What Is That?

Having woken from one of his rare cheerful dreams, Sweeney was actually in a good mood when his landlady came up to bring him breakfast. Having expected the normal, sullen Sweeney, Nellie had to struggle to keep the joy from her skeletal face when he thanked her.

"Anytime, love," she said, allowing herself a small smile. She lingered in the doorway as he began to chew on a strip of bacon.

"Mrs. Lovett," he said, swallowing the bite of bacon, "I have a question." Nellie took this as permission to stay, and plopped down in his barber chair. Sweeney stuffed the rest of the bacon in his mouth.

"You put my dead customers into your pies, right?"

"Ye-es," she said, not sure where this was going.

"And you feed it to your customers." She assented again as he started in on the sausages. "But they don't know what it is they're eating."

"That's right. Now, what was the question in that li'l synopsis, dearie?" Sweeney held up a hand.

"I'm coming to that. Does Toby eat the people pies?" Nellie nodded, sensing that he was coming close to what he wanted to ask.

"But your cooking skills- at least, with meat- were deplorable when I got her. But yet here I am, eating meat. And I eat good pies every night. So, what exactly is it that you feed me, Mrs. Lovett?" She laughed, bouncing up and opening the door.

"Why, the same thing I feed everyone else, love!" She closed the door behind her and went down the stairs, humming and wondering how it was that Sweeney wasn't smart enough to figure that out himself. Back in the shop, Sweeney was staring at the half-eaten sausage in his hand.

"Oh God," he said, letting a lump of sausage slide off his tongue and onto the floor. "Oh my God."