28 June 2008

Rise of the potato

There's not much to be said for potatoes. There is also very little to be said against potatoes. Small and mundane, they just are. Most people don't think much about potatoes, unless they happen to be growing or preparing some. Like a thousand other objects, they float through our lives almost unnoticed.
There once was a magical potato. He was from a small backyard garden in what passed for the suburbs of a small city. He came into being in much the same way that other potatoes do, except that he was aware. He was aware that he was a potato, that there were other potatoes, and that the other potatoes were larger than he. He was slightly jealous of the size of the other potatoes, but most importantly, he was aware.
His life was not difficult or filled with great hardships. It was mostly boring. He lay in the dark and grew. He could not converse with the other potatoes, they were potatoes and couldn't talk. He could hear conversations though, loud boisterous conversations drifting down through the soil from the world above. A world far larger and better lit than he could have ever imagined.
He grew. Over weeks and months he grew, until he was an average sized potato. One day, something bit him. A passing insect, one of the few subterranean travelers to pass close enough for him to see, was trying to burrow into him. It was the first time he had felt pain, and he didn't care for it at all. He was unable to ask the other potatoes for help with the bug, and lacking any instincts at all, he had no idea what to do about it. When it bit him again, he bit back and ate the whole creature.
Potatoes are not normally carnivorous. They usually subsist on nutrients delivered through the potato plants that bring them into being. This potato though was magical. He was capable of doing a great many things other potatoes could not do. One of these was to eat. He had never seen another potato eat anything, and surprised himself by managing the feat at all. Even more surprising, he enjoyed the taste.
The potato began to change. He grew in ways that normal potatoes normally do not. He developed an appetite for insect, eating any that came his way. He began to understand the discussions wafting down from above. With every passing day, he felt more aware, more alive, more powerful.
He wasn't powerful enough to stop the natural cycles of time, and his first autumn was fast approaching. As he lay where he always lay, thinking about what the future might hold in store, he felt a rumbling nearby. Not the tiny vibrations of a doomed bug, or the slow thumping of something moving above the surface, but almost a regular shaking that was growing slowly stronger. He could hear potatoes yelping as if in pain every few seconds, but could not see what was happening.
This continued for a few minutes, then, when the rumbling seemed almost upon him, a potato he'd been adjacent to his whole life shifted away, vanishing into a wall of dirt. He felt something nick his skin and he tried to bite it, but it was too large to eat. It withdrew quickly and then lunged in again, this time behind him. It pushed him a few inches, the earth collapsing in behind him. He found himself exposed to sunlight for the first time, but a hand grabbed him and tossed him into a bucket before he could comprehend this.
More potatoes followed, and his circumstances came to an almost surreal familiarity. He was again surrounded by potatoes and soil, but the potatoes were more numerous and the soil was sparse. The removal of the others would have not bothered him as he did not enjoy their company, but he now realized how much he loved laying in the soil. He became angry at the thought of something doing this to him on purpose, and began to plan his revenge.

Goe, thanking Rachmeg again.

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