While I was meandering the produce section at Whole Foods, on the prowl for three ruby red grapefruits, I saw my former first grade teacher, Mrs. Meier. She didn’t see me, though. Thank goodness. But, given that I look a little different than I did when I was 7, she probably couldn’t’ve picked me out of a crowd of snobs anyway. Quite frankly, I wasn’t even sure that it was her. It really could’ve been any old white woman. And I certainly wasn’t going to approach her and force myself through a social interaction I had zero interest in just to find out. But, it got me thinking about the concept of entropy, about how all systems eventually break down and die. That’s all I could think about looking at this old woman, potentially my former teacher. She had to be a thousand years old, she looked it at least. I was in disarray now, I was gonna die one day too, probably not for a while since I’m vegan and I eat things like grapefruits, and grapes, and other fruits. But, eventually, I presume I too shall die.
While this thought was bouncing around in my noggin, like the three grapefruits now bouncing around in my bag, I rounded the corner and entered a new aisle. Something was clearly out of place in this aisle, though. Now, it wasn’t a bags of chips on the floor. Nor was it a broken bottle of wine that needed cleaning up (and a wet floor sign to prevent potential lawsuits). It was the fucking zebra prancing about in the aisle. Given that this was the first time I had shopped at this Whole Foods, I didn’t wanna assume or anything, but, I was pretty sure that this zebra was not usually roaming around the aisles. It just wouldn’t make sense for either of the parties involved. Clearly, some tomfoolery was at play here. I wondered if the zebra had escaped from a local zoo, but, there were no local zoos. Is the zebra real, am I hallucinating, do I need a coat hanger lobotomy when I get back to the hotel room; these were the sort of questions different parts of my brain were asking each other.
The zebra was not a fan of me. He kept giving me a fusillade of dirty looks that communicated this fact. I ran. Despite all of the confusion, I still had ahold of those ol’ grapefruits. Apparently, I valued them quite a lot, since I was still holding onto the trio of them in their biodegradable bag, despite having death personified as a groovy horse staring me down. Of course, running was a silly mistake by me. I don’t know how much you know about zebras, but, they’re faster than me. By a lot. At this point other people had noticed the zebra chasing the handsome man around Whole Foods, so I probably wasn’t hallucinating the zebra, for whatever that’s worth. I made it to the behind-the-scenes section of Whole Foods, the section that customers don’t see. Where employees do all the unloading of the delivery trucks, and things of that nature. I made it outside from there. Some workers unloading a pallet of zucchinis caught the zebra’s attention. Thank goodness, I have two surgically repaired knees, and the last thing I needed was to be running away from a zebra. Oh, before we move onto the next paragraph I should mention, in the midst of me running away from the zebra, I remembered that Mrs. Meier died my sophomore year of high school, so it was just a random old lady I had scrutinized earlier. It’s funny how the brain works sometimes.
From Whole Foods I made my way over to my Uncle Benedict’s house. Uncle Benny was having people over for a fire. It was the typical thing he liked to host during the summer months. This is what I was in town for, Uncle Benedict’s fire. This is what I had purchased the grapefruits for, Uncle Benedict’s fire. Well, really for the people at Uncle Benedict’s fire; it’d be really wasteful to toss perfectly ripe ruby red grapefruits into a fire. I mean, think about the starving kids in Africa (sorry, I promised myself I wouldn’t get political in this story. If you’re interested though, there’s plenty of political pieces on other parts of this website).
When I arrived to Uncle Benedict’s house literally no one believed me about the whole zebra chasing me through the Whole Foods debacle. They were just completely dismissive of my recent trauma. But, they had no hesitation eating all of my grapefruits without so much as a “Thank you Nick, we really appreciate you bringing us some citrus for this get-together.” It was fucking ridiculous. Whatever, I’ll have the last laugh when they watch one of the local morning news shows. You know, those shows where the same archetypal anchors do the same schlock every single morning. The news station will probably show the security camera footage I imagine exists on a nearly endless loop, with some corny title like “Zebra Fever” and over-dramatic music blaring the whole time. Then my family will be like, “Ope, there goes Nick, and there GOES A FUCKING ZEBRA! WOW! NICK WASN’T LYING FOR ONCE!” or something like that.
Anyway, we were all posted in a circle around the fire. I could perform a Dickens impersonation and spend an inordinate amount of time describing my different family members who were sitting there with me in intricate and extravagant detail, but, honestly, this story is almost over and they play literally no role other than filler characters for this brief scene. So, just imagine some pudgy, Midwestern, middle-aged people and you’ll get the gist. We were sitting there while Uncle Benedict kept feeding the fire some dried out driftwood he had recovered from his canoe trip last month. All was merry and jovial and other synonyms like that, so I left. Because, I am prone to leaving events very early due to the fact I don’t like people all that much, and I have much more fun on my own. So, I got in my rental car and navigated my way back to my hotel room. There I enjoyed a healthy, 8 hour REM cycle.
When I woke up, I put on my freshest jacket and a clean pair of knickerbockers that I had packed in my suitcase…okay, you know what, clearly I have no regard for the fourth wall, so I’m gonna be honest with you, but only you, I don’t actually have a pair of knickerbockers. I lied because it’s a silly word, and I wanted to use it in a story. That’s the only thing I’ve made up in this entire story. I promise. Perhaps I’ve revealed my hand too much. Aw well. Let me shoehorn a conclusion in here and we can all be on our way. My plan for this new and glorious day is to visit the nearby Trader Joe’s and pick up some newer, fresher grapefruits. My family ate all three of mine last night at the fire. I didn’t get a single slice. I just hope there isn’t a wildebeest or a hyena or some shit like that prowling the aisle ways this time. I’m really not trying to do all that jazz again.