Annabelle Winton was a man-eater. Her freezer shelves were lined with fillets of lawyer, satays of principal and steaks of carpenter, all neatly packed into little labelled bags. Annabelle had a recipe book full of man meat recipes so it was integral her freezer was neatly kept. She had her favourite dishes of course; homemade pasta with handmade minced lawyer meatballs was always a winner, made with the hand mincer her sister had bought her for her 30th birthday. She was also partial to a freshly caught cut of personal trainer, quickly seared in a pan with a pinch of paprika and thyme. Personal trainer was best fresh; it went chewy if it was frozen too long. Annabelle often wondered if this had something to do with the constant steroid intake the meat had been subject to. Electrician was another favourite, and one that froze well, given the meat was often very young. It was also extremely easy to maintain a stock of… Annabelle had become quite apt at unwiring the fuse box since discovering a taste for electrician curry.

In her early 30’s, Annabelle was blonde and buxom, typical eye candy, which made hunting for her hobby all the more easy. It was never difficult to lure her targets home from her usual hunting ground, a bar called Lucky Coq, the irony of which wasn’t lost on Annabelle. On most nights, she waited until a craving struck her then began to prepare herself, showering slowly, blow-drying her hair and applying her makeup in steady, measured strokes. Dragging out the routine made her craving stronger and her hunting urge strengthen. By the time she had poured herself into one of her many tight dresses and tottered out the door, her stomach would be rumbling and her mind would be full of images of a juicy banker stew or a roast rack of teacher.

On this particular night, she was dreaming of surfer. A colleague at work had sent her a link to Melbourne’s best Mexican restaurants, and it had inspired her. She’d never tried surfer before, but she felt the saltiness of the meat would compliment a taco dish nicely. She’d done a quick flick through Jamie Oliver’s cookbook and found a tasty looking recipe. The chicken in it would have to be substituted for surfer of course, but she was used to that. The man-eating trend hadn’t quite caught on in the mainstream cooking scene yet.

Entering the bar, Annabelle cast an expert gaze over the many men, loitering like flies around the counter. They looked up in unison as she passed; their eyes glazed and she could hear them buzzing in approval amongst themselves as they prepared to swarm. She hastened her walk. Any other night she would have welcomed their approach, easy prey and a quick meal was not to be scoffed at, but tonight she wanted surfer.

In the beer garden, she spotted him immediately. He was playing pool, a blonde, bearded, caramel latte that flowed tantalisingly as he positioned his cue. She licked her lips. It was time.

“Hi, I’m Annabelle,” she purred, positioning her arm on the edge of the pool table so that her dress tightened just so.

“What’s your name?”

“Toby,” the caramel latte gave a noncommittal shrug. “And what brings you here tonight Toby?”

“Uh, just looking for something to do,” was Toby’s brief reply.

Annabelle looked at him through lowered lashes.

“I could think of something you could be doing,” she said and she traced the length of his cue with a finger, one eyebrow raised.

He looked back at her and his body notably relaxed as realisation set in. “Could you really…” his voice was husky now.

“Wanna, uh, go inside and wait for me til I finish this game? I’ll make it quick.”

Annabelle felt her stomach rumble, stamping its foot in protest at the delay. “I’d love to,” she replied.

“See you at the bar.”

Twenty minutes later, Annabelle was still waiting. Her stomach had set up a full- blown rally, and was marching up and down her insides, rumbling and gurgling as it went. Impatiently, she peered her head from around the doorway to the beer garden. Toby was still working his caramel magic on the pool table, and, by the looks of it, he’d started a new game. This wouldn’t do. She smoothed her hair, applied another coat of Love Bite red lipstick and headed back to the pool table.

“Toby, baby, I’ve been waiting,” she crooned up at him expectantly, pressing her body slightly into his, her hunting tactics in full swing now.

She felt his muscles respond before he did. His hand traced the hemline of her dress.

“Sorry babe, I know. Tim here just paid for another game before I could stop him,” his lips twisted apologetically.

“I’ll be inside in five minutes.”

He bent down to kiss her and the salty scent of his skin assailed her.

Intoxicated, Annabelle leant harder into the kiss and, unable to help herself, gave his lip a slight nibble. Her stomach purred approving.

Back inside the bar, she ordered a gin and tonic. Annabelle never usually allowed herself alcohol on a hunt as her senses needed to be razor sharp, but she needed something to calm her after whetting her appetite with that kiss. The alcohol hit her quickly. Apart from the odd red wine to compliment a nice cut of lawyer, Annabelle hardly drank. She’d had bad experiences in her 20’s heading out for long nights and discovering the hard way that 24/7 takeaways didn’t exactly cater to her drunken cravings. She supposed that TV host kebab with a side of dentist fingers wasn’t the most popular order at a drive-thru.

She was finishing the dregs of the spirit when Toby entered the bar and approached her.

“Let’s go,” his eyes were glassy, and hooded with expectation.

So were Annabelle’s, though not for the same reason.

They were halfway back to her house in a taxi, kissing amorously, when Toby jerked away suddenly, startling Annabelle from the salt induced stupor she had been enjoying.

“Crap, I’ve left my jacket at the bar, I better run back and grab it.” He signalled the driver to stop and opened the door.

“Wait up for me, I’ll come by after. I’ll call – ”

The slam of the taxi door cut his last sentence in two. Annabelle and her stomach groaned.

When she arrived home, Annabelle felt strangely content. She’d realised at some point on the solo leg of her journey, that Toby didn’t have her number to call, and even if he had, she doubted whether she would have answered. She had no patience now to ply him with sedative laced wine and think of creative excuses as to why she was preparing roasting trays and labelling zip lock bags. It was time for some comfort food instead. She kicked of her shoes and walked into the kitchen, opening the freezer and pulling from it a ready-made meal of accountant pie. She warmed it in the microwave, pouring herself a glass of mineral water as the machine spun and hummed.

Bing!

A delicious smell erupted as she opened the microwave door, and her taste buds trembled in anticipation. This had been a particularly good cut of accountant. Marinated for three hours with liberal splashes of red wine and a sprig of rosemary and you would hardly guess the juicy, flavoursome meat had come from such a monotonous specimen.

She sat at her island bench and took a sip from her glass before shovelling a chunk of meat into her mouth.

“Mmmmm.” As always, it was consistently good. “Delicious,” Annabelle thought.

There wasn’t much that could be said for accountants, but at least they were reliable.

By R. Syme from Australia



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