“Be Eggplant” by Zarina Zabrisky
Mr. B. had everything. Once an orphaned immigrant from Andorra, he made a fortune selling artificial snow. The factory, located in Jaffa, Israel, imported snow first to Switzerland, and then worldwide.
An entrepreneur and a multi-billionaire, Mr. B. sponsored multiple humanitarian projects: The Happy Human Machine; the Transatlantic Bridge, and the Moon Yellow Cab.
“I want to make a difference in the world,” confessed Mr. B. to The National Enquirer. “I want to grow an eggplant the size of the Empire State Building and feed the hungry of the world. I’m a vegetarian.”
So Mr. B. established the Be Fund and invited scientists from all over the world to work on the Be Eggplant project.
First, Dr. Nangerel Dramaaraarj, a marine biologist from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, suggested that the Be Eggplant should be planted at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. According to Dr. Dramaaraarj, the spongy tissue would expand and the eggplant would swell up like a balloon, while the marine life would add to the nutritional density of the product.
Then, Igor Pukin, a ninety-year-old chemist from Zakhromyrsk, Russia, revealed the only existing photograph of the monster eggplant created in the 30s on Stalin’s request. “The bloody eggplant” had the shape and size of the Kremlin. Thousands of prisoners labored inside the vegetable. They ate eggplant only. Many died from overdose. The dead were pureed and buried inside the eggplant. KGB burnt the vegetable a decade later, but Mr. Pukin had swallowed a capsule with the secret code and kept the know-how. Lucid and enthusiastic, he was eager to restore the deed of his youth.
Finally, Joe Chin, Dan Chan and Stan Chun, American students from Lowell High School, San Francisco, California, came up with the revolutionary idea of implanting the DNA of a white mouse into a Japanese eggplant. Should their expectations come true, claimed the scholarly youths, the eggplants would learn to reproduce at a mind-blowing speed. Although each baby eggplant would be only the size of an average mouse, quantity would triumph over quality.
“Size does not matter!” chanted the American students.
The slogan agreed with the philanthropist. He awarded the grant to the talented youngsters.
Joe, Dan and Stan and the international crew of experienced scholars settled in a spacious state-of-art laboratory in North Carolina. The North-West Wing hosted the Department of Mice. Animal rights activists built a white shack—shaped like a mouse—in front of that wing. The activists recited: “Hickory-dickory-dock, the mouse ran up the clock.”
Eggplant rights activists resided in a giant plastic purple eggplant by the Department of Eggplants, the South-East Wing. They wore purple and played Deep Purple songs.
The CBS Eyewitness News crew settled by the Main Entrance.
The scientists worked. The mice reproduced. The eggplants grew. The activists chanted. The reporters drank—for six months. Joe managed to get one crooked little eggplant with paws to run in a wheel. Dan and Stan grew a snow-white eggplant with silky fur and a disgusting pink tail. It purred. The research went on.
One night Dr. Puncinelli, a scientist from Italy and the manager on duty, paced from the Mouse Department to the Eggplant Department and back, the way scholars do. A pet white mouse named Claudia Rossi sat on his shoulder.
Dr. Puncinelli wasn’t thinking about DNA. He was thinking about sex. He was lonely in North Carolina. He hated American food and women. The first did not agree with his digestive system, the latter did not agree to sleep with him. For months he watched mice copulating and eggplants swelling up. He envied mice. He hated eggplants. He wanted to go home. Mice, eggplants and sex. Eggplants. Mice. Sex.
His far-away Italian girlfriend Claudia Rossi had aubergine violet eyes and Pompeii hips. He sighed. Eggplants, mice, sex.
The clock struck one. A ripe eggplant fell off the shelf onto Dr.Puncinelli’s head. He patted its smooth surface. It was the color of Claudia’s eyes. Oh, tiramisu-like skin, oh, mozzarella-like breasts, oh, unforgettable Claudia Rossi!
“Eureka!” screamed the scientist, as he slashed the eggplant with his scalpel, orbiting his eyes and mumbling, “Mus musculus musculus, solanum melongea esculentum.”
A sleepless eggplant rights activist spotted a giant shadow swaying up and down in the window and heard a mouse squeaking.
The next morning a powerful explosion woke up the activists and reporters. The windows shattered and the walls crumbled. Slowly and magnificently a glossy eggplant rose above the ruins. Like the Tower of Pisa it stood erect, leaning to the side. Its purplish-red skin glistened in the morning sun. Two female activists from Portland fainted.
“It’s alive!” screamed the crowd. “It’s breathing!”
“Go Lowell!” chanted Joe, Dan and Stan.
Soon the whole world was glued to the television sets. The CBS News ratings rocketed sky-high. Mr. B. proclaimed himself a Be Jesus. Dr. Puncinelli gave an exclusive interview about his discovery, “But it is very, very simple: Think very, very big. I’m not at liberty to tell you more. The Nobel Prize? Maybe, maybe.”
People had a special issue: “Scientist Copulates with an Eggplant.” The National Enquirer confronted it with: “Scientist Copulates with a Rat.” The British tabloids published an article: “Scientist Copulates with a Giant Locust.”
Mr. B. was on the phone with Wolfgang Puck ordering Garlic Eggplant Szechuan style for the homeless of the United States, when…
“Hold on!” shouted Stan.
“Watch it!” screamed Dan.
The bottom of the ruins shook again, and a white mouse the size of three Be Eggplants crept from underneath. It trotted to the Be Eggplant and dug its teeth in. Like a giant eating machine, it ate the eggplant, Joe, Dan and Stan, Dr. Puncinelli and the fainted animal rights activists from Portland. The beast’s mouth foamed. It turned purple. The CBS News crew kept recording.
Mr. B. jumped off his skyscraper. His scattered brains appeared at 7:03 pm EST on the CBS Eyewitness News. And at 7:05 the giant purple mouse exploded, erasing the planet Earth from the Universe.
Copyright © 2012, Zarina Zabrisky