So it had begun. A beautiful pasty pink sky lined with stuffy puffy cotton mattresses obscured only by a single spiny gray branch. But whose watch truly lets them care?

It maddened as I stomped heavily upon the leaves and blades of freshly mowed weeds and clover. Quickly past the overgrown hedge, which was pointing accusingly at me for the second time that day, its extremities more brightly green than its bulk.

It was tightening as my brisk walk turned into a skipping frenzy, bumbling and stumbling down the stone steps, looking quickly from side to side. Hopefully no one had seen.

And if they had? Who knew what terrible calamity awaited. Would I get struck by lightening, a punishment from the heathen gods looking only to deliver punishment as a means to pass time? It was getting dark and it had rained after all. What was this strange hold I felt around my stomach? A monster? Probably some ghoul. And I knew that I was letting this terrible weather get to me.

I walked in, as the door was open, dropped the keys on the peg.

"I'm here, here I am," I said, peppier than I felt.

"Yes, I see, good day." There was a glance at the half closed window before this man sighed and brought his gaze back to the dirty orange spotted desk at which he sat.

A black wired organizer. Neatly labeled folders. A clipboard leaned to the wall. Conference multi-buttoned silver shiny telephone (I almost longed to touch it). Bulky black lamp. Dusty tape dispenser. Stapler. I took note of all these things, which I'd seen before.

Eye glasses glinted in my direction. The monster's grip was creeping up my stomach.

"I can't trust you at all. There they were again. I don't know what to do anymore," shaking his head, unfortunate wretch. "Three rotten zucchini."

Oh, I knew those. "In the crisper," I offered, trying to be helpful. But the grip was sliding up my esophagus.

"Who cares where they were?"

I looked at the carpet. Threads were creeping out where the cat ate it.

"Every week, it seems, something new it seems."

"I'm sorry, I checked this morning." I couldn't take my eyes off the chewed up carpet. Bid puffy beige threads they were, unkempt unlike their sleek combed brothers, like a fuzzy peach haircut, as fuzzy as my throat at that moment, actually.

"Do you have any idea how many bananas we go through? We lose a few every week. Your mother just buys them and never eats them. It's not funny." His laughter stroked the nasty fiend who was now inching toward my lungs.

Every week we lost them, wounded soldiers, men with families; the bombs blew everyone to pieces, filling the air, smothering thousands with invisible pillows of beautiful grimy fluff. Peaceful painless dreams. Forever.

"And eggplant." And eggplant, big purple eggplant the size of those pillows, lying on fuzzy peach freshly shaven carpet, climbing up my legs, head banging into an orange spotted desk, stepping on my chest…

"–and I don't even understand. Do you?"

I have nowhere to look anymore, men dying all around me, groans filling every cavity, uncertainty in every pore, in this dead city where friendly fire in unacceptable. If we moved on, over, or out we might have had a chance, but there was no hope for that now. What did humanity have to rely on; love, wine, Vaudeville? Hell, why not the ragged breathing, dilated pupil, even accompanied by the occasional pillowy eggplant? Suited me fine before.

But this is too much to rely on, too high a percentage of possible probable error.

It was certainly easier to just say no.


Hands, knees, on a fuzzy beige floor riddled with tears. And I don't know how they got there, like a sick pilot now, lungs filled with the breath of war, breathing out bits of life. If a minute had passed, I could have witnessed a nation born of the ashes of its oppressor, speaking with tones of spite and sadness. A seed of dead dry rotten eggplant demanding its rights to a life it can't be granted. So many have perished for its cause but it can only grow greedy and hungry, leaving the powerless in its wake. Thousands on their hands, knees, like me, weeping under a muddied flag, not so much rippling as shaking in a moaning breeze.

But my watch spared me. It stopped as soon as it started. The monster recoiled and let me take a breath.

I can go away now, climb precariously into bed if I want, even though I know fully well that it will wind back up soon.