Beef and Brocolli

From the series: Splatting Shit Against the Wall – Old or Rejected Writing Otherwise Collecting Dust

The carrots were easily and by far the most conceited item in the course. After all, they were the most colorful and were cut to resemble little lightning bolts.

Bill came to Magic Wok Express about every other day and ordered the same thing so the cast of characters were by now well acquainted.

It was Tuesday and the lunch was winding down much the way it usually did, with the carrots stirring shit up with the little remaining rice.

“Dudes…you ain’t nothing. You’re so basic…..just steamed and served. There’s no preparation to you or anything. At least with the broccoli, he gets trimmed. You’re the absolute bottom of the food chain.”

The few rice kernels remaining on the platter defended themselves with their well rehearsed rebuttal, “No we’re not. We’re a good source of starch and vitamins. It’s proven. And if you’re such hot shit, why’s he never eat you?”

It was true. This Bill was not partial to the carrots. He always left a pile of them on the plate, covered in brown sauce.

The carrots sloughed off the question and continued to browbeat the poor rice, who were clearly outwitted and outnumbered. Culinary arguments aside, rice was an easy target when it came to effortlessly gained ego marks.

But today was a bit different. The remains of the chewier pieces of broccoli and beef that had been spat aside, the dribbles of egg drop soup left in the bowl and the crumbs of the egg roll had finally had enough of the carrots’ bullshit. They’d heard it all before so this time they stuck up for the rice in an offense they hoped would finally shut those arrogant carrots up for good.

“Carrots, especially you, the biggest, fattest, loudest one that keeps instigating all this shit, how’s about shutting the fuck up!!!!”, the crumbs of the egg roll bellowed. “We hear your fat mouth every day and it’s getting to be just about enough.”

“Ah….tough guy egg roll!!!! So you want some of this, Bro?”, the fattest carrot slice replied with threatening confidence.

“Yo, it’s not about being, tough…it’s about you being an asshole,” the soup added, backing up his buddy egg roll. “Don’t you see, we were all eaten. Me, egg roll, the beef, the broccoli and the rice……he leaves your sorry ass behind because you’re nothing but cheap filler and garnish that’s thrown in at the end. Fortune cookie would tell you the same thing but he was gone in two bites.”

The soup continued, “You’re not even cooked, which is why this dude never eats you. If it wasn’t for us, you’d still be sitting in the fridge, praying to find a home in a different meal.” Soup wanted to add, “A different meal… that low-rent Moo Goo Gai Pan” but decided such a bigoted comment wouldn’t help his cause.

Through all this, the carrots had kept right on arguing with the rice. They’d heard everything, but pretended not to.

So the soup, getting angry now, changed tactics. This time he addressed the rice. “Hey rice!!!!! How about just not listening to those assholes. They’re just talking down to you to try to make themselves feel better for not getting touched. Just don’t play their game.”

“What??? Why???”, cried the rice over the carrots’ ongoing barrage of harassment. “We can’t hear a thing with these blowhards going on and on….”

Egg roll chimed in again with yet another tactic. “Carrots!!!! What makes you think you’re so great and glamorous? Don’t you know that of all of us, you’re the ones that grow underground….in the dirt and amongst the worms? Even the edible part of the broccoli grows above ground. So who are you to be so high and mighty when your roots are so humble?”

But the fat carrot slice was quick to retort for he’d thought this all the way through many times before. “Rice grows in mud!!!! Rice grows in mud!!!! Rice grows in mud!!!!”

Nearly exasperated with this fool, the broccoli bits thought they’d give it one final shot. “How about this. The dude went in to take a leak and he’s gotta come back to pay the check. When he was in here that time with the cute chick, we all heard him tell her, “Yeah, I like this place and the beef and broccoli is awesome but I could do without these carrots. They’re still raw.””

Broccoli went on, “So how about when he comes back out, we set things straight by just askin’ him?”

“Nah, Man. You’re just making that stuff up,” the fat carrot replied. “Don’t listen to this guy,” he instructed his cohorts. “He thinks he’s all holier-than-thou but he gives everybody gas!!!!!”

Gasps and a few “my God”’s from the other carrots followed this revelation.

That shut brocolli up quick. It was his secret shame, now made public. He thought to proclaim, “No!!! It’s not me. It’s the brown sauce.” But, that claim was mostly unfounded and it would be unethical to pin it on the sauce just to cover his own ass.

“But we all heard it, even you, that he doesn’t like the carrots” said the gristle, finally adding his two cents to the discussion.

There were some murmurs and mumbles among the carrots.

Fat carrot tried to keep calm among his ranks, “I didn’t hear nothing. Besides, I’m talking with the rice right now so I don’t have time for this Perry Mason bullshit.”

Bill came back, sat down and opened his wallet. He’d been gone awhile, probably taking a crap. Since the carrots were in a big pile and there was hardly any of the broccoli or beef or soup or egg roll left, the carrots had the loudest collective voice. The others raised their voices to ask Bill about the carrots but the carrots drown them out with their continued belittlement of the rice, pretending to be unaware of Bill’s return.

So Bill just paid his check and left, leaving a decent tip.

He was back again on Thursday and the same bullshit between the rice and carrots started all over again. This time the others remained quiet.

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