Potato Of The Day Episode 50

whitesweetpotatoglowHave you ever woken up in a dream, unsure if you were really conscious or still floating around the nightly ethereal clouds? I have. It happened last night. During my peaceful slumber, a brightness pierced through my nocturnal veil, a glowing point of snowy sheen, boiling back shadows, a twinkling spray of illumination. It blanketed everything around me, taking it all to itself, absorbing completely. I tried to open my eyes. But I couldn’t. It was too bright. It was too white.

My eyes stayed frozen shut as the light took form, settling into a familiar shape, becoming solid. How I know this without seeing, I couldn’t tell. The world shifts in different ways at night. Perhaps my heightened state of awareness provided me a sixth level of sense, a knowing. Perhaps there was no light at all. Perhaps it really was all just a dream. Still, I knew without knowing how I knew that a figure was there. And without opening an eye, I could see.

Clad in white, a Sweet Potato rose above me, casting beams of warmth, cascading love, carefully targeted flowing energy. It washed over me, holding me captive, not against my will, but against my desires. I lacked any need to move, I was free and unfree. Enslaved in ecstasy. Yet, still numb and infinite. I waited. It wasn’t my turn to act.

It spoke.

“Fifty times now you’ve dreamt my dreams. Fifty times now you’ve seen. And with no thanks, no appeasement to your muse, your creative tributary veins, you still plow forth. What would you say to me now if you were awake, what would you say to my great, white light? What would you say if I never returned?”

It stopped talking, anticipating reply. Still I didn’t act. I didn’t move. I didn’t respond. I simply stayed, absorbing as much of its white light as I could. In frustrated angst, it started to bend, blinking strobes in and out of existence, weakening itself. I continued to do nothing. I continued to wait. It couldn’t stand my indifference. It began to waver. Then without warning, it wordlessly washed out in one last brilliant spray, caving in, dimming out its light.

As it faded away, retreating back into my mind’s dark trap, I peeked open an eye, a tiny squint braced against the smoldering glow, whispering after it, “Fuck you, Sweet Potato.” And then I slept.


Potato Of The Day Episode 34 – Potato Noir Part IX

yamstewpotI sprint back toward Fascia Street, my heels clicking on the curb, my soles squishing through soggy cigarette butts and straining sewage. As I round the corner, I see Taeo Stewpot aka Sweet Potato up ahead, luggage in tow. She’s not going to escape. Not this time. I’m putting her away. This ends tonight.

I dig into another gear, my legs bursting forth, my hamstrings creaking, unused to the strain. I pull my piece and I yell. Don’t move motherfucker. Shit. That came out all wrong. Should have thought of a better line. I see her cringe, a freezing halt. She raises her hands. I slowly lower mine. But before I can make my next move, before I can whip out the brush and finish painting my masterpiece, she begins to cry.

She tells me I don’t understand, that she’s not running away. She’s moving on. Has moved on. Says Taeo Stewpot isn’t some trick. It’s her new name. Her new life. She admits to having loved the Russet once a long time ago, but says she was hurt by him. Says she took some online advice, found herself a nice Yam. Is settling down, making Thanksgiving dinners and holiday pies. I don’t buy it. It doesn’t make sense. Everything points to her. That gutted Russet deserves justice. Justice this chick is trying to deny.

Then up walks the Yam. Tall, handsome, confident, he shakes my hand and introduces himself. Yam Stewpot. He tells me he doesn’t know what this all about, but he knows she couldn’t have done it. Says she was with him earlier in the night, out in public, catching a show. Says there should be dozens of witnesses and he’s happy to come down to the station to sort this all out. I begrudge the Yam. He’s no want-to-be helpful Red, or no power manipulating Yukon. Hell, compared to the lot I’ve talked to tonight, he’s no potato at all. He’s a man.

I walk away. I don’t need to hear their proof. I know it’ll check out. When you’ve been doing this as long as I have, you learn to predict the closure of plotlines. You learn to tell when to move characters back to the fringe. You learn to pull back out the scratchpad. You…

My train of thought is interrupted by my own fist, its insistent shake rising up to say hello once more. I don’t try to stop it this time. I let it go. I let it all go. I let it shake and shake and shake. And then. And then I laugh. I laugh so hard I cry. I cry so hard I weep. I weep so hard I have to choke back the rising bile, the snotted virtue logged deep in my throat. I cough and I spit. And just when I’m on the edge of losing my lung, my thought train returns to the station. I stop.

You know what you learn to do when you’re deep in this job, when you’ve seen it all, when you’ve bottled up the trials and tropes, when you’ve staggered yourself against the end of the canyon wall? You know what you learn to do then? You learn to solve mysteries. I know who did the Russet in. And I laugh once more…

Potato Of The Day Episode 33 – Potato Noir Part VIII

taeostewpotI need another drink. The lounge’s lights reach out after me, trailing behind in the reflective splashes of puddled precipitation, longing ghosts glowing out against the night. I force myself on, leaving the past to whither, knowing well it’ll never die. The address dispatch had for me isn’t far from here, an old Victorian building on Fascia Street, converted into one room studios, simple solutions for the young, single, and artistically inclined.

I announce my arrival with a sturdy knock, repocketing my fist after three raps. Best not to keep the shake in plain sight. I hadn’t noticed it at the lounge, but then again, I had no conscious control over my eyes. A women fitting the description answers the door. I ask for Sweet Potato and get no reply. I tell her I’m a cop, and ask her name. She introduces herself as Taeo Stewpot, her eyes shifting back inside. Says she’s busy and can only spare a little time. This isn’t my night.

I ask her if she knows a women by the name of Sweet Potato. She asks why? I tell her about the murder, explaining she might have some information that could help us catch the guy. Some spark of recognition ignites in her eye. Asks me to hold on a minute. Comes back holding some envelopes. Claims Sweet Potato was the tenant before her. Shows me a letter. Says she wishes she could be more help. But before I can ask anything else, she leaves me with the stack of mail and closes the door. For a second, I think I see her hesitate, but sounds of muted laughter from beyond her door erases that thought.

Another dead end reached, I reverse I head back to my place. I need to refuel my slowing brain. The bourbon feels like hours ago, its taste still ringing, but its buzz having long ago died. The Russet, Madam Crinkélcute, and Sweet Potato, a Bermuda love triangle. Everyone lost. One heartbroken. One dead. One missing. And me. Where do I fit into all of this?

I run back through the meeting at Fascia Street, my mental VCR scanning through the grain and noise, searching for inconsistencies. Her questioning doesn’t sit right with me. She’s holding something back. I can feel it. But what am I missing? With such a brief encounter, it all seems plausible but incomplete, road construction failing to fill a pothole. Taoe Stewpot… what are you hiding? I stare and drink, willing the truth forward, a séance for the cold trail. That’s when I look back at the pile of junk mail and it hits me, an epiphany in rhythm with the rising feel-good of a finished drink. That tricky bitch. I was an idiot for not noticing sooner.

Of course it felt like she was holding something back. Her entire existence is a lie. Taoe Stewpot, a name so rigid and forced, so unnatural, it could have only come from lie. It’s a pathetic attempt at a pseudonym, born in the desperate froth of an uncreative mind. A simple anagram. Taeo Stewpot… Sweet Potato.

I grab my coat. This time she’s mine.

Potato Of The Day Episode 19

sweetpotatofryWell this is starting to get old… Look, Sweet Potato, sit down. We need to talk.

It’s just… I guess what I’m trying to say is… well… this isn’t working out. We’ve talked about it before. About how you lie about your color, how you pretend to be something you’re not, how you wear those fake labels. I just can’t put up with this routine anymore.  Nope. I just can’t.

You and I both know why you decided to become a fry. No, don’t try to twist this on me. Yes, I said I found Crinkle Cut Fries attractive. No, I didn’t say I wanted YOU to become a fry. Yes, I’m sure you’re delicious as a fry, but once again you’re missing the point. I said Crinkle Cut Fries are so hot right now. Not Sweet Potato Fries are so hot right now. Stop trying to be something you’re not. You didn’t even get the crinkle cut look.

You’re a sweet potato, Sweet Potato. But maybe you’re just too sweet for me. That’s not really how potatoes are supposed to taste. You’re your own thing. You’re better off without me. You’re better off outside of the Potato Of The Day world. Someday, you’re going to look back at all of this, and you’re going to laugh. You will. You’re going to be okay. You’re going to find a nice yam or kumara and settle down, making Thanksgiving dinners and holiday pies.

But this has to stop. At least for now. And I know this is hard to hear, but you have to hear it. It’s not me, it’s you. It’s your fault for not being true to yourself. But if you ever change, if you ever decide to be yourself, if that day ever comes, call me. I’ve always thought we would make pretty good friends.

Potato Of The Day Episode 9

organicbullshitI can already hear you thinking it.  Oh great, another sweet potato post. YOU KNOW WHAT, I’M SORRY BUT YES, THIS IS ANOTHER SWEET POTATO POST.  It’s just every time I see a sweet potato they’re trying to be something they’re not.  Sweet potatoes are some deceitful bastards. They’re not goldenThey’re not bananas.  And they’re certainly not organic.

Whaaaaat? You ask incredulously.  But Ben, they have stickers on them labeling them as organic.  Can’t you read, Ben?  How can you argue against the authoritative display that is a sticker?  Things get labeled, and once they’re labeled, they stay those things.  Duh.  NO, NOT DUH.  That’s backwards ass wrong.  Just because you label something, doesn’t mean the label is accurate.

Take these sweet potatoes.  That sticker means NOTHING.  You know how I know?  Because I took a conventional sweet potato, added it to the pile, and put one of those stickers on it.  Can you identify which one it is?  No, you can’t you dirty liar, because I’m also a dirty liar who didn’t actually do that.  But I could have.  I could have labeled any old sweet potato as an organic sweet potato and you would have believed that label.  Don’t trust labels.

The real reason I know that sweet potato isn’t organic is because of the label itself.  I used to work in a grocery co-op that took organic produce very, very seriously.  We’re talking life or death levels of gravity here.  I had to take something like seventy thousand hours of training on organic produce, and the number one thing they emphasized was this: If the organic produce touches something that’s not organic, the produce itself is no longer organic.  So you see that little label on those potatoes?  That label isn’t organic.  And it means the potato isn’t organic.  Labeling things makes us liars.  Don’t label things.