I once performed six processes on 72 sardines:
1. scaled them
2. snipped their tummies from anus to gills
3. slid their guts out with my finger, tugging to include the throat
4. snipped the base of each spine with tiny scissors and removed it with the head (easier than it sounds)
5. cut off their many fins
6. patted them dry and splayed them on a tray
The purpose was to grill them topped with garlic and rock salt, then squeeze fresh lemon juice on them as they cooled. They were to be eaten at a friend’s birthday party later that day as finger food.
It was a life changing couple of hours. By step four I was recognising 20% of the fish, as I neared step 6 I knew more than half of them and had given them names. So many magnificent lives so dead in my hands. I imagined a place in the galaxy where unknown beings were dismembering and presenting humans for consumption with the same automaton methodology.
Ah the pretty one with the curly blonde hair ….