JUICING PART THREE
I got back from lunch rarin’ to go. Elijah’s brownies had given me the sugar rush I needed to get me started on a more successful afternoon. I got started right away on a fresh crate of limes. Not only did I feel energized, but I felt strangely focused, intensely focused, a focus I’d never experienced before. I could see the limes coming through the juicer with crystal clarity, I could catch limes that had snuck through and put them back into the feeder tube without missing a beat. I could see out of the corner of my eye when the cup was full, and could replace it with one hand while scooping out rinds with the other. I was in a zone. So this must be what it feels like to find your calling, I thought.
As I was blazing away, I kept noticing that there seemed to be one particular lime that kept sneaking through the juicing mechanism and landing unjuiced in the tray. Don’t ask me how I could differentiate that lime from all the others, but trust me, I know it was the same lime. I could distinguish each lime from the other at that point, each individual like a snowflake, like a fingerprint, like each cell in your body, man, like if you think about it, like what if we were all just cells in some giant’s body or under his fingernail or something. Dude, ya know what I’m sayin’. I mean, it blows your mind.
That’s how I was thinking at the time. It was the strangest feeling I’d ever had. Can’t explain it. Anyway, after about the tenth time of that lime sneaking through, I said out loud, “Come on, dude, you gotta get juiced!”
The lime said, “I don’t want to get juiced.”
Now, you would think having a key lime talk to you would really blow your mind, but it felt strangely normal.
“What do you mean, you don’t want to get juiced?” I asked it. “That’s your job, man. That’s your role in life.”
“I don’t want to get juiced, Pie Runner,” it said.
“How’d you know my name?” I asked it.
“I just know. Don’t juice me.”
“I have to, dude.”
“No, don’t. Just let me sit here.”
“I’ll be your friend,” it said.
“Really?” I said. I was moved. “I could use a friend.”
I gathered it up and put it on top of the Zumex. “Ok, Lime, you can sit here and watch. When you’re done I’ll take you home with me.”
“I have to watch you juice all my friends?” it asked.
“That’s the deal, little buddy.”
“That s inhumane,” it said.
“Sorry, it’s my job.”
“But they’re all my friends.”
“Listen, you have a choice. Either you sit there and be my new friend or I’ll put you back in the juicer with your old friends. Your choice.”
The lime paused. “Fuck it. Go to town.”
I got back into rhythm. I was flying through crate after crate, pausing only to empty the juiced rinds in the garbage and to give a playful chuck under what I thought was my new friend’s chin.
“I’m going to give you a name,” I said to it.
“I already have a name,” it said.
“It’ll be a great name, unless you’re as sensitive as my last friend. Would you be offended if I called you ‘Limey’?”
“Dude, I’m a lime. How would that be offensive?”
“See, that’s what I thought! I had another friend once who got his panties all in a twist when I tried to name him that.”
“Was he British?”
“Limey G.,” I said. “That’s your new name.”
“I already have a name,” it said.
I was very happy. I was juicing away for hours. I couldn’t stop.
“Hey,” said Limey G. “When’s the last time you changed your gloves?”
You have to wear latex gloves when you juice or the lime juice can burn your fingers. I looked down. They were in tatters.
“Dude, look at your fingers,” said Limey G. “They looked cooked.”
“You ever hear of ceviche, dude? That’s when they marinate raw seafood in lime juice, and the juice cooks the meat. Your fingers look like ceviche.”
I looked closely. He was right. My fingers looked very red and swollen. And kind of delicious. I mean, if I didn’t know better, my thumb looked like a savory shrimp, my fingers like fresh chunks of conch. And I was feeling so hungry. I put my fingers up to my mouth, just to give a small lick. I was mesmerized.
“Run, Dave, run!” It was Limey G, screaming from the top of the Zumex. I had stopped paying attention to the machine right after loading a couple of handfuls of limes. The limes were bouncing off the tray and rolling away on the floor.
“Run, Dave,” yelled Limey G again. “Run Larry! Run Thelma! All of you, my key lime friends, run to freedom! Save yourselves!”
I knew I should probably chase them down, but I was suddenly ravished. I had to eat something. Just a taste of something fresh and seafood-y and delicious…
The next thing I remember I was lying on the floor. Sam had apparently come into the kitchen and tackled me.
“What do you think you’re doing?!” she screamed.
“Mmm, ceviche…” I said.
Actually, that’s what it looks like now. It was a lot bloodier then. But don’t worry, my tens of readers. My prosthetic knuckle/fingertip combo should be arriving from Ebay very soon, and I’ll be back to work in no time. Until then, see you on the bedside! (That’s the side of the bed in the hospital where you come visit me. I mean, if you want. You’ll have to ask Sam which hospital I’m in because no one will tell me. It’s quite a nice room, though. Very clean and white and rubbery. And they’ll be bringing me my dinner soon. Mmmm, hope it’s seafood…)