Getting Back into Shape

Square woke up late that morning. Last night she ordered pizza and watched a marathon of Polygon Games episodes. It certainly wasn’t the healthiest way to spend an evening, but it was the weekend, and she felt like celebrating surviving another dull week stuck in the boring box of daily living.

She pulled on her favorite jeans, but the zipper was stuck. She tried her second favorite jeans. That zipper was broken too. She glanced in the mirror and shrieked. When had that happened? She wasn’t certain when the last time was that she’d really looked in the mirror, but surely she would have noticed that she became a bottom-heavy trapezoid. That kind of thing didn’t happen overnight, right?

Maybe she was cursed. Was that even possible? She raced to the phone and called her friend Triangle in tears. “Help. I think I’ve been cursed,” she said.

“What happened?” Triangle asked.

“I’m a trapezoid now,” Square said, sniffling. “Will I have to change my name? Will they stop inviting me to the family dinners? What if I never see my little sister again?”

“Family is family. The shape doesn’t matter. You won’t have to change your name, either,” Triangle said.

“That’s good,” Square said. She took a deep breath and felt a little better.

“So, you think you’ve been cursed because you’re a trapezoid now?” Triangle asked.

“Well, it all happened so suddenly,” Square said. She blew her nose.

“Square, I hate to say this, because you’re my best friend,” Triangle said, “but this isn’t sudden.”

“What do you mean?”

“Do you exercise?” Triangle asked.

“Well, sometimes,” Square said.

“When was the last time you exercised and what did you do?” Triangle asked.

Square thought. She couldn’t really remember, but of course she’d always had a terrible memory, so that was probably why she couldn’t think of anything. Because of course she exercised. “We walked to the park the other day,” she said.

“That was a month ago,” Triangle said.

“Are you sure?” Square asked. “That doesn’t seem right.”

“And when was the last time you ate vegetables?” Triangle asked.

“There were olives on my pizza last night,” Square said.

“And before that?”

“For lunch I had a burrito with salsa. That’s beans and onions and tomatoes. I do eat healthy,” Square said.

“And you ate the burrito without cheese or sour cream?” Triangle asked.

“Those are healthy. They’re dairy,” Square said.

Triangle sighed. “Let’s start with adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet. And exercise.”

“Is that what you do? Your angles have stayed the same the entire time I’ve known you. What’s your secret to staying equilateral?” Square asked.

“Yoga. And I eat a lot of vegetables,” Triangle said.

Square made a face. “That sounds terrible.”

“Well, you can keep doing what you’re doing. Eventually, you may settle into a nice, wide rectangle shape,” Triangle said.

“At least I’d be a happy rectangle,” Square said.

“It’s up to you. You have to decide to make changes if you want to be healthier,” Triangle said.

“Are you sure it’s not a curse? Maybe I should wear a few lucky charms and things will look better tomorrow,” Square said.

“Well, you could try that and see what happens,” Triangle said.

“I think I will. What if I did all that healthy eating and exercise, and then I found out it wasn’t necessary?”

“If it doesn’t work, you’re welcome to come to my yoga class with me,” Triangle said.

“I’ll let you know,” Square said.

The Vegetable Drawer

“Let’s call this meeting to order,” the peas said in unison.

“Do you all have to talk at the same time? It’s creepy,” the celery said.

“I don’t want a meeting,” a carrot said. “I just barely escaped the relish tray.”

“The radishes didn’t make it at all,” the celery said. “I suppose we should be grateful to be here, despite the meetings.”

“I don’t want to talk about it,” the carrot said.   “I’m not thinking about relish trays.   Lalala. I can’t hear you.”

“Oh darling, you can’t keep burying your head in the sand like this. There are always more relish trays,” the cauliflower said.

“I don’t care,” the carrot said.

“You can’t talk to cauliflower like that!” the broccoli said. “I’m going to smash you into puree and hide you in mac and cheese.”

“Calm down dear,” the cauliflower said. “I think the poor thing is traumatized.”

“The time scheduled for chitchat is now over,” the peas chorused. “The first item on the agenda is the seasonal rotation.”

“The more things change, the more they stay the same,” the cabbage said.

“But if change is a constant, can it really be change?” the onion asked.

“Every rule needs an exception,” the cabbage said.

“But is that the only exception to the rule?” the onion asked.

“Can you guys stop talking in riddles for a second?” the celery asked. “We really do need to figure out the rotation. If I get stuck at the bottom of the drawer to wilt, I’m blaming you.”

“Time’s up,” the pea said. “The celery’s request is noted. Everyone else will follow the schedule posted behind the mayonnaise last Tuesday.”

“What? Where?” the carrot asked. “How were we supposed to know that? Two weeks ago you left it under the mustard.”

“Submit your request for further information by leaving it under the pickle jar tomorrow at midnight,” the peas said.

“The pickle jar?” the carrot shuddered. “I’m not going near the pickles. I have a perfectly healthy aversion to the undead. I think I’d rather not know the schedule.”

“Next item on the agenda, health checks,” the peas said.

“Thanks to the fridge clean up yesterday, I think everyone is good,” celery said.

“What is health?” the onion asked. “Can we really consider ourselves healthy if we’re all just waiting for death in one form or another?”

“Yet what is death?” the cabbage asked. “Do we but sleep or is it life on another plane of existence?”

“Can it not be both?” the onion asked.

Just then, the tomato tumbled over the edge of the drawer and blushed scarlet. “Hi guys.”

“Are you okay honey?” the cauliflower asked.

“You were visiting the fruit bowl again, weren’t you?” the broccoli asked. “If you like them so much, you should just stay there. I don’t think tomatoes belong in the vegetable drawer anyway.”

“In the dark, can you tell who is an enemy?” the cabbage asked.

“I wasn’t talking to you,” the broccoli said.

“Calm down, dear,” the cauliflower said.

“The next item on the agenda is our plan for world domination,” the peas chorused.

“What? That can’t be right,” the celery said.

“I didn’t hear anything,” the carrot said. “I think I need to go now.”

“What is the point? More power, less power, what good will it do?” the onion asked.

“You know what, I think I don’t belong here. I’m pretty sure I’m actually an herb,” the celery said.

“The herbs will be first,” the peas said.

“I think you may have gone bad, dears,” the cauliflower said. “You aren’t sounding like yourselves at all.”

“Initiating health scan. Anamoly detected. Self-destruct commencing in two hours and twenty minutes,” the peas said.

“Does that mean the meeting is over?” the celery asked.

Bitty Bytes

Jason’s computer kept running slower and slower.   When he turned it on in the morning, it took a long time to wake up.   He checked it for viruses, but couldn’t find any. “I guess I’ll have to take it in. It’s a good thing my laptop is still working fine, or I’d get nothing done,” he told his wife.

“I hope they can fix her,” she said. “She’s always been such a good computer.”

“She?” Jason said. “It’s a computer, not a cat.”

The next day, Jason took the computer in to the electronics store. “Hey, my computer is running slow, but doesn’t seem to have any viruses. Can you help me?” he asked the man at the tech support counter.

“Sure, put her here on the counter,” the man said.

“Her?” Jason said.

“Yes, she looks like she’s a good girl. I’ll just check and make sure there aren’t any loose connections,” the man said.

The man fiddled around with this and that for a while.   “Oh, here’s the problem,” he said.   He held out his hand. Sitting in the palm of his hand was a little metal cube.

“What is it? Jason asked. “Dice have little dots on them, so it’s not that.”

“It’s a baby computer,” the man said. “Your computer is a mama.”

“Computers don’t have babies,” Jason said.   “They’re made in a factory.”

The man laughed. “That’s a good one. My mom always said that babies were born in cabbages.”

Jason waited for the man to say just kidding.   Of course computers don’t have babies.   That’s ridiculous. The man didn’t say that. Instead he was patting Jason’s computer and saying things like aren’t you such a good girl, and you’re going to take good care of your baby, aren’t you?

Jason sighed. He might as well go along with it. For now. “So, how do I take care of a baby computer?”

The man smiled. “You’ll need to make him a nest of microfiber wipes and keep him next to his mom. She’ll feed him while he’s small.”

“Him?” Jason asked.

“It’s a boy, congratulations,” the man said.

“Thank you,” Jason said. “He’s going to grow, then?”

“Oh yes,” the man said. “He’ll be a pedometer before you know it. You’ll have to take him on regular walks of course, so that he gets all the exercise he needs as a growing computer.”

“I suppose he’ll be a calculator after that,” Jason said.

The man beamed. “That’s right. You’ll still have to change his batteries, of course. But don’t worry, he’ll grow a cord soon enough. They don’t stay little long.”

“But I’ve had the same calculator for years.   Calculators don’t grow,” Jason said.

“Have you been feeding him plenty of complex equations?   If you’re not feeding him well, of course he won’t grow.” The man frowned and held the little cube close to his chest. “Are you sure you’re responsible enough to own a computer?”
“Of course I am,” Jason said. “I brought her in when she wasn’t running well, didn’t I?”

The man nodded slowly. “I suppose that’s true. Bring your calculator in and I’ll check him and see if I can find out what the problem is.”

“Okay,” Jason said. “Where would I find the microfiber wipes?”

“Aisle three.” The man pointed to a sign hanging from the ceiling not far away.   “You’ll need at least eight, so that you always have some on hand. They have to be washed rather frequently.” He leaned in and lifted an eyebrow. “Dust.” He nodded and leaned back.

Jason found the wipes and came back. The bill was sizeable. Who knew that he’d need maternity insurance for his computer?   Well, his wife would be happy, anyway.   She’d been so sad when their youngest started Kindergarten. Now they’d have another baby in the house. At least this one wouldn’t wake everyone up at three in the morning.   Jason eyed the little cube.   Well, at least he hoped not.