Saturday, 7 March 2009

For what we are about to receive.....

Heya, here's a short story I wrote for English on the theme of Dystopia. Hope you enjoy :)

For what we are about to receive.....

The knife plunges down in a series of precise slashes, rending the frail skin and spilling the deep red innards across the wooden block. Her elegantly tailored suit emphasises her statuesque silhouette; deliberately tasteful jewellery frames her carefully applied facade which melts slowly into a salty echo of a Willem de Kooning with each slice of her blade. The acidic taint of the tomato’s juices catches in the bourgeois goddess’s throat and she chokes with the understanding of the damned. The immaculate temple of dark granite work surfaces carefully accented by the contrasting high gloss tiling and the most fashionably branded appliances stands as a gleaming testament to capitalist success and impeccable taste. Of course should the enamel casing be ripped apart to reveal the bare wooden skeleton the stamps would be there, just as they were in the newly built tenement slums and the faux historical mansions, the carmine formal ink here would of course read “Government Issue- Bourgeoisie Grade.” ......

She reverently lays the tomato into the stylish bamboo salad bowl already laden with cucumber and spring onion with the knowledge acquired from her work as horticultural statistician for the country’s resources smouldering in her skull, numbers and statistics flashing through her mind like embers, images of poverty and famine rendered in binary. A sudden fall in the prison population accompanied with an equally sudden rise in the availability of food, the swift rejuvenation of the country’s agriculture and an end to the problem of increasing population. She caresses the smooth grain of the wood beneath her fingertips as she remembers buying the bowl. It was one of the highest graded shops she was permitted to frequent; the shelves stocked with luxurious commodities, the shop’s name synonymous with dinner parties and shallow prattle about books, ideas and wine. It was best to ignore that this like all shops was now supplied by the governmental supply vans that toured the country bedecked with tinted windows and averted glances. Not much had changed there since the reformation; there were of course no books on the shelves now... more wine though; the woman hums a nursery rhyme, half forgotten as if shrouded in deep green glass.

Her childhood; how distant that seemed, had it really been any better than this? Her memories confusing and vague, words and feelings drowned in nonsense songs and clapping games. Lost in sound and colour, the only constant her continuous melancholic leitmotif. That familiar sense of uncontrollable disaster that had walked hand in hand with her from infancy and embraced her with arms of flesh in recent years. Then she remembered that rare slice of epiphany carcass, the pulpy meat stark crimson against the dazzling porcelain. Her one moment of true freedom in defiance, her personal victory in refusal to consume flesh; her whole identity crystallised as if in amber, comforting and warm.

Slowly, deliberately she places the blade to her lips and tastes the residue on the knife’s edge hoping against hope that the truth would change or she would cease to detect what she knew to be true. An instant on the tongue and she unsheathes the blade from her sickened mouth, the elemental flavours linger mockingly. Phosphorous and iron on stainless steel, metallic yet organic in its truest sense...Lettuce next.

She thrusts her knife angrily into the lettuce leaves, imagining her knife as a sword of Damocles as she drives it into the leafy heart. The leaves would hold the same whispered truths of the tomato so there was no need to taste the blade again; the tang of betrayal still burning on her lips. Into the bamboo bowl go the emerald sheets of icebergs. Toss the leaves delicately, drizzle vinaigrette liberally; there was nothing in her countless recipe books about grief or culpability. Generously sprinkle with sorrow, season with guilt. Her gaze shifts to her own emaciated wrists and a lugubrious keening sigh escapes into the air and is dragged into the air conditioning. She will eat what she can, possibly two tablespoons of salad if she can bite her lip and pretend the taste of death is her own coursing blood.

Tall white Candles are lit, conspicuously antiquated among the solar powered fluorescents which cast no shadow at the hushed table. The woman sits opposite her assigned partner at the long glass table, the salad divided in equal measures. The woman breaths a muffled prayer for forgiveness to her plate, reading last rites to spring greens washed with tears.


  1. Really good Rhys. Reeeeaaaaally good! xx

  2. I hate you rhys... :P