“Pull it up, over here!” someone yelled.
The beep-beep of a truck in reverse blared all around us. But its tailgate was too high. Several hammers pounding on it forced it into lowering to the ground. Which was a good thing - there was no way we were going to get the baby grand piano back inside, at a lifting height of over three feet.
Suddenly, hundreds of green peppers rolled all around us. They got scooped into laundry baskets and thrust onto all the kitchen counters. “Keep chopping!” voices yelled at me.
I did as I was told. But then fretted a bit, after I saw another truck pulling up with the eggplants. They got dumped out in a cascade of purple waves. The garage floor was awash in dark purple orbs.
And, I had no idea of what I was going to wear to the ball.
I got so mad. I kept cutting and cutting at the peppers, but nothing worked. Soon, the eggplants were tumbling in around my feet, washing in from the garage.
“Honey, what are you doing?”
“I’m making something.”
“You need to go to sleep.”
“No. There’s too much eggplant.”
“I know. Let me help.”
I woke up the next morning and poured myself a cup of coffee. There was a decimated green pepper sitting next to the coffee pot, along with a dirty spoon.
The phone rang. “How are you this morning?”
I yawned. “Sleepy.”
“You should be,” the better half replied. “You were a busy girl last night.”
Huh? “I fell asleep on the sofa to the mystery-thingy.”
“I know. It was after you went to bed, you got busy.”
Did we have sex? Without me there? “Pardon?”
“Where are you now?”
Was this the new take on “what are you wearing?” Okay. We’re married. I’ll play along. “The kitchen.”
“Good. Look around. What do you see?”
I looked around and took in the dozen eggplants, double the amount of green peppers, and triple that of Roma tomatoes. “A lot of vegetables.”
He sighed. “Yes. I know. Do you see one vegetable, in particular? With a spoon near it?”
“Oh. You mean the squashed up green pepper?”
“I do. Why did you squash it?”
There was a long pause. “I didn’t squash it. You did. I mean, you tried to cut it.”
“What do you mean I did? And why isn’t it cut up, if I was cutting it?”
“Because you used a spoon.”
Good to the last drop? “When did I do this?”
“Last night. In your sleep. I was terrified you’d fall down the stairs.”
Oh. He had a point. Although the spoon, obviously, did not.
“So now I’m sleep cooking?”
“What the hell?”
“Agreed. Look, I think you’re a little stressed, hon.”
I looked around at the vegetable kingdom surrounding me. “I guess I got a little carried away at the farmers market Saturday, huh?”
“Just a little bit. And Lizz?”
“Maybe you’re worrying about Mina too much. She’s fine. She’s a great character. Everybody loves her. But…”
“Holy crap! You think I’m becoming my make-pretend person?”
“Let’s just say, she’s having a lot of influence on you lately.”
“What’s wrong with that? You said you like her. She’s a nice person. She’s just a little… off course.”
“I do like her. But how much Eggplant Rollatini can we eat?”
“Ha! I didn’t make that sleep cooking! I made that last night! And, you liked it! Ha!”
He sighed. “Yes, I like it. And the neighborhood is going to love it. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not to mention the eggplants you haven’t cooked yet.”
“Oh.” Eggplant’s healthy, right?
“Everything’s going to be fine. This is just a new phase for you. You just released another book.”
“I know! The recipe booklet, that’s based on the first novel! Cute, huh?”
“Yes, very cute. And you need to take a day off.”
“But I’m working on the fourth novel. And I have to re-edit the third…”
“Okay. Just do me a favor, please?”
“Don’t go shopping without me. Not for a little while, anyway.”
Harrumph. Since when did I need a grocery chaperone? At which point an exceedingly large eggplant rolled off the island and landed on my foot. I glared at it. “Traitor.”
“Not you. The eggplant.”
“You’re talking to eggplants now?”
“It’s okay. They’re not answering back.”
“That’s good to know. Tell you what, how about I come home early?”
“Really? Did you get a cancellation?”
“No. Today’s just a little slow. I could be home for lunch.”
“That’s great! How about I make us some stuffed peppers?” Well, that would be 2 down; 22 more to go.
“Let’s go out. Beer and burgers. On me.”
“You mean, leave the veggies by themselves?”
“You don’t think the cats will hurt them, do you?”
“Are you kidding? I’ll pay them.”
“Just kidding. And hey, another favor?”
I grimaced a little, suspicion setting in – there’s no such thing as a free lunch, right? “Yes?”
“Please don’t start naming them.”
My. And just after I dusted off Edgar Eggplant from the floor, and was about to give him his bath.