Processing Day

The boy sliced the neck diagonal on both sides, careful not to go too deep, just enough to hit major arteries and shallow enough to miss the esophagus. This made the bird bleed out fast. The chicken, hanging upside down in the stainless steel kill cone, kicked in jolts for a fleeting forever. Blood gushed into the white bucket below. Silence. She is gone. Just let her drain out for a minute. Grab the bonny legs. Pass her off to the broiler. The boy talked himself through it. His body became heavy. Nine years old and death was the truth of which he was most certain. He felt faint and fragile.  How easily my own skin could be sliced.

His father passed him another chicken, upside down and squawking. The chicken fought and tried to bite the boy’s bloody hands. Grabbing the bird by the feet, the boy lowered her into the kill cone. Her head peeked through the small hole in the bottom. She stopped fighting. She hung still. He knew from his father that stressful deaths gave tough meat and reoccurring nightmares. The least the boy could do was to kill her right.

– Noel Straight, Haverford School, Faculty & Staff