The beeping alarm instantly triggered guilt. Shit, my unmanned post! To minimize the damage, I ran to the front-line with a sense of duty. Someone else did my dirty work (as expected). I took over with utter shame. There was no time to get into it. Luckily, this line of fire was my trusted battlefield. The war was an unfair conflict with an unequal balance of power. Luckily I was part of the better organized and equipped side. As usual, the other camp got slaughtered to the bone. The often emaciated sheep kept on coming and going. Whole herds were stunned for the fatal blow. This ‘honor’ was (luckily) not mine as an infidel mercenary. Only Allah’s devotees possess the purity to slit throats. I was still useful enough as a water bearer or cannon fodder, though. Perfect. And… action! Follow the wolves’ instincts and let sheep’s blood flow abundantly. The hunting season for sheep and record-breaking profits has begun.
One by one, they came with a thud (neatly towards Mecca). As soon as my Islamic fellow-man was done slicing, I performed my magic trick. Quickly I grabbed the hind legs to hang them on hooks. The herd seemed endless, the conveyor belt had no mercy. Simply fulfill the insatiable hunger of the machine, period. Failing, slowing down, thinking or customization is not an option. Business had to go on at a murderous pace. Everything else was of secondary importance, including the trade’s risks. Watch it, keep an eye out for convulsions. Sometimes kicking sheep were handing out parting gifts. A shot on the chest or arms was fair play. A direct hit on the sensitive part however… Briefly I saw stars. I wanted to drop like a bag of potatoes or stumble away with a sour face. Yet I couldn’t just do that. Standstill costs money. Doing nothing triggers thoughts within workers. Those who do the dirty work of hungry man, tight consumers and the well-hidden High Command. Ben, don’t let them down. Don’t let all sacrifices be in vain. I pushed through the pain of a crushed scrotum and worked my ass off. Halal meat rules supreme. Leaving that behind is blasphemy, which is clearly a no-go zone.
That nutcracker was just a warm-up for the real deal: catching fugitives. Sometimes a sheep shot through the supply hatch without being stunned. In that case, someone had to take them back to the stun-department. Someone was me. It was a piece of cake with tame sheep. Usually they would just stand there and do nothing. Dozens of family members, friends and relatives bled to death in front of their eyes, yet they rarely resisted. Even after facing the brutal truth, they let themselves be slavishly led towards the slaughter. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Suddenly I stood face to face with a lamb that appeared very conscious. He looked around, seemed to think and ran off. Confronting resistance commenced. After a lot of pulling and pushing, we arrived at the queue. The final push made him disappear into the crowd. Sorry, we don’t take prisoners of war. Be a patient little fella, you’ll get your turn. The bomb of cognitive dissonance struck as I walked away. Bloody murderer! Hypocritical meat-eater! Fucking prick! The sickening scene caused a moral breakdown. My ears were ringing, a white haze blinded me. Rage boiled me alive. I hit a door multiple times with full force and cursed out loud. My world briefly paused, yet this outburst made absolutely no difference. Death and decay remained prevalent. It rained blood, knives were sharpened. As in any war, the upper ranks of the ‘winning’ party benefit, the rest suffers. What a madhouse, what a sickening state of affairs.
It was Christmas. The boss spoiled us with a long break and a Christmas lunch. With a shattered appetite, I stared at the fresh leg of lamb. This was probably HIM… While I was pondering the thought, the speakers were blasting ‘All I want for Christmas is you’. Memories of ramming butt-plugs into sheep’ assholes flashed through my mind. Not in the mood for forced festivities and not eager to eat meat, well done. Goddamn, man up. Waste is a sin, don’t throw food away. Sigh… After a celebratory feast, the next job was beheading carcasses. Initially, it was the task of a deserter with feelings. He dropped out with shredded tears – which can occur. Hey, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. I took over out of collegiality and cut heads off with a hydraulic nipper. Sometimes I accidentally cut them in half. A cracking skull sounds repulsive. Everything was awful: the torrent of vomit, blood and the convulsions once you cut through the neck. Especially the bloody facial expressions are intense. Wide eyes, tongue out of the mouth or eyes closed. Dumb, dreamy or troubling glances. Gazes of fear. Glances of disbelief or acceptance of fate. The last messages were unmistakable. I had to face them with reluctance.
“My whole life was a total lie!”
“What was the point of all of this?”
“Finally, survival-mode is over at last!”
Ceasefire, take rest. I walked into the blazing sun with a post-traumatic stress disorder. A packed livestock truck was waiting at the gate, which opened at an agonizingly slow pace. Then the driver drove very slowly onto the enclosed compound. I observed the ignorant bastards with sadness, knowing that their death sentence was imminent. They were a lost cause anyhow. There’s no escape. Spirit and survival instincts were lacking. Modern techniques record every step they make. The farm was everything to them. ‘Out there’ it’s too dangerous or scary. They’re alienated from their natural origins, they’re attached to an artificial pseudo-reality. They have no chance beyond their nearly shielded Safe-Space. Nothing changed as soon as I stepped out of the fenced zoo. I was still in a global slaughterhouse. One that doesn’t have a set location or closing times. One in which everyone gets their turn: humane sheep, sheeple, black sheep, popular sheep. After all, they’re all one. Eat that delicious grass, it’s the greenest. Get some fat on the bones, do it for the wolves. Don’t let them howl. Simply obey. Be tame and weak, let natural selection do its job.
With a knife on my throat, I yearn for heartfelt peacetime, one in which civilization becomes genuinely civilized.