Aftertaste- a Flash Fiction Tale

“I’m Matthew Selles. A gentleman of cultured taste. And this is Bella Vodka. A vodka of cultured spirit.”

I’m always surprised to hear my own voice. But I think I sound convincing. And my hair looks great. But the Bella Vodka people haven’t called me in months. Maybe I should look for my next promo modeling gig. Or maybe I should give in and take EDIC Inc’s offer. Money talks louder than morals.

Time for my morning cube. And I’ll give this copy another shot.

Full-length mirror, squared shoulders, gelled hair.

“Do you want optimal nutrition, but also want to avoid dangerous GMOs? Are organic food markets too pricey and too far from home? Then join me in reaching full nutrition potential with the EDIC system.”

No. Didn’t sound convincing. Maybe if I try another cube.

“Upgrade from outdated eating habits to the modern method of optimum nutrition with Essential Daily Intake Cubes.”

Sounds like I’m selling snake oil. I can’t sell these cubes with great hair alone.

—–

“Hey Matt, it’s Freddie.”

“What’s up?”

“Just checking to see if you’re still on board.”

“Absolutely.”

“Great. I want to make sure you don’t feel any allegiance to EDIC. You know the EDIC system’s selling point is the untested appetite suppressant they put in the cubes. With you being a promo model, they probably tried to sway you with their ‘upgraded cubes’ deal. After losing an ally to Stan Moon Farms, I thought I had to ask.”

“I’m in this for the money. And to help with the cause, of course.”

“You’re a peach. People don’t realize how evil EDIC is. Their black ops work for Stan Moon, you know. They supply Moon with chemical contracts and lobby the government to abolish GMO laws. And with Moon on the government’s payroll, we need all the help we can get.”

“I love food. Real food. Count me in.”

“Sweet. By the way, what are the cubes like?”

“Eschewable.”

“That bad?”

“Yeah. Tasteless and rubbery.”

“How people can give up real food is beyond me.”

“Well, real food is hard to get these days. Unless you want to get over-charged and hassled by cops at a farmers’ market.”

—–

Baggy clothes, check. Hat, check. Sunglasses, check. Self-destruction. It’s what’s for dinner. More cops at the farmers’ market this year. And everybody looks paranoid, not just the vendors. And if I’m recognized, I’m toast.

But… it’s so sexy. Fresh, verdant, organic cilantro and parsley, scrunchy and still wet with dew. People eating pesticide-free plums and persimmons out in the open. They’re even eating non-GMO tomatoes, juice dripping off their elbows. Decadent. Overwhelming. I have to taste food.

“A beet, a fig, and a bag of carrots, please.”

“Twenty-four dollars.”

“Keep the change. Thanks.”

So weak. Can’t wait. Pretty sure no one’s looking. The beet is warm. Still has dirt from the field.

“Thank you for this, which I am about to receive.”

Skin and all. Firm and raw. Oozing purple. Sweet, crunchy, earthy prime nectar. And it’s gone.

Lips are stained. Hands are stained.

So ashamed.

—–

“Matt Selles, EDIC’s promo model, at Pensacola Farmers’ Market. I’m in awe. You sure no one recognized you?”

“Pretty sure.”

“What did you get?”

“A fig. I’m looking at it now. I have it on silver plate. I even lit a candle. Freddie, am I crazy?”

“No, man, you’re not crazy. Go on.”

“There’s a label on it. Says ‘Mission Fig.’ The label is covering a crack.”

“I heard if a fig is cracked, there might be a wasp in it. You gonna open it?”

“I’m getting a knife now. What’s that about a wasp?”

“It’s probably just a myth. Open it. Tell me what you see.”

“I peeled off the label. It’s like this fig is… too alive. Or maybe… too primal. It’s purple-black, like a bruise. Oh… I smelled it. It smells like a peach. And the knife slides right through. The inside is like a strawberry. Red with seeds. I gotta go.”

—–

Dice carrots. Put in a pot. Add water and salt. Boil. Just like mom used to make.

But the smell is not like I remember. Too intense. Carrot overload. Headache-y. Gotta eat them anyway. Nobody likes cold, mushy carrots.

—–

“Remember, this part is crucial. You sure nobody will be at the headquarters?”

“I’m sure, Freddie. Show up at two a.m., and the gate will be unlocked.”

“Thanks, man. You’re a hero.”

Damn this headache. No more pills, no more cubes. I just want food.

Carrots. The only thing in the fridge.

Pry the lid off the bowl. Unwrap the foil. Unwrap the plastic. Five carrot slices left, cold and mushy. One by one, smash with my tongue.

I taste nothing.

Tasteless, like a cube.

At least cubes have texture.

A quick blood analysis, and print. Another cube with a Bella Vodka chaser. The last of the Bella Vodka. The first of my upgraded cubes.

Sleepy.

—–

Warm. Bright. A great night’s sleep, finally. Even though I left the TV on again.

“…the terrorists were part of an organization that infiltrated farmers’ markets across the nation. The terrorists posed as vendors, and sold poisoned produce to unsuspecting customers. In related news, four terrorists were arrested in a sting outside the EDIC headquarters in Pensacola early this morning. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about this story.”

Depressing. I’ll give channel five a shot.

Serendipity. My commercial’s on.

“…kit comes with an instructional DVD, 3-D EDIC printer, and blood-nutrient analyzer. A non-invasive blood analysis calculates your nutritional needs, and your printer prints a cube you can chew or swallow with water. Each cube is precisely formulated to meet your minimum daily nutrition and calorie requirements, based on your individual analysis, taking into account your age, gender, lifestyle, and any pre-existing health conditions.”

I’m always surprised to hear my own voice. But I think I sound convincing. And my hair looks great.

*

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8 Comments

  1. Okay, now you’re really creeping me out. Brains, zombies, and unidentifiable slime are fine, but messing with food is just scary.

    Reply
  2. P.S. “Eschewable”… *snork!*

    Reply
    • Scary is right- I drew my inspiration straight from recent headlines. It’s amazing what “Stan Moon” gets away with, huh?

      Reply
  3. Oh my god. I really don’t care much for flash fiction, but every once in a while you drag me in with the first few lines. Creepy isn’t even the word for it. You’re a flash fiction genius. Maybe just a genius. You may convert me to trying one or two of my own.

    But check out the pesticide-free permissions. Couldn’t possibly have meant persimmons? Just got your twingue tusted, is all.

    Reply
    • Wow and thank you! 🙂 The first few lines? hehe

      And yes indeed, permissions are persimmons. On the rare occasions that I spell that word out, I end up with “permissions.” I’m tempted to leave it though. Interesting psychology and all that. And you should see all the typos before I correct them. (You probably already have, if you read my posts straight from email. I’m usually only good at finding typos AFTER I click on “publish.”)

      I look forward to your go at flash fiction!

      Reply
      • It’s a law of nature that typos don’t show up until after you hit “publish.” Don’t fight it.

  4. Hi CM –
    Excellent story –
    I had a story about GMO corn that I think I submitted to one of Wendig’s FF contests. It’s very scary (the government control of food – not so much my story).
    Moving on to read a few more of your tales…
    Take good care –
    Bob

    Reply
    • Good to see you again, Bob! 🙂 Glad you’re back. Also glad you enjoyed my tale. Yep, food is becoming scarier every year!

      Last month I went flash fiction crazy, maybe you’ll find another enjoyable tale in there somewhere. Now I must go see what you’ve been up to . .

      Reply

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