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  • Writer's pictureGemma Catherine Malak

The Exploded Vegetable

"Today I burnt my fingers on an oven cooked vegetable that exploded", I sing with a hoarse voice, due to the fact that this is my 57th rendition today of my impending euro hit! These are the first lines of the song which I will enter into next year’s Eurovision Song Contest. Hold on to your hats UK, I’m going to make us a winner for the prestigious show. Some people say it’s trashy—I disagree. If I drink enough Pernod and waggle my flag about a bit while I’m watching, I start to think I’m on holiday.

Last year I lost out to the other UK entry ‘I Wish Westham Would Win’ by Rusty McFlintoff and father Dougal Maguire. Lovely pair of lads, a bit dim though.

“Whilst running my fingers under the cold tap, the pipe burst, spraying water everywhere…” I continue, strumming my ukulele. Y’know, even though I’m merely a trainee accountant by day, I do have a way with lyrics. I feel that my lyrics are very organic, embodying the everyday predicament. Most of these songs are about love, lust or shaking one’s booty or indeed one’s ‘bon-bon’ (I mean, really Ricky Martin!) but how often do you get a song about a simple kitchen incident? Not often enough I say. Enter ‘Me’ (That’s not an invitation) to remedy this gap in the market!

I remember the inspiration for this song like it happened yesterday, come to think of it – it was yesterday.

It was a reasonably mild and unremarkable Tuesday around lunch time, and it was the first time a vegetable had exploded so violently over my fingers (keep it clean you dirty minded ones, yes, I’m talking to you, Fran!) The innards of a boiling spaghetti squash proceeded to decorate not only myself, but the hob—it reminded me of the time I tried to boil an egg in the microwave—BOOM!

They really should teach you these things at school instead of how to calculate the longest side of a friggin’ triangle. I mean, who has ever used that EVER since they left school?

I didn’t want to waste the vegetable, so after I hopped around calling my cooker and most of my appliances f***ing liabilities (due to the pain of my newly seared finger) I decided to make a savoury sauce.

As I explored the cupboards, I found marmite, tinned pineapple and mushy peas. Mushy peas, now there is a conundrum. I feel another song in the works! Are they regular peas that have been ‘mushed’ or are they their own breed of pea, because they are more ‘hulk’ green than it’s cousin, the simple garden pea or petit pois, which are more ‘Tiny Tim from The Muppet Christmas Carol‘ green. Don’t even get me started on processed peas…again, a topic that ought to be covered nationwide in schools.

Anyway, the lot can go in to my sauce, obviously the pineapple will make it exotic, the marmite will add texture and the peas will add colour…the spaghetti squash is, quite frankly lucky it’s still in the game after its rude assault on me. I’ll call it ‘sauce surprise!’

But, before I even reach the cooker pan, I step back slipping on the cremated vegetable skin and go down like a beached whale. Eat your heart out Moby Dick.

A tirade of expletives leave my mouth as I lie on the kitchen floor, eye level with spaghetti squash, tins rolling tormentingly past my face, and my dignity well and truly f**ked.

While I survey the carnage, in walk my two adolescent kittens, who proceed to consume the spilled innards of the spaghetti squash until the floor, sides and dishes glisten like new, a la Snow White's woodland helpers high on Cif (formerly Jif- it will always be Jif to me). I petted the felines both appreciatively and turned them outside, in anticipation of the imminent vom fest that would surely ensue.

*Many thanks to the contributors to the idea for this short story!*

© 2020 Gemma Malak

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