Suggested Audio Jukebox ♫
 Riz Ortolani “Cannibal Holocaust & Adultress’ Punishment”
 Sepultura “Ratamahatta”
Keeper ain’t nobody’s meal ticket. You can throw sticks and stones and the possibility is that I will suffer multiple hairline fractures and words can harm me also. However, attempt to chow down on my bony white ass and I may well have something to say about it. Nobody wishes to be digested, I’m sure Captain Ahab was far less than pleased when he slid down his adversary’s esophagus and with damn good reason. The food chain is supposed to be in place to protect us from such eventualities and there’s nothing worse than folk skipping line and getting ideas above their station. I’m human, have been my whole life, and give me a bucket of greasy wings and I’m happy. You don’t see me flossing with another man’s spinal column or sucking the retinal fluid from plucked eyeballs. That’s just obscene.
How I got roped into my latest expedition is anyone’s guess. I landed a gig with an American film crew and was promptly shipped off to the Amazon rainforest to help shoot a documentary about indigenous cannibal tribes and the suchlike. I’d rather research butterflies if truth be known but the studio were more than happy offering danger money and I needed every last cent so I packed my flip-flops and sun block and headed off on my pilgrimage. Cannibalism is commonly regarded as myth but I was in absolutely no doubt that it posed a very real threat in areas as detached from civilization as the village of Yanomamö which was exactly where we were headed. If it sounds like a doomed expedition then that’s because it’s exactly what it was.
The trouble started virtually the moment we landed in the jungle. No sooner had we gathered our belongings from the chopper than one of the crew was hit by a wayward blow dart, rendering them temporarily paralyzed. I should have climbed straight back aboard at that point but, in the interests of professionalism, I stuck it out. We moved our injured teammate to the nearest village which was about three clicks from our coordinates and the tribe there were more than accommodating. We were fed, watered and every whim taken care of by our new hosts and it appeared we had made some valuable allies. They were a peaceful tribe and totally hospitable so we decided to remain there until sunrise.
After a somewhat unsettled sleep which consisted of several hours of fending off all manner of over-sized mosquitoes, I decided to check on my compadre’s well-being but he had deteriorated through the night and was feverish. Whatever was in that dart was clearly more than a simple sedative and his condition was worsening by the minute so we called for emergency evac but were informed that we’d have to stick it out for a further three days before anyone could pick us up. Whilst far from ideal, options were at a severe premium and at least we were being well looked after so we sucked it up and settled in for the duration.
By midday Paul was totally delirious and had taken leave of his senses entirely. I sat by his bedside and attempted to make sense of his incoherent ramblings but all I could gather was that he was ready to die. Two hours later he did. Our cameraman was gone but the rest of us decided to honor his memory and shoot the film as intended. Jack was distraught, he had been an intern with Paul at the studio and their friendship stretched way back to seventh grade, whereas Felicity and Mike had been outsourced like myself and therefore didn’t have such a strong emotional attachment. Despite this, they were saddened by the turn of events and determined to continue as planned in his memory.
There was precious little to do in the camp to keep ourselves entertained, the tribesmen had some sort of Karaoke affair going but none of their songs were recognizable and it ended up just a load of off-key chanting so we set off while there was still light to grab some footage of the surrounding woodland. When we returned, three hours later, Paul’s body had gone and nobody seemed to be able to give us a straight answer. What I would’ve given for a phrase book at that time, the tribe were most animated but not a word of what they were saying made the slightest bit of sense. Jack was livid and his anger boiled over, he wanted answers and none were forthcoming so he lashed out and had to be restrained at that point. After some commotion he took off into the darkness with only his machete as company and wouldn’t listen to reason so we had to let him go get it out of his system. He didn’t return.
The next day I was awakened early by an arachnid which was hovering inches above my face with gnarled intent. I’m not a fan of spiders, anything of enough heft to carry my backpack had no place loitering in my personal space so I skewered the bug with my hunting knife and left him dangling as a warning to any other night crawlers looking to make an appearance. There was still no sign of Jack which had us more than a little concerned as the jungle was no place for a man on his own at night, especially one so blinded by frustration. Nevertheless, there was little we could do other than sit around and wait for word so that’s exactly what we did. The locals were decidedly less congenial at this point but we figured the last night’s events had hit everybody hard so we remained tight-lipped.
Felicity was beginning to look increasingly appealing and we appeared to share a little chemistry so we sat and played Chinese Patience while Mike just sat on his lonesome. If it had been back at home then she would not have been my type and I’m sure she would say the same thing about me but everything was intensified and both of us were beginning to fear for our safe-keeping so we aired on the side of our primal desire and made love in my two-berth sleeping bag. I’m convinced Mike knew exactly what was going on as, despite our best attempts to remain low-key, the inevitable grunts gave us away. That and Felicity ‘s cum-face which was straight from a seventies porn flick. It definitely released a little pent-up tension and we were both rather chipper until a sound from outside our tent ruined the vibe.
We grabbed whatever clothing was accessible and investigated and, upon pulling back the flap, were promptly horrified at the sight which greeted us. It was Jack or, at least, those were his dog tags. Other than that, identification was a bit of a stretch considering he had been skinned like a rabbit and his head hollowed out. Our bemusement was echoed by the tribe members who were besides themselves at the sign which had been left. Most of what they said was complete gibberish to me but I did discern the word Yanomamö on a number of occasions. It was this tribe who our thesis was supposed to be about and the fear in their eyes suggested that we would no longer wish to gather the answers. Despite this, we were in the safest place considering, so we had no choice than to stay fast, at least until morning.
Only one more day and the cavalry was due to arrive but what a difference a day can make. This time our waking realization was that Mike too was missing. All of his belongings were where he left them and he wouldn’t have just upped and left without informing us so we instantly feared the worst. Now there were only two of us and, unsurprisingly, nobody seemed to know a thing. Communications weren’t exactly thriving at the best of times but the tribe seemingly wanted nothing to do with us anymore. Clearly we had worn out any welcome mat and, considering the strife we had bought upon the tribe, it was no less than we could expect. They had taken us in and offered us their sanctuary and it had clearly provoked the Yanomamö’s wraith. We couldn’t really be surprised by them not wanting to engage in a good old-fashioned hootenanny.
After much consideration we decided to leave them be, we had less than twenty-four hours until the chopper returned and it looked like we would be required to rough the final night in far less than favorable conditions. Everything was just so out-of-proportion here, a simple gnat was almost the size of my fist and I dreaded to think what their snakes would be packing. However, needs must in such a set of circumstances and at least we would have one another’s body heat to keep us warm through the worst part. Neither of us were expectant of this becoming some whirlwind romance, it was simple biology. I had a penis and it so happened it fitted her vagina snugly so we made best of our opportunity.
We found a remote spot with a clearing which, if nothing else, appeared to offer a little solitude from the creatures of the night. By the time we had pitched our tent, natural light was beginning to dissipate so we headed inside for a spot more horizontal line dancing just to while away a little more time. She was freaky, I’ll give her that, and contortion appeared another of her key strengths as she managed to get both legs behind her head like some sort of human deck chair. Little were we aware that our copulation had aroused some interest and we were shocked to discern that it was the Yanomamö who congregated around us. They were far less civilized than our previous hosts and led us away at spear-point.
Their site was about three kilometers down the track, by the riverside and any misconception that they were about to invite us in for a mug of herbal tea was soon shattered as we reached the gates. Mike was here, or at least that’s where his disembodied head was, impaled on a stick presumably as a warning to any wayward travelers. These savages had evidently made his final few moments pretty excruciating and his tongue and both eyes had been callously gouged out. This was clearly the kind of wretched fate which awaited both of us and Felicity became frantic but this just made the tribesmen all the more excitable. This was just a regular ritual for them, less malice and more indifference on their part which added an extra level of dread to proceedings.
As guests of honor we were treated to the local delicacy which consisted of gristle from Paul’s midriff. His body was laid out like a festive banquet and decomposition had already set in meaning his meat had begun to spoil. I’m a carnivore and make no bones about that fact but right now I would have taken a garden salad over their dish of the day. The one thing you don’t wish to do in such situations is to upset your hosts so I feigned anticipation and asked for a generous slither. Felicity was far less willing and this outraged the savages as I had expected it would. They restrained her whilst retrieving a glob of his cerebellum and force-fed her the matter until which point as she gagged and passed out from shock.
I wanted to help her but the odds were not in my favor, fifteen-to-one to be precise, so all I could do was watch on as they dragged her unconscious body by the scruff of her hair and laid her out on a makeshift bench. I knew what was coming next but was powerless to resist and instead sat stony-faced while the head tribesman produced a rusted machete. Ironically, it was Jack’s, intended for hacking away foliage and instead looking like it would be put to far less favorable use. They cut away any excess clothing, revealing her ample breasts and began carving away her mammalia. Needless to say she regained awareness at this point and her agonizing screams went straight through me. There wasn’t a single thing I could do to save her as our association was cut short in the crudest manner.
After removing both nipples they set to work on her abdomen, drawing the blade from one hip to the other and reopening an old Caesarian scar in the process. I wasn’t aware up to now that she had children back at home and that just made the following all the more mortifying as a number of the brutes reached inside and each began bagging themselves an organ. Kidneys, liver, intestines, womb; they were a lot of things but wasteful wasn’t one of them. I couldn’t stop myself from staring into her dead eyes, which were wide open and frozen into a final ocular scream . I would never again forget that look, her ultimate plea for release which was granted but in a manner most unforgiving.
After taking their fill from her gaping stomach they began hacking away each of her limbs in turn. I couldn’t fathom how they could do so with such nonchalance but this was clearly a race long since desensitized to such horrendous acts of brutality. To them this was no different from gutting a muskrat. I had come for answers and prayed now only for ambiguity and a swift demise. Something was telling me that my wish list was not likely to be adhered to. Kids that I presumed were as young as ten prodded me with spears as they urged me to feed on Phil’s rotting surplus and I dared not disobey so I chowed down reluctantly, gagging with each bite. It wasn’t the taste which repulsed most but the understanding of where this mutton came from which caused me to wretch so. If I ever made it out alive then I swore blind I would turn vegetarian. Colonel Sanders could suck my didgeridoo and stick his chicken drumsticks right in the shady parts.
I was under no illusion that I wouldn’t be next on the serving tray and Felicity ‘s appendages had already been stripped back to the muscle so it appeared that my avenue for escape was becoming more slender with each passing second. Glancing down at my wristwatch, it was almost time for my evac and it was now or never. I had memorized our route and felt assured I could make my way back to the spot if my life depended on it. It totally did. Summoning any lingering stamina, I wrestled free from their grasp and attempted to make a dash for it but to no avail. A lobbed spear in the lower spine was the reward for my insolence and my last hope dissipated at the moment I slumped to my knees.
It’s funny; I was about to die slowly and painfully yet I became transfixed by the beautiful overhanging shrubbery, dawn light filtering through and a single squirrel monkey perched atop the tallest tree, seemingly offering a smile. I took comfort from this which aided in stomaching the searing pain traveling through my spinal column, thankfully severing any nerves in its path. I cast my mind back to all of my greatest achievements and only one thought came to mind. My boy, my beautiful ray of sunshine. Knowing that I would never again stroke his soft blonde hair or kiss those rosebud lips was the greatest torture a man can endure so I recalled the mental image of the first time I held him in my arms, touched all ten of those perfect tiny toes and looked into his huge ocean blues. I passed out soon after, calmly mind.
When I came to I was bound to a wooden pole and had been stripped down to the loincloth. The agony flooded back in an instant and this incited only cries of joyous rapture from the locals. This was it; it should have felt enlightening anticipating the final moments of my transience but I had never expected or wished for such a cruel end. The leader of the tribe made his way over, brandishing the bright red blade which had dismantled my associates and waving it as he chanted what I gathered was my eulogy or a final offering to whichever God he worshiped. No God would advocate such injustice surely but then, when you strip away our identity, we are all just flesh and bone and closer to primate than we like to admit.
If I was hopeful of an easy passage then I was bound to be disappointed as he hoisted down my one remaining garment and placed the cold blade against my fast inverting member. He grasped it around its base, testicles inclusive and hastily hacked it away from the root. My eyes were overrun with blood but through the crimson filter I watched as he took my genitals to his mouth and guzzled them down. My bowel had already excavated in anticipation of the imminent bleed-out which couldn’t come soon enough. Vomiting a crude mixture of bile and cruor, I began to fade out. Just at that moment I heard the sound of an approaching chopper. Seconds later it was above us and heading to the drop zone, blissfully unaware that we wouldn’t be cashing in on our return ticket. I felt its passing breeze wash over me as it passed and, with that, quietus was finally granted.
If I learned anything about the Yanomamö people during my ill-fated excursion it was that they showed no real malice. We were all simply game to them; and how can one argue against a race that purely knows no better. Unspeakable crimes such as these occur with shocking regularity in our civilized world but with less reasoning. They were a proud people and openly affectionate amongst their own, only not restricted by society’s interpretation of right and wrong. We are all hunters, every parent tends for their own at whatever cost and we all adhere to some form of template. I guess, if I were coming away from this, then that is what I would take with me. There are still tribes like the Yanomamö very much in existence, playing in the fields of the lord. Humanity is ultimately subjective and nature is perpetual. Is it wrong of me then to hope that just one of them chokes on my rancid meat? Does that make me the bad guy?