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Pickles

by: Russ Woods

Sara woke up with a dry mouth full of seeds. She sputtered and wheezed upon waking, spitting them onto her pillow. Sara’s dog ate a few of the seeds. She took a handful and rinsed them in the sink. The water made them shine green in her hand. Sara took the seeds and planted them all over her apartment. Three or four she pushed down into the cracks in her couch cushions. Others she put in the pockets of old coats she hadn’t worn in ages. Coats with broken zippers and missing buttons that she’d meant to get fixed before the winter was over. The winter had been over for some time now. She took eight seeds and placed them in old coffee mugs that were sitting around her apartment. Sara had not done dishes in ages, and these were plentiful throughout the house. She found other places for the seeds too: in the glass dome that covered the burnt-out ceiling light in her kitchen, in the speaker cracks of her television, inside an old dictionary and an old phone book, in her VCR that hadn’t been used in years, in the dusty old owl bank that she had since she was a child. She put them everywhere she could think. She even swallowed a few, and they tasted like tiny salt pills going down. Over the next few weeks she watered them with nonsense whispers, told them her dream about climbing a telephone pole and seeing the whole city burn down around her. The sprouts came up then, green and shining, almost luminescent in her dimly-lit home. One sprouted out her ear, one out of her dog’s back. Then came the pickles. They grew thick and plump, shining wet with brine. Her whole apartment began to reek of salt and dill. She picked an armful (nowhere near a peck), and placed them in white folding chairs in her kitchen. For company. She made them tea and cakes and told them all the neighborhood gossip. Yes, Mr. Pickle, Mrs. Alvarez’s cat hasn’t been home for days.