More Of My Dark Job History

by Ed Higgins

In my 14 to 15 year old life in the late 50s I worked as a clean-up boy in the neighborhood butcher shop up on 5th. Ave., Monday through Friday from 4-6 after school and all day Saturday. First thing on Saturdays I made hamburger, which was on special for over the weekend. Several fresh batches were needed throughout the day and my hands were always slick with mixing in the kidney fat to add 30 percent fat-content to the chuck trimmings, beef jowls, etc. Then to color things up, beef blood in gallon size paint cans, two cans to a batch. In the backroom I'd grind up huge tubs of ingredients feeding the monster grinder, catching the ground beef in swirls out of the machine to set neatly on meat trays for the display case. We'd sell tons of this stuff, I swear. After work on Saturdays I'd usually go to a movie with the guys at the downtown Fox Theater on Broadway & Middlefield Rd. We'd picked up girls in the dark, a steamy mix of teen hormonal adolescence on both sides. And these girls were always surprised at how soft and smooth my eager hands were compared to other guys whose hands crept up their sweater backs and unsnapped their bras. I'd take the round mystery softly in my cupped hand, her knee pressed hard against mine.