Friday, June 29, 2007

Dominique and Pierre

We used to have these other funny neighbors. That was Dominique and Pierre. They taught me how to kill and cut up a pig, and how to make bacon and ham from it. We had to do the pig on Friday evenings, though, as it's no longer allowed to kill large anmals at home, even for personnal consuption. You can still kill a rabbit or a chicken at home, but not a pig or a sheep or anything bigger than that.

Of course, everybody still does kill their animals at home...you just have to be careful of how you do it, hence the Friday evening time slot. The Gendarmes aren't going to come out and bust you on a Friday night, and they'll leave you be for the whole of the weekend job of butchering, too. And that does take some time...kill the pig, scrape the hair off, cut it open, hang it up high overnight from the lift of the tractor so that the cats won't nibble on it...or the rats. Scraping and washing out the poop in the guts, for use as sausage casings. Casings can be bought, clean and dry in salt and ready to be soaked and used, but why spend the money for that, when you have all the famiy, neighbors, and outlying relatives to help do the shitwork?

It depends on who you are as well, if you want to do home slaughter. The Gendarmes will turn a blind eye if you are local born and bred. And white. But, if you happen to be a Muslim planning a barbecue to celebrate the end of Ramadam, it might be better to buy your sheep already dead and ready for the coals. Because you can be sure that the Gendarmes will wait til the deed is done and the meat has been perfectly prepared before busting you, slapping you with a hefty fine, confiscating the meat, and then having their own barbecue. Gendarmes could give a hoot about whether the meat has been blessed before slaughter or stuck with a knife and bled to death, they'll enjoy each and every bite of your hard work, and make jokes, besides.

Going over to Domi and Pierre's house was always interesting. If their daughter, Luci, was home from University, she could be found in a chair, sucking her thumb and cradleing a doll. Or rather, what was left of a doll. Mostly just a part of the skull was left, after years and years of being rubbed and fondled down to just the bit where the hair goes into those little holes in the skull. Remember those dolls? Rows and rows of tiny, evenl-spaced holes in hard plastic, with a few hairs stuck into each hole. They don't make em like that, anymore. Today's disturbed young person wouldn't have anything left of a doll by the time they were 21. Good thing thumbs are still well made.

Luci never said much, unless she was screaming at her mother. And her Mother never said much, either, unless she was screaming at Pierre. I only remember Pierre saying something one time. He said to Lucy, "Come and suck me off." At that time, I didn't speak or understand too much of the French language, but I did understand that phrase...I mean, I'd been a married woman and all.

Discretion being the better part of valor, I though to just play the villiage idiot, and pretend that I hadn't heard or understood. What else could I have done? But my head was in a spin, I can tell you! And I understood perfectly well the screaming and the fighting that Pierre's remark caused, too. What an uproar! Domi screamed that they'd all be in hot water if that sort of stuff left the house. Luci screamed at Domi. Pierre went upstairs and slammed all the doors along the way. Then Domi went back to serving me a cup of coffee and all was as calm as before. I drank the coffee, made my excuses, and left as soon as I could.

After that Domi never came around for about a month. She'd been coming by every day. She must have been scared, or suffering, or both...because for her to not come by to see what she could borrow or beg or steal was unusual. Domi is a kleptomaniac. I figure that it's a sick, and has come to her from stress, as she has one daughter who is a streetwalker, one son who'd been killed by a hit-and-run while he was in the army...it seems that the driver was looking to kill a soldier, any soldier, Luci and her problems, one other wierd son, and one son who married a girl like good ole' Mom... she sucks her thumb. Did I tell you that Domi sucks her thumb, too? And wets the bed...but I don't know if any of the others do.

Domi couldn't stay away forever, so things got back to somewhat normal. She'd come by and I'd watch her like a hawk. If she borrowed something I'd have to make a sure that she didn't 'forget' to return it. The doors would have to be secured each time I went out. If I was at the quiltshop teaching patchwork and Domi 'happened' to pass by the window, I'd have to excuse myself and rush home to chase her off of my property, where she'd be, thinking that I was otherwise occupied.

Christmastime came by, and we decorated our tree. In our family, we have a tradition, we make our own ornaments, adding new ones each year. Ivana, Domi's granddaughter, who lived with Domi and Pierre because her mom was too busy being a streetwalker to take care of her, came by to join in the fun. And then we were invited back to their house to help them set up their tree...I guess that Domi had thought enough time had passed after the 'come and suck me off' incident to be safe. I did, too.

Their family had a fake tree, made of plastic with a metal frame. It had been stored in it's narrow box for the year, and had to be set up and the branches pulled and tugged into shape so that it would look more like a tree and less like a squished bunch of plastic rolled up. Domi took the thing out of the box and set it on the stand and began to work on the branches. Ivana chimed in, "It's me, it's me that gets to spread the legs of the Christmas tree!".Now...I ask you...is this the normal French expression of speech for what we were doing to that Christmas tree? Is this a normal thing for a seven year old to say? Especially in that house with those people? I might have given her the benefit of the doubt...except for the darting glance that I got from Domi. It was all in the look in Domi's eyes. Was Ivana going to be doomed to the same fate as the others? For me, it was not a very merry Christmas.

2 comments:

alohasiempre said...

Oh woman thou art GOOD!!!!!! WOW who knew.. The whole ohan is gonna be so proud. Aloha, Sheena
alohasiempre@yahoo.com

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