Tommy should have known better than to eat vegetables from the Amazon.
Or, to be more precise, Tommy’s mother should have known better than to cook and serve vegetables her husband had brought back from his mission searching out undiscovered tribes in the Amazon; vegetables he received as a gift from one of the tribes he discovered; vegetables which he was assured were in every way quite healthy and safe to eat.
Tommy’s mother should have known better.
The strangest thing about the whole incident was not how the vegetables smelled when cooked, the strange odor that was a mix of mint julep, warm yogurt, and roasted pork.
The strangest thing was not how the vegetables changed color quickly during the cooking process, or how quickly Tommy’s face also changed color soon after his first bite.
The strangest thing was not that Tommy keeled over within moments of his face changing color, and was dead before the paramedics arrived (though this was, indeed, the most tragic and heartbreaking thing of the whole incident).
The strangest thing was not the way the body dissolved into the consistency of undercooked cornmeal within forty eight hours, prompting the coroner to say, “Well, that is something different!” and call the CDC and immediately tender his letter of resignation.
The strangest thing was not that among the undercooked cornmeal remains of Tommy there was a single seed roughly the size and shape of an almond, which his father – and this was almost the strangest thing – took home and planted in the backyard.
The strangest thing was not that within a few days a vine vaguely resembling a pumpkin plant had sprouted, and grown large enough to bear a gourd that was certainly large enough to hold a human child, which had then broken open to reveal that it did, in fact, contain a human child.
The strangest thing was how that human child was exactly like Tommy in every respect, down to the finest detail. Even the way he picked his teeth with his little finger after eating.
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This story should not have been written, but I wrote it anyway. I give credit to my wife for the opening line.