“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.
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.
“Oh lovely girl in the background of the painting,” the statue said. “Please tell me your name so that I can write odes to your lovely eyes.”
The row of girls in the background of the painting looked at each other. An older man, sitting on a park bench near the front of the painting frowned. “Which girl? Don’t you see how many there are?”
The statue looked confused. “The loveliest one, of course. The angel with the twinkling eyes and the mysterious smile.”
The old man looked over at the girls. “Nope, I still have no idea.”
The statue frowned. “I fear that your advanced age has affected your vision. My angel outshines the others like the sun outshines the stars.”
The old man rolled his eyes. “I may be old, but at least I know how to get dressed in the morning.”
“You have rocks for ears,” the old man said. “I’m telling you that you forgot to wear trousers.” The girls in the background giggled.
“My ears are the finest marble,” the statue said. “And I’m not meant to wear trousers.”
“Nonsense,” the old man said. “If you are old enough to go courting, you are old enough to be able to dress yourself.”
“And what would I wear?” the statue asked. “There is nothing here for me but the base I stand on.”
“They have all sorts of things in the gift shop,” the old man said. “Get dressed, and maybe we can talk again.”
“Oh, I see,” the statue said. “This is a quest. I will find the gift shop and win the name of my angel.”
“Yes, yes,” the old man said. “I’m sure you’re very brave.”
So the statue started out on his quest. “I should begin writing my ode now,” he said. “My love is like a lovely…Bear!” he said, as he turned the corner and almost ran into the stuffed bear lying next to the fountain in the atrium.
“Your love is a bear?” the bear growled. “There aren’t many here. What’s her name?”
“She’s not a bear,” the statue said.
“You just said that she is,” the bear said.
“I didn’t mean to say that,” the statue said.
“Then be more careful,” the bear said.
“I will,” the statue said. He looked around. “Which way is the gift shop?”
“Over there,” the bear said. “Through the door.”
“Which one?” the statue asked.
“The door to the lobby,” the bear said.
“I don’t know which one that is,” the statue said. And then he paused. “Perhaps what is obvious to one person is not obvious to another.”
“Obviously,” the bear said.
“I have learned something new. I must apologize to the old man. I didn’t realize I was being rude.” The statue paused to pull down some curtains and wrap them around himself. “That will have to do for now,” he said.
He hurried back to his pedestal. “I’m sorry I was rude before,” he said. “I now realize that I wasn’t speaking very clearly. Look, I got dressed. Please introduce me to the lovely girl holding a pitcher of water and standing in a fountain.”
The girls and old man turned to look. “The statue?” the old man asked. “The one with wings?”
“Yes,” the statue said. “My angel.”
“Oh,” the old man said. “We just call her Angel.”
“My Angel, may I write a poem to your eyes?” the statue said.
“I thought you’d never ask,” Angel said. “Of course you can.”