Tuesday
Jul092013

The Callous

Nate Liederbach


 

Two days before tomato harvest, the sisters must brew cabbage. Ten buttery heads, broth then triple-strained for leaning over, savoring the steam bath. Sticky billows coating both grainy faces, softening four black-stone eyes. Now stir in mustard. And syrup, much, much. Crank the flames. Get a real caramelizing twang. Before it's back in with the broth. Add barely a carrot, single leaf of leek, one purple turnip nipple, sprig of sage. Ample rosemary, garlic, shreds of parsnip, bay. Be not ungenerous with the sweet onion, but stringent with the bits of rutabaga. Splash vinegar, sea salt, black pepper. Sprinkle cayenne even at the simultaneous drop of two fistfuls of parsley. Stir. Stir. Make way for the pungent boar sausages, six throaty links first truncated to medallions, slipped off the cutting board. Again stir, stir—but mostly for more leaning in. To glim their goulash, nostrils ferally flaring. Shouldered against each other, the sisters. Eying such great infusion of animal fat, the sisters. How their concoction thickens, roils, aches, looses a chorus of hearty poppings that fill the little clapboard cabin, that rumble, seethe, intensify, intensify. Stew spit on the counters, cabinets, dappling the battered oak floor. While all the while the sisters' sinuses strain. Salivary glands blushed to veritable estrus, but wait. Not time to imbibe. Not yet. No, huge iron pot must chuckle on into cavernous night. Simmer earnestly, their meal shall. As the sun ratchets below the piney hollow's ridge. As so many raucous jays fall into wingless sleep. Simmer on, even as the toads jumpstart their chafing hullabaloo, rising, rising … and then immediately calmed. Which means almost. But almost is not done. Almost is a close that's further than ever. More than mere anticipation, more than spirit and flesh in primal tension; it's a metaphysical trial. How the sisters must eviscerate their ever-tenacious rationale. Like the forest boar's butchered bowels, they must prolapse mind from brain. Mind dangling free in the air's very electric currents. Only like this might they tap into a greater knowledge. Might their logic escape its corporeal hold. So the sisters sniff in agony and hold and hold. Bellies wolf-howling. Bellies gonging and gripping, so empty of themselves.

 

Midnight. Black stares doubling desperation. Even by the half-second. Eyes frogging, darting viciously. So close to attacking each other, the sisters. Teeth bleeding cheeks, gums. Fingernails eating palms. Each goulash bubble more sodden than the last. Each bursting a manic perfume. It's a reek nothing less than almighty victory. No exaggeration. A tradition of truth. And this tomato harvest will be their largest and most varied ever—Cherokee Purple, Early Girl, Green Zebra, Currant clusters. They'll fill up the three-quarter-ton truck bed, tarp it off. On the Friday morning they'll chug for town. Hit Saturday's farmers market, make a killing with the suburbanites. Flat fact because the cabbage ensures this. Stomachs gorged on pounds and pounds so the sisters' brains are distracted. With indigestion supreme, their dreams will relent. Minds loose to future certainties. Visions of any glitches with the plucking, loading, hauling, selling. Knocked out cold, bodies farting, snoring. Both sisters in flop and groan through a long and epileptic night. Though upon waking there's complete confidence. They'll compare notes—say the front left truck tire's dreamed to blow, they swap it. Say a revelation of mudslides closes the high road; well, it's off on the windy low one. At the counter. On their stools. Time to feast. Bowl after bowl. Slurping, hunching. Spoons lifting, one at a time. First greedy, then slower, slower. Lids drooping, lips sagging. Yellow drools of slippery, soggy cabbage—so, so, so, so, so, so, so much cabbage.

 

Wake way late, the sisters. Day's burst clean of the treetops. They're in a tizzy. Gather rope, burlap sack, wheelbarrow. Both dreamed it vivid as summer: ogre in the wood shed. Hasn't happened since before they were born. Not since the great, great grandfolks settled the plot. Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889. And with an ogre there's but one thing to do: give it a child. With a child, the ogre lopes back into the timber. With a child, the ogre forgoes tomatoes. Beast runs far and away, motivated by some instinctual sense of triumph. Though it will not eat the child. Or, rather, not immediately. But it will surely play with the child, and doubtlessly too rough. Because the ogre thinks it loves the child. Will hang it upside down, sift the child's fine hair. Nibbling fleas, pinching ticks—oh, but the child's head plugs with blood. Leaking from the nose, the ears. Though the child won't scream. No, not for the damage. Maybe squeak, gurgle, the child will, but from an external perspective its dying's rather gentle. So only now will the ogre eat it. Eat the child, but not for hunger. Ogre's depressed. Lost, and terribly so. A longing for tomato, but where to find tomato? Child knuckle gnawed here, loose scoop of fetid child buttock chewed there. It's so blue, the ogre. In its cave, years passing, and what else to do but eat?

 

Little Willie Farnsworth. Unquestionably the closest child. The sisters do not take the truck, but hike the service road. Trundle along under the power lines in their grubby green overalls. They have not brushed their teeth, what for the cabbage's drugged residue. Their chins stained. Their hair broth-matted. But four black eyes back to solid all-business. And here's Willie. Boy's perch fishing a muddy pond. Rod's jammed in the earth while he lulls in the root-lap of a gracious elm. About to reach puberty, the lad. Smells of mashed insects and brash metal scrapings. Or he's not lulling? He sports earphones, seems. A hand-held video game too. Oh, it's gloriously auspicious. The sisters tiptoe in, sack in hand—"Hey!"

 

Someone behind them. Someone shouting. They turn, too confused for alarm. A man in a manner of uniform. He's waving them over. He's calling them back to the service road. They mumble. They do not like it, but they trudge up to him. Two feet away, they do the thing they do with all strangers: one eye large, other a slit. Don't say anything first, never. But don't need to with this one. "Hey, hey! What're your plans, ladies?" The sisters shuffle uncomfortably. "Our plans?" And it's no uniform, the man's. Just a jumpsuit of safety-bright orange. On his head is an old sparkly blue motorcycle helmet. On both wrists cardboard tubing spray-painted silver. "Yes, plans!" he cries. "Most surely, ladies, plans. What designs occupy your lives this gorgeous day? Let me in, huh? I mean, yowzers! Two fine dames such as yourselves?" "Dames?" say the sisters. Their gazes shift nervously, up, down the road. Is he following them? "Dames! Chicks! Babes!" he says, and they grumble, "Tomatoes." They say, voices hoarse, "Our lives are tomatoes. We're busy with harvest. With its numerous arrangements…" "Tomatoes!" the man yelps with extreme satisfaction. "From where, pray tell? How? What? Some black-market dealings? What solar system? What nutrient base?" "Solar system?" say the sisters, but they keep turned sideways. Able to spy Little Willie Farnsworth. Boy's oblivious. Sees nothing, hears nothing, going nowhere. Still, the sisters are anxious, are stymied by this odd development. Why wasn't he in the cabbage dreams? They writhe in their overalls. They speak and it's hostile. "And what are you doing with your life, pal?" The man's face falls precipitously. He shakes his head as if to clear diffidence. It is a youngish face, but beaten. Worn to the cheekbones, no glitter in the whiskers. He fiddles with his wrist tubes. "I have no life. I wander. No life, ma'ams, only bitter memories. But do not pity me, please. Bitter memories ever since I got news about my old man. What news, you ask? Sick, rotten, belated news. News about my father via a derelict transponder. If you want to know. Oh, boy, that's my tragic tale. If. If." He rubs his eyes with balled fists. He looks over the sisters' heads at so many slow, puffy clouds. There's no wind. He nods as if to make some, feel some. Keeps talking. "Transponder, it's true. Just half-ass tinkering. Like with the gadget's battery ports, OK? Didn't dream for a moment I could, but I managed to wheedle a signal. Wouldn't you know, and here's my little sister's voice come through. Makes my blood leap. Why? Well because of the warp years between us, right? Between me and my beloved Wet-Wet." "Wet-Wet?" the sisters say. He dabs his eyes, nods agreement, continues. "Oh, little Wet-Wet, her scratchy voice through so much space and time. There it is, eking from that old transponder. Pleasant Two was where I was, where I'd landed at the time. Spent a good few months on that fancy moon, I admit. Shacked myself up in the Ritz. No joke, smack-dab in West Talc Gardens, I shit you not." The sisters exchange a defeated look. They shrug dourly. They lick mustard smidges from under their lips. He doesn't notice. Keeps talking like they're listening. Says, "Well, you know, I was lusty, so lusty? Young, dumb, and the other thing. Full, OK? And my paramour there, at the Ritz, I mostly abhorred her. It's factual. Her name? Oh! Don't even ask, gals! No, for I cannot recall. Or I refuse. But I will say she came from century-old, private-security money. Trust-funder. Beyond even that. Like baked potato." "Baked potato?" "Loaded, ladies, loaded—never heard that one? Yes, load, the girl, for into her banking accounts, and any time the sugarplum waved a pinky, her parents dumped mass ducats. Mass." He pauses, grinds his teeth. He adjusts his helmet strap and his voice grows grave. A small cloud covers the sun. The sisters shiver. "But you're right, ladies." "We are?" "Yup, such opulence didn't bode well for my girlfriend's constitution. No ma'ams, not one bit. Left that laser-gussied face reminiscent of brittle rubber painted over. Sure. But I was blinded by temptation. When we'd binge days on clusters. Or gamble on pit-fights at The Vats. Still, or at the same time, I'd fall into these hopeless hypotheses—my constant problem. Find myself imagining ways my girlfriend could change that might allow love to bloom between us. Know what I'm saying? The love of an idea? The White Goddess?" The sisters shake their heads. A crow alights on the power lines. It yawks, jogs its neck, flies away. "Oh, come off it!" the man barks. "You know! When you're with someone but not? When they're just a movie screen for the projection of your romantic anticipations—" He's interrupted. "Pal," the sisters hiss, "we're in a big hurry. Maybe we say goodbye? Maybe you keep wandering?" The man undoes his helmet strap. It's not easy. Takes both hands and makes him cross-eyed. Doesn't silence him though. "Oh, but I remember that feeling! Oh! Oooooh do I!" He moans a deep distress. "Oh do I remember! Hey—wait a second. You smell that?" He pokes the bridge of his nose. "That eggs boiled, ladies? What is that?" Vigorously, the sisters shake their heads. Their cheeks pale. "Don't smell it? Great. Just great," says the man. He sighs. "Better tack olfactory hallucinations onto my long list of ailments. Regular Job I am right here. Cast out, beleaguered. So where was I? Love blooming? Ah but no. No, confounded every time. Except I will side-note here how this gal of mine, with the big cash and whatnot, well she did boast a pretty cool servant battalion. All OrganoDroids. Twenty or thirty. Know the type, ladies? From the commercials? The jingle? 'Maybe I can't, but my OrganoDroid can!' OK, so those things are pretty intense. So simple making them do things both unnecessary and unnerving. Or uncanny—better way to say it. Self-cleaning, those things are. Did you realize? Makes sense, what with the nooks and crannies and mold. Oh, and also I've got to admit I really cherished the use of that Ritz suite's suspension-pool. And those floating trays of designer meats. And the hyper-bio cheese, too—just mind-blowing yum after years of scarfing fleet cargo grub. But, ladies, listen. Here's where I should really mention another weakness of mine. Just so were being honest with each other? Are we being honest with each other?" The man cranes in, winks at both sisters in turn. His helmet's heavily scuffed, acutely chipped in numerous spots. The sisters take tiny shuffles backwards. They hunch in on themselves. He straightens up. Smooths the front of his jumpsuit. "My trustafarian paramour also sported a throng of rich and voluptuous gal-friends. Listen. I want you two to know. And these gal-friends, in no uncertain terms, worshipped me. Absolutely craved my narratives. Wanted every detail, these rich girls. My whole dragged-out life and the lower-class smut I'd touched. Smut and grime, you see, all of it. Well, because they could never, with their decadent and delicate existences, conceive it. Was all fiction to them, all playful imagination." He pauses. Nods to himself. Fiddles again with the helmet strap. Gets it. "And all this," the sisters mutters, "is all keen talk, mister, but we've got to—" The man lifts a hand. "Hang on a minute!" Only half his mouth grins. His teeth are very white. It makes the sisters self-conscious. Sucking in their lips, blushing slightly. He doesn't notice. Removes his helmet. A flaxen afro springs free and the sisters gape. Can't decide if the hair is terrifying or preposterous or some manner of— "Hang on, I'm getting to that part!" shouts the man. Something in his face changes. His nostrils seem to thicken. His eyebrows arcade. He bellows, "Et øyeblikk behage!" and proceeds to laugh dryly. Then cough. Then recover, arms akimbo. "Oh, but you're both right, ladies! Oh how I super-sexed those rich little princesses and then some! Did so often and oftener, BOOM BOOM! Indeed, and solidly, and convulsively, and, unfortunately unsoberly"—talking faster and faster—"but you should both know that, following the act, I'd get ultra-godlike feelings! Start wrestling their silky-muscled boyfriends, too! Start sexing those fellas as if prescribed. Yes, knock all those pretty princes into severe, post-coital comas until soon, well, everyone was referring to me as The Callous." The man pauses. Wipes his palm on his jumpsuit. Extends the hand. "Ladies, pleasure, pleasure. What luck all of us meeting like this, eh?" Scowling, the sisters, but in turn they limply shake. So to, they cast looks over their shoulder straps. Little Willie Farnsworth, unmoved. "Yessir, licked up to me, the lot of them!" the man laughs soft and sweetly. "Looked?" say the sisters. "Did I say looked? I meant licked." "You said licked." "Grand! Mice and men. Mice and men. Licked up to me. Bunch of worthless puppies. Licked up to Mr. Supreme after taking their rightful beatings. Licked up to yours truly with their orifices leaking these alpha powers of mine and just snuggled into my fleecy pits." Pauses again. Wets his lips in wistful reminiscence. "And me, I'd doze off. Cozy to the sound of their blather. Drugged. Always talking, those rich boys were. Always torpidly spilling wildest hopes and fancy-prancer dreams. Bunch of trite twaddle though, all of it. All the same, I mean, these imaginings of theirs. So much hot air off so many gilded dandies yearning for harder lives, for tangible conflict found slumming distant galaxies, in actually having to work for a living, bootstraps, elbow grease, private hernias, Jesus, tomatoes, harvesting—that's some real labor…" His flow falls to incoherent mumble. Closes his eyes, whispers to himself or just squirms his mouth. The sun starts to pound. You can hear it. And the powerlines above sing so tinny. The sisters sweat, itch. They purse their lips at the man, an action of tremendous scorn. After a minute of his lips moving privately, the sisters say, "Goodbye?" "Goodbye is right! All just a vapid, chemical haze, my West Talc memories, see? But then again, sometimes my sense did manage to burst through, you know? Say I'm slurping a zoom-cherry, OK? Slurping it right outta the gilded backside of a moaning slave droid. Ever done that? Little static build-up. Bite as burst of juice and electrons?" He shifts his helmet. From under one arm to the other. The sisters shake their heads. Ball their fists. They're both gassy. Heartburn, too. He regards his feet. Says, "No, of course not. Pardon me. You're women of discretion, I can see. But I did countless tomfooleries. Not just the zoom-cherries, no. Like say I'm having my blood revamped by a home clinician? And most times right in the midst of episodes of most supreme decadence? Of course, this is when I remember my stories aren't just stories. Remember that I've actually lived them. Me, The Callous. And then massive panic. Snapping sober, I'm making plans to jet, get out into the real world again. You know, scrounging dangerous trade-routes, snag a gig on a pilgrim transport to some BFE planet. Get work in a Leoanium mine, maybe, practically nude, that labor, zipped on oxygen overdose and blood amps. But always I'd fall back into the easy-squeezy ways. Another drink. Another cluster. Another three-day orgy. Heck, ladies, but the transponder! My precious sister Wet-Wet! In fact it was on one of those sour mornings, after a week binging my anxiety away—corpses of hung-over brats strewn across the penthouse, slaves and OrganoDroids cleaning around them, preparing for the throng to arise and begin demanding painkillers—that I perched in my lover's atrium fiddling with that shit transponder. And sure, it was the only chance of contact I had with my home settlement, but, understand, ladies, I harbored no illusion the thing might work. Nope, none at all. But it kept my mind off the quiet chaos around me, off the guilt, the ennui, the myriad available droids with their pheromone vents, excess organs, programmed niceties—and then, shoot, magic!" "Magic, pshaw," the sisters snort, but it's under their breath, doesn't pause the man's flow. "Picked some grit off a corroded connection head and—wham. Scrap metal's suddenly working! Find I've got four backlogged messages. All from eight months before. First is dear Wet-Wet asking if I'd cryo-warp to her academy graduation ceremony. Second two are from Dad. He's been thinking about me, guy says. But he won't say about what—that was the first. Second message, he's irritated. He's demanding how I could possibly miss my stepmom's birthday. But then the last message is from Stepmom herself. Woman's voice is monotone, emotionless. She's saying, Anyway, your father has passed away and—and I'm like, Ouch!" The sisters take another step back. The man steps closer. His eyes are blue, damp. "Ouch!" he says again. Says, "Ladies, I don't know what sort of relationship you have with your fathers, but that news got me in the belly. Got the hell out of uptown by noon. Never, never looked back. But, alas, I didn't have the emotional strength, no. Not to contact home. Instead I sold the transponder to a nostalgia shop. Then I went on a three-day hike outside the city's secure boundary line. Dangerous stuff, but nothing happened. OK, not true. The stroll cleared my mind. Walked and walked, not caring if mutant bandits jumped me, raped me, stole my life, sold my miserable organs. Walking, talking to myself, loud. Running through the ways Dad probably died. All I could figure was he finally must have just valve-cracked in his synthetic heart. Jesus, the man was one hundred and thirty-eight. Not old old, OK, but no spring flea. Bub didn't have me until one hundred and five, and I still don't know the first thing about him. Correction: not anything before he met Mom. And then Stepmom—sheesh, whole other pot of shit stew. Anyway, ladies, my point is that a veritable existential wormhole the news of Dad's death opened in me. Decided I needed regime. Never underestimate regime, ladies, never. Within a day, hitchhiked to Laocoon Port, signed up with a headhunter agency. They were on the ball, those folks. Found me a gig in droid-circuitry repair at the Supra outpost. Fine short-term, but didn't help long-term. No, soon the world-weariness was back. On lunch breaks found myself marching over to the onboard college to meet an admissions counselor. Said I yearned for my future. Career, roots, community, who knows. Maybe family, a golden retriever. Maybe a rescued cat. A little tomato farm. Though what I did know. Well I told that school I knew my stuff. Absolutely a motivated dude, I said. And damn well-read, well-travelled. Sure, had blown-off the academy as a lad and didn't try placement tests, but was willing to take a stab at any evaluations thrown at me. 'Throw 'em at me!' I screamed right then and there. Oh, but no, we can't. That's not how it works, no, no, no. Bureaucratic bullshit. No, no, no. What the kid at the desk kept saying. Handed me these far-off dates for a battery of institutional exams. Exams! So I left. Scrapped the info. I'm no quitter, ladies, so mark that. Headed back in the next day, yup. And the next and next. On every lunch break, trying other counselors. Trying, but same empty yabber. Finally I get this sweetheart who'll listen. Nice downhome sort, and from a rock neighboring my home planet. She's patient, asks good questions. She plugs in my data. I'm certain she'll tug strings. After an hour, no. Starts shaking her head. Starts looking sideways at her computer. Goes flat-faced, sweaty. Says she'll see what she could do, but then sends me packing. I wait two weeks. It's hard. Fourteen full days then put a call to her. Chick doesn't remember me, she claims. But she makes guilt sounds and then does remember me. Gives me the scoop. Says she honestly tried taking my plea higher on account of my sharpness, my zeal, but got curbed. Rejected on account of my record. Says to me, 'You didn't tell me about your record.' Man, her voice, full of betrayal. 'Golly,' says I, 'because maybe I don't know of my record.' Or maybe I didn't say that, but sure wanted to. Didn't matter, gal went mute. I talked more and more, faster and faster, no. She kept mum. Not hanging up, not doing squat, just mum. I hung up. Went back to work absolutely floored. My record! Come on, so I'd lived a little. Right, ladies? I mean, look at you two, huh? Had your own crazy days, huh? Tomatoes! Some partying here, some bad-boy nights there? Not a little nose-candy? Maybe Walk of Shame or three? What's that on your chins? Oh, just kidding! But see what I mean? Had a couple run-ins with authorities, big whoop. Done my time. Anyway, lunch break over, there I am back at my dead-end job. A slow morning on the maintenance line. I'm all alone running prognostics on a couple droids. They've got tronic-joint issues, low vitals. I'm working out glitches. Or I'm about to when it hits me—Dad committed suicide. Of course! And, no, I didn't know how I knew it. Can't say to this day, but I knew. That night I downloaded a copy of the death report: crazy coot stuck his head between the airlocks on a skim-tram. Yessir, used some hacked admin code to override the censor system. Standing on the platform—according to witnesses—he just leaned over, stuck his cabbage inside, and said to the fifty passengers, 'Have a nice trip, folks!' Then the thing clips him. Right at the neck's base. Old man's smiling and severed head tumbling under how many sticky seats. 'Have nice trip!' Get that? I mean, that was exactly the last thing the man ever said to me!" He pauses. Behind them Little Willie Farnsworth, fishing. In the pond a bass jumps. Smacks the water, disappears. "Bass," says the man, looking over the sisters' head. Points at the water. They don't turn to look. He points at them, back and forth. Aims a meaty index finger at their chests. "Hey! Hey, what the fuck you doing?" The sisters recoil. Say, "We have no negative intentions, mister. That boy by the tree, we don't know him." "There's no boy by a tree," says the man. He says, "I'm right here and the tree has given. It is but a stump. It wants me to sit, to rest, but I will not." The sisters nod faintly. He points his finger at himself now. Says, "Hey, but what the fuck are you doing?" "Come again?" He shouts, "I know! I know!" Slaps his thighs. Laughs madly. "I know! Right?" He says, "And me, I said it! I said, 'What's that?' because, see, just then my line boss moseys in. So lost in thought about Dad's suicide, well I hadn't noticed. Boss screams, 'Man, what're you doing? Man, that droid!' I got to shake my head three times. Exactly, ladies! Just like that. Shake and try coming back to the present. It's a female model, doe-eyes leaking tears. Female droid, her face just alive with incredible pain. But her mouth's shut see, jaw slack, short-circuited. Seems I've buried my index finger in the gland port behind her left ear. Seems I've been scraping my fingernail on her compassion regulator. So, well, you know, I stop doing that. Clean my finger off with a rag, tell Boss, 'Thought something caught in there.' Boss, he glares at me like I'm Sadist Supreme. Shaking his head he's goes, 'Well if it wasn't nothing first stuck, something's goddamn stuck in there now.' I nod. I tell him, 'You're right. Caught for good,' and he punched me in the sternum. He said, 'Fuck you, man, no wonder you got that stupid, fucking nickname!'" "The Callous," the sisters say in unison. The man's eyes widen. He looks livid for a moment, might attack, but then grins full and extremely white. "Yes? Oh, yes! The Callous. One and only." He puts his helmet on. Stiffly salutes. Says, "Have a nice trip!" and strides off.

 

When the sparkly blue bobbing head is lost to distance, the sisters turn back to their target. Tiptoe up to the boy. Still gone in his video game. Slip the sack over his head. Little Willie Farnsworth, never a chance. Kid leaps up. Waves his arms but falls promptly over. Smacks his skull, out cold. One sister checks his pulse. The other grabs the fishing pole from its mud hold. Makes an obscene sound. She reels in a bluegill. Good thing. After arranging the boy in the wheelbarrow, the sisters are starved. In their eyes, low blood-sugar. Crazy spaceman in a motorcycle helmet, how? They start from each end of the fish. Chomping, smiling. Despite the time, all's working out just swell. It is. Their scale-dappled cheeks flash pearly in a sky-centered sun.

 

But what's this? Small manner of disappointment back at the cabin: ogre's not as big as imagined. Not as big, not as hairy, not as low-hipped. Because the ogres in their parents' stories, the ones the sisters remember from childhood, wow! Those ogres filled up all negative space. But still. Still this particular ogre is large, lumbering. Fur of its expansive back patterned as a male peacock. And the sound of its broad mouth! Oh, can only be called dedicated. Out of the wood shed, sniffing. One step, two. The ground shivers. The very stink of its secretional pores!—onion and French cheese on the wings of a storm! Gurgling, mouth agape, the ogre makes for the tomato patch. Only to pause. To turn toward a stirring. Little Willie Farnsworth. Boy's managed to scrape the sack free from his head. Managed to bat his eyes, though it's far too late. Like that he's folded over the beast's carpeted shoulder. Like that bouncing into the ferns and already a done dream to our sisters. Who, by the way, are back inside. Scraping hard drops of dull yellow stew from the cabin's counters, the floorboards. Candles lit, windows jerked wide. Tonight they'll eat light salads, say Greek, go to bed early. Tomorrow, first thing, harvest. Then load the truck for town. Maybe thoughtfully munch some tomatoes on the drive. But tonight, in their pajamas, climbing into bed, one thinks, What kind of a name is Wet-Wet? and the other thinks, Maybe I can't, but my OrganoDroid can!