In the late 1970s, Karen worked in a life insurance office in Manchester during the week. On Saturdays, she helped out behind the counter in her dad’s butcher’s shop. Sometimes, on Sundays, she did some slaughtering.
Scrawny and bossy, the girls in her office didn’t bother with her much, but she longed to be included on their man-hunting nights out in town and gossipy chats in the toilets.
If she’d not been so desperate to impress, to be included, her workmates might never have found out about her weekend activities. Faced one Monday morning with a pile of life insurance proposals, she came across one from a butcher and laughed loudly when she read in the risk manual that the job was hazardous.
‘Nothing to it,’ she announced to the office. ‘A quick shot between the eyes and that’s it.’
As she boasted of her slaughtering prowess, her work mates pulled faces, but she didn’t notice. Thrilled with the attention, she carried on bragging, ignoring the squeals and gasps as she described shooting a cow for the first time and of being instructed how to prepare it for sale in the shop.
In the canteen that lunchtime, some of the girls avoided their normal Monday sausage and chips.
Everyone avoided her table.