Donald Trump was speaking again in yet another televised appearance. At this point, she only watched to keep her eye on him. You had to. You just never knew what would happen next in the theater of pernicious absurdity. But, she was getting hungry.
For the third time in twenty minutes, she stood at the open refrigerator door. They were still there. Organic spring greens, pre-washed three times.
Perhaps her motive arose from a deeply imprinted, Mediterranean gene expression, but she always spent the three extra dollars to get fully viable salad. And, that first serving…mixed with freshly baked Beauregard sweets, olive oil, Apple cider vinegar, a dash of Parm, a sprinkle of ginger…yes; the perfect gastronomic blend*. And, plenty more, where that came from, to serve an agenda guaranteed by all the gurus to melt all the sludge that had barnacled to her belly over the winter .
But, the week had been fraught with interruptions. Duty calls; deadlines. Easier to throw a cheese sandwich, or spread an avocado on the bread. Yet, this time, just too many vital days of life already passed.
She removed the large, canned ham sized plastic container, and opened it. Sure enough. The lettuce was talking back.
Greens were funny like that. Distinct from their isolated, molding fruit counterparts, lettuce created a certain society around its half life; each leaf seemed completely committed to the survivability of its own species. Why they didn’t all just give it up in chorus was beyond her psychology. No; only a few at a time, the ones prevented sufficient aeration by the amassed population, would begin their dissolution, leaving the rest unmarked by any sign of decay.
Even as the stench of each slimy morsel infused the entire collective, the majority was determined to rule. Liberal servings of spinach, endive, Romaine, and arugula remained. Would she play the conservative at this caucus?
The greens stared up at her, as if to challenge her most resolute bipartisanship, yea, her very morality.
Plus, the spoiling leaves were consistently adhering to the healthy ones, leaving snail trails on the surface of each. In order to rescue the edible members, one at a time had to be hand-selected, wiped clean, rinsed, and patted dry.
Here’s where the real would meet the road. Here’s where the mark of intention would confront the heart of the matter. Here’s where the gamete of the game would either take its chromosomes in the order they appeared, or wreak genetic relay. One way or another – selective euthanasia, or worse – the salad would meet its maker.
First, she decided, condemn the obviously contaminated; then, hose down the entire community. Next, dump the collective into the centrifuge, pumping furiously to spin out and extract every last drop of humid toxicity. Then, pour out the bilious liquid; separate; rinse; and, repeat.
Segregate selected, diverse populations. Lay in flat layers, on and under absorbing material. Wait, for nature to render a verdict.
The next morning, nature’s results were in.
The leaves were dry. They’d carried no trace of the scent of their decayed counterparts. She emptied a layer into a salad bowl, and mixed in the baked Beauregard, the oil, the vinegar, the ginger, and the grated cheese.
But, the salad was tired. Though bearing up in color, there was a marked absence of convincing flavor and texture. Not until most of the meal had reached digestive phase would she note the faint waft of spoilage. Had there been residue on her fingers? Perhaps the air contained spores? Could this be a ghosting of greens ?
Naturopathically bent, she went for the apple cider vinegar tonic, following with a denatured charcoal capsule. The salad had moved beyond her jurisdiction. Only the body, functioning as a whole, could feed the final conclusion.
She hoped the same could be said for the body politic.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 3/18/16 All rights those of the author, whose story it is, and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for your respect. *Credit to Amanda Kleckner formerly of Jekyl & Hyde’s/Erie for the loosely based recipe; credit to Chris C. for the inspiration.
Bon Appetit. Namaste.