My Carrot Golem by Andrew Zigler
December 27, 2012 Comments Off on My Carrot Golem by Andrew Zigler
Seven weeks had passed since I planted my dead brother’s unfinished carrot in the fen outside our home, and I had all but forgotten about it by the time it came to my door. It was a hulking, orange thing that was too bulky with starch to cross the threshold of my meager mountain home. I knew it was my golem because it was missing part of its flesh near the back, where my brother took a bite of the old vegetable I planted. It shook its narrow head, unable to comprehend my words, and it replied to my quiet mumbles with what sounded like Hebrew, its words like scripture, flowing through the stark air. Since it was too big to live in my house, we went together down the trail to the market, hoping to find house building supplies. I put a thin piece of rope around its flowering stem like a leash, and its split taproots waddled with toddler-like tenacity as together we approached my distant kin.
Of all the golems in town, mine was the most impressive and virile, grown from a hearty carrot in the grungy marsh of the high hills. It carried back all of the lumber I bought, and I spent my leftover pence on a bronze calligraphy pen that teased my eyes. During the ascent to my property, it tried to speak to me again. Guttural with its tone but practiced with its verbosity.
“Does it hurt, to be a carrot?” I asked innocently. We walked through some thickets as it pondered its response, and after what felt like an eternity, it responded.
“No. Does it hurt to be a human?”
I fought the tears until they blurred by vision, running down my dirty cheeks and blessing the dead mountainside with the only vitality I had to offer. “Yes. It does.”
“Don’t apologize for something that’s not your fault.” I pawed at my wet cheeks as we finally reached the leveled mountainside that housed my wooden cabin. My carrot golem started building its house, freeing me to retreat indoors and clean my face. As I looked through the side window to where it was erecting its hovel, I noticed the notches on the window frame from where my brother and I had marked our height. For that moment in time and space, with the carrot hunched over a sawhorse, its verdant sprouts perfectly lined up with my brother’s final mark.
© 2012 Andrew Zigler
Andrew Zigler is a fierce academic who loves reading in low-light conditions. He studies Latin and Ancient Greek rigorously as part of his Classics degree plan at the University of Texas at Austin, and is always looking over his shoulder for the day they come back to life as undead languages. Unfortunately, his blog can be found at zigtalk.wordpress.com, and he sometimes tweets at https://twitter.com/zigtalk