You go to the supermarket to get a watermelon, but they are all out of seedless watermelons, so you decide “I’ll just get one with seeds and deal with it”. But this watermelon contains something more than just seeds.
“You know seedless is a lie, right?”
I glowered at my friend, wishing for once that Russ wasn’t a cynical bastard at any and every given moment. I drummed my fingers along the watermelons displayed before me from a store’s last attempt to sell them to the public. They were half price, but the catch laid in the fact that they were no longer considered seedless watermelons. Inside the hard green balls before me would be an army of black seeds waiting to attempt to assassinate me by means of asphyxiation. I frowned, an expression I directed at my friend who was in possession of the money needed to purchase the much desired food. “But it’s half off.”
“I don’t care if they were free,” He shrugged and slipped his hands into the pockets of his green pull over while giving the fruit a contemptuous look. “It’ll just end up rotting on the counter.”
I grabbed one of the smaller melons and held it to my breast as if shielding the melon from the careless words, “What if I ate it all today.”
“The whole thing.”
“The whole thing,” I repeated while fondly caressing the rind.
“And if you don’t eat it all?” Russ arched a brow at me.
“I will,“ I racked my brain for the simplest task I could afford to do with a minimal loss of my dignity, “walk Tito for a week.”
Russ’s eyebrow had yet to lower, “For seventy five cents.”
In hindsight a week was a bit much, but I mellowed my regret with the promise of sweet, juicy watermelon in the near future. I cradled my chosen melon in the crook of my arm and rocked my way over to my friend to bum his pocket change. The check out lady gave me an odd look as I rocked the fruit like a beloved child while I passed her the necessary change to earn a receipt and exit the sore without hassle.
Russel did not look impressed by my antics as we got into his car and buckled in, the watermelon still nestled safely in my arms. While he watched, I lifted the melon up to plant a tender kiss on his rindy brow. Russ groaned, “You know that is really messed up considering you are going to eat it.”
Perhaps he was right, but watching him squirm in obvious discomfort was well worth it. “Don’t be so anti-fruit.”
After giving me one last look of exasperation, Russ started the car and we made the short trip back to the house. He lead the way inside, heading straight for the kitchen where he retrieved a cutting board and knife. The tools of torture were presented to me with a grin then Russ disappeared with comments about preparing Tito for a walk. I set the watermelon down on the sacrificial slab and took up the blade. Oddly, I no longer felt hungry. I tentatively place the edge of the knife against the equator of the melon and waited for motivation.
I patted the melon with my free hand while muttering words of assurance to the melon I was about to carve. I felt like a shepherd speaking to one of my flock, promising it a quick death so that it’s body could nourish mine. Drawing in a deep breath I pressed down on the knife to cut through the toughest part of the rind. I sunk the blade about half way through before it began to bleed. It literally began to bleed all over the cutting board and kitchen counter. I jumped away and I must have shouted out in surprise because Russ came rushing back into the kitchen.
He took one look at the oozing watermelon, “Did you cut yourself?”
“No,” I held up my clean palms as proof.
Russ curiously approached the melon and extract the knife. He muttered a curse his parents would ground him and I cataloged the colorful language in the back of my mind for future reference. He prodded the weeping cut in the watermelon, his fingertips came away coated in red. Then Russ proved how much braver than me he was by re-inserting the knife and finishing the cut I had started, putting force behind the sawing motion when it caught against something hard. The watermelon fell in two pieces, revealing the horror inside.
Russ backed away, knife still in his grasp, while I edged forward to get a closer look. It had a misshapen head connected to a body to shriveled and small with limb impossibly long and twisted up around itself in a fetal position. Russ had cut through one of the forelegs and part of the back leg. I reached to touch it, to convince myself what I was seeing was real and not a hoax, and that’s when the creature screamed.
I screamed in response and so did Russ. He had the knife, but I was closer and my panic more severe. I grabbed the nearby frying pan and started smashing the creature as hard as I could as it tried to scramble over the shell of its egg. I kept flattening the pan against it until Russ pulled me back and we both stared at the bloody mess smear across the counter.
“What was that – what was that!?”
“I have a better question,” Russ turned his widened eyes to me, “Are all those melons at the store one of those things?”