The Unintentional Invention of Meat: A Story From Calais Hobbes

Written by Paco Pascal, on 05 November 2011.
Tags: #fiction

My problem began manifesting during the years of my elementary studies. I was young then and although I did not have much knowledge of society, my problem gave me a feeling of awkwardness. Throughout my life I felt like a sore thumb, constantly reminding its owner that its existence differs a little from his other fingers. Overall I was an average child. Nothing about me was statistically abnormal in either direction. Like most people of the society, my education began and continued successfully; my hair was a thick curly black; both my eyes were bright green, given I was not sexually mature at the time. After reaching sexual maturity, my left eye became blue. Despite my overall lack of uniqueness, I possessed the most statistically abnormal feature to ever exist.

During my childhood, my mother Satu Hobbes and father Henry Hobbes, frequently took me for visits to various woodlands and grasslands. While on one of our frequent visits, gracklers were surrounding us, eating mossy plants. While one was resting peacefully near my feet, I grabbed it and bit its neck.

"Oh God! Calais, what are you doing!?" I recall my mother shrieked.

After being startled, I quickly dropped the grackler. Mother and Father ran over in shock.

"Calais! Why would you do such a thing?" Mother questioned nervously.

"I don't know" I muttered. "I was curious how the grackler tasted. They appear tasteful."

My cheeks became red and I was filled with shame. My seven year old mind was conflicted between the urge to taste the grackler and the disapproval of my parents. Seeing what was troubling my parents about biting the grackler was difficult for me to see. Attempting to eat a grackler or another animal seemed to be the natural course of action.

"Why do you wonder what they taste like, Calais?" Father asked sincerely.

"I have a feeling that eating a grackler would be tasty." I replied honestly, attempting not to be ashamed.

"A feeling you say? Feelings can be deceiving. Do not always trust your feelings. Next time you get such a feeling, try to reason through the feeling. Analyze it."

I nodded in response to his warm and understanding advice. As he patted my back, Mother began to calm.

"Okay, Calais. Let's go home, you have your studies tomorrow." Mother stated.

That night as I laid myself down to sleep, I attempted to analyze the situation. Where did the urge come from? I tried that night to figure out what the cause of the urge was; alas, my 7 year old mind was unable to fully analyze the feeling.

"Food has always been plants. I've never seen or heard of someone using an animal as food. I've also never seen or heard of an animal using another animal as food. So, why would I get a feeling that forced me to think of a grackler as food?" I thought to myself.

"Would I want to eat another human?" I asked myself while fearing my response. "Definitely not! The thought of eating a human frightens me." Being assured that the urge to eat animals did not extend to eating humans, I slept well.

. . .

What was the stem of this desire? I have wondered this since that night. The urge began as spontaneous, but gradually became a familiar presence. Our understanding of biological life demonstrates that between the two distinct evolutionary trees, only one is a source of food; specifically, a source of food for the species of the other evolutionary tree.

Musgi are strange creatures. Their process of reproduction through becoming gases then slowly condensing is very different from the species in our evolutionary tree, the Hingi. Most Musgi have even adapted to our digestive processes. Their reproduction is directly influenced and stimulated by going through our digestive system. When a Hingi consumes a Musgi, the result for most Musgi is multiplication. Our tree evolved completely independently from the Musgi tree. There is no common ancestor for the species of the Musgi and Hingi. Though, I wonder if I should not be strict with the previous statement. Is there an unknown common ancestor?

The relationship between the Musgi and Hingi is very distinct. Our source of energy is provided by the Musgi and their method of reproduction is assisted by us; but, if a common ancestor exists, then every Hingi is the food of another Hingi.

. . .

My analysis class at the Academy closed for the day and as I went outside to muse on the topics discussed, a rabel was brought to my attention. It was feeding on Musgi growing near the building that contained my classroom. The nature of the rabel was calm and submissive. Its pure white coat was fluffy and supple with a decent layer of fat between his skin and muscle.

My mouth began salivating as I felt the urge diffuse from my bones and penetrate every organ in my body. Without thought I picked up the rabel. His face was unafraid and unaware of my intent. As I brought the rabel's neck to my mouth, the rabel patiently waited with no resistance for me to set him down and allow him to complete his meal. Without any danger being perceived by the rabel, I closed my jaws upon his neck. The rabel jerked quickly for a moment and I compressed my jaws together as tightly as I could, like a shop clamp holding material in preparation for construction.

The meat was difficult to separate from the bone and the cylindrical shape of my teeth could not easily pierce the meat. I found myself gnawing for long periods of time on the meat in order to separate it from the bone and partition it into a decent size.

"My god! Holy fuck!" a voice screeched from behind. With the quick turn of my head I saw Satu Crimp, a peer of mine from my philosophy classes. "Satu, she shares my mother's name" I thought to myself.

"What have you done!?" she questioned in severe shock. Her face was pale and the distance from her hairline to her chin seemed like it was stretched three times the length. As her original shock transferred to a shock reflecting the calm damage of a city after a severe storm, she said "This must be reported."

"I understand", I replied as I felt the overwhelming shame that I felt during my trip to the grassland with my parents returning.

. . .

"This is most unusual", Charlie Mac a biologist at the Academy claimed. He approached a chair at the table where Gregory S. Mill, a philosopher at the Academy, and I were seated.

"It's more than unusual", Mill stated in protest to his claim. "This is a violation of life. Possibly the act can be considered a murder. Ignoring whatever his act is, there has not been a murder in centuries. How do you propose we proceed?"

"First, we can not immediately claim the act is a violation of life; life is a fairly simple concept and may be thought of as being incapable of being violated. It's important to note that Calais was eating the rabel. Calais has always been a student and citizen of sound reasoning. His psychological profile does not deviate to any extreme point of mental illness. Therefore, what was your intention, Calais? What purpose was served by consuming a rabel?"

While my eyes were gazing out the window I muttered, "Honestly, I am not sure I can say. Since I was young I have wanted to eat not just Musgi but also various animals. Other than satisfying an internal drive, I can not state another purpose."

Professor Mac's face shifted to a state of thought. He continued the discussion by saying, "Internal drives are characteristics of specific species; or sub-species."

"Are you attempting to imply that Calais may be a sub-species of human?" asked Professor Mill.

"It is a topic of consideration. If Calais is neither mad nor defective, then he may be classified as a sub-species of the human species." Mac replied.

"If a fundamental biological difference does exist between Calais and the general human population, why would it not simply be considered a disease? There are many incidences where humans have been born with a change in their genetic structure and the change is considered a disease and unwanted. If the change interferes with the productivity of an individual, then the change is usually considered a disease. In the case of Calais, the argument that Calais' actions violate the Harm Principle and therefore make him unfit for society, could be made. An innate quality that leads to violations of the Harm Principle is much more severe than an innate quality that affects an individual's productivity and quality of life." suggested Professor Mill.

Charlie Mac stated enthusiastically, "The Harm Principle does not function well when considering what actions to take during situations of inter-species relations. Imagine an entire race of creatures that consume the flesh of other semi-conscious creatures as a source of fuel; their evolution and existence is as proper as the races that do not possess this requirement. They are not violating a Harm Principle but instead conforming to the evolved rules of their environment. This is not simply a question of societal ethics."

"If Calais is not considered defective and not in need of rehabilitation, do you realize a supply of meat must be provided for Calais?" Professor Mill asked in a provoking manner.

. . .

Months after the incident that led to the first public awareness and discussion of my situation, I awaited the judgment of the Academy. My mind wandered between thoughts. No thought lasted more than a few moments. What would be my fate? The Academy being one of the pillars of society had the potential to do almost any act they thought was proper; my mind did not forget the chance of being executed for being seen as unfit and a menace.

There were three knocks at my door. A man was standing in the doorway with a travel Musgi platter and some papers.

"Calais Hobbes, my name is Thomas Benedict. I have come to inform you about the Academy's decision." the figure in the door stated.

I felt a heaviness within my chest. We sat down at the table and he opened the travel platter. Inside was something strange. The object inside reminded me of meat, but it had a slightly strange appearance.

"It's grackler meat. The meat has been cooked. It should be easier for you to chew and digest."

Had the Academy granted me freedom? The feeling in my chest transformed from a heavy anchor into an uncontrollable whirling sensation.

"The meat is for you to eat. The Academy would like to end your existence with the object you need but is unfit for our society. There is a poison cooked into the meat. Your death will be painless and the poison is tasteless. There will be no interference with the taste of the grackler from the poison. Before you have your final meal, you are free to complete a single task." the man calmly stated.

"I understand" I replied. "I would like to write a story before supper."

The End