouth and always looking for a good argument knew not to push it when Mama looked like that. “You kin keep it in the barn. Looks like it needs a bit of fattenin’ up.” She ran a critical eye over our find. “Anyone see you with it?” Jimmy and I shook our heads.

“Nuh uh Mama, you knows we’re always careful ‘bout that.”

Mama nodded slowly, “could have picked a fatter one, be more than it’s worth to fatten this one to eatin’ stage, there’s some scraps in the sink bucket you kin give it.” She hawked neatly into the dirt, turned on her heel. “And you better not let me hear it squealin’ all through the night neither, or there’ll be trouble,” she called over her shoulder before disappearing into the gloom of the house.

Jimmy and I looked at each other with glee and hurried our prize to the barn. Jimmy raked some old hay into a corner for a bed. He’s got a good heart Jimmy has. When I joshed him about it he got antsy. “It’s the driest corner, Dufus,” he told me, with a punch to the arm. She won’t get fat if’n she’s cold and wet all the time.” Together we hauled her to the pile of hay and settled her comfortably. Jimmy ran a dirty finger over her thigh, “Mmmm, ain’t nuthin’ I like better than a good bit of crackle.” Typical, Jimmy, always thinking of his belly.

“Shall we untie her?”

Jimmy shook his head. “Not yet, it's too early. Boy, fer all your book learnin' you sure are stupid. And leave the gag on too. She’s squealin’ like a stuck pig already, and you know what Mama said.

“What’ll we call her?”

“Nuthin! It makes it personal, and you know what happened last time. Dale got all attached and brought her into the house an’ all, and the rest is history.”

We both nodded glumly.

“Mama was fit to spit.”

“Yeah,” said Jimmy, “can’t blame her. We was all lookin’ forward to a good bit of roast and crackle. Should’a never brought her home. City chicks you know, always think they’re better than the rest. She hooked Dale with her sophys, sophisty…fancy ways.”

“Thought it was on account of givin’ her a name.”

“Yeah, well that didn’t help none, lettin’ her in the house neither.” We both contemplated our sister in law with heavy hearts.

“Would’ve made tough eatin’ anyway.” Jimmy consoled himself.

With a final glance at our catch we left the barn, and I wondered how much longer it was going to be before Jimmy and I thought that women might come in handy for things other than cooking.

x x x

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