The Butcher's Apprentice

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Cammytrice, Dec 23, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Pyotr rarely smiled when he was in this room. It was a serious place, not one of revellry. Well, maybe once...or twice. But this was not one of those times. No, he was smiling for another reason as she patted the shoulder of the creature laying on the carving table. <You, my friend, will help me teach a very important lesson today.>

    Upstairs, he had set his young apprentice to his daily closing up tasks. Wash down the counters, wash all the knives and place them in the steam bath to be further cleaned, and mop the floor. Pyotr was a stickler for cleanliness as much as he was for freshness. Butchery was a messy enough business, it didn't need to be gratuitous. Plus, there was the cleanliness and godliness idea as well.

    Pyotr had never been more proud of an apprentice. Ivan was young and fairly slight still, but he had a keen eye and a dedicated hand. Maybe this work would fill him out a bit more as he grew. The youth was already much stronger than he had been when he started. He was beginning to mature in other areas as well, and Pyotr had made a promise to the boy, and his father, that when he was ready, Pyotr himself would show him to carve larger cuts of meat. That day had come.

    Vanni ran towards the shop. Finally Friday, finally free from a tormenting week of schooling. Ever since he'd seen his tutor making out quite shamelessly with his schoolmate's adopted father the previous Saturday evening, it had been a seriously trying week for the teenager. Now that Ivan was finishing up work for the week, the pair could go and blow off some steam together.
  2. Ivan Zaitsev was at the end of a better week than his friend had been having. He had some nice mental images to go to before falling asleep, school wasn't going too poorly, his baby brother and sister had started sleeping through the night, and he honestly loved working at Pyotr's shop. Plus, he knew his friend Giovanni was going to come over and he had some ideas for some mischief they could get into. He finished cleaning everything up and started untieing his apron, watching the door but calling towards the back in Russian. "I'm done, sir! Everything's cleaned up!" He hung up his apron and walked over to lean in the doorway. "Ready for inspection!"
  3. <Ah, I trust you, Ivan, but I will come up and see. I do have one more thing for you before I send you home for today. One moment, and I will be upstairs,> Pyotr called, already out of his workshop and locking it securely behind him. On his way up, he stopped off in the cold room to fetch a bottle of vodka he'd put there to chill. A shot beforehand to help steal his apprentice's nerves and celebrate his next step in apprenticeship.

    Vanni knocked on the open back door, grinning eagerly at his friend. "You ready to go?"
  4. The boy shrugged. <Alright.> What on earth could this be about? He walked over to the open back door and smiled at his friend. "Not yet. Apparently there's something else I need to do." He ushered Vanni in and closed the back door, then went around to make sure he had locked the front door. He usually checked that about three times before he left. He had forgotten once and while nothing happened to the shop, and while he knew Pyotr wouldn't actually cut him up and serve him to customers, the man was pretty scary when he needed to be. And he just generally didn't like disappointing people. Either way, he was checking the lock again. "Wacha wanna do tonight, Vanni? I've got some ideas, depending on what you're up for."
  5. Vanni shrugged, running a paw through his hair. "I don't know, I just need to get out. Maybe make some trouble somewhere. What are you thinking?"

    Pyotr topped the stairs with the bottle in his paw. "Ah, is friend Bonaduce," he commented, then stopped to consider. <Vanya, this will take a while, do you think your friend would be interested to stay and see his friend advance in his apprenticeship this afternoon?> he asked with a wink. He knew by now exactly who Vanni's family was, and how far he was into their own business, and could be trusted. He went over to a cupboard by the sink, setting the bottle on the table as he passed. Opening the cupboard, he pulled out three glasses and brought them to the table as well. <Today, I fulfil the promise I gave to your father, and to you. I believe you are ready to observe, maybe to learn if you are interested, to carve the larger meat...>

    Pyotr poured some of the vodka into each of the glasses and waited for Ivan's answer.

    Vanni caught most of what Pyotr was saying, missing a few words here and there, but still waited patiently to be asked. Pyotr hadn't been talking to him. And he wasn't sure exactly what the butcher had meant.
  6. Ivan's eyes widened as Pyotr spoke. "Vanni, I know what we're gonna do tonight." He said, his mouth spreading into a nice, toothy grin. <You mean it, Mr. Dmitriev? You really think I'm ready for the larger meat??> He turned his grin on his friend before grabbing him by the sleeve and pulling him over to the table. "You know what he does, right? For papa? Papa doesn't use a crematorium like your cousin does...he uses Mr. Dmitriev...." He grinned. "He's saying we get to watch him work tonight and learn how he does it..." The teenager was probably a little more excited than he should be at the prospect of carving up a dead guy, but it meant so much to him. Not only was it a way to gain an intimate knowledge of a person's musculiture which would help with his art, it also meant he could still be a part of the family business. Not all of his father's trust was Ivan's older brother. Honestly, Dimitri could have the business side of things. That was too complicated and constricting and Dimitri seemed to enjoy it. This, though...this was art and a tie-in with his father's business. The way he saw it, he was becoming a man tonight.
  7. Vanni's eyes widened. He'd seen the crematorium in action, and after the first or second time it had sort of lost its appeal. This, though. This was all sort of fascinating. He nodded eagerly and answered Pyotr in Russian. <Yes, sir. I would very much like to!> He gave his friend a congratulatory clap on the back. He was really happy for him. "This will be great!"

    Pyotr grinned happily and handed each of the boys a glass. <Congratulations, young man. You have earned this. Now, let's drink up, and get to our work. I do not have to remind you, though, that this is not play. Just like up here, what happens downstairs is just as important business, with just as serious tools. Maybe even more serious consequences.> He raised his glass in a toast before draining it and setting it on the table to return to later. <Put your apron in the laundry bin. There is a different one for downstairs. We do not want to mix the bad meat with the good.> With that, he made his way back towards the stairs.

    Vanni looked to his friend as Pyotr gave his warning. Wow, this really was the big time. He raised his glass as well but hesitated before he downed the vodka. He almost managed not to cough, but not quite. Choking back some more coughs he turned to follow the beefy wolverine.
  8. Ivan listened to Pyotr's words with all of the seriousness they deserved before clinking his glass and downing his vodka like the young pro that he was. He let out a soft purr, then smirked at his friend. He thumped him on the back and went to put his apron in the laundry bin. "You'll get used to vodka eventually."

    The ability to walk down the back steps was as much of a privileged as any of the rest of it and he found himself taking each step with a certain meditative reverence. He was really going into the basement. He was really going to see a body and help cut it open and do whatever else Pyotr did with it. He was fairly certain no cuts of meat made it upstairs just by the way the man referred to it as bad meat, but he did have to wonder where it all went. He looked around as he stepped into the room. The stark cleanliness speaking volumes about the rooms true purpose. All evidence had to be washed away. Everything needed to be clean. He turned to look at the body on the table, taking hesitant steps towards it, keeping his paws folded behind his back.
  9. Pyotr took down two aprons off the hook, handing one to Ivan. It was heavier, of a thick, oiled leather. It was made to be cleaned easily of gunk and gore, so it never needed laundering. He had clearly thought of everything. <I do not have an apron for you, my young Italian friend, so at times you may have to stand well back. Ivan, you come and stand here.> He motioned to one side of the table and took up his position on the other. The cat had already been stripped of his clothing and anything else of value, so he was ready to be dismembered.
    <The first thing, and the most unpleasant thing, whether dressing good meat or bad, is the skinning. You use your knife, yes, but sparingly. It will not do to cut through the flesh. Cut just under the skin, starting on the back, up to the neck...> he immediately began to explain, easily flipping the cat onto his stomach in an unceremonious movement, much like he was handling a cow fresh on the block. <Back in Mother Russia, we raised and slaughtered the cattle ourselves. Here, it is sold to us, already slaughtered and skinned, so it is becoming a lost art, but every hunter and proper butcher should master this skill.> As he spoke, he selected a knife from the block, skillfully cutting a sharp line from the tail to the neck, and beginning to pull the skin off the body. As fairly gruesome as it looked, there was very little blood, so far.

    Vanni watched silently, standing near the head of the table, his eyes going a bit wide as the fur was separated from the body so easily. He never realised it could do that, and it made his own skin crawl.
  10. Ivan moved in closer to the table, eagerly tying the apron around his middle and rolling his sleeves back up. <It separates so easily...> he said, looking down at his own hands momentarily. He moved around to get in and start helping. <I thought skin would be harder to tendons or something. It's so easy though.> He said, his artist brain whirring away in his head as he watched the muscles as they became exposed. He glanced over at Giovanni, then back at what he was doing. <Do we all look the same under our fur?> He asked, looking over at the wolverine. <All of us? Even different species?>
  11. <Da. It comes apart much more easily and cleanly after the blood has been properly drained. The skin and fur are merely a covering, and the fat lives between. Look, you see there are several layers; it is thicker than you think. Usually, we only get through the first few layers of skin, and down to the fat. It is our skeleton and our fat that gives us the most shape. Since we all use our muscles the same way, the muscles usually look the same, depending on how they are developed. This body is quite average, so it is a good example,> he explained patiently, taking his time to point out what he was talking about, even as he continued the skinning. It came off almost like peeling off a glove. Almost. There were some areas where Pyotr used his knife to cut away some fat or connective tissue that tried to hold it on, but soon the skin was all removed, looking like a pelt, and tossed unceremoniously into the furnace, the door slamming firmly shut.

    Giovanni grimaced a bit as he watched, but he was strangely fascinated. He was able to follow most of what Pyotr was saying as long as he didn't start getting too technical. <I wonder...what it would look like if he were still alive...?> he wondered idly. He wouldn't exactly put it past Aurora to have one of her people attempt it.

    <It would look much worse, I promise you,> Pyotr said simply, putting the knife in his beefy paw aside and pulling out the cleaver and the boning knife. <Now, you have seen me remove the meat from the bones for the grinding machine. Here, we will do the same thing, but first, we need smaller, manageable pieces. The best way to dismember any animal is to separate the parts at the joint.>
  12. <Now I can't stop thinking about a paper cut, with all the bleeding...then taking that across the whole body...> He shuddered a little. <I bet your cousin's got someone to do that, though...maybe with that guy she keeps in the tunnels...the weird one?> He shrugged and went back to watching Pyotr. <Oh, because you wouldn't have to cut through the bone?> he asked, having been able to pay attention while thinking about skinning someone alive through a paper cut. <That makes a lot of sense.>
  13. Pyotr ignored the side conversation and answered Ivan's comment. <Da, bone is very hard. Avoid striking it with the blade as it will dull and damage it. This is the boning knife. It has a slender blade to get between the joint. Cut through the tendon, and you can easily work the two bones apart.> He demonstrated for them.

    <Oh, like taking the leg off the turkey,> Vanni piped up. This was really interesting. He could see why Ivan liked this job so much. He had always thought of butchers as just brutish men, but there really was an art to it. He always liked Pyotr, he was always polite and friendly towards him, but he now admired him much more.

    <See this?> Pyotr pointed out some red liquid coming out from the body now as he cut through the muscle and meat. <Some think that this is blood when they cook it, it is not. It is a fluid that we all have in our muscles. It is red, but it is not blood.>
  14. Ivan leaned in to look at the red liquid. <Woah...> He looked the man on the table up and down. He vaguely recognized the man from the papers...before his fur was removed anyway. Some small time mobster that must have tread too closely to his father's territory, or wronged the large Russian cat in some other way. Ivan moved around the body, stopping to look at a hole in the man's chest. He glanced over at Pyotr before grabbing some long, thin tongs and digging around. He pulled out the bullet that made the hole in the man's chest and looked it over. He held it out to his friend. "Looks like Jaska did it, doesn't it? It wasn't Miss Revnika, anyway. She shoots them in the head..."
  15. Vanni put out his paw to accept the bullet. <I don't know Jaska, so I wouldn't know his style. But a shot to the chest is much more up close, especially if it's a straight shot. A sniper shot would be angled down.>

    Pyotr paused and let the boys explore. It was their first time, and it was promising that they were more interested than repulsed. Unlike him, who had used a gun more than enough times during his war days, they were naturally interested in the effects of a gun shot to the body. Well, he could show them that. <Look, I will show you what that bullet has done to him.> With that he took his heavy cleaver, the one reserved for separating the smaller, thinner bones, and removed the head in one go. The head went straight into the furnace. Next, he sliced open the belly to allow the air in the chest cavity to escape. It was not a pretty scene as the intestines were soon laid bare. Taking the cleaver to the sternum, he cracked the large center bone and pulled the chest open to reveal the rest of the organs. <See, directly to the heart. The organ is not so far to the left as people would think. Instead, it is more central. The bullet has hit the lower left chamber. And see how it has broken the ribs? If the bullet was from a great distance, it would have to be a very powerful gun, like a rifle, to penetrate the ribs like this. But at a close range, even a small derringer could do the job.>
  16. Ivan leaned in to look, eyes wide with curiosity. So...that's what happened when you shot someone. He reached in, touching the heart a bit. <It's kinda weird, seeing someone like this...different when it's a cow in several pieces, huh?> He looked over at the butcher. <How often do you get people brought to you?> he asked before looking back down at the body. <Does Mitri bring you bodies, too, or just papa?> He poked around a little more, absolutely fascinating with what he was seeing. There was a slight clash of ideals, but if this was an enemy of his father, he couldn't really find it in him to care about the man too much.
  17. <Your brother brought me one once; I think you remember that day. But other than that, they only come from your father, usually by way of Miss Revnika, da? It is different in shape to a cow, but the principles are the same. When you are skilled with a cow, I will allow you to try your skill with this. You can only learn good habits from good meat, not from bad. But come, we do not wish to be here all night. For now, you may help in more familiar ways. Start by putting these organs through the grinder as I remove them, then we will move onto the meat. They will all go down into the sewers for the rats and be washed away to the river for the fish. The bones will go into the furnace. When we are done, there will be nothing left to find,> he explained to his young apprentice.

    Vanni stepped back to give the pair room to work, content to watch the process.
  18. Ivan nodded and went to start grinding the organs. It truly was grisly business, but he found himself enjoying it. The look he got inside of another creature, and not a cow, was priceless. He was going to have to try much harder and learn much faster so he could help Pyotr down in the basement more often. Yeah...he could stand being a butcher for the rest of his life...
  19. Vanni was himself more interested in the effects of the bullet on the body. He slipped into his own thoughts, wondering what other methods of death would do. Like electrocution. And broken bones, and general beating. He wanted to see those things. He'd already witnessed a few, but he'd never been able to view the aftermath. They had simply died and just, gone away. But this... this would turn some people away from death. For Vanni, it only made him more curious. He leaned against the wall and watched his friend work, a thoughtful smirk on his face as he entertained these ideas.

    Pyotr kept an eye on both boys as he continued to work on the body, giving Ivan pile after pile of meat until the bones were stripped clean. As a final task, he allowed Ivan to spray down the table, the floor area and the grinder with the overhead sprayer and a bleach solution while he cleaned the knives himself. When they were finished, the place was as clean as it was when they came, with no trace of the body remaining. He put his paw on the boys' shoulders and gave them a grave smile. <Both of your families should be very proud of you. You are strong young men, and have learned your world well. I only urge you to remember, never to act rashly and thirst for blood. Every action has its consequence, and every death must be weighed by its need. Death is not always the solution, even though it is sometimes the only one. You will not talk about this to anyone else except each other. I will speak to your father, Ivan, first. It is the proper way to do things. If he agrees it is appropriate, he or I will speak to your brother and cousin, Giovanni.> He kissed both their foreheads in a fatherly manner and released them for the evening.
  20. Ivan grinned and nodded. <Thank you, Mr. Dimitriev. It was an honor.> he said, wiping his hands off on a clean cloth. When they were released for the night, he bumped his friend's arm and hurried out the back door. "That was swell!" he said happily, stuffing his hands in his pockets as they walked. "I have so many ideas for things to draw now...I had no idea everything was so...connected..." He turned to grin at his friend, putting his arm around the other cat's shoulders. "You wanna go to Anne's?"
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.