Image © Roses Garden
I am a simple man with simple tastes.
I go about my business each day and I try not to bother anyone.
Every Sunday morning I go to the supermarket to do my weekly shopping.
I buy the same things each week with the occasional variation in the fruit and vegetable section.
But this particular Sunday everything was different.
The shop had a different feel to it, like there was an anxiety in the air waiting to find a way into everyone’s shopping baskets.
I sensed it immediately and felt a cold chill circling around me.
As I approached the produce section I could see that there were very few people in there. Usually it was crowded with folk selecting their apples, oranges, potatoes and tomatoes from the vast array of produce on display.
A voice to my left drew my attention:
‘Hey good lookin’?’
I looked around and saw no one near me.
‘What cha got cookin’?’
Again I was startled. I clearly heard what I just wrote down.
‘Ya wanna cook somethin’ up with me?’
I looked around, then I looked down.
In front of me was a bowl with a few capsicums, button squash, a zucchini and a small malformed tomato.
I did a second take as I thought they each had a set of eyes. Eyes that were focused on me.
“SURPRISE!!!” they chorused as one.
The red capsicum then took over:
‘Look bud, I can call you bud yes?’
‘Yes,’ I stammered.
‘Good. Now listen bud, we vegetables have had enough. You know what I’m saying, every week we sit around here at the beck and call of you folk who pick us up, squeeze us, drop us into the darkness of your shopping bags, take us home, freeze our arses off in your refrigerators and them chop us into bits before cooking us and eating us. I’ve summed that up haven’t I guys?
“YES!’ they all retorted.
‘And we are sick of it. So as of today you gotta prove you deserve us.’
I began to back away unsure of what I had gotten myself into.
A little voice said: ‘I show you a good time mister?’
‘Pardon,’ I said.
‘I love you all night long?’
I suddenly realised it was the small tomato, the one with the deformed face that was making a pass at me.
‘We could have fun play date?’
Suddenly the red capsicum rumbled something very peppery and the tomato blushed a deeper red.
‘Don’t bother yourself with the tomato, she’s insane.’
‘Yes. Now as I was saying you got an argument to prove you are deserving?’
Behind the capsicum a little voice said: ‘But I cheap.’
The red capsicum moved a little, rolled its eyes and the tomato vanished underneath his large imposing redness.
‘Actually,’ said the zucchini sounding important. ‘You simply state your intention to have something particular this week for dinner and we decide if that is reason to give you one of US, to satisfy your culinary desires.’
‘I’m hoping to make some tomato soup.’ I said with trepidation.
‘Tomato soup?’ boomed the red capsicum; ‘Well I have a crushed one here now.’
‘And a beef stir fry with capsicum and mushrooms.’
‘Sounds delicious,’ said the red capsicum. ‘Give him the tickets to select what he wants.’
Suddenly the button squash who up until now had been a set of eyes taking everything in burst into action and spewed forth a small gold ticket announcing the holder of the ticket could have the items he wanted.
‘He’s rather scrawny,’ said one to the other.
‘Skinny legs and long fingers. I’m a pudgy person myself,’ said the other.
‘So am,’ I said the first.
I gathered my ticket and quickly gathered what I wanted and left the produce section as quickly as I could.
I thought I’d left the nightmare behind me until that night when I began to prepare my dinner and I found the tomatoes I had selected arguing with each other who was the redder and who aught to be first under the knife.
I suddenly lost my appetite.
A sandwich would have to do.