The scent of it is such a rare thing in this struggling, forsaken neighbourhood. “But of course it smells delectable,” I tell those who ask. “That’s real meat.” It not only smells good, it tastes good too. Tomato soup with roast red peppers and meatballs. Beef and vegetable soup: fresh carrots, fried potatoes, leeks, cauliflower, and — of course — beef-on-the-bone. Beautiful.
But, even though I sell meals full of the goodness of fresh meat, they always complain. “It’s a bit gamy,” they say.
I say, “That’s only extra flavour. And the toughness cooks out.” They never notice the toughness; don’t know why I bring it up.
“Stop complaining,” I tell them. “If you don’t like it, get it somewhere else.” And there’s a joke in that: I’m the only game in town for those who don’t want their meat from a can.
My neighbours blame the missing animals on me. “Where the hell’s your beef from?” they shout.
“Are you dim enough you can’t tell the difference between cat and beef?” I yell back. Still, I sell them soup at a discount, to appease them. Apparently it’s good soup, whether Fluffy’s the secret ingredient or not.
Ah, meat. They’ll do anything for it. And I’m glad of that. I’m an old lady now and there’s no one to look after me but me myself. And the bit of cash a good bowl of soup brings in does me good.