A terrible tragedy has hit the country; some crazed idiot, for the past three weeks, has somehow poisoned some of the fruit and vegetables that can be purchased from the supermarket. Each week it has been a different fruit or vegetable sold in two shops each time. It seemed to cover the outlets throughout the country at random.
The first week it was Granny Smith apples from two outlets at opposite ends of the country. The second week it was cos lettuces. The third week it was cucumbers. Who knows what it will be for the fourth week. So far eleven people have died. No one is buying fresh fruit and vegetables the length and breadth of the country. Everyone is purchasing tinned fruit and tinned or frozen vegetables and meat. Thank goodness the meat is untouched.
But all that is not what this story is about. This story is about what happened to Freddie, and the story of the poisoned food is but the backdrop for Freddie’s yarn. It’s nice to have something positive to tell at a time when such a horror has taken over the news.
It was one of those weeks when Freddie didn’t have much money to go on. He’d been to the doctor and the dentist, and his car needed attention. Suddenly he discovered that there was very little left over for the groceries. He had a cat and a dog. Buying food for them was his first priority. He could always go without if needed, but a pet should never have to. The trouble was that Freddie could have bought food for the dog and cat as well as a little for himself if he’d been able to buy vegetables; but he had to buy some meat for himself to be safe. He placed a pork chop in his trolley and proceeded to the check-out.
Oh dear! As luck wouldn’t have it, Freddie had just enough for the cat and dog food, but not enough for his pork chop. The man in the line, directly behind Freddie interrupted, and said he’d pay for the pork chop. And he did!
Such kindness! It’s times of tragedy that brings people together. Freddie couldn’t believe the kindness of that stranger. Such a lovely man.
Let’s face it. I enjoy being fondled. All over. And nearly always by visitors. I simply have to sit still and people seem to be drawn irresistibly to me. They can’t help it. Strangers seem to take one look at me and it is all hands on. I get prodded and poked; massaged even. At heart I’m a pathetic stickler to being tactile.
The other day (it was pretty cool I suppose) this lady came up to me and started patting me, and then she plunged her nose onto my skin and sniffed. She smelt me! It’s funny how different things turn people on.
And then yesterday afternoon it all came to a head. This sexy brunette took me home with her, and I’m currently on her dining room sideboard sitting in a fruit bowl.
[Many thanks to Uma for the beautiful photograph. Uma is a wonderful writer (and photographer).
The form selected for this week is an adaptation of the Vietnamese Luc bat. It is an adaptation of the poetic form because Vietnamese is a tonal language and it cannot be imitated in English. The syllable count and the rhyming pattern have been adhered to!]
The dahlia opens slow
before it makes a show, bright red,
and then the full-faced head
bends down towards its bed and bows;
as if to say the hours
of fleeting life somehow are short.
Its beauty comes to naught
as petals fall uncaught and die.
Some say each flower shall leave
a cob, a pod of seeds, a cone,
from which will spring the bones
of new flowers, new fruit, grown; and yet,
lest ever I forget,
my death shall not beget new grain
to grow in hope, in pain,
in love, in loss, in gain, in joy.
The sign on the glass window of the roadside fruit and vegetable stall read:
FRESH TOMATOES! PICKED TODAY!
Reece pulled over in his car. There was little tastier than a tomato that had not been in the mass-production cooler. Nothing took the taste away faster than making them cold to keep them fresh.
But the roadside stall was closed. Starlings had entered through a broken back door. Nesting straw, twigs, and waste, were scattered all about. The stall looked like it had been abandoned for a good three or four years; the vendor long gone; the family business crumbled under competition from the mass-producing-cold-store supermarkets. No one wanted to eat food these days that had its taste. Processed vegetables, fruit, even milk, were poor imitations of the real things.
The only fresh-looking item was the old sign on the glass window of the roadside fruit and vegetable stall: