The Tart

The prompt for the Monday Chatham Writers Group was to write about things in your refrigerator. Everyone in the group had a lot of fun with this prompt and the stories that were read were entertaining and funny.

A well stocked refrigerator, the setting of my story. Note: this is not my fridge!

The Tart

Resentment. Envy. Jealousy.  No undercurrents, all exposed, laid bare, making the already cool atmosphere even chillier.  Voices in the darkness, a hissed “Temptress”, made her laugh.  However, laughing further infuriated her detractors. “Harlot”,  “Shameless Hussy”.  These cut a little deeper, her almond eyes flashed in the direction of the voices.  The darkness was a blessing, those hurling the insults couldn’t see they had gotten under her crust.  

“Tart,” spat another voice.  

She really laughed at that one, “Finally, one of you hit the nail on the head!”

Life in the refrigerator was not all peaches and cream.  She knew the insults were coming from the crisper drawer, the fruits and vegetables hangout.  The celery sticks and snap peas were green with envy, strawberries and raspberries red with resentment.  The blueberries were always, well, blue.  Depressed about one thing or another.  The carrots were the worst though, bright orange with jealousy, they felt they were superior to everything else in the fridge because of the wide range of menu items they could be used for.  Soups, cakes, salads, snacks.  In your eye cilantro!  She didn’t mind the Narragansett Beer guys on the top floor.  They played cards and, when in their cups, would reminisce.

“I remember the good old days, when we were the Kings of Fenway Park, the official brew of the Red Sox,” one would start.

Another 16 ouncer would chime in, “Yeah, that was the life.  But when Quint chugged a ‘Gansett and crushed the can, that was the best scene in Jaws.  The highlight of our history!”  

Quint crushing it.

“Crush it like Quint!” They would shout in unison.  The only time there was any friction was the first visit the guys from Nantucket made to the top shelf.  The  ‘Gansett’s called the blue cans Whale’s Butt Pale Ale, instead of by their real name, Whales Tail Pale Ale.  But after awhile they developed a respect for each other.  No, she didn’t mind the beers at all, they were decent folk.

Then there were the smells!  Fish!  She could never figure out why the people in the house liked fish.  The forgotten cucumber or pepper would begin to rot, but she would smile inwardly with glee knowing  that another arrogant vegetable got its comeuppance.  

It grew silent inside the fridge.  There were noises on the other side of the door.  The voices were muffled but snippets could be discerned.  Words like hungry, picky, could be heard. The vegetables groaned because a male voice on the other side of the door said they wanted something sweet.

The fridge door flew open, the light came on, temporarily blinding its inhabitants. As their eyes adjusted to the light, they saw the Mom & Dad of the house searching the shelves.

 The jar of martini olives shouted, “You guys look like you could use a drink!”

“Crush it like Quint, bro!” Called the ’Gansett guys.

The Mom and Dad began to push things around in the fridge, searching.  A wizened baby carrot, brown and wrinkled, rolled out from behind the cocktail olives.  In an ancient voice, it croaked, “Now you find me.  I laid behind this jar of olives for weeks, beseeching you to take pity and make me useful.  Now I am only good for the trash.”  His words were for naught and he was rolled behind a container of hummus.

Bookbinder was next to cry out for mercy, “Good God man!  It is January, 2023!  Look at my expiration date! June of 2020!  Alas, I am but a mere jar of horseradish, not a Twinkie. Please. I beg you.  Please!   Just throw me away.”  Bookbinder began to weep.

While all this was going on, the one called the temptress, the tart, sat biding her time.  She heard the Dad say he wanted something sweet.  As Dad’s gaze fell on her plastic package, she flirtatiously blinked her almond eyes, completely beguiling him.  Dreamily, the Dad asked, “Hey honey, how about we share this almond tart.”

The shouts and screams from the crisper drawer went unheard.  The olive jar sighed, “A martini doesn’t go well with an almond tart.  Another day for us lads.”

The ‘Gansett and Whales Tale guys just shrugged and returned to their game of whist.

As the almond tart was being lifted from the refrigerator shelf, she cast her eyes on the arrogant carrots,  “Ahhh… what’s up Doc?”  Then she laughed like Cruella DeVille.  Their curses were cut off by the closing of the door.

From the top shelf, one of the Narragansett’s called to the carrots, “Hi Neighbor, lights out, pipe down now.”

Ernie Stricsek

The Chatham Writers Group

January 30, 2023

4 thoughts on “The Tart

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