The Pickle

July 8, 2010
Nelson tossed the last bit of his turkey sandwich into his mouth and leaned back in his seat. He took his time savoring this final little piece of heaven before it slid down his throat and into oblivion. The lightly toasted bread was still warm, and it crunched ever so slightly between his teeth as ribbons of melted cheese danced lazily around his tongue. Finally swallowing, Nelson leaned back in his seat and gazed down at his plate, smiling. The plate was empty except for a few breadcrumbs dotting its surface. And there, looming near the edge of the plate, was the pickle. Nelson’s smile suddenly faded.

Of course no one was forcing him to eat the pickle, but on the other hand it seemed rude to just leave it untouched on the plate. The owner of the restaurant probably paid someone to take a cucumber and do whatever one does to turn a cucumber into a pickle. It just seemed so sad that anyone would devote that amount of energy to something that was just going to end up abandoned on an empty plate and eventually thrown away. Nelson stared at the pickle, contemplating.

It sat in a small puddle of its own brine, a runny, yellow-green liquid that had the color and consistency of radioactive waste. The pickle itself was drenched in the stuff, making its skin reflect the yellow lights overhead. It was a misshapen lump covered in warts, and its color was that of a bruise that might develop several days after one has been jabbed in the side by the end of a metal pole.
Nelson gripped the thing with his thumb and middle finger, squirming slightly as the slimy brine soaked into his skin. It felt wet and malleable in his hand but at the same time was stiff, as if somebody had attempted to perform taxidermy on a fish and this was the result. A smell like salt dipped in urine radiated up to Nelson’s nose.
Nelson weighed the brine-soaked cucumber in his hand. Just one bite, he thought, and this pickle won’t be in vain. Maybe it’ll even be good…
Ever so slowly, Nelson lifted the pickle to his mouth. As soon as the pickle made contact with his lips, a tiny droplet of brine attached itself to his mouth and slowly rolled its way down to his chin. His teeth broke the skin and crunched like a foot stepping on a small animal. Juice that tasted like ocean water crashed into the walls of Nelson’s mouth, and he felt as if he had just swallowed a tsunami.
Nelson yanked the pickle out of his mouth and dropped it on his plate. He pulled his knees up to his chest and rocked back and forth, the inside of his mouth feeling like it had just been rubbed raw by a giant salt crystal.
A waiter appeared at Nelson’s table. Nelson shook pathetically as the waiter began clearing his plates. As soon as he took up the plate that held the pickle, he froze.
“How silly of me,” exclaimed the waiter. “You don’t seem to be finished with this dish.”
The waiter put the plate back down and left, and Nelson was left alone, once again, with the pickle.





Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback