Abattoir Venise en Quebec

by Antonios Maltezos

My father swerved onto the gravel driveway as if to save our lives, the sound of stone crushing beneath the tires, a cloud of white smoke billowing out from underneath the car, my brother's body slamming into mine. My voice, small and high-pitched: "Jerry's unbuckled, Jerry's unbuckled."

The eighteen wheeler's horns blared as it blew past us; a blast of hot air rocking our car on its springs—a row boat skipping over a wake. My father nearly climbed out of his window, shaking his fist through the unsettled air. "Fucking bastard!" It was then I noticed the big sign, Abattoir Venise en Québec, smooth, red lettering on a white background, and I wondered if they'd have a piglet, what about baby goats, pulling myself forward between the front seats, getting no response from my father, his ears chafed, his eyes overcast and ugly.

My brother nailed me in the arm with a punch and then yanked me back with him, hissed in my ear, "Fucking bastard." The flies lifted off the side of the abattoir as if they'd been guarding it, swarmed my father as he opened his door. Another shot from my brother as my father came around to my side of the car, my father ignoring the excited flies as he flicked the handle of my door. No words, just his eyes telling me to unlock it.

"Don't you know what an abattoir is?" my mother had asked. Her fingers had crawled up my back, stopping at the scruff of my neck.

"I love you, m