Warm October

It was early morning without any sunlight to greet me, but the damned alarm clock was buzzing its head off. Rolling over, I gave it a good smack to teach it a lesson, and it finally shut up. My eyes opened slowly with a slight creaking noise and a low, rumbling groan. Sitting up, I stretched my arms to each side. Crack…

My eyes opened wider immediately at the sound. Not this again, I thought. Please, not again.

Stumbling from my bed and nearly tripping on the sheets, I rushed to the mirror. Yep, it’s happened again. Staring back at me in all its green glory was a giant head of lettuce. I’m Romaine this time by the look of it. Great, just great.

Though the sun wasn’t up yet, I had no choice but to start my day, lettuce or not. Making my way to the kitchen, I stumbled over some unseen obstacle that squeaked at me. Yeah, same to you, buddy, I thought. My coffee was already brewed, thanks to a programmable coffee maker. It was calling out to me, and I intended to drink it by the gallon.

After adding cream and paprika, I had a seat at the table and stared at the wall until the sun came up. I wonder if that clown is still out front. Moving to the window of my third floor apartment, I peered out cautiously. He was still there in his white jumpsuit with multi-color polka dots, frilly Elizabethan style collar, rainbow wig, and floppy shoes pacing back and forth on the sidewalk. It appeared he had dropped his knife at some point, which was encouraging.

With none of my clothes accommodating my new form, I decided not to bother getting dressed. With a last swig of coffee, I grabbed my keys and headed out the door. The muggy, hot October air hit me, and I felt my leaves starting to wilt. Whatever happened to autumn?

There was a time when autumn would arrive and the weather would start to turn cool. Now all we ever seemed to have was summer and winter with a few days of spring thrown in. The ground should have been crunchy with leaves by now, but no. The world was still green, and the leaves had no intention of leaving their comfortable branches.

The clown watched as I got into my car, but he didn’t seem all that interested in me. I guess he was more of a carnivore. The opossum seated next to me gave a nod as I started the engine. It gave a few coughs before starting, and I slammed the gas pedal to the floor.

After an uneventful drive to work, I arrived at my office building only to find that it had been flipped upside down, and stupid people were still going in and walking on the ceiling. I thought, This should constitute a free vacation. After all, my computer will be upside down too, and I can’t play on the internet and get paid for it all day if I have to stand on my head. The best solution I could think of was to leave and take a stroll through the park.

When I arrived, I stepped out of the car only to find that the weather had gotten hotter as I drove. I am not spending an entire day in the crisper again, I decided. I could feel the curly ends of my leaves beginning to darken, and it was a rather unpleasant sensation. I wondered how long a lettuce could last at eighty degrees or so, and I hoped it wouldn’t get any hotter.

The park was full of other people who were also skipping work. They were jogging or walking their dogs while others sat peacefully staring off into the distance. I didn’t see any other lettuce around, but I could have sworn I caught sight of a banana. Either that, or it was a guy in a banana suit. I couldn’t be sure.

The hotdog vendor had already set up, which was good because I was quite hungry. I hopped over to his cart and said, “I’ll have one hotdog, please, with mustard and sauerkraut.”

“Coming right up!” he replied in an overly cheerful manner.

Morning people. You can’t strangle them, and you can’t even punch them in the face.

He handed me the hotdog with a smile, and I gave him a few dollars. Heading for a bench to enjoy my breakfast, I looked down at the hotdog in my hand. It was long and furry with a hairless, pointy tail. What breed of dog is that? I stared at its soulful eyes and decided to spare the little thing. God, I hate it when they look at me.

Sitting the hotdog next to me on the bench, I offered it a few bites of sauerkraut and bread. With a grin, it devoured the offering before running away to roam the park at its own leisure. Rogue bands of hotdogs had been plaguing the city, and I hoped for its sake that it didn’t turn to a life of crime.

I sat on that bench for hours, staring out over the pond and listening to the birds. They’d been telling dirty jokes for a while, but I rarely got the punch line. Bird stuff, I guess. The day was indeed growing warmer, and I could feel myself starting to wither. A dark green sliminess started to drip from my head, and I sighed knowing what I must do.

Rising from the comfort of my bench, I walked away from the park. Just a block away was a small pumpkin patch, where the pumpkins always gave good advice. They were still a bit small, but they were shaping up nicely this year. I hoped they would be as friendly as the ones I’d met before.

“Hello there,” I said, approaching a pumpkin.

“Good day,” he replied with a British accent. “How are you, sir?”

“Getting a little wilted, actually,” I replied.

“That simply won’t do,” he said, shaking his orange head. “Do be a gentleman and kneel down, won’t you? I’m just a wee thing, after all.” He grinned charmingly, and I was obliged to do as he asked.

Well, here goes, I thought. I knelt down next to the pumpkin who bit my head off with a single bite. Crunch.

“Delightful,” he said, still crunching. He turned to face the pumpkin on his left. “George, you simply must try this.”

George took a look at the feast and decided to join in. Taking a bite, he declared, “Devine!”

After a few minutes, all of the pumpkins commenced crunching on my leafy green foliage. Pretty soon, I was little more than a nub. Yes indeed, I was the throw away part of the lettuce. Finally, I thought. The heat no longer bothered me, but I was beginning to brown a bit. Damn this October weather.



Text copyright 2013 Lana Axe

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