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I was just a girl when they slaughtered them. Nine years old, I remember eyeballing the backyard from my little window the day after that man we called “President,” President my ass… That shitstain’s in hell if there is one… The day after he decided you could hunt them, milk them, eat them, my daddy had one hanging by the neck from a meat hook in the backyard. Poor fellow was still in human shape; he’d been mashed up pretty sick… When they’re hurt it’s harder for them to shift, you know, they can’t focus… He was hanging there but still kicking. I looked into his eyes and he looked right through the back of my head. The rest of the backyard was covered in pools of water and blood and God knows what, the dead pigs slumped with their noses underneath, the half dead pigs rolling around looking towards heaven. I knew it was all upside down but I didn’t have a sliver of what to do about it. I’ve never been known for being clever, you know, but hell I was the prettiest kid on the block, ask anybody, they’ll tell you.

It all started in the fancy places, the swanky as hell places that are only open for dinner or lunch, not both, real bullshit, and hotels and crap. They were disguised as the cream of the crop of servitude, they were your waiters and your concierge and your maids, starched silly like you could hear them all crispy when they walked. Crisping around real proper in their bowties and their aprons.

Anyway they got all sick with a sort of itch twitching, they couldn’t hold their human shape and they were shapeshifting spasming screwy from one body to the next. I saw one of them, a waiter at one of those ritzy beachside hotels, shifting like wild before they tackled him to the ground. First he was a rope person, head and hands all coiled up cartoonlike, then a fat dragonfly with wings as long as my legs, then a swarm of dust, the only thing didn’t shift was his suit. I was on the pier with my nanny rubbernecking the whole thing, and I know it must have been painful, switching your skins real quick like that, but God, it was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen, real magic. I’m ashamed to say it but sometimes I would dress up in front of the mirror and pretend I was shifting like that. I fastened some rope to a piece of cardboard and I would wear it as a mask around my room, walking all wiggly like how he was in a real frenzy.

It wasn’t long after the beach, people discovered all that other crap. That their meat was as sweet as pork, that their bodies could milk like a liqueur, that it became legal to butcher them. People just started eating them and milking them left and right. I really didn’t want to but my daddy forced me to drink a glass, every night for 2 months, until the supply ran out, you know.

I mean hell I love a pulled pork sandwich as much as the next person, better than the next person. I mean I love a pulled pork sandwich like that’d be my last supper, but you know I’m a good person, I had to put my foot down…

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