GLENN patted his shoulder.
“You’re doing alright, lad,” he beamed.
Scott Cross was pleased too. When he arrived on HARVESTER FARM the dawn had not long broken. Glenn, a burly, middle aged farm hand had seemed intimidating at first. As he laid down the law for Scott and the other boys. His booming voice and formidable stature caused Scott and the other boys to pay attention.
The choice for them had been Jefferson Hall Youth Correctional or honest hard work in the northern farm lands. In Scott’s case he had been prosecuted for car theft. It wasn’t uncommon in the Shanties – the part of town Scott hailed from. It was a way of life for the poorest in the city. He had taken his first joy ride at fourteen. Prosecuted at seventeen, prison was the next logical step. When lawyer, RONALD OWEN took note of the amount of youths coming through his office from the Shanties under similar circumstances he decided to use his influence and family name to set up a ‘steps to work’ program. He felt the boys would stand a better chance of becoming better citizens under the influence of men like Glenn.
His feet hurt, his hands ached but he did feel pride in his work. He had moved most of the milking herd from the east acre to their main plot. He even came to know three of the main milking cows – Debbie, Shelia and Angie. His favourite of the animals though was the large stud bull named Gordon. Like Glenn, Gordon seemed aggressive at first but after asserting his authority over the teenager with a wave of his horns he settled down.
Glenn was leaning on the fence watching the stud herd graze. Beside him was another farm hand named CURTIS. They had a beer each.
“All set?” Glenn asked.
Scott smiled. A coach was arranged to take the boys back to the Shanties bus station.
“If shoveling cow shit doesn’t scare you straight I don’t know what will,” Curtis commented. He would know. He had been brought from Coldford Correctional A.K.A The Boss on a similar program.
Glenn shoved Curtis. “Don’t you listen to him. You keep your head down, work hard and you’ll do well.”
“Have a beer,” Curtis offered, reaching into the blue cool box at their feet.
“He’s too young,” Glenn protested but in jest.
Scott was a typical Shanties boy. He had had his first taste of alcohol at twelve. Curtis threw a bottle to him. He caught it in both hands. He unscrewed the cap and allowed the amber fluid to sooth his throat. It eased his aching body. He sighed with relief.
“Mmmmmmooooo,” grumbled Gordon. He had lifted his head from his grazing and was shaking it disapprovingly at them.
“Shut up, Gordon,” Glenn called back. “You heard me object.”
Scott chortled at the way the farm hands spoke to the animals as though they were people. The mild herd and stud herd all given suitable names.
Gordon snorted but he returned to his grazing.
The sun spilled over the Harvester Farm in a blanket of warmth not seen in the city – especially not in the Shanties. It was quiet. The crying of the cows in the distance was much better than the noise of traffic. Standing between Glenn and Curtis, with a beer in hand Scott felt like a real grown up, a real man. He watched the way that Glenn leaned on the fence and did similar. Over in the paddock facing them was a solitary goat. He was skipping around merrily until the entrance to the meat herd’s enclosure on the west acre was opened and farm hands started leading a few selected out.
The little goat became agitated. He butted against his fence as though he was trying to stop the other animals being led to the slaughter.
“What’s happening?” asked Scott.
Curtis looked at his watch.
“He gets a little upset when the slaughter time approaches. It’s like he knows.”
“We’re a dairy and meat farm, lad,” Glenn informed him. “We have our own slaughter sheds and butchers. Gary the goat there doesn’t like seeing his pals getting taken away.”
“Maaaaah!” Gary screamed.
He butted against fence, desperate to get the cows.
“Gary seems to know when there’s death in the air.”
Scott watched as the selected cows were led to the slaughter sheds. The abattoir machines would be fired up already.
The first of the herd was killed. 5:02 had always been the slaughter time on Harvester Farm – provider of the finest dairy and the finest meat in the Shady City.
When the doctor bought over the Harvester Farm brand he was delighted at how well it could work along side his Harbour House project.
Julia Harvester is a nice girl. She is kind, sweet and used to being posed in all the best positions. She is the perfect artist’s muse. Click HERE to read the full story.