“Whimsical Pickles on a Bicycle Built for Two” by Alison DeBenedictis
Pickles. Love them or loathe them, they’re part of our lives. Oftentimes more so than we could ever possibly imagine or comprehend. Take for example this thrilling tale of a pickle that promises to change everything in the lives of two unsuspecting people. Written on the 28th February 2017. This story is suitable for vegetarians.
“A Bit of a Pickle“
“I swear that’s it!” shouted Donna, pointing at the innocuous-looking pickle lying on the carpet.
“Is it nothing!” retorted Alf, giving it a weird look. Surely it wasn’t true?
“It is, Alf! It’s the Pickle of Destiny!”
The Pickle of Destiny was a legendary pickle spoken of in local…well, legend. People said it would grant whomsoever found it the power to will their wildest dreams into realities. All they had to do was grasp the pickle with both hands, close their eyes and pray to the Pickle God.
“How do you know this is it?” asked Alf, picking the curious item up off the floor and brushing the dog hairs off it.
“How many pickles have you known to materialise in the middle of your living room?” Donna fired back, huddling close and helping pick the grey hairs off its green and bumpy sides.
It was a fair point, Alf hadn’t seen a pickle appear out of thin air and flop onto the carpet before, not until a few minutes ago anyway. There was a pretty good chance this really was the Pickle of Destiny.
“Well, what if it is? What now? What do we wish for?” Alf looked around the living room for inspiration. They needed a new sofa, that could be a start. “What about the suite?”
Donna looked at the faux leather three-seater against the far wall and its accompanying chairs. They were pretty worn out, and they had been talking about getting it replaced recently anyway. “Okay, we’ll give it a try. Pass it here”. Alf passed the pickle with both hands, careful not to drop it, lest the dog came into the room and ate both it and their wildest dreams.
Alf took a step back and watched as his wife hugged the little green vegetable with both hands, closed her eyes and addressed the Pickle God out loud. “Dear mighty Pickle God, I ask of you to bequeath us the gift of a nice new three piece suite, preferably with real brown leather. Actually no, make it cream, I don’t want the dog hair to show up on it. Thanks”.
Alf lowered his eyebrows and shook his head slowly. “Bequeath?” he asked mockingly.
Just then the room lit up with a radiant green light, and in the next moment their worn-out seating arrangement was replaced with a brand new real leather affair complete with matching cushions. “Gosh!” blurted Alf in disbelief. “It really is the Pickle of Destiny! Imagine all the cool things we can do with it!”
“What should we do with it next?” asked Donna excitedly.
Alf took a seat on the nice new leather sofa and thought about it for a second. “Oh, I know!” he announced. “You know how when we go shopping I hate how busy it is?”
“Yes,” replied Donna, wondering where he was going with this. “What about it?”
“Give me the pickle and you’ll find out!”
Alf was handed the pickle. He hugged it tight, closed his eyes and addressed the Pickle God. “Dear Pickle God, I kindly ask that the next time we go shopping down the street all the other people disappear and we get the whole place to ourselves. Thanks”.
“Nothing’s happening,” said Donna after a moment of awkward silence.
“That’s because we’ve not went shopping yet. Let’s go out right now and see”.
The couple left the house and began walking into town. There was absolutely no one else in sight. Luckily, their local Tesco had self-serve checkouts and so they didn’t even need a cashier, and in no time they were back home again with lots of bags of shopping and none of the hassle that comes with dealing with other people.
“That was great!” beamed Alf, cracking open a can of beer. “I can’t wait to see what we get up to with this thing tomorrow. Here, let’s put it in the fridge for safekeeping, I don’t know if the Pickle of Destiny goes off if you keep it out in the open too long”.
Donna and Alf hit the hay and enjoyed a nice peaceful slumber filled with fanciful dreams about the future, now that the most famous pickle in the history of pickles was in their possession.
The next morning Donna wished for a new coffee maker and an automated kitchen that cooked them a deliciously hearty breakfast. Alf wished for the best shower on the planet and enjoyed a good scrub. After redecorating the entire house, adding several additional wings, turrets and towers, they decided to head out for a stroll to tell all their friends and family the good news.
As they walked down the street they transformed local parks into world-class zoos, replaced all the street lights with ones made out of solid gold and encrusted them in diamonds. They even took it upon themselves to turn the pigeons into something a tad less horrible: graceful eagles that could and did play the harp. It was a very productive walk indeed.
“Hey, you know what’s weird?” asked Alf as he passed the pickle to his wife after turning the sky purple because he was a big Prince fan.
“What?” replied Donna, readying herself to wish for a nicer handbag.
“We haven’t seen anybody else out today”.
It was true, they’d been out of the house around twenty minutes now and not one person had they laid eyes on. It was very strange. They contemplated this weirdness as they entered the Lider Centre; the largest shopping centre in town.
“Alf, what’s going on?” Donna had stopped thinking about a new handbag and instead stood still, looking around at the utterly empty mall. There was nobody around. Not a soul. They were the only people in the what was normally the busiest place in the entire town.
“Oh cripes…” Alf’s words trailed off.
“What?” asked his significant other.
“I think there’s a small chance we were wrong about the Pickle of Destiny”.
Donna stared at Alf for a second, trying to figure out what he could possibly mean. Then it dawned on her too. “Oh no. You’re kidding me. You don’t think we–”
“That’s right babes, I think we mistook the Pickle of Destiny for the Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience”.
“For the love of the Pickle God, I don’t believe this!”
“The Pickle God’s got nothing to do with this, Donna. The Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience is the unholy property of the Pickle Devil. Everything we wished for may have come true, but it’s permanent. No exceptions. When we wished for everyone to disappear yesterday so we could go shopping in peace, they ceased to exist forever! Oh dear, what have we done?!” Alf broke down in tears and fell to his knees.
The Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience was another pickle spoken of in local legend, it was the yin to the Pickle of Destiny’s yang. In fact, it was only one of around eight other legendary pickles spoken of in the local area, though admittedly, both it and the other pickles were rarely heard of.
Donna’s eyes were almost falling out of her head. She threw the Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience at the nearest wall, ridding herself of its power. Unfortunately, the potent vegetable bounced off the wall of Nicho’s Taco Shack and landed with a splash in the mall’s main water feature; the Dave the Clown Memorial Fountain.
“Oh Christ no, Donna!” screamed Alf, momentarily looking up from his lamentation on the floor. “You didn’t chuck it in the fountain, did you? The Accursed Pickle of Great Inconvenience is water-soluble!”
It was true. Just as the words escaped Alf’s mouth and he went back to crying, the pickle in the fountain began to fizz like a certain brand of mint in a certain brand of carbonated soft drink. Green foam began filling the fountain, and soon all the water had turned a lurid green colour, sort of like limeade but more menacing. Donna ran and hid behind a mobile phone stand as Alf rolled onto his side and gave up on life. The foaming reached ridiculous levels of foaminess not seen before in the history of foam, green lightning began shooting out of the billowing mass overflowing from the fountain, shocking fast food outlets and putting entire clothes shops up in flames. With an almighty explosion and roar, the great Pickle Devil himself emerged from the frothing green fountain.
“Behold, I have risen at long last! You have released me from the binds of my pickle prison and I will now turn everyone on the entire planet into a pickle!” The hulking green demon bellowed with demonic laughter and fired a series of small pickles from his eyes, scattering them across the floor of the Lider Centre, where they started running around kicking holes in windows and walls.
“Erm, excuse me, oh powerful Pickle Devil,” said Donna, timidly emerging from behind the mobile phone stand. “But we actually already wiped out the human race about half an hour ago. There’s nobody left to turn into pickles. Sorry”. Donna resumed her cowering behind the mobile phone stand. It was probably for the best.
The Pickle Devil stopped laughing. The little pickles stopped breaking things. “Well what am I supposed to do now?” the large green monstrosity eventually asked. “I mean, come on, I finally rise to power after all these years and there’s no one left to turn into pickles? Seriously? What kind of luck is that? I guess I’ll just have to turn you two snivelling fools into pickles and call it a day. Might as well go play on the swings down at the park afterwards, it’s not like there’ll be anything else to do”.
“Actually…” Donna’s head emerged from behind a row of Nokia 3310s. “We got rid of the park too”.
“What do you mean you got rid of the park?” demanded the Pickle Devil.
“We turned it into a zoo”.
“A zoo?” the demon stroked his lumpy green pickle chin. “That’s not so bad, I guess. I could at least turn the animals into pickles”.
“Yes you could”.
“I know I could!” spat the Pickle Devil angrily. “Fine. I’ll turn you two worthless maggots into pickles and then I’ll go turn the animals at the zoo into pickles too”.
“That’s something, at least,” said Donna, trying to sound comforting but immediately wondering why she wanted to comfort a giant demonic pickle that wanted to turn her and her husband into little pickles just because he could.
“Right, say your prayers and all that jazz,” boomed the Pickle Devil before turning a blinding green light on them and transforming them both into six inch pickles and stamping on them.