Murphy had been Murphy’s mother’s maiden name. He was not particularly enamoured of it. Most people, before they laid eyes on him, wondered if Murphy was going to be a boy or a girl. Once they laid eyes on him of course there was no mistaking his gender. Murphy was a boy!
His father had hailed from Madagascar.
One of the things that Murphy liked about his name was the nickname he had been given at school: Spud. Murphy was the colloquial name for a potato. It sort of rhymed with Stud and Bud and Crud and Mud. In fact from about the age of fifteen he started to introduce himself as Spud. “Hi,” he would say extending a hand of introduction, “I’m Spud Rajaonarimampianina.”
Even his mother sometimes called him Spud.
When Spud got married his wife’s name was Marsha. It didn’t take long for some to start calling her Mash. Mashed Spud were quite the couple around town. Everyone knew who Mashed Spud were. In fact, Mash was the chairperson of the local School Board and Spud was elected to the City Council. It helped that no one knew how to pronounce Rajaonarimampianina.
Vicky decided to walk to the shops because all she needed was some tomato sauce and a potato. If she wasn’t walking she would buy a bag of potatoes, but it was such a lovely day that she decided to walk and not have to carry home a heavy bag of potatoes. She would simply get the one potato for her dinner and then tomorrow she could take the car and then she would get a whole bag of potatoes. Not too big a bag of potatoes of course because it doesn’t take that long before they start sprouting, and since she lived alone she didn’t actually needed a very big bag. Of course, she also varied her diet with pasta and rice and couscous and various noodles. It’s not as if she had a potato every day, but on this particular day she was peeling and boiling a potato to go with coleslaw and a sausage (which is why she needed to get some tomato sauce).
When she returned from the shop she started preparing dinner right away. After all, it was time for the daily news on television, and she could see the television screen from the kitchen bench. Dear me, there is such tragedy in the world these days, and the poor people on the street were almost enough to make one feel guilty about having a sausage.
Since it was Wednesday, after the television news came a program on Nature. Vicky loved to watch it. It was always most interesting and she would (only once a week mind you, usually she would sit at the dining table) eat her evening meal in the armchair in front of the television.
The next day Vicky got a phone call from her sister saying that she (Victoria) should find a few interests and not mope around doing hardly anything. Vicky said that her sister was probably right. She would do something about it. But first, since the day was so sunny and lovely, she would walk to the shops and get a potato to go with her sausage for dinner. (Sausages come in packets of six and she didn’t want to waste them). This time she would have a bit of variety by mashing the potato.
For quite a number of years Boris got first place in the annual Grow-a-Spud-in-a-Pot competition. Then, one year he was beaten by Hector. That was the last time that happened. Every year after that, Boris came first. Year after year, everyone else’s potatoes died of the blight.