Photo by LucienTj
David suffered from Butcher’s Syndrome, a socially confusing condition where sufferers substitute common currency with meat. This strange condition has been linked to trauma of the primordial section of the brain that regulates socialisation abilities. Scientists believe Butcher’s Syndrome sufferers revert back to pre-human methods of trade and struggle with modern monetary systems. Bonobo Monkeys have been observed in the wild trading meat for shelter, tools and, in some cases, sex. It’s believed centralised trauma reactivates hard wired, ancient practices displayed by our closest relatives.
David exhibits typical symptoms and is often seen attempting to pay for groceries with slices of maple glazed bacon, sliced ham or whatever the deli lady (bank teller) dispenses.
I first met David three years ago at the supermarket. He was queued in front of me and was buying some tofu. As he went to pay, he produced his wallet and pulled out a wad of sandwich ham. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Each slice appeared to be worth the equivalent of one dollar and I estimated he was carrying at least twenty ham dollars with him. After the cashier refused to accept his strange currency, David looked to me for assistance.
“She said they don’t take ham here! What’s the deal with this place?”
I paid for his tofu and we got talking. I later discovered the painful irony of David’s condition. He was a vegetarian. I asked David why he was paying for his groceries with ham and he looked at me puzzled.
David offered to buy me a coffee and we talked some more. Apparently he had been using meat money for as long as he could remember. I asked him if he had suffered any severe head injuries and he told me he hadn’t. A few seconds passed and he said, “Well, there was this one time I fell out of a Ferris wheel and landed on my head. Ah ha!
David and I talked some more. I learned he just bought a new car. I was curious as to how he paid for it. He said it was rude to talk about money but told me he ‘used’ to have a herd of cattle. I didn’t want to draw any conclusions but I suspected David paid for his car with a truck load of butchered beasts. He muttered something about dumping a pile out the front of the car dealership, but I didn’t want to pry any further.
David told me he was running late for a scheduled blind date. He text me a few days later and said the date went badly. We met up for coffee and he said his date was a financial planner. He said they simply didn’t ‘mesh’. I asked who paid for the meal and he sounded offended, as if I was accusing him of being cheap.
“I paid of course. I am a gentleman!” he snapped. “It cost me a rack of lamb!” David got up to leave and I went to pay for the coffees. As I went to open my wallet, he grabbed my wrist and said, “I got this.”
He fumbled in his coat pocket and pulled out a handful of sliced pepperoni and slapped it on the counter. The mortified barista was speechless. David realized he hadn’t tipped her and fumbled in his pocket some more. He produced a chicken drum stick and placed it in the tip jar and winked. “Buy yourself something pretty”. Man, he was charismatic!
A few weeks passed and I hadn’t heard from David until a night out at ‘Scoundrels’, a seedy inner-city strip bar. A large crowd had gathered at the stage to watch a performance by ‘Sincerity’, a collagen-doped dancer renown for her ability to gyrate an olive out of a martini glass. “There’s nothing more sincere than a woman making you think she wants to fuck you”, I said to the guy standing next to me. The ape I was talking to grunted in confusion, cheered his drink with mine and shouted, “I love you Sincerity”. My faith in humanity had never been stronger.
The music started and Sincerity began her routine. Soon guys were stuffing notes into her thong with their teeth. At one point she piled all the cash she’d earned in a heap and picked the whole lot up with one tremendous clap of her butt cheeks. That’s when I saw David. He was impressed by the performance and muscled his way through the crowd. He stopped at the stage and positioned his face mere inches from Sincerity’s ass. She turned around and commanded David to pay up.
“You wanna watch Mumma? You gotta pay Mumma!” she moaned seductively. I cringed.
She then started clapping her ass cheeks together whilst the crowd all chanted, ‘pay, pay, pay’. Sincerity was a regular and the crowd knew the routine. David reached in his pocket and pulled out a sausage and started to stuff it into her thong. I think Sincerity got the wrong idea and screamed, “It’s the Meat Creep!!! Security! Security!” Apparently David had a reputation!
David looked baffled. Before he could withdraw his semi-stuffed sausage from her thong, three bouncers appeared and dragged him away. I ran after him but by the time I caught up, he’d been taken away in a police car. All I saw as the car drove off was his face pressed up against the window. He appeared to mouth the words, “Help me!” It was either that or “Kelp tea.” I wasn’t sure. He was, after all, a vegetarian.
I took a taxi to the police station and ran inside, but was stopped by an officer. “You the Meat Creep’s lawyer?” he asked. “I hope you are. Our ‘one free phone call’ policy is being abused. We caught one fucker calling a sex hotline and we suspect The Meat Creep will do the same. We don’t want another huge phone bill!”
“I am his lawyer,” I lied.
“Well thank-you sir. You’ve just saved the department one big- ass phone bill,” he beamed.
The officer told me David was a wanted criminal. Apparently he had stolen a new car and dumped six tonnes of rotting beef in an attempt to stall a police pursuit. I didn’t believe him. David was simply suffering Butcher’s Syndrome. He wasn’t a thief.
David was waiting for me in an interview room. He looked relieved to see me. “I didn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything”, he whined. I pressed my fingers to his lips.
“Sssshhhh. I know. I know. I’m going to do everything I can to get you outta here, kid!” I assured him.
After a lot of persuasion, David finally agreed that using a sausage in a strip bar was, in hindsight, a little inappropriate, but claimed that was ‘all he had on him’. David spent the last of his pepperoni on beers. It transpires that David’s bail was going to cost one thousand dollars. I wasn’t willing to pay it. “I have money man,” David assured me. “You just gotta go and get it for me. I keep a stash under my mattress.”
When David said he had a stash, I simply assumed David was referring to cash that was stashed under his mattress. Not meat. An hour later I arrived at his apartment. As I lifted his mattress I was horrified to find his ‘stash’ was not banknotes as I had assumed. What was stacked in front of me was about five hundred raw cuts of sirloin steak.
“You’re fucking kidding me!” I exclaimed. I had no other option, so I gathered the meat into a sack and left. On the way out I grabbed a box of kelp tea just in case. When I arrived back at the police station I assumed everything would work out. I figured I’d pay bail and he’d be released. What I assumed would happen didn’t. It didn’t work out at all. I handed over the sack of steak, but the police thought I was offering them a bribe. David and I got tossed in jail.
“You’ve made a mistake, I yelled. You’ve made a mistake!”
“You’ve made the mis-steak, genius,” the policeman yelled back. I didn’t get the joke.
Luckily, I managed to smuggle in the kelp tea. “Here,” I said as I gave it to him.
“Kelp tea! I knew you’d remember!” he gushed.
A few days later I was released from jail with a stern warning. David wasn’t so lucky. He remained in custody and was charged with grand theft auto.
At home I finally finished reading the Wiki article on Butcher’s Syndrome. Did you know Bonobo Monkeys are renown as merciless and habitual thieves? Ah-ha!
By Matthew Yarsley