I got this idea for last week’s Friday Fictioneers, but couldn’t fit it satisfactorily into 100 words, so I am posting it as a stand-alone with a different picture.
The driver backed the truck inexpertly up to the loading dock of the meat market. The manager was waiting when he got out. “I got a shipment for you,” the driver said.
The manager nodded. “You’re not the regular guy. Where’s Todd these days?”
“This is a special load. I thought I’d come by and see if you were interested in it.” The driver fumbled with the latch and opened up the back.
“Hey, it’s all fresh. Is this locally sourced?”
“Yep, it’s from the area.”
The manager picked up a package and inspected it. The meat was cut into irregular pieces. Whoever processed it must have been new on the job. “You know, we usually cut it up here. What is this, veal?”
“Uh, yeah. Veal.”
“Sure, I’ll take it. I can sell it at a discount. Lemme get some guys to unload it. Just hold on.” The manager called for a few employees to start unloading the truck, then sat down and picked up a newspaper. The driver stood by uncertainly.
“What do you think about that boy scout troop that disappeared a few days ago?” the manager asked conversationally. “Crazy, eh? You think they’ll find them soon?”
“I’m sure they’re fine. They’ll turn up,” the driver said.
The manager pointed to the picture of the missing troop in the paper. “You know, you kind of look like their troop leader.”
“My . . . twin brother. We’re all shook up about it.”
“Well, thoughts and prayers and all that.” The manager looked up and pointed. “Geez, what’s that?”
A strip of dark green cloth lay on the floor of the truck, uncovered as the men unloaded the truck. The driver stepped over and snatched it up. The manager caught a glimpse of merit badges sewed in rows on it as the driver pushed it into a plastic bag.
“My nephew’s,” the driver explained. “He was going to a scout meeting when I was loading the truck. Must have left it.”
“Well, he’s going to miss his sash,” the manager said. “You’d better wash that good before you give it back. It looks pretty fouled with blood and juice.”
“So, how can I get paid?” the driver asked tentatively.
“We’ll send it to you by next week,” the manager said, going back to his paper.
“Could I get it now, in cash?”
The manager looked up, frowning. “In cash? No, that’s not how we work.”
“Oh. Okay. Well, they’ve got the truck unloaded. I’ll just go now.”
“See ya.” The manager flipped a page. What a weirdo, he thought.
Breaking News! The local TV station’s chyron screamed the next day. Carnage at Santa’s Village!
“Police uncovered a grisly scene this morning at the local Santa’s Village which is closed for the season,” the reporter said. “The entire herd of reindeer that is housed on the grounds was found slaughtered. The culprits were soon found in the area, the missing scout troop 3245. Their leader has been arrested for child endangerment, theft, and illegally trying to sell the meat to a local market. He insists it was all for a fundraiser so the boys could attend the national jamboree.
“Scout officials confirm that the boys have been reprimanded, but will also receive their merit badge in poaching.”