You know you've sunk pretty low in life when your best friend is a radish. Well, I've hit that point.
Yeah, I was livin' on George Street, just off the center of town, back where all the kids hang about and hassle grocery store staff and throw things at old ladies passing by. It's usually rotten vegetables they throw. Little menaces. No respect for the elderly. Or anyone, come to think of it.
I lived in a little apartment with little air and little room. The lighting was the sort of lighting you catch in those old Humphrey Bogart films, black and white and you can tell it's not enough of it, certainly not enough to read by. So I usually sit in most nights, me and the radish, my roommate, and we get drunk on tequila, whiskey, whatever's in the bottle, really. We tried getting the milkman to refill our bottles with the original stuff 'd been in them, but you know how it is getting government officials to do anything that's the slightest bit outside what's printed in their book. And these days the illicit milkmen that still provide the sort of service we required weren't too worried that their customers were going to complain that their whiskey bottles had been filled with vodka instead. Government regulations being what they were, they'd cracked down long ago on milkmen delivering alcohol door-to-door, part of the influence of the Mob creeping in, forcing all good alcohol sales through their own shops and boutiques.
Before you get all funny on me, there was nothing, you know, like that between me and the radish. Like, I'm a carrot, right, a few of those stringy white freaky looking things pokin' off of me no matter how many times I take the scissors to them, sure, but I'm not about to stoop as low as takin' on a radish. I have standards. Well, sort of. Luckily, most nights I would be even thinkin' about doing anything with a radish I'm usually too plastered to move from my chair, so nothing happens but the two of us passing out in the too dark light. Besides, I don't even know if it's a compatible sort of radish, you know?
Now, you might be thinkin', "Ah, a clever commentary on our sofa-bound society, this is set somewhere in the future and we've all mutated or evolved or something into vegetables. Cute." Whatever form of 'how does one set of things get to this almost completely different set of things' theory you believe in.
Well, you just completely missed it, bub. Like way off the mark. Miles.
I don't have the faintest clue where the hell you are right now, reading this, anyway. You could be in the future, for all I know. You might be something like my great-great-great grand son or daughter, if I ever managed to make it off this couch somewhere down the line to meet a suitable carrot partner. Or maybe I met something else, like a rat or something, and managed to, you know, sort of do things that encouraged evolutionary wrinkles and bang, out pops whatever the hell you are, some couple thousand or million years down the line. To be honest, I'm a hell of a lot more likely to meet a rat than another carrot at the moment. If this were a gag, we all would have gone underground. We didn't, though. No, most of us are stuck in dingy, black and whitish apartments, drunk on cheap whiskey, vodka, rum, whatever we can get, half blind because, back in the early days we tried to read or something, but the light was too bad, and now we've all got eye strain, which is probably ironic or something, and we're afraid to go out because we can't see so well and can hear the hollers of the kids chucking their rotten elders at other elders that aren't so rotten, and because that's the way things have gone.
All I know is I've got this radish, and it doesn't talk much, you know, the way radishes don't.
Oh yeah, and my brother had been killed by a roving band of cabbage, who left behind a note with some kind of symbol on it and three cherry pits on his poor dead body. And someone was going to have to pay.
This, I have to say, is an early thing I wrote for a sci-fi magazine that's since gone way out of business. It might show.
It was the period, when Fob Jones hadn't quite made an appearance in my mind's eye just yet and I was thinking that the world was really, desperately, gagging for it ready for a carrot vigilante/detective sort of character. Ahem.
Judging by sales of the magazine and its' subsequent demise, I seriously misjudged what it was the world needed.
But hey, maybe now? What do you think?
Drop me a line, tell me what you think. Are you ready for a carrot vigilante and an almost mute radish sidekick?