Cheap Meat is a scary story about a small-town butcher who tries to make money by selling rotting meat to his customers. It is based on an old horror comic called “Taint the Meat, it’s the Humanity” from Tales From The Crypt #32.
Zachary Gristle was the only butcher in town. He had a shop where he sold meat to his customers. Every morning, when Mr. Gristle opened his shop, there would be a long queue of customers waiting outside. They wanted to make sure they got the best cuts of meat.
During World War II, food was scarce and supplies had to be rationed. There was barely enough to go around and meat especially was in short supply. The government gave people red ration tokens to use when they were buying meat.
As the war dragged on, meat became more and more scarce. His customers weren’t happy and he was losing money.
One evening, Mr. Gristle was at home having dinner with his wife and son when he suddenly came up with a solution to his problems.
He began buying cheap horse meat from farmers on the black market. Then, he would chop up the horses and sell the meat to his customers, claiming it was prime quality beef steak.
Mr. Gristle was making a lot of money, but before long the supply of horse meat had run out. If he wanted the cash to keep rolling in, he had to find another kind of meat.
Old meat… spolied meat… tainted meat… rotting meat… cat meat, dog meat and rat meat… It didn’t matter. He washed it off and used a secret process to cover up the smell. Then, he cut off any really rancid bits and sold it all to his customers, still passing it off as beef.
No one in town suspected what Mr. Gristle was doing. Not even when some people began getting sick.
One night, a farmer came to his house to tell him another shipment of rotting meat was ready to be picked up. Mr. Gristle was out and his wife Sarah answered the door.
She figured out what was going on and was horrified by what her husband was doing. That night, she confronted him and told him that it had to stop.
No matter what she said, she couldn’t convince him. He was blinded by greed and all he could think about was how much money he was making.
Then, all of a sudden, people in town began dropping dead. First it was Mrs. Abercrombie. Then, it was old Mr. Grundy. When young Mrs. Marmite died with a half-eaten steak on her plate, the police began to get suspicious.
Mr. Gristle closed his shop early and headed home. He told his wife to pack her bags because they were going to have to leave town in a hurry.
Just then, their son staggered into the room, clutching his stomach. He had just come from his friend’s house and he had eaten some of the rancid meat.
The little boy collapsed on the floor and died right in front of his helpless parents. Mrs. Gristle was so distraught, she lost her mind. Grabbing a knife from the kitchen, she cornered her husband.
The next morning, when customers arrived at the butcher shop, they found Mrs. Gristle standing behind the counter. Her eyes were glazed over and she was babbling to herself. There was blood all over her apron and the shelves were lined with fresh meat…