“THE GROCERY STORE”

How is it that Leo Spit came up with something as extravagant as buying a carrot? What the hell did he want a carrot for? Could not he settle for the carrots he kept in the pantry? Why did he have to enter that grocery store? Here is an unfathomable enigma, one of many that raises the human condition. Leo’s life would never be the same again. But he had been free to choose. He had been given the freedom to pass by or enter the grocery store. And, in use of his freedom, he chose to enter. And not only did he enter, but he did something as absurd as buying a carrot. You will say: “Ha, ha, what’s so terrible about buying a carrot? Are carrots and vegetables in general dangerous?” Aah! I suppose you think you’re clever. First of all, not all vegetables are equally harmless! The danger of a radish, for example, is much lower than that of a carrot. And let’s not say a cauliflower! … And secondly, it’s not the same to buy a carrot from the corner grocer, that of all the life, than to buy a carrot from a stranger! Let what happened to poor Leo Spitz be a lesson to you!

Michael Schlimazl and Jacob Schlemihl were dozing with their feet on the desk when the doorbell rang announcing a new client. Jacob rushed to open and almost fainted because of the impression. There, in front of him, was a creature that vaguely remembered a unicorn. Except that instead of a horse, it was a man. And instead of an ivory horn, he had a carrot in the middle of his forehead. When Leo Spitz told them how that carrot had arrived there, Michael and Jacob knew that they had to face the devil again. Leo Spitz had tried everything to get rid of that damned carrot, but it was invincible. It was a devilish carrot! And Michael knew that the only way to get rid of it was to get rid of the devil who had infused it with that power: the power to cling to Leo Spitz’s forehead in an indelible way.

In the company of Leo Spitz, Michael and Jacob were all day long wandering around Brooklyn looking for the grocery store where Leo had imprudently bought the carrot that now protruded from his forehead. It was almost closing time when they finally found it. It was a grocery like all the others in appearance. So normal, that Jacob was about to buy an eggplant. Fortunately, Michael prevented him with a punch that left him unconscious, which greatly irritated the grocer who accused him of frightening his customers and threatened to “make an example of him”. Then Michael remembered once when he had witnessed the struggle between a saint and the devil who came to annoy him. Although he was a short and weak man, the saint gave such a beating to the devil that Michel supposed that for some time he would miss the desire to do mischief. But comparisons are odious: he was not a saint nor had he attended Jiu-Jitsu classes as the saint had done. So he thought it preferable to avoid the hand-to-hand combat. Instead, he challenged the grocer to count up to 20. In the case of Michael doing it faster, he would win the bet and therefore he would earn the right to walk naked in the store, thus frightening the customers, what the grocer feared most. If on the contrary, the grocer turned out to be faster, Michael would not only leave the store but he would buy a asparagus. The grocer agreed, sure as he was of his mathematical abilities.

The duel developed without incident. Naturally the grocer won, so Michael left the store carrying a asparagus. But first he had to give in to Jacob’s protests (“Why can you buy an asparagus and I can’t buy an eggplant? Is that fair?”). So Jacob bought a vegetable too. When they were leaving the grocery store, they both stumbled on a step, which caused their forehead to accidentally enter into contact with their respective vegetable that could no longer be pulled out of there. Now the three of them looked like horticultural unicorns. Back in their neighborhood, Michael and Jacob began to hear giggles around them. That was the third time in fifteen days that they showed their idiocy! Their reputation was at stake, so Michael thought of going back to the grocery store to challenge the devil again, this time to count up to thirty (Michael was better off counting up to thirty than counting up to twenty). But he was dissuaded by the thought that he might end up as a character in a painting of Arcimboldo: with his head full of vegetables. Instead, he went with his companions in misfortune to the archdiocese to request the help of an exorcist. Immediately, Brother Dominick put himself at their service, accompanying them to a small cabin full of watermelons. Michael and Jacob were unaware that, properly manipulated, watermelons were antidotes against the devil’s horticultural spells. Therefore, the three men attended a complicated ceremony during which there were readings in Latin, interjections to the devil, somersaults, litanies … When he finished, poor Brother Dominick was exhausted. But the last act, the climax of the ceremony, was still missing. The exorcist selected three ripe watermelons. He took one of them and proceeded to unload with it such a blow on the head of Jacob, that the watermelon broke into pieces leaving him unconscious. While Michael was recovering from the surprise, he received another dose of the same medicine. But when Brother Dominick raised the third watermelon, there was no longer any head to break it on: Leo Spitz had fled. Which shortly after was revealed as an erroneous decision, for when Michael and Jacob came around, they looked with relief at the asparagus and the eggplant already foreign to their bodies, dispossessed at last of their diabolical power.

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

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