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The Burlington Beat began in June of 2017 and aims to be a small concentrated sample of the creativity that exists in every corner of our beautiful city, Burlington, VT. There are those who have made their art their living, others who treat it as a hobby--some who have been honing their skills for years and others just starting out. You'll find all of that here.


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on the trust of the yetsu

August 17, 2017

-Henry! Thank you for coming!


-Thanks for inviting me.


-Did you get here OK?


-You know something. I took 82 instead of going down route 14 there, and I-


-Wait. You got on 14 by Clyde’s Place?


-Got on 14 by Clyde’s Place, yup, and then just shot down onto 22.


-Now wait. 22. Is that by the Citgo there?


-It’s a Mobil I think. Shot down onto 22 and just popped out right on Honeydew Lane.


-I’ll have to try that sometime. I always take 14.


-Well my wife thinks that way is faster.


-Hahahahahaha. Haha. Haha.




-Henry, have you met Leroy? He works with Stan. I have to go chop some lamb shanks - I’m sure you two can find something to chat about!


-Nice to meet you. How about this rain, huh? I tell you something, I’m ready for spring. Oh look at this. They even have the appetizers being passed around on these fancy trays. I didn’t know it was going to be so fancy! I should have worn that tie my wife wanted me to wear. Ahahahahaha. Hahaha. Haha. Ha.


-You know one thing these little platters always make me think about is the dynamic of the trust factor that must exist in cannibalistic cultures, because there’s either this incredibly strong bond the members have with each other, or there’s a kind of faithful abandon in their communal anti-trust, like anyone might go at any minute, but it’s for the good of the tribe so they take refuge in that. And there’s got to be this other, more day to day dynamic of like one minute you could be at my house eating dinner and then it’s like, sorry man, we’re actually going to eat you now, but thanks for coming over and I really hope you taste good with whatever we’re having later. And then it gets really interesting when you consider these certain cultures that are still around that live cannibalistically but also still have a strong culture of ingesting sacred psychoactive compounds, like take the Yetsu in the northern Andes, for instance. If a warring tribe attacks them while one of the Yetsu’s women is pregnant, and it’s during their harvesting season but they haven’t yet started to trim the leaves off of their sacred toon-toon yams, they hold this feasting ritual where every member of the tribe has to sit in front of a fire and drink the boiled juice of the thanvi root, which I hear makes LSD look like weak coffee, and they chant and dance and march around until the eldest member of the tribe - I think their term for it is Yetsan - selects one of the middle aged men who’s just passed the prime part of his warrior capabilities and brings him to the center of this huge circle of dancing and hallucinating villagers who then chant the sacred name of the Yetsu god in unison until one of the younger females of the clan, I think it has to be one who would have been trimming the leaves of the toon-toon yams had it been a little later in the year, has to stab the selected ex-warrior through the throat with the sharpened fibula of a red-backed hogdog, which is like this little coyote or dingo looking thing with long hair and these weird blue eyes. So she stabs him through the throat and then they roast him right there on the spot over this fire that’s built with tree bark and toad fangs, and they have to consume every bit of his flesh, organs and even bones before the sun rises the next day, otherwise they have to repeat the entire ceremony again for fear that Yetsiung the vengeful toon-toon god will get angry and destroy their entire village with a flood of bat’s blood or something, which is obviously problematic because these psychoactive compounds really take their toll on the CNS after three or four ingestions, and word is the group has really had some close calls in terms of nearly eating their entire population. But the dynamic of trust there the day after - man, that’s what gets me. Like when the toad fang and tree bark fire is still smoldering there in front of them, and they’re all coming down off the thanvi, and they just ate Rob or whatever and they’re milling around and heading back to their huts, and one of them is like ‘Hey, let’s do brunch at my place,’ and then there’s this moment there before the other dude decides if he’s going to go, and he’s just standing there blinking in the sun. That moment, man. I’d love to be a fly on the wall.


-Kevin, there you are.  


-Who wants lamb shanks?


Al Teodosio is a fiction writer whose work has appeared in The Madcap Review, the trash bin of his computer, and probably a few evidence rooms. 

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