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Be Nice to the Butcher

Danny Macks lives in southern Indiana surrounded by kids, cats, and dogs. Danny loves puzzles, big libraries, medieval history, and asking questions which don't have easy answers. dannymacks.com.

The other guy at the hotel bar was the friendly type, grey at the temples, with the stocky blue-collar build of a man who never lifted a barbell in his life, but could still bench-press me over his head, just the same.
"Bill Butcher," he said, extending a meaty hand. I shook it and gave him my name.
"What brings you to town?"
"Family. You?"
"Scouting out a location for a new processing plant. Mainly an excuse to get out of the factory and decompress a bit." He fished in his pocket, dug out a worn, stained wallet and fished out a photograph. "Here's my grandbabies. They're in the pool right now with their father."
The dimpled faces smiling at the camera wouldn't have been out of place in an advertisement, glowing with health and possibilities. I pulled out my own photo, from the last reunion.
He hmmed, nodded, and licked his lips. "Plump group there."
I snatched the photo back. Yeah, all of us were putting on a little weight, but that didn't mean we wanted to hear it from some stranger in a hotel bar.
Rather than apologize, Bill changed the subject, asking me about work and the little day-to-day stuff that fills all our lives. He even bought me a few drinks.
We were both getting a little mellow when a robust woman strode into the bar. She wore sandals, a dark one-piece swimsuit, and a transparent floral wrap which gave the pool-wear a respectable air without diminishing her muscular sexiness a bit.
She kissed Bill on the cheek. "Are you joining us at the pool, Dad?"
"Maybe later," Bill said. "Have you met my new friend? I'm sorry, I forgot your name."
I told them and held out my hand.
Her lip curled with disgust. "I don't talk to livestock."
"Just because we're butchers is no call to be rude." Bill finished his drink and threw some money on the counter. "Have another one, on me."
"Thanks," I stammered, while the terrified rabbit portion of my brain struggled to catch up.
Bill slapped me on the shoulder, and gave it a little squeeze. "Excellent marbling. Once the processing plant is built, I look forward to seeing your family again."
The End
This story was first published on Monday, May 25th, 2020
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