The Meat Man

Or One Of the Many Random and Crazy Things That Always Seem to Happen to Me…

When I was a kid of…let’s say around 12…the thing to do in the summer was to go down the shore. We’re in New Jersey, so it’s not going down to the shore, just down the shore. The popular place at the time was Point Pleasant. It was just me, my parents, and my cousin D (who lived upstairs). He went on every trip with us. Like I had said before, he was very much like a brother. We annoyed the hell out of each other.

When we would go down the shore, we would rent a cottage for a week. That way we could cook our own meals and do our own thing. My father is a super picky pain in the ass eater. He’ll complain like he gets paid to do it and then say he isn’t complaining, he’s only saying. It’s just easier if we cook. So, usually, just before we stop at the cottage, we make a quick stop at a food store.

We had brought some food with us but figured we would need to get some perishables and anything else we may have forgotten, so my mom and I decided to go up and down each aisle, just in case. My father, having absolutely no patience, took off for somewhere with D, not to be seen until later. (Remember, kids, this was in the days before technology. No cellphones. I don’t know how we survived, honestly.)

Eventually, we wound up by the steaks. I’m not a steak person, never was, so I was uninterested. My mom had kind of jammed the shopping cart in at an angle against the rubber bumper of the meat case and I was in at the small part of the angle just looking around. My mom was near the opening of the angle, trying to pick out a steak for my father when this guy walks up. He seemed like a perfectly normal early 20-something kid. He smiled and nodded at us and started to check out the steaks too.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, he grabbed a plastic wrapped package of meat and started biting at it while growling and snarling. We were both completely thrown for a loop. I started cracking up and my mom started pushing me to run away. The look on her face only made me laugh harder and I couldn’t move because the cart was jammed against the rubber bumper. Then, just as quickly as he started, he stopped. He set down the gnawed on package and walked away calmly, little flecks of meat and blood around his mouth. I could not stop laughing. My mother insisted we find my father.

No one believed our story. But it’s true.

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