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Goats and Gunshots

Page 6

I don't know where I am, much less why I am compelled to follow this man. We walk on and on, up and down the rows with the tall shelves on each side of us. My basket gets heavier and the smell of blood stronger.

Finally, I can carry the basket no more. I sit down and dump it on the cement floor in front of me. I look up and can't see the man. But what I do see is much worse. It's another man. This one is wearing a big, white apron that almost envelops him. It is splattered with blood. He holds a dripping mass of bleeding flesh in his blue gloved hands. He smiles at me. I scream.

I can hear the blonde woman’s voice again. She's still screeching. I sit up and follow the noise to the window. I look out and see that she's screaming at my man, the one with the dirty coat. She's pointing at a pile of shopping bags and then up at the house. He kicks the dirt at his feet, nods enthusiastically, picks up the bags of groceries, and moves off with his customary speed into the house, his coat flapping its usual accompaniment to his every move.

I sit up and take a deep breath of the scented air coming into the room, wafting from the sea, over the fields of corn, tomatoes, and beans, and across the olive groves. I listen to the gentle whinnying of the goats. No gunshots now, the birds are gone and the crops are safe.

I walk slowly, still achingly tired, down the stairs to put away the groceries. Our local, so called, butcher shop in this ancient Maltese village does us proud with supplies. They even deliver. Best you don't watch your groceries being put into bags by blue-gloved, bloody hands though.


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