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Desperation Steak

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This offer is not open to everyone. This offer is not good just anywhere.

There are towns in Virginia. They're lost towns in lost counties. They're not outwardly diabolical and plenty of the folks who live there are nice, quiet people leading ordinary lives. The towns have disappeared from maps and there are no interstate exits and rarely does a convenience store chain or a big box retailer bother to open up a store. The folks who live there mostly move into town because houses are cheap and it's safe and quiet.

If you go into one of the grocery stores in one of these towns--the stores have different names but it's always the only store in town that does its own butchering--and if you're from one of the right families then the butcher can cut you a hell of a sweetheart deal.

See this mostly started during the Depression days when a lot of whatcha call the First Families of Virginia started going broke. Well it started as a sick joke when some of whatcha might call the Fine Old Virginia families were going broke and needed the money and when some other Virginians were learning they kinda had a hankering for some strangemeat.

See this started mostly as a sick joke when a couple of butchers in some of these whatcha call Lost Towns, the places that had dropped off the map and nobody thought too much about, started spreading the word that they'd pay top dollar if they could maybe butcher and cook up a Byrd or a Yardley or a Hopkins or a Beverley or a Lee. Oh yes indeed, a Lee.

And so every now and then, not too often but every now and then--well now they say "Show don't tell" so lemme just give you an example of that time when old Lawton Kemper Graves Byrd showed up in one of those shops, tail between his legs, and started making some small talk with the butcher. This was, they say, back in about '33, maybe '34. These Byrds had fallen on some hard times and everybody knew it and the butcher, who wasn't a cruel man, put his hand on the young man's shoulder and said "Lemme take up a collection and we'll see what we can do." Well four or five locals pitched in and they put together a nice sum of money and later that week young Lawton Byrd, who had been all set to go off to William and Mary, became the tenderest feast those locals ever tasted in their whole lives.

They say patrician meat tastes best. They say there's something about basting in blue blood that is finger lickin' good.

See I bring this up because the offer isn't good to just anybody but I know times are tough again and one way or another you gotta take care of your family and if you happen to be an Allerton or a Fitzhugh or a Lighthorse or a Malkmus or a Byrd or a Caswell or a Spencer or a... well you get the idea. If you happen to have the right pedigree and you happen to be desperate enough there are these Lost Towns you see, nice quiet places mostly forgotten and in these lost towns are these butchers and these butchers always know a few of us who have a little cash on hand and a hankering for some old fashioned whatcha might call Brahman Burgers.

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