potato peril (krusty_the_klown)
Potato Peril
Today sure is relaxing. I’m leaning back in the sun’s golden rays and let my already brown skin bask in its glory. I look over and see my friend Jim sulking on his stalk and staring off into the distance. I decided to call over to him, “Hey! It’s really nice out. Cheer up.”
Jim shuffled slightly and muttered, “Today is the day, Peter.”
My name actually is Peter, by the way and I’m a potato, living in Idaho with about a million other potatoes just like me. “Oh come on, it can’t be that bad.” But still, he kept drooping like an insect landing on a pesticide sprayed plant. This unnerved me because when Jim said something it was almost always right. Okay, well maybe it just so happens that he is always right.
“We’re going to get eaten.” He said, “The Day of Consumption is here! Humans like that farmer will feast on us like we were produced for. Those white blocks inside his mouth will crush you easily and you will get digested! They are the predator, and we are their prey! You will watch your own body be chomped into small bits! Your world will PLUNGE into darkness!” He was on a roll here. “Your whole life will end as you know it! Yet you still think tha-“
I had to stop him. “Okay, okay. I heard you.” Then I added, “well you can go enjoy your darkness while I go chat with Percy.”

But something stopped me. I felt lumbering steps of a human stomping his way through the fields. I stretched as far as I could with breaking my stem and caught a glimpse of a human carrying a brown burlap sack. It was taking potatoes by handfuls and stuffing them in his bag. Jim was ghost-faced. “I told you,” he murmured. The human finished row after row, yet he drew nearer and the screams of terrified tubers grew louder. We stared in awe and then the human was walking down our row. It gripped four potatoes at once in his massive hands that had a rough, brown covering on them. Gloves I think they call them. Then it was upon us. It grabbed us by our bodies and yanked our stem away. I felt a part of me die as I was separated from my roots. The giant seized me and roughly tossed me in the bag. The bright light of the sun was blotted out by a twisting mass of coarse fibers. My world did indeed plunge into darkness. I plummeted into the dark abyss of the bag and landed on another potato. “Ow!” she exclaimed. I groaned inwardly. Female potatoes are a whole lot touchier than male potatoes when it comes to contact. Worried conversations overlapped each other. Her ranting was cut short when another barrage of potatoes rained down on us.

Someone slammed into me and sent me tumbling. I struggled to stand upward. I could hear the groans of pain from the falling potatoes thudding softly on top of each other like raindrops, a sound I’ll never forget. I waddled around and cried out, “Jim? Jim!” I needed a friend right now and Jim’s knowledge of the “Day of Consumption” would prove useful at a time like this. But the bag started moving, and everyone else did too. A tidal wave of potatoes crashed down on me, the crest was a rolling mass of heavy projectiles. The laws of inertia were not merciful for us and the abrupt stops sent the potatoes surging forward. Once we stopped moving, the bag was lifted up and dropped onto a moving platform. I was blinded by bright lights and saw a complicated pattern of crisscrossing metal beams twisting around each other like geometric serpents. I was moving on rubbery surface that emanated a dull buzzing sound. Humans stood on either side of the surface and selected each potato at random. I was busy taking in my surroundings that I didn’t notice that Jim was laying beside me. He nudged me and offered a solemn expression. “Come on, we’ll be alright.”
Jim said, “We won’t.” and simply left it at that.
“At least we’re together again.” I offered.
“I do suppose we will all eventually be united by the paradigm of death.”
I uttered a ”yea,” in agreement and felt myself levitating upwards with the guide of another hand. The texture was of almost similar to the moving surface but not quite. Anyway, it didn’t matter because I was put into yet ANOTHER BAG. This bag was transparent so I could see the moving feet of the humans atop the dirty, grey floor. I looked up and saw the hand let go of another potato and it crashed into me. That was the last I remembered.

- - -
When my sense returned I was sitting on a sloped surface along with a crowd of other potatoes. Many other humans milled around in a blend of staggering movement and deafening noise. These humans didn’t wear gloves and all of them dressed differently. A human walked up to our table and
began picking up potatoes at random, discarding some and placing others in a bag. It looked at me and I stood frozen. Its hand reached out and picked me up, the fingers probing my entire body. At last, I was put inside the bag. Once it finished picking potatoes, it walked over to a rubber, moving platform. (Dejavu? I know.) I was then carried to a large object similar to the farmer’s truck but this one didn’t have an open bed in the back but a box-like cabin. The back door opened vertically and I was placed into a small compartment inside. The door slammed shut with a loud bang. I could faintly hear the footsteps walk around to the driver side door and step inside, and the vehicle roared to life. The car pulled out of the driveway and headed to whatever place I would have to survive next. After a long while of feeling the bag shuffle around as the vehicle careened around corners and halted at red lights, the car stopped for good and the roaring of the engine grew silent. The driver door swung open and a feeling of dread crept through me. The human opened the back door and at the worst possible time, I was shifted to the bottom of the bag. Oh no… The bag was lifted up and the ground desaturated in detail. Things that seemed large at ground level looked
insignificant at this height. I craned my body to try and see where I was. The room looked comfortable, cushions laid out and clean counters and tables gleamed in the evening sunlight.

The bag dropped down on the counter and I was frantically nudged to the top. The human reached into a sliding drawer and pulled out a cylindrical tool with a piece of metal attached that looked dull but had a long, wide cut running down the midsection. I looked over and saw an arched piece of steel spouting water like a waterfall. The sound
was none less deafening either. But something else caught my attention. The tool moved closer to my skin and in one swift motion, grazed over it and sliced a chunk off. I yelped more from shock than in pain as the tool went to work slicing away with reckless abandon. It made a horrible squeaking noise after each cut. The water from the spout choked me and through the surging liquid, I saw my skin peeling away and dropping to the bottom of the metal basin. I forced myself to look away. Finally, it was done and the cascading water stopped as the rushing grew fainter. I was dropped into a rectangular pan that echoed when I was dropped lightly inside. I simply lay there and wondered, who could’ve done such a thing? More potatoes were dropped in and the tool earned a nickname that was a chilling definition for its sole purpose: the potato peeler. Another potato dropped next to me. “Hey,” I croaked.
The other potato whipped around and exclaimed, “Holy cow, a talking potato!” He then chuckled and said, “Just kidding, how is it going?”
“Not bad considering watching every bit of your skin disappear.”
“I’m not that bad off because there was this spot on my skin that kept itching. But now that the skin is gone,” he grinned, “so is the itch.”
I smiled too, “I’m Peter, what’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you, I’m Wally.”

Anyway, we were all laying back and gasping for breath when another metal tool appeared. It had a square handle but with a curved blade that reflected everything else like a mirror. Naturally, we all cowered in fear at the corner of the pan as the human selected its next victim. I rolled to the side as the hand snatched up the potato behind me. It was lifted up and placed on the counter and held there in place. All of us were staring, unable to speak. One potato started to say something but in a flash of gleaming steel, the blade was brought down and it sliced clean through the potato’s midsection. Thunk! The other half spun a few times before landing on its side. Another potato was selected. Thunk! It seemed foolish to think that the potato peeler was bad. But this, this just wasn’t fair. Screams echoed through the room, soon to be silenced by the blade. Thunk! The thumping of the blade hitting the table as it traveled through the potatoes sounded like a clock bell counting off the seconds instead of hours as time was bound closer and closer around me like an boa constrictor gradually squeezing the life out of its prey. I was frozen in place when the hand came in and picked me up. I was slammed head first into the counter. I braced myself for the inevitable blow that would separate myself from my own body. I took the time to look at my bottom half. Oh, how I loved waddling around in our little games of tag when I was a small tuber. Suddenly, the blade shattered the stagnant calm and I was hacked cleanly in half. Thunk! The coldness of the blade sent chills through my nerves. The hand then scooped up all of the pieces and returned them to the pan. I glanced back to see the tiny remains of the blade’s crushing force splattered on the counter as a watery paste. The pan was then lifted up with one hand while the other had dropped the cutting tool and opened a door that was underneath the counter. We were carried down and I turned to peer into the suffocating darkness of the compartment. Rustic steel grids jutted out. An eerie warmness seemed to radiate from the black depths of the contraption. It seemed like it was breathing in and out, waiting to consume us like the humans that had created it. The pan clanged loudly as it bumped around the grid. A grating sound came from the pan as it was pushed into the machine even further as if to guarantee the futility of any possibly escape. The door creaked on its hinges as it was being shut. The light crept away and the shadows overtook the wretched metal box we were trapped in. A mechanical buzzing sound seemed to come from the very bowels of the machine. The room grew even hotter, the searing heat burning us from within. Apprehensive at first, we began to converse. I squinted in the darkness when I saw a familiar shape. It wasn’t Wally though. I rolled toward the silhouette until I almost bumped into it. “Jim?”
“Yes, Peter?” Jim asked, unbelievably patient and unfazed.
I gasped and said, “Is that really you?”
“Who else?”
“Oh wow. You can’t believe how happy I am to see you. But because of the way things have been going, I have a bad feeling about this. I also have a question. How did you know?”

Jim sighed and shifted to a more comfortable position. “Word travels and I have seen many things. I have seen the farmers eat potatoes, some children dressed in rags running over and stealing them, some of them nibbling their stolen goods as they ran. All I had to do was watch. And you could have done that too. Simply listen and be aware of what is happening around you, touch the sub-consciousness of everything around you, abandon your Earthly attachments for just a moment, and observe. That is how you gain true knowledge. It isn’t being the best at tag or finding the best place to hide in your little games. Hopefully, others will learn the lesson I learned. However, I am afraid it is too late for you. Maybe some day potatoes will be free and not be slaves of their own willingness to submit themselves to defeat. But that day is far off. I bid you farewell as the hour of death draws near.”

I stood in awe but was partly saddened to know that we were, indeed finished. As I turned around, I saw that the other potatoes had gathered around to listen to Jim’s speech. A high-pitched beeping sound came from the machine. The door immediately whooshed open and a padded hand came in and picked up the pan. The sudden burst of light burned my eyes after being in the dark for so long. At last, we had sought exodus from the diabolical cooking contraption. The cool air felt great but I nearly jumped after I saw tendrils of steam rising from my dark yellow skin. Saucers and eating utensils clinked in the cheerful room. Situated around the table were two smaller humans. A larger human with a voice deeper than the one that prepared us entered the room and they greeted each other before we were placed in the center of the table. A tool with a round ending designed to
carry objects rather than stab them picked me and a few other slices of potatoes. It then dumped us on a saucer that was in front of one of the
smaller humans. Other foods joined us on the plate. Orange stalks that called themselves “carrots” rolled on the plate. The potatoes and the carrots separated.

Then, something else spilled on the plate. A brown, juicy slab of beef had joined us though his entry was not well received by my other vegetable compatriots.
“Move it, dweebs.” The beef said as it pushed its way onto the plate.
The carrots and potatoes grumbled to themselves as they shuffled out of the way to make room for the meat.
“Hey watch it, jerk!” A smaller carrot yelled as the meat was covering it.
“Who just said that?” the beef growled.
“Me! Now move your big, fat butt!” The carrot shouted as he wriggled free. The vegetables started laughing and jeering.
“That’s it, you’re dead.” The beef snarled and started to move towards the carrot.
“Ooh, I’m scared now!” The carrot taunted.
But then a pronged stick called a fork stabbed the beef, stopping it dead in its tracks. A blade similar to the one that chopped us up started to cut a chunk of the meat before using that fork to place the beef inside the human’s mouth. The teeth chomped it up and noisily gulped it down. The fork came down again but this time, it stabbed right through me. I screamed in terror as

I was lifted up and placed inside the mouth. The teeth chomped me up into small bit sized pieces, pulverizing me into a paste. My vision became fragmented and blurry before I lost it all together. I began to fight the overwhelming power of the human body. I didn’t want to die! I pounded the strong walls with all of my might until I couldn’t even move. Then, I thought about what Jim had said. “Abandon your Earthly attachments for just a moment, and observe.” I felt myself get sucked down a tunnel. Then, I fell into an even smaller series of tubes that siphoned every nutrient from my body. Every ounce of life that I still had left was stolen away. I splashed into an acidic pool until I couldn’t feel anything. Nor could I see or smell. I had become eaten. But at last, I have fulfilled my purpose. I had joined all of my ancestors and met the same fate all that my future generations will soon have to face. But life goes on.

And then Peter was a zombie.

And so ends the tragic tale of Peter the Potato and his fierce battle against the tyranny of the human produce market. Remember this before you think that being a vegetarian isn’t as bad as being a meat eater.