“We’re gonna be rakin’ in the loot in no time at all with this thing!” Greg told his brother, full of confidence. After years of barely scraping by they were about to hit the bigtime, and not a moment too soon. They’d be rolling in dosh!
“You sure about this, Greg? I mean, that thing… It’s not normal.”
“That’s what makes it so perfect, bruv! A never-ending supply of meat; we cut out chunks, sell it to a processing plant, the creature heals up, and we take more. Long as we don’t take too much at a time, it’ll be our cash cow for life. We’re gonna be livin’ on easy street. Think about it!”
“I am. It’s still alive though…”
“That’s the point, innit? Meat stays fresh better that way. You developin’ scruples all of a sudden?” Greg eyed his brother warily.
“What? No, course not! Don’t be daft. I’m just thinkin’, if we’re cuttin’ on that thing all the time, well, that’s bound to hurt and the thing’s big. What if it gets out of control, starts thrashin’ around?”
“So we’ll chain it in place, keep it from movin’ too much, and we’ll sedate it or somethin’. I know a guy who’s a vet; he’ll know what to use and then we’ll keep our cash cow doped up and reap the rewards. You worry too much; it’ll all work out fine.”
“Yeah, ‘course it will.” Dale grinned at his brother. “No more workin’ for minimum wage in dead-end jobs.”
“We’ll have the best of everything once our friend here starts payin’ for its keep. It’ll be the sweetest gig ever.”
“Too bad it smells so rank.”
“Ah, you’ll get used to it. We both will. Money makes everything smell sweeter; you’ll see.”
And it did, for a time; they harvested the meat, sold it, raked in the dough even though they had employees to pay, the ones doing the actual harvesting. Greg resented having to pay out so much for lidocaine and ketamine, but Vic, his tame vet, was getting the stuff wholesale, which brought the price down a bit.
As long as they steered clear of the meat’s internal organs and main blood vessels they could keep harvesting from it indefinitely; it healed so fast sometimes Greg thought he could practically see the new meat growing and he started to wonder whether there was some way to propagate more of the creatures, take a bit and grow it to full size the way his mam did with her precious bloody geraniums. How much more could they rake in with two, or three, or four of the creatures? How about a whole herd of cash cows, regenerating endlessly? He and Dale could end world hunger and get filthy rich in the process. They’d be famous, hailed as heroes; everybody would want to be their friend, and beautiful women would be falling over themselves to sleep with him and his brother.
Then the driver who transported their goods to the plant was involved in an accident. He was killed, and his whole load of meat was lost. That was when everything started to fall apart. First there was the stranger who showed up, offering to take over from Leighton as their driver. They took him into their confidence, because they couldn’t do anything without the proper transportation and the new bloke had access to all the trucks they could ever need. Next thing they knew, there was a whole bunch of armed strangers in their warehouse, probably wanting the cash cow for themselves.
The only sensible thing for Greg and his brother to do was to grab their loot from the office safe and make a break for it. How had their perfect little business fallen apart so fast?
Dale was filling bags with their hard-earned wealth, sliding one to Greg and telling him to get going, when the door burst open, and the guy Dale had tried to shoot in the head a few minutes ago strode in with an expression on his face that chilled Greg to the bone. All he could think was ‘Shit! Gotta get outta here!’ He would cheerfully have shot the guy himself, abandoned Dale and taken off with his share of the loot, only… Well, he’d put his gun down on the table, hadn’t he, and before he could get to it, everything went black…
He woke up at home, confused, and with several months missing from his memory. Dale, he soon discovered, was in a similar state.
“What the fuck happened to us?” his brother demanded.
“Hell if I know.”
They both racked their brains, trying to piece together the missing time, talking to friends and family, but it didn’t help, and after a while they pushed the mystery aside. Those months were gone, there was no getting them back, so why waste any more time?
Greg and his brother never did remember, but a few days later they joined Save the Whale, determined to do something worthwhile with their lives. How anyone could exploit such wonderful, amazing, intelligent creatures Greg would never understand. Hunting whales was wrong, it needed to be stopped, and he intended to do whatever he could to help. Maybe he could run a fundraiser, get other people involved… Everyone needed a purpose in life, and he’d finally found his.