This year, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Decided is putting it strongly. Especially since I had no plot ideas, little time, and absolutely no experience writing anything longer than thirty pages. In fact, I had a reputation in graduate school for consistently missing the page-number requirements. In my attempt to write 50,000 words in one month I have spectacularly exceeded my inability to meet page limits. Is that like a triple negative? I'm trying to tell you that I was met with failure. Here is my "novel":
It was dark and cold in the refrigerator, appropriate conditions one supposes for the inside of such an appliance. But not quiet, the cheese sandwich reflected sullenly. It was instead quite chittery chattery; arguments arose among the always fighting eggs, the kale was droning on and on about some sort of health care policy, the milk hummed contentedly to itself. “If only he had finished eating me”, muttered the cheese sandwich. “I could have achieved my full potential, spinning through his gastrointestinal tract, powering his every move. But no, that selfish overfed bastard left me on the table to rot.”
“Technically,” the cucumber interrupted self-importantly, “Refrigerators consist of a thermally insulated compartment and a heat pump to transfer heat from the inside of the fridge to its external environment so it’s cool as me in here and toasty warm out there. Lower temperatures in a confined volume lowers the reproduction rate of bacteria thereby reducing the rate of spoilage and waste. So Mr. Sandwich, looks like you’ll be around for a while.”
“Shut it,” snapped the sandwich. He viewed himself as a victim. The cheese sandwich was a casualty of E-bay, consumerism, hoarding, food waste – whichever of the modern-day, first world plagues you feel like naming.
The whole situation caused him to doubt his self-worth. If he had been spaghetti perhaps? Orange juice, sour patch kids? Those all seemed like they could cause a pretty nasty ulcer. All of that acid and sugar. But the singer was young and peppy. Surely he could handle it without having to face the nasty spectre of an eroded duodenum.
Suddenly the light turned on as the refrigerator door opened. Silence reigned among the foodstuffs as they listened to Patricia telling the story again.
“No, I’m telling you it’s totally true. He came into the restaurant with whatshername, y’know, that actress from that High School movie and they were all snuggling.”
“But why would he come into a diner?”
“I dunno. Maybe he was slumming it. Or hiding from the press.”
“And he ordered that cheese sandwich?”
“Yes!” she squealed. “And I snagged it. I’m gonna sell it on Ebay or something. Or maybe I can get some of his DNA off the sandwich and clone him. How cool would that be? A Justin Bieber clone?”
“You don’t know anything about raising babies. Especially not some weird teenaged music star baby.” She paused. “Wait. When you clone something are they born again? Or is it more like budding or spores or parthenowhatever?
Despite years between her and high school biology, and a not particularly diligent mindset, Jamie could still remember the slide full of Daphnia: translucent microscopic penguins full of eggs and with wildly waving antennae. “More graceful than those creepy sea monkeys”, she muttered under her breath.
“What? Do you want grape juice or milk? It’s all I’ve got with the kids around.”
“Grape juice, please.”
Patricia grabbed the grape juice, which shot a look brimming with hatred at the milk who swung by smugly, and somewhat vacantly, in the door as it closed. They were returned to darkness.
“Did you know that the optimal range for perishable food storage is 37 to 41 °F?” the cucumber continued. “That’s 3 to 5 °C for you Sir Maple Syrup and you Miss Kiwi and you...”
“We got it!“ the food yelled shutting him up for the moment.