The Vegetable

I massaged my ankles. Picked my body up. Pushed myself out of the door. Ran into a friend. Talked briefly. HEY! HOWYADOINGTODAY? And moved along on my merry way. I ran into a few trees which were decently pleasant, I don’t think they meant to impede my path. I was passed along from one to the next and emerged a bit further down the path–like a shortcut. Yep! I was hungry. I was happy for anything that’d reduce the time I’d be waiting for food to enter my mouth. Once I found my footing, which only took a second, I continued forward. My main kitchen was under renovations that had been ongoing far too long. I was walking towards the secondary one. Before I even caught sight of the kitchen the wafting smell hit my nose. Either the wind was strong, the air dry, or they had obtained some sort of smell amplifier to alert us patrons that the food was ready. The smells unleashed my hunger. I was anxious to see what was waiting on those pristine counters. Those foods I might be lucky enough to include in my toll for the day. I met the door. I met a relative. I met the kitchen. The counters were piled high as expected. I filled my plate. I filled myself. I went back for another round determined to find something which might really satiate me. To be completely honest, the first round of food was pretty lackluster. It did nothing for me except for take up space, and I’m at a point where I really value what takes up space, so I wanted to find something really worthwhile that would help me be completely fulfilled. I looked around at all the options and soon realized that there was only one thing right for the job. I walked over to the basin. I picked up the tongs. I reached in to pull it out. Nothing came out. I inserted and pulled and reinserted and pulled the tongs in and out of the basin yet nothing emerged. Here was a platter full of delicious food directly in front of me but I didn’t seem to be able to access any of it. A line had formed at this point. Others were yearning to taste these morsels. And I was still struggling trying to get just one out. The tongs were not working so I debated other options. I couldn’t use my hands. That was out of the question. I used tongs from other serving trays and basins. I just found out that a few people have died from allergenic-contamination related illnesses. I suppose that might be my fault. I don’t care. None of the other tongs were working either. I tried a fork I found. I tried a spoon. I tried a knife. I tried a straw. I tried a plate. And I tried a cup. Nothing worked. I was lost and bewildered. This was so confusing. No one wanted to help me out. They just wanted to complain and yell at me for the terrible job I was doing and emphasize how hungry they were. I WANTED MY FOOD. I DIDN’T WANT TO PREVENT THEM FROM GETTING THEIRS. It was really stressing me out. Everything about the situation. But I needed to eat. I couldn’t be hungry. I didn’t want to starve myself. I didn’t want to die. I couldn’t think with all the line-goers yelling at me. I couldn’t think due to the frustration and stupidity of the situation. I was lost in words and paranoia and just trying to figure out what to do, it was all so overwhelming.

Eventually I was able to pick up a piece. I brought it back to the table I was sharing with my friend. It was nice and comfortable and collected and fun. Until I tried using my fork to pierce the skin of the vegetable. It would not go through. I poked and poked and poked and poked until I became far too frustrated and so I stopped. I had not enough energy left to fight. So I tried to get something else. But I came back, and it sat there and I wanted to be part of the clean plate club and I didn’t want anything to go to waste, so I forced myself to try again. I stabbed around for what felt like forever and at this point I was beginning to get seriously annoyed. Why the fuck can’t I pick this fucking vegetable up. I need to eat. Do you know what type of day I’ve been having. Do you know what type of life I’ve led. Do you know how I got here? It’s been a long journey and I’m fucking sick of all this bullshit. Hufff. I ran off to try to find some other instrument which could be useful. There was nothing really lying around so I ran around to the back of the kitchen and looked for something. I found an extremely sharp Japanese butcher’s knife. This must be it. I knew. This can pierce the skin. I ran back to the table and gloated to my friend. Look what I got. I lifted up the blade and swung down on top of the vegetable. The blade swiftly split in two. I looked on in disbelief. My friend looked on in disbelief. I was more determined than ever to get it open. That was just a faulty knife. A prop. There was no real substance to it. It didn’t really know what it was. I needed something with a strong determination and understanding of self. I needed something that wasn’t wishy-washy. I needed full confidence. I ran back to the kitchen. I tried the blender. It knew too much. It knew what I wanted. It didn’t want to comply. It was meant to shift textures, not just open things up. That’s what I wanted. That’s what it didn’t give. I understood. I respected its respect for its craft. I was running out of ideas. I put it in the oven for a bit. I thought that might loosen it up. It did. It was a bit squishy. But the surface still could not be penetrated. It was like a rubber membrane that wanted all the juice for itself. The rubber could stretch infinitely so it needed not worry about a feeble blade or a change in temperature. I’m pretty sure I even saw it wink at me. That just furthered my frustration. I NEEDED TO DEVOUR IT.

I ran back to my friend and quickly explained the entire situation. They had no idea what was going on, but they tried to help. They brainstormed situations while I was panicking. I felt my life was ending. I needed some food to keep me going. Without eating how could I have any energy to go on? I left the kitchen and ran around to all the surrounding apartments in search of a tool which might work. I checked my friend’s apartment and grabbed a few things. They were screaming at me trying to figure out what I was up to as I burst through their door and frantically started running around in a fury. I didn’t say anything to them but immediately started searching for something which might help me. They had a hammer and a shovel. I took those and they followed me out of the door running and screaming but I promised to return as I ran away. I’LL BE BACK! I PROMISE. And I ran back into the kitchen to find my plate and other friend. And when I arrived everything was gone. I looked around and quickly found my friend talking to another but they had kindly brought along my plate so it was sitting there waiting for me. I picked up the hammer and screamed out as loud as I could and swung down with as much strength as I could muster. I hit the object. I was thrown back immediately twenty feet into the air landing forty feet from my friend, and his friend, and my plate. Everyone in the hall briefly glanced over, but no one really cared, so I couldn’t get help from any of them. I tried again with the hammer, same thing. I tried with the shovel, same thing. I went out in search of something else, stopping again at my friends’ apartment and quickly dropping off both hammer and shovel. She looked at me exasperated. I looked at her and let her know that I’d be coming back, and I’d explain everything later, and she let me know that I’d be okay. I left without a word. I went to the woodshop where I knew they had great cutting machines. I talked briefly to the technician and explained my predicament and they agreed to help. We packed up all of the machines into their car and drove it up to the kitchen where we unloaded everything and screwed it all in and made sure all the power sources were compatible and that it could actually work out. With everything set up we began testing. Nothing worked. The saw shattered into a million tiny pieces. The guillotine chopped itself off. And the lasers burned through their own retinas. They were flabbergasted. I wasn’t surprised. I sort of knew that they really wouldn’t work. I was growing suspicious. I thought that I ought to talk to the vegetable to see what it really wanted. I thought it might respond with an answer and tell me what I really wanted to know.

I decided to do some real, heavy research. I needed to get to the bottom of this. I did a deep dive. Hey web browser, tell me all that I need to know! I spent hours looking at all the different kinds of vegetables. There’re so many! And so many health benefits. I was converted. I gave up meat. I tried looking into this type of vegetable. It was strange. Bright yellow and purple and spiked and shaped like a square. I didn’t have a name for it so I couldn’t search for something with that type of specificity. I placed in the search box some visual descriptions. Still, these didn’t yield much. I tried going another route. What vegetables out there are as hard as a rock. A rock. I was told. It could just be a rock. I didn’t believe that. It didn’t look like one. It was purple. It was yellow. It could have just been spray painted. I didn’t want to believe that either. It could be petrified. But how would its color be so bold? It could plastic. It could be concrete. It could require soft and tender love rather than brute force. I have to admit, I hadn’t thought of that before. I went back to grab my vegetable friend. I held their hand. We walked around the park and went on a drive and listened to nice and soothing calm music. We enjoyed the weather and got a fine dinner. And I tried to kiss it afterwards when we were sitting in their house. They let me. We started making out and I started to get undressed. They held onto their shell. I didn’t say anything at first, I wanted them to feel comfortable. We ended up making love all the way until the sun began to rise. They never took their clothes off. That kind of help me. My passion was so strong that nothing could dissuade it, the clothes and what was hidden underneath just allowed it to flourish. I felt so sure that I could find my way in, but they still never undressed. We started dating. It was unbearable. I made them feel bad. I made them feel like they were ashamed of me or something. I asserted and argued strongly that there must be something they don’t like about me. There must be something they can’t stand or don’t trust, and that’s why they wouldn’t show themselves off. They were scared. They didn’t want to be eaten. They knew that their flesh was so pure. The most divinely hewn seed. Clear water filled with life-giving nutrients. They were right to be protective. They didn’t know my intentions. They were warned by their parents. I started seeing them for who they are. I didn’t want to pierce their flesh any longer. I started to convince myself of that. I started to believe it. I was on their side. I supported their team. I just wanted to kiss them and hold them and make them feel comfortable. And I wanted them to be okay and to feel happy and to feel that there’s a point in anything. At all.

My friend checked in on me one day. He came to visit me at the house. I hadn’t seen him since I abandoned him long ago at the kitchen. It was unannounced. I was surprised. They were in the shower. He asked who was in the shower. He could hear the water running. I didn’t really want to answer him with the truth as I feared his negative judgement. He already thinks I’m weird, I know that. But he probably also thinks I’m a creep, and I didn’t want him to have any evidence to prove that. I tried to swiftly change the subject which seemed to work. He didn’t try to rush into the bathroom or anything. But after a while of us talking and sitting and eating and boozing they prance right out of the bathroom, completely nude, and jump into my arms. My friend was flabbergasted! WHAT. He scrambled back and almost fell out of his chair. Hi! Nice to see you. They say to my friend. Hi. My friend says before darting a lot at me. WHAT THE FUCK. I was a little taken aback, I subconsciously expected some sort of strong reaction, but I’d hoped for something a little more placid. He stared at me. He looked extremely disappointed but also frustrated and mad and entirely confused. He stood up. How could you? And I said we’d fallen in love. I told him that I’d like him to be the best man at my wedding. He asked if they knew. Right in front of them. They looked at me. I looked at my friend. My friend looked at them. He shook his head. No. I haven’t told them. I said. My friend opened his mouth and I could see what was about to spill out. In my head I tried to get in contact with my crisis-management department but it seemed they were closed for lunch. Look. My friend said. All he wants from you is to eat you. He wants to break through your tough skin so he can get at the really juicy insides and devour you wholly. He delivered those lines tactfully, straight out of his mouth. They landed on the table in big blue balloon blow-up letters right in front of my love. My love stared down at the letters on the table and re-ingested them many times. I could see that they were trying to figure it out. Nothing made sense. I saw the lines pour over continuously inside their head, it was a continuous waterfall. I saw the water start to boil. The sun start to rise. The volcano start to erupt. I saw a fury in their eyes. I felt the heat radiating off their skin. YOU. LIAR. They stormed out of the room. I stood there. I didn’t know what to do. I was kind of mad. I directed a little anger towards my friend. I was sort of glad the band-aid had been ripped off. I was angered by the situation. Angered by myself and the asshole I’d been. Angered at my younger self. Angered at the anger I’d been in. Angered by the desperation I felt when hungered. Angered by myself for getting myself into the situation in which I found myself.