ONE BIG MESS
“Have I told you the story about the guy who butchered hogs?”
“The one who was in the Foreign Legion. Have I told you that one?”
“Is it for real?”
“Sure thing, it’s from my cousin Kambor. He told it to me. He was bumming around down in Gostanj, you know, and went to see a friend there. It turned out that the friend had just been to kill three hogs. His dad, who’d been in the Foreign Legion, went with him; he was already forty five, which is kinda pretty old for that outfit, and he ran away. A bit twisted, if you know what I mean. Anyway, they went together to kill those hogs.”
“Well, they killed them. Or rather his dad did: he butchered two hogs the usual way, you know, knife-to-throat stuff. But the third hog, when it saw what was in store—and a hog can tell when you’re gonna kill it, you know, it can feel what’s coming—it bolted and hid in the corner of the old hog house. The friend’s old man tried to lure it out, like, with a coochie-coo and a come on piggy-piggy, so he could butcher it too. But the hog kinda dug in for a Custer’s Last Stand, like, and wouldn’t budge an inch. So the father grabbed an ax, stomped inside, and gave it a proper thrashing.”
“Must’ve been blood and gore alright!”
“You bet. He really laid into it, Kambor said—it was like a damn splatter movie in there. He made one big mess. Jeezus, would any normal person do that back down south?! I mean, country folk feed and fatten those hogs, you know, and they use every part of the animal. But that guy massacred it, lurched out, and chucked the ax against the fieldstone wall. ‘Piggy is inside,’ he snorted, and cleared off.”
ROBERT PERIŠIĆ was born in 1969 in Split. He is a freelance writer and a journalist whose writings give an authentic view of society in transformation and the (anti)heroes who inhabit it. He is the author of a novel, two collections of short stories, two poetry collection, a play and a screenplay. His novel, Our Man in Iraq (Istros Books, London, 2012; Black Balloon Publishing, New York, 2013) received one of the most important Croatian literary awards from the daily newspaper Jutarnji list. The German edition of the novel (‘Unser Mann vor Ort’) also received the ‘Literaturpreis der Steiermärkischen Sparkasse 2011’ in Graz, Austria. His journalistic articles regularly appear in the respected Croatian weekly Globus and his books have been translated into English, German, Italian, Hungarian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Czech, and Bulgarian.
About the Translator:
WILL FIRTH was born in 1965 in Newcastle, Australia. He studied German and Slavic languages in Canberra, Zagreb, and Moscow. Since 1991 he has been living in Berlin, Germany, where he works as a freelance translator of literature and the humanities. He translates from Russian, Macedonian, and all variants of Serbo-Croat. His website is www.willfirth.de.
Read more work by Robert Perišić:
A story in B O D Y
Our Man in Iraq website
Interview with the author in Fiction Writers Review
Review of Our Man in Iraq in The Toronto Star