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  • Writer's pictureDeborah L Brewer

Trial by Vegetable

A flash fiction story about a polarizing vegetable of our time. Which side are you on?

Brussels Sprout DLB 2023

Trial by Vegetable

by Deborah L Brewer

Melissa pondered the gold embossed menu. “Ooh, what about the Brussels sprouts?”

A remembered stench filled Artie’s airways—vile fumes of sulfur and rotting grass.

Artie’s mom had always had a knack for ruining Thanksgiving. She’d cackled like a gorgon one year as she handed a bowl of putrid vegetables to Artie's older sister, Sue. “You kids will need to eat at least a mouthful of these if you want dessert tonight.”

Artie slid down in his seat as Sue picked through the gruesome snot balls and spooned a smallish one onto her plate. She speared it with a fork and dipped it into gravy and mash. Bravely, she held her nose and made the abomination disappear. As she gagged in anguish, green slime emerged from her gaping mouth.

Mom had said Grandma’s chocolate cake was to die for, but until now, Artie hadn’t known what she’d meant. The assembled relatives were to witness his sister’s demise.

Trembling with indignation, Artie pushed what remained of his glass of apple cider toward Sue. He sighed with relief as she washed the masticated horror down her throat.

There was a nudge at Artie’s shoulder.

Uncle Pete offered a serving bowl. “Hey, pal,” he said, “I saved a juicy one for you.”

Melissa’s concerned voice brought Artie back to the present.

“Are you okay, Artie?" she said. "You look a little befuddled.”

She now seemed to him a gorgon like his mother. “No…I mean yes,” he said. “I’ve never felt less befuddled in my life.”

It relieved Artie to know the engagement ring in his pocket was returnable.


6/23/2022 Previously published in the Pikes Peak Writer's Writing from the Peak blog post, “A Whole Mood.” Edited for clarity.


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