The Adventures of T-Bone and Fillet
T-Bone and Fillet decide to go out for a walk in search of lemonade. T-Bone and Fillet really like lemonade. They find the clarity of its essential cloudiness to be a powerful metaphor for the nature of, well, just about everything.
"Forced generalisations are my forte", T-Bone says, rarely.
"You're dripping everywhere," Fillet replies, gesturing at the puddle of blood at their feet.
They sit awhile in a field next to a river. The waves glisten like a tray full of cutlery. The trees twitter hungrily in the breeze.
"Do you ever wonder whose mouth you're going to end up in?" Fillet asks.
"No", T-Bone says. "More so who's going to end up in my mouth."
They rump around like they were on a griddle.
The sun is chargrilling the sky and our heroes are getting thirsty. They indulge themselves in a lengthy conversation about squirrels. Both relate to the squirrel's way of life, and tend to speak of themselves in squirrel-like terms. T-Bone tries to climb a tree but only ends up slopping into the soil. His juices trickle and other assorted clichés. Somewhere in the distance in ice cream van jingles. A rabbit bullets by."I fucking hate verbs," Fillet sighs.
Fillet likes to moan. T-Bone flaps a crispy bit in front of her face and they play kiss-chase for a while, both fully aware that the beauty is in the chase, even if they sometimes end up panting like a cancerous lung slopping down a shiny steel wall.
It's hard to tell two steaks apart from a distance.
"I'm as thirsty as a spitting pan," T-Bone says, well-donely.
"Time will froth, my sweet one," says Fillet.
"So much that it spills?"
"So much that it spills."
Day Two in the abattoir. T-Bone feels like he is drying out. "It's okay," says Fillet. "The abattoir is boundless, like a disabled man. And the horizon will bubble. It will."
T-Bone dances to pop songs wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan 'Inory'. He thinks this infinitely witty and sings John Cale lyrics to the melody of 'Don't Stop Moving' by S Club 7. Fillet cringes at him. He falls over sometimes.
"Eroticism hurts," he whispers.
The door is unlocked and they escape again. Fillet struts through the marketplace catching men's saliva in a wooden chest. She pretends she's going to splatter it over T-Bone when the grill finally gets him, but she won't really. He, of course, can't be sure of this. The thought sticks in his teeth like chewy meat, poorly cooked by a fat man with seven fingers and, unbeknownst to him, an STI. A mouse scurries out of a cheese stall.
"You'll never catch me licking blobs of fluid from other people's glasses," T-Bone professes proudly.
"I should hope not."
"Your eyes have the warmth of a favourite restaurant in winter."
"I know. You're my dishcloth."
She walks ahead.
"I'm thirsty!" Fillet says.
"Me too. Shall we go for a swim?"
At the river a kid is fishing with plastic worms. He tells everyone that passes that it's a potent statement about the nature of contemporary society, and that we'd better watch out. His tanktop reads in angry capitals: BAUDRILLARD'S GONNA GET YOU!
Fillet mounts T-Bone's back and they sail out. She drinks from the river. "This isn't lemonade," she says. "Soon," he promises. "Soon."
Fillet has a bad dream. When she wakes she feels like she's in a pan, oil like sweat bubbling around her. She remembers her time in the fridge. It was there where she met T-Bone; he was bundled in too, squashed against her by the very unsavoury Chicken Breast and slovenly Sirloin. He was bemoaning their lack of conversational ability. "Sirloin just blobbers on and on about Anthony bloody Trollope, and Chicken Breast incessantly clucks faux-witticisms about deconstruction, chickens and eggs." Two weeks later an obese man with Ginsberg glasses devoured Chicken Breast in a most unstructured and sloppy manner.
T-Bone is nowhere to be seen. Fillet can smell fear in the air like peppercorn sauce. She forces herself up and goes to find him. A sadness marinates her. She feels like an empty restaurant on a Saturday night. And she's painfully thirsty. All that time ago T-Bone promised her bubbles, yet she feels flat as a pop star without Auto-Tune.
There's an ominous screech from just outside the abattoir. Fillet jolts, steadies herself, opens the door a crack. The sunlight is white and intense.
But outside there is only a steady droning nothingness, insistent as tinnitus. She sighs, unsure whether in relief or disappointment. Then she sees it, there on the ground like a murderer's confession: drops of blood that she knows from experience belong to T-Bone.
Old Sack Gut is hungry. He walks like a suitcase being dragged along cobblestones, swings the doors of the restaurant open like a swallowing throat. Waitresses scribble smiles and the lighting pays him cheap compliments. His stomach growls an empty threat.
In the kitchen the staff are like the sentence structure in a Lee Child novel. Orders etched on little slips of paper are a multitude of flags seen from the plane as you sink closer and closer into a new country.
T-Bone is dazed. His eyes are bloodshot, his juices are squirming around him like rats fleeing the infected in some Hollywood movie. “Fillet?” he whispers.
The men in white are everywhere.
Old Sack Gut absorbs his usual seat in the corner, stares dumbly out at the car park and sees nothing. He doesn’t see Fillet as she sneaks past to the staff entrance, her mind sharpening like a blade in the hand full of violent intentions.
“What can we get you today?” a waitress asks, pulling a pad from her top pocket. Old Sack Gut stares at her breasts, but he sees only meat. He orders.
In the kitchen there’s a sign that reads: “Everything is a text.” This is where the employees congregate to use their phones. Little Kevin is standing beside the sign, feeling completely unsignified. He’s tired. His wife thinks she’s pregnant. He thinks she’s been eating too much. “You’re such a complacent bastard, Kevin,” she sometimes says to him, usually before forgetting to turn off the oven or burning her toast.
The kitchen is full of odours and grit and sweat and testosterone. Whisks hang from pegs like football boots, and there are muddy stains where sauce has been spilt. Kevin puts his phone away and subjugates T-Bone across a chopping board.
Old Sack Gut trembles like a tumour. The waitress’s breasts tremble like a T.S. Eliot poem. T-Bone is swallowed in the hiss of fat and his own flesh, bathed in his blood, screaming as his skin is scorched.
Fillet makes it into the kitchen. She clambers up and up, following the stench of T-Bone being burnt alive.
The waitress pins up an order and fiddles with her bra. Kevin reads it, and just as he turns back to the pan he sees Fillet flop down beside it, like she was praying below a cross. “Perfect,” he shrugs, and tosses her in with T-Bone. He grabs a bottle out of the fridge and gulps, places it down. His phone vibrates. He returns to the sign like an argument being deconstructed.
“So we meet again,” T-Bone says, his voice becoming medium-rare.
“I’m so sorry,” Fillet cries.
“It’s okay. The pan is a lot like returning to the womb.”
“Put it this way: my mother used to refer to her guts as The Seven Circles and to my dad as Virgil.”
Fillet nods and splatters T-Bone. They are beginning to crisp, to blend together in the oil and flesh. They try to think of it as amniotic fluid.
Little Kevin’s wife has burnt down the house. Kevin reels in shock, his arm knocking against the bottle. It falls, floods into the frying pan, covers Fillet and T-Bone as they are devoured along with it in one quick cremating explosion of flame.
When Kevin manages to recover and get them ready for their plates, he notices how perfectly cooked they both are, how they’re flopped over one another as if holding hands.
He tosses the now empty bottle in the bin. The half-burnt label on it reads: Quality Lemonade.
Old Sack Gut quivers in his seat as the kitchen doors spring open like credits rolling down the screen as the lights come on.