My Vegetable Love by Samantha Memi

April 28, 2014 Comments Off on My Vegetable Love by Samantha Memi

I was born into an ordinary family in Berlin in 1938. My father was a stick of celery, my mother, a tomato. I was a grapefruit. My father sometimes queried the origin of my birth. My mother never answered.

Never had a grapefruit in the family, he would say.

She stayed silent.

I went through the state education system, and more by luck than talent, I arrived at university to study Vegetable Bake for Amateur Cooks. I wasn’t happy; I couldn’t understand why anyone would want to treat vegetables so cruelly. I left during the first year. I drifted, hung around in grocery shops, got in with a bad lot of spinach. It looked like my life would turn out bad. Then I met a gorgeous Maris Piper potato. He was new but, despite that, could find his way round the supermarket shelf. We married, had a baby carrot. I was so pleased.

Then one day we heard marching bands. We looked out the window and saw what we later learned were storm troopers. Two weeks later the door was smashed in and my husband was arrested. I heard later he’d been boiled and mashed. Didn’t they have souls, these people? He was a frying potato.

I was alone with my baby carrot. Everyone stared at me in the street. I realised it was because I was fruit and my daughter was vegetable. What gave them the right to judge me?

Then we were put in a camp where I was forced to chop up leeks and cauliflower for swarthy arrogant soldiers. It was a horrible job and I was warned that my daughter, who was too young to work, would be old enough to bake in a pie. I met a leek from the escape committee; he said they could help my daughter escape. They couldn’t help me; they only worked with the vegetable community. It was heart-breaking to say goodbye to my little carrot.

Mummy, she cried, don’t leave me.

You’ll be safe where you’re going, I said and stroked her topsy-turvy leaves, and then she was gone, driven off in a van painted as an ambulance but full of veg.

I was distraught. Friends said I had to continue working otherwise I’d be steamed. But I was so depressed I thought a good steaming might be better than the miserable existence I had.

Then other soldiers arrived. They killed our captors, and freed all the fresh veg. Some of the elders couldn’t be saved, but at least I was free. We had a party. I got sliced into segments and tipped into a fruit salad. A melon pip told me my daughter had married a handsome young cucumber. I was glad. I hope she is well.

© 2013 Samantha Memi

Samantha Memi lives in London. http://samanthamemi.weebly.com

Bumping Into The Wrong Car by Samantha Memi

August 8, 2013 Comments Off on Bumping Into The Wrong Car by Samantha Memi

He was driving his car when he hit another car. He got out of his car and walked over to the car he’d hit. The woman who’d been driving the car he hit got out of her car to remonstrate with the man who had crashed into her. She looked at the damage, then at the man, and she wanted to say, Look what you’ve done to my beautiful car, but instead she said, Thomas? and the man said, Samantha, what a surprise. I thought you were in London now.

I am. I’ve just come back for today. My father died.

I’m sorry.

He’d been ill for some time.

Cars honked as they drove past.

I’m sorry about your car.

What were you thinking?

I wasn’t . . . I um, I’ll give you my details, insurance stuff.

Yes.

I mean, it was my fault.

Yes. I heard you married Annabel.

That’s my insurance number. Yes I did. Now we’re getting divorced. Ha ha. I’ll be free and single again.

Any children?

Fortunately no. Kids get messed up in a divorce.

That’s true.

Her phone rang.

Hi. Yes, but I’ve had an accident. No no, nothing serious. Okay. I won’t be too late.

She switched off her phone.

Boyfriend?

Husband.

Oh.

They got each other’s insurance details and went their different ways.

© 2013 Samantha Memi

Samantha Memi lives in London. Her stories can be found at http://www.samanthamemi.weebly.com

Tamara, My Goddess by Samantha Memi

July 29, 2013 Comments Off on Tamara, My Goddess by Samantha Memi

I was looking at a painting by Tamara de Lempicka when a woman came up beside me and said, Don’t I look nice?

Although surprised by the question, I was about to say yes when I realised she was talking about the painting, not herself. The woman who stood beside me was identical to the woman in the painting, the same red lips, pale blue eyes, white dress, hat, even the orchids were the same.

Are you related to the model? I asked.

I am the model.

But how can that be, the painting is seventy years old.

Follow me, she said, and beckoned with a wistful look and seductive smile. I had come to the gallery with my husband and daughter but they wanted to see the Impressionists and, at this moment, I wasn’t sure where they were. Feeling I wouldn’t be too long with the woman, I followed her. She went down a narrow staircase that I was sure hadn’t been there before. At the bottom of the steps she showed me through a door marked private, This is where I live, she said.

It was a room full of Tamara De Lempicka characters.

Come in, said a lady in green satin.

Have some champagne, said another in red.

My name’s Marjorie, said a woman in a white satin sheet.

The hostess, in a green Bugatti, said, Hi, I’m Tamara, welcome to our little soiree.

I felt quite at home.

When my husband and daughter returned to the gallery, they were struck by one of the paintings by Tamara De Lempicka.

That looks like Mum, said my daughter.

They never saw me again.

© 2013 Samantha Memi

Samantha Memi lives in London. Her stories can be found at http://samanthamemi.weebly.com/

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