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He smoothed his hand over her buttocks, rubbing out the inequalities of her meaty flesh. His large palm slid up the beautiful line of her back, heating the coolness with his body heat. Reaching in the large plastic tub next to the table, he grabbed another handful of ground sirloin. He rolled it into a perfect patty and slowly worked it into the flesh of her torso, giving her a more womanly look.
Lyle stepped back. wiping his hands on his bloody apron. Taking a critical look at his work, he nodded to himself. His statue still wasn't as lovely a Madeline herself. Something about the beautiful oval of her face wasn't quite perfect. The expression seemed almost yearning but that expression was wrong for Madeline's face. A red light blinked over the freezer door, Lyle sighed. Time to get back to work.
Leaving the bitter cold of the freezer, the warmth of his shop seeped into his frosty flesh. Ms. Frangle stood in front of the meat case. Her over-sized black purse obscured half of her diminutive plaid figure. The buzzer rang again and two yuppies in khakis and pullovers came in sipping their ten dollar coffees from Starbucks.
He nodded to Ms. Frangle, "The usual?"
"Yes, Mr. Beuter," came her murmured reply.
Lyle counted out four hamburger patties, placing a layer of wax paper between each so that Ms. Frangle could freeze them separately. Weighing her patties, he added a ten percent discount. He bagged the burgers. Just as he pulled out the turkey to make her sandwich meat, one of the yuppies sighed impatiently. Ignoring them, he sliced the low-sodium turkey super thin.
More angry grumbles came from the two khaki idiots. Lyle straightened to his full six foot seven height and leveled his pale white-blue eyes on the men. The same level, burning gaze that made women back away from him and men decide that they'd rather buy him a drink than fight. The grumbles ended abruptly.
Lowering his eyes, he sliced the turkey again. He bagged up a pound but only charged her for half a pound. He pushed the bags across the counter to her. She counted her worn one dollar bills.
"Have a nice day Mr. Bueter," she bundled her packages under her arm and scurried past the two men lingering at the doorway.
Lyle leveled his stare at them again, "Yes?"
The blond one puffed his chest out belligerently, "I don't suppose a place like this would even carry organic chicken?"
Sliding open the far refrigerated display case door, he took out a whole chicken.
"You want it quartered or whole?"
"It's organic?" sneered the blond.
"Are you sure? I don't want to use any hormone treated meat."
"Yes, I know what organic means. I run a butcher shop. Quartered or whole?"
"Quartered, I guess..."
Lyle stopped listening as he caught the flash of auburn hair out the wall of window. He found himself holding his breath as she stepped out of the tattoo parlor down the street. It was her. Dressed in brown leather pants and an electric blue halter blouse, she captivated him like lighting in the night sky. Madeline. Her curvy hips swung like a hypnotist's watch, she swung one leg over her sleek motorcycle, tucked her dark red hair into her blue helmet. Kick starting her bike, the muscles of her ass flexed under the tight leather.
His own pants became uncomfortable watching the display. He felt his face flush. Madeline was so lovely. She roared away, his leather goddess.
"Hey, are you going to get our order or not?" a rude voice interrupted his day dream. Grunting, he grabbed the chicken in one hand and the meat cleaver in the other. Lyle caught the blond one's eye and then deftly quartered the chicken with two swings of the clever. The man swallowed nervously and looked away while the dark hair one paid with a credit card.
Franco came in as they hurried out. Lyle gave his assistant a grim smile, "You're late."
"Oh jeez, Lyle, what did you do to the preppies?"
"Nothing. I just quartered their chicken, just like they asked."
"Yeah and I'm the pope," Franco shook his head, laughing, "I know you own the shop but, really, Lyle, you shouldn't work with the customers. You scare the crap out of everyone but Ms. Frangle."
Lyle shrugged, "That's why I hired you."
Franco laughed as he wiped down counter, his curly brown hair pressed down by the hair net. In his mid-thirties, Franco could pass for years younger. His cheery good attitude and people skills made him the perfect foil for Lyle's dark presence. Lyle ordered and cut the meat, Franco sold it.
But even if Franco had been the biggest dick in the world, Lyle would have adored him for the sheer fact that because of him, he met Madeline. It was during Franco's barbeque last summer, Lyle had been lurking in the shadows by the far fence, as usual, nursing a brew.
He had sipped it slowly;waiting for the right moment to sneak out and go home . The cool liquid eased some of the dryness of his throat but did nothing to ease the tension knotting his shoulders. How he hated being surrounded by strangers. It was only ten minutes later that his life changed forever.
Sighing, he had just chugged the last of the can and tossed it in the trash can when he heard her voice for the first time, "Asshole!"
Lyle jumped as angry female voice screamed obscenities behind him. He turned just as a leather clad woman backed through the side gate, her plump arm in the air with the middle finger extended. Swearing violently, she kicked the wooden fence with her black boots.
"You suck, Chris! I put up with all your crap and you screw Misty behind my back? In my bed? Where your lazy ass was staying for free! Plus, you're a bad lay. Any man would be better than you."
A male voice sneered from behind the fence, "You're lucky any man would bother with your fat ass."
The woman turned on him, her auburn hair glinting in the sunlight. Her eyes placed green and gold and his breath left his chest. He couldn’t breath. Most women flinched unconsciously when he loomed over them. Her short nails dug into his muscled arms, dragging him to the open side gate. She yanked his head down and kissed him hard. Her tongue took advantage of his surprised gasp and stroked the inside of his mouth.
His arms tightened around her, tucking her curvy body into the muscled frame of his. Bliss. She broke away from him, and yelled out to a grungy guy packing guitars in an old Impala. A floppy-eared hound hung his head out the open window of the car, his mouth pink and open, his tail started wagging at Madeline’s voice, “See, anyone is better than you.”
The sweet strawberry taste of her still tinged on his lips. Lyle dreamed of her, of her muscled thighs, her voluptuous curves.
Ever since last summer, he had pried every bit of information about her from Franco. She was his next door neighbor, she worked in the tattoo parlor down the street from the shop. She was single, drove a motorcycle, didn’t like dogs especially hounds. Something to do with her ex-boyfriend‘s dog pissing on everything. Yet, it wasn’t enough. He wanted to know everything.
Lyle wanted to show her how gorgeous he found her. Stepping back into his small freezer, he stared at the his sculpture of Madeline. She stood nearly six feet tall, fashioned out of top sirloin. The Meat Fair held a contest each year for best meat sculpture. In only two days, he had to have his goddess ready for the world.
The morning of the contest dawned sunny and bright. Lyle rolled his display table out into the heavily air-conditioned hall. He locked the wheels but kept his refrigerated case closed. No one needed to see her until the judging. Meat sandcastles, meat dogs leaping for Frisbees, he was surrounded by beefy beauty in every kind of meat.
A panel of three judges approached, an old man with a cane and a limp, a chubby lady with three chins and pink polyester pant suit, and a lean young man in a cardigan and baggy chinos. Lyle knew they were the judges because of the officious clip boards and the slight sneers of superiority.
Lyle nodded as they neared his table. He unlatched his refrigerated case, and slid it back, exposing his masterpiece to the room. Shocked gasps filled the frosty air. Miss Three-Chin’s face turned scarlet. The cardigan stood there, stunned like a cow at the slaughterhouse, his mouth hanging open. Only the old man seemed non-plussed. His milky eyes slid down her from her upturned face, to her jutting chest down to her delicate shape of her thighs.
Three-Chins huffed, her face still pink, “Sir! This is a family contest. You can’t display this...this...this NUDE!”
Lyle shrugged his massive shoulders, “Not in the rules.”
Clearly disturbed, she put her dimpled fingers to her throat and mumbled under her breath, “A nude...a nude.”
The cardigan followed her, murmuring comforting sounds. However, the old man stayed there, still looking at his Madeline. Turning to Lyle, his voice rang, deep and mellow, “Top sirloin?”
“Yes, nothing but the best.”
“Oh my, yes,” nodding, the elderly gentleman followed the other two.
Several groups had gathered close around his table, gawking, whispering. Lyle saw the pink pant-suit coming back, dragging two security guards. She pointed at his work of art, “This obscenity must go. It must go now.”
As the two burly guards reached for his table wheel locks, Lyle uttered one word, “No.”
He stepped forward, protecting her. It was then he spotted a flash of red hair in the crowd. The living Madeline shouldered her way through the people, her eyes flashing green as they took him, his representation of her nude body in the background. Franco was only two steps behind her and Lyle knew the moment he saw the table. Franco went white then red.
A blush colored Lyle’s face, “Ah Franco, what are you doing here?”
Franco blinked stupidly for a few more seconds, “I...uh...I thought I’d bring my neighbor to see the contest. You seemed to like her from the barbeque. I thought I‘d introduce you again.”
Hesitantly, Lyle met Madeline’s eyes. No horror, no repulsion lit her expression. She took in his work.
“My tits are smaller.”
Lyle held his breath, afraid to say anything.
“And I’m a vegetarian. I’m not sure how I feel about being displayed in meat.”
Air rushed out of his lungs, he struggled to get in another lungful. She smiled at him, a toothy come-hither smile.
“How about tofurky?” Lyle blurted.
Startled, her smile slipped, “Tofurky?”
“Yeah, I could do it again in vegetarian Tofurkey.”
She laughed, the sound as pure as Sunday church bells, “Sure but on one condition.”
Not believing his luck, Lyle whispered, “What?”
“That I get to model this time.”
Then she kissed him for the second time and Lyle knew that love stories did happen, even to people like him.
1883 WORDS (LOVE FROM THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE)