The Meat Market by Mashiul Alam

Published in Asymptote, Jan 2019.

Illustration by Emily S. Franklin

“Just go home while things are still okay. Otherwise it’ll take a bad turn.”

“Is that a threat? Are you threatening me?”

“Yeah, I am. Shut your trap right now and go home. Or else . . . ”

I’m not a brave man. I should have been terrified by such grim threats delivered in such a cold manner by the butchers. But who knows why, I wasn’t the least bit frightened. Instead I flew into a rage. Belligerent, I said, “Or else what? What are you going to do to me?”

Gangly Soleiman raised his bloodshot eyes to mine as he honed one knife against another, and said, “Slaughter you.”

I was livid. How dare a shopkeeper speak to a gentleman like this? Who did they think I was? I shouted, “You sons of pigs, do you know who I am? Do you know what I can do to you? I’m going to destroy this scam of yours and, as for you . . . ”