What if a fast-food franchise didn’t hide the processes it used to turn animals into food, would you still eat there?
“Welcome to Suffering Shack, if we didn’t beat it, you shouldn’t eat it. Can I take your order, tonight?”
“Um, we’re new in town and heard from a friend about the food here and wanted to know if we could get an order of your cuisine, to go.”
“Certainly sir, thank your friend for us. What would you like to order?”
“We have heard about your beef burgers and their particularly excellent “fear factor” flavoring. Can you tell us more about it?”
“Absolutely, which one are you looking at? We have the Fear Factor Special, with enhanced horn removal torture, or would you prefer the Bolt Gun Special, where the animal is shot clearly through the skull but not killed immediately. The fear in that burger is absolutely palpable, so I am told.”
“Do both of these come with the Dangling from the Hooves, Blood Sauce?”
“Of course, made from the bleeding out of the animal as it hangs and expires. The fear rich blood is captured and processed with all natural ingredients.”
“Is it true the animals are sent directly while still living into the meat grinder?”
“Of course, sir. At Suffering Shack we pride ourselves on the flavor of our factory grown beef. We use the best antibiotics, lowest quality feed grain, often enhanced with the entrails of animals from earlier in the week.”
“Do you still provide the milk cows for the children’s meals? The ones with the reduced lifespan who have never been exposed to fresh air?”
“Yes, ma’am, our children’s burgers are made from the finest milk cows, whose lives have been shortened by the extreme schedule of extracting milk from them, feeding them corn instead of grass, and with a hole in the side we can reach inside them to ensure they are properly secured from bacteria until the moment of their early and untimely death. We take up to sixteen years from these animals lifespan and give it to you in your Children’s Special Meal.”
“Father, do they have anything besides beef?”
“I’m certain they do. Young lady, do you serve fish at Suffering Shack?”
“Yes sir. Our best seller is called the Last Fish Filet, made from the last fish able to be hunted near into extinction. Using giant trawler fleets, we scour the oceans for the last of the fish of the oceans and turn them into the Last Fish Filet. Made from a variety of white fish meat processed right at sea onboard our factory ships. For flavor, we add a variety of dolphin and porpoises that are caught in the nets as well.”
“Dolphins? Doesn’t that taint the overall flavor of the fish?”
“No, at Suffering Shack, its the suffering that adds the flavor. We include a percentage of whole dolphin in each catch, asphyxiating right on the deck of those ships, and then slid as they are expiring into the fish preparation center. Then that suffering is flash frozen and prepped at our breading factories and shipped directly to Suffering Shacks worldwide. Guaranteed to have at least twenty percent dolphin in each patty.”
“Aren’t dolphins considered intelligent?”
“No, young sir, since the Fishing Accords of 2033, no animal living in the oceans is considered sentient or intelligent allowing us to continue to fish at the levels we do today without interference from groups like GreenPeace or PETA.”
“I am very hungry today, young lady, I would like to sampler your Whaler’s Surprise.”
“I am sorry to report sir, that menu item was discontinued just today. Let me clear that from the menu. We have unfortunately hunted killer whales to extinction and can no longer provide that as a choice on the menu.”
“I was so looking forward to that. Do you have any other whales you can offer instead?”
“Please wait a second while I check the whale meat rosters. Ah yes, we have some Blue Whale, that can be shipped via orbital drop in less than fifteen minutes. It’s very rare, and will have a surcharge for the suborbital delivery.”
“I want the best, it was killed by harpoon, the old fashioned way, yes?”
“Yes, sir, I have read the manifest and this whale was killed in the classic methods. The manifest said it was hunted for two weeks and had several near misses before its eventual capture. It would have appeared to put up quite a struggle.”
“Excellent, I will pay whatever it costs. We are sparing no expense for our anniversary. Two hundred years of happy marriage. Speaking of which, what would you like to order, my dear?”
“I am interested in trying the veal. I hear after plucking it from its mother’s womb, it is suspended never touching the ground to keep it tender. It has never been exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun, enhancing its disorientation. I understand from the literature, they are fed but the diet is designed to keep them supple and delectable. It’s rumored to not be the best for their development, rumored mostly to keep them alive but in a state of perpetual hunger. It sounds so exquisite.”
“Yes, ma’am, we do have several veal choices on the menu, The Sun Never Rises Veal Patties, or the new Never Walked a Day grilled variety, unbreaded for the flavor of pure misery.”
“I will have the Never Walked a Day. Don’t like that breading they use on the patties.”
“Will there be anything else, sir?”
“Yes, my older son and daughter have made their choices. My son is interested in hearing more about the “Candy of Meats” specials.”
“Certainly. The “Candy of Meats” is our pork line of products. It is one of Suffering Shack’s signature products. We take the greatest care in our factory production of pork, keeping it in the tightest of quarters of any of our food products. Their diet, literally anything we can find, mostly genetically-engineered bio-fodder along with hormones, is crafted to cause them the fastest and most uncomfortable growth possible. Some become so massive they cannot walk and are dragged to their processing facility.”
“That seems as if it might cause a bit of flavoring, young lady but we are connoisseurs of suffering, this sounds as if it could only give nutrition to the smallest of my children.”
“Not to worry, sir, our processing includes the dipping of the animal into vats of boiling water to sear away the upper layers of skin and hair to make the processing easier. They are alive during this process and it should be excruciating as the upper layers of the skin are sloughed off after dipping. Immediately afterward, they are bled and their organs removed, often while they are still alive due to the need to keep up with the demand, hence the name, the Candy of Meats.”
“That sounds much better, young lady, I want only the best for my children. What is this tiny disclaimer I see flashing beneath all of the Candy of Meat products?”
“Oh, that. Ma’am that is a notation indicating our farms occasionally produce a variety of dangerous pathogens which may escape into the ecosystem of surrounding communities. The list includes e. coli and listeria, which are especially dangerous to Humans, Fogro and Maledictons. The meat may also contain a variety of said pathogens in dangerous densities, so we recommend those communities avoid the Candy of Meat products as a safety precaution.”
“Nothing to worry about, my dear, those pathogens are a flavor enhancer to us, so Junior can eat as much as he can carry. Give us one of every product on the Candy of Meat line, my son is a growing boy.”
“Do you have anything, that hasn’t suffered unduly?”
“Please forgive my daughter, she is a Sufferingarian. She is trying to reduce the suffering of food in her diet. We hope it’s just a phase.”
“Yes, miss. Suffering Shack prides itself on catering to the growing Sufferingarian Movement and have a line of Kosher products from our facilities in Canada, Turkey, and New Africa. In the U.S. we are a Suffering Community and proud of it. In our Kosher lines, we have our “Gently Managed” product lines. Animals are raised in communities where they are allowed to move, breath and see the sun. They are each given handlers who make every effort to ensure as little difficulty in their lives as possible until they are prepared in their Kosher facilities. We also use organic wheat, corn and grains instead of our standard “Franken-food” engineered plants in all of our Gently Managed lines. We are certain your daughter will receive an absolutely minimum dosage of misery, pain or suffering in her food. Our Misery Free Brand, is completely vegetarian but absolutely the most expensive product line as everything is hand-raised, no chemicals are used and live insects are allowed free reign as pesticide use are absolutely forbidden.”
“Oh Daddy, that sounds absolutely perfect. Can I have anything off of the Misery Free Label?”
“But Honey, how will you learn to be a terrible overlord of an entire world if you have a misery-free diet. Remember, you are what you eat?”
“Let the child be. If she wants to live misery-free, we should embrace her choices. Besides, we know you always planned to leave the planet to Junior anyway.”
“This is true. With so much suffering made illegal in the galactic empire, its getting so a tyrant can’t even torture his own food anymore. Young lady, do you have our order?”
“Yes, sir, your whale has arrived and will be prepared to your satisfaction. The rest of your orders will come with sides of Freedom Fries, made by hand in factories in outsource nations that still use human child labor, the younger the better, genetically-enhanced salad greens enhanced with fish and tiger genes, harvested before species became extinct for hardiness and enhanced flavors. Your order will be twelve thousand American dollars. We accept Intergalactic Express, Indentured Servants Exchange, let me check, your meal would require three sentients for at least four years and two thousand hours of work. We do not accept Galactic Credits as the exchange rates vary too much for real-time purchases.”
“Do you accept gold?”
“Yes, sir, gold is still an acceptable currency. We would find Linimiran Bars to be acceptable. In keeping with our standards and company policies. Suffering Shack prides itself in only accepting currencies harvested under slave labor with a toll of no less than twenty lives per ounce.”
“Very good, young lady. Your service has been exemplary. You represent your company well. Do you enjoy the food served in your restaurant?”
“In keeping with company policy, we are forbidden to eat anything else, except with medical dispensation. I am currently under a doctor’s care so I am exempt.”
“I notice you don’t serve chicken on your menu any longer. Can you tell me why?”
“Sir, Suffering Shack has standards. With the things they do to chickens in factory farms, even we have to draw the line somewhere.”
Drive Through (Suffering Shack) © Thaddeus Howze 2012. All Rights Reserved
Thaddeus Howze is a California-based technologist and author who has worked with computer technology since the 1980's doing graphic design, computer science, programming, network administration and IT leadership.
His non-fiction work has appeared in numerous magazines: Huffington Post, Black Enterprise, the Good Men Project, Examiner.com, and Astronaut.com. He maintains a diverse collection of non-fiction at his blog, A Matter of Scale. He is a contributor at The Enemy, a nonfiction literary publication out of Los Angeles.
He is now a moderator and contributor to the Scifi.Stackexchange.com with over a thousand articles in a three year period. He is now an author and contributor at Scifiideas.com. His science fiction and fantasy has appeared in blogs such as Medium.com, the Magill Review, ScifiIdeas.com, and the Au Courant Press Journal. He has a wide collection of his work on his website, Hub City Blues. His recently published works can be found here. He also maintains a wide collection of his writing and editing work on Medium.com.
His speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies: The Future is Short II (2015), Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short (2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (2012), and Possibilities (2012).
He has written two books: a collection called Hayward’s Reach (2011) and an e-book novella called Broken Glass (2013). In 2015 he will be releasing Visiting Hours and A Millennium of Madness, two collections of short stories.
If you have enjoyed this publication or any of the other writing he does, consider becoming a Patron. For what you spend on one cup of coffee per month, you can assist him in creating new stories, new graphics, new articles and new novels. “Creating the new takes a little support.” — http://patreon.com/ebonstorm.