don't buy my meat at a supermarket. I buy it at a butcher. Meat is too important a foodstuff to trust to some ham-handed grocer. As usual, yesterday I had a hankering for beef so I strolled on over to this nice little butcher's shop down the street. When I opened the front door the bell above tingled my entrée. The front of the place was empty, just a greasy counter littered with knives of various sizes, a couple of cutting boards and bits of gristle and fat. Against the far wall white aprons hung, each stained with blood and grease. The room was lit by a single feebly flickering bulb placed in the ceiling above my head. The smell of blood hung thick in the air like some overdone cliché. I breathed deeply: ah, like mother's milk.

The door to the back opened. Ah. the butcher arriveth. But it wasn't the butcher. It was something else. In the doorway, framed by misty fog from the refridgerated back room, stood a seven foot tall stuffed cow. No, really. I'm not joshing you. It looked like this stuffed animal I had as a kid, a plush bovine caricature complete with udder and horns. This one was bigger though. It wore a bloodied apron around its neck and carried a giant meat cleaver in its hand. Hoof. Whatever.

Holy fuck. Not again. I had this nightmare two days ago. Woke up sweating and sobbing like a molestered choir boy. I've had this dream many times, in fact: Cow with cleaver, chasing me, chopping me, serving me as steak. Scared the shit right out of my constipated colon. So, in the face of my deepest fear, I did what came naturally: screeched like a school girl at the top of my lungs and screamed "You're not real! I don't believe in you!"

None of these tactics seemed to have any effect so I turned and fled the butcher's shop. The cow followed, waving it's meat cleaver menacingly. "Help me," I cried, running away from the hideous beast. The street was empty. No one to hear my desperate pleas for assistance. I turned a corner. Fuck. A dead end. I was in a dimly lit alley between two shops. A dumpster, mounds of black, plastic garbage bags, two doors. Two doors? No, they're both locked. A shadow darkens the alley further. I turn. There it is. The cow. Slowly advancing toward me. I plastered myself against the back wall of the alley, eyes wide in intense fright. My pants felt warm... and wet? God damn it.. Did I just piss my pants? Who cares: I'm about to die. My eyes are riveted on the cow: comically cheerful grin molded permanently onto its fat, stuffed head.

I fell to my knees and began to plead with it. No, Mr. Cow, please don't, I promise never to devour your kind ever again, just don't eat my tenderloin. Please. It lifted the cleaver high. I shat my pants.

Just as the wet warmth of my fresh feces began to register in my mind a goofy looking redheaded guy burst out of the dumpster. "Gotcha!™"

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