Original source material
Flotsam and Jetsam were Jack’s pigs, both female. He’d bought them from the local sisters and was distressed to find in his pig rearing book afterwards that you should only ever buy pigs with curly or generally pert tails. Flotsam and Jetsam’s tails were limp and immobile as if weights had been attached to the ends, as if the tails themselves were suffering from acute manic depression.
Jack would stare at them daily, they liked to dig and eat fried food. He’d had great hopes of breeding, of slaughtering them and having a hog roast. He watched them with the disappointment of a father listening to a child produce an awful cacophony on a musical instrument. But like most fathers he still loved them. They seemed cheerful enough to me.
They became yet another unlikely subject of discussion along with the growth of cucumbers and the possible ailments we may be getting.
At that time I was having my own troubles. I was trying to develop a compost heap for the garden, I was wholesome, I would solve the problems of Africa through rubbish separation. I diligently separated my rubbish into rotting matter and non – rotting matter. I made sure scrap paper was thrown into the compost bag to encourage aeriation. Everyday I did this and everyday my housekeeper threw everything into the same metal bin which was immediately attacked by the retinue of dogs.
I tried explaining my plan, she agreed it seemed, she thought it a good idea, I felt. She continued to put them all in the same bin. I gave up worrying about it, but still couldn’t get out of the habit of separating my refuse. Jack saw this one day and asked if he could take the scraps for the pigs. I told him to help himself and he left with a shining face that would melt anyone’s heart.
The pigs loved my scraps, I felt so proud. A week later the pigs were dead. I went round to Jack’s to find him staring down in dismay at the two dead pigs. He said he’d found them in the afternoon convulsing and his gardener – Delight I believe his name was – said they were having heart attacks, pigs are prone to them. We got in to the pen to check them out and I noticed immediately that the pen smelled like Starbuck’s.
‘Jeez Teresa, what was in those scraps?’
‘The usual. Banana skins, bread crusts, espresso grounds?’
‘Yeah, Gav brought me back a cafetiere when he went to England for that wedding.’
Jack looked at me like Cesar at Brute on the steps of the forum. I don’t resent him for calling me pig murderer, he was emotional, I tried to point out to him how perky their tails were in death. It was of surprising scant consolation and when it came to the dishing out of crackling a few days later, I was passed over.