Weird Pig went to the grocery store, to look for softer mud. All he found was sand for a sandbox he didn’t have. He was caught on camera, eating marshmallows in Aisle 8 straight from the bag. After a brief confrontation, he left the store snorting, vowing never to return.
Weird Pig wasn’t so weird. In a lot of ways he was just like you and me. He was afraid to die, but mostly seemed to pretend it wouldn’t happen to him. He didn’t like the scene in Last Tango in Paris where Marlon Brando tells that poor woman she should have sex with the pig that throws up on people.
He remembered when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, but in his heart he felt certain he would not see them end. War was a burden on the conscience of Weird Pig’s generation, and it would be on his piglets’ generation’s conscience, too.
Oh, yes. Weird Pig was a dad.
He fell in love with Nancy Pig, who gave birth to a whole litter. Farmer Dan hollered with joy, and so did Weird Pig.
But there was one little piglet who didn’t fare well. Stillborn, Farmer Dan called him. Stillborn Pig. He was one of seven pigs born that day, and the only one who didn’t make it, but Weird Pig felt a part of him die when he saw Stillborn Pig’s wet corpse in the straw.
They buried him behind the barn. There was no ceremony.
Weird Pig got solemn. Weird Pig drank, hiding his stash of rum behind the trough. Someone always seemed to find it, then leave it sitting out so that Weird Pig would see it there and know it had been found. They never discussed it, he and whoever it was who left it there, probably Nancy Pig. Definitely Nancy Pig.
Weird Pig was a jolly drunk, mostly, as pigs tend to be. But there was often a point in the night when for no reason Weird Pig got quiet. He got morose. He stopped making eye contact with his buddies, Jake Rooster and Bill Wyman the Mule. The laughter ran dry.
Weird Pig yelled at the piglets when he came home on the worst night he’d had in a long time. Nancy Pig pulled them close, as if to shield them from his words. He said there was no such thing as Flying Pig, which of course was true, but is not something you should dump on a piglet’s head in a rage. It’s cruel. Weird Pig stormed out. Nancy Pig squealed after him. He slept in the field, and when he woke up, blinking at the unforgiving sun, he heard the laughter of the Crows, Diane and Marcus Crow.
The piglets were quiet when Weird Pig stumbled in, sometime later. They didn’t look at him, but Nancy Pig watched in silence as he went to the trough for some water. Nancy wished they could have their old life back. The piglets only wished he would leave.
Weird Pig saw his reflection in the trough. What he saw he hardly recognized as Weird Pig.
He turned to Nancy with tears in his eyes. He couldn’t speak. He oinked with sorrow.
There was hope, though. Nancy fed him slop, talked sense into him, made him agree to drink only in moderation, no more than three nights a week.
It didn’t work. A month later, after another bad night, it was clear that Weird Pig couldn’t handle any drinking at all. He joined a support group at Dan’s church, where at his first meeting he opened up about Stillborn Pig, and told everyone his fear of being slaughtered and eaten. They applauded him for his honesty, and he got a sponsor: Field Hand Rick.
Weird Pig stayed clean ever after. He was a model father, adored by his piglets. Nancy Pig could not have been happier.
One Christmas, Nancy Pig bought presents for each of the piglets, and Weird Pig was slaughtered so that Farmer Dan and his own offspring, Kid Bryce and Girl Pearl, could eat Weird Pig off of plates. Later, to pay for college, they went into lifetimes of debt, and Weird Pig was nothing more than the distant memory of a Christmas dinner eaten on a farm where after dinner Kid Bryce wrote a poem that went,
Thank you, Weird Pig, thank you so,
For the meat you have provided,
You’ve helped my arms and legs to grow
And our hunger has subsided.
It was amateur work by a well-fed but poorly educated child. It was thrown away by Farmer Dan, who thought poetry was the work of homosexuals. He forbade Kid Bryce from writing more of it.
The farm isn’t there anymore. It was demolished to make way for an industrial livestock production facility, which has lots more pigs in it than the farm did. There are so many pigs, they don’t even clean up all the shit that comes out of them. They just give the pigs antibiotics so they don’t get infections from wading through their own waste all day.
Farmer Dan got a job working security at the grocery store. He doesn’t know it yet, but he has bowel cancer, and won’t live to see Kid Bryce become a man. Oh, Farmer Dan.