Pickle — Peter Cull

His name is Pickle. If you wanted to give him a last name, it would most likely be Cucumis, because Pickle is, well, a pickle. He stands at a glorious four-foot-eleven and has the face of what could be a young Alfred Korzybski. However, Pickle and Alfred Korzybski are two very different beings. One was a Polish-American philosopher; the other is a food. Because Pickle’s brain has been preserved in vinegar and brine, he has a limited knowledge of philosophy and general semantics. It seems ineffective for Pickle to study Korzybski’s teachings, because a pickle has no business in human engineering; however, these studies are quite necessary for an anthropomorphic pickle struggling in our human-dominated socio-cultural environment. Life is hard, especially when your soul is trapped inside a pickle.

Pickle’s dream has always been to live in in New York City, where everybody is a nobody – the perfect place to blend into the human complex. Pickle is still a nobody, but not where he can live a life free from attention. Pickle lives in the middling Tillamook County – Cloverdale, Oregon. There, he works at Martella’s grocery store. Pickle is forced upon the eyes of nearly all of Cloverdale’s two-hundred and forty residents on a weekly basis simply by standing behind that dingy counter. He is accompanied by a fellow human employee everyone calls Gud, a bearded teenager who more or less does Pickle’s work for him.

Pickle has no hands or limbs. Therefore, he cannot physically work.

In fact, the manager of Martella’s rarely pays Pickle. This is sensible on the manager’s part, for Pickle has virtually no use for money. Pickles do not have the same requirements for survival as humans do, and therefore have no place in the human economy.

Pickle is only making the most he can out of existence with what little understanding of it he possesses – a life not too different from the average person. One thing that seems to make his crummy job with Gud worth it is one of Martella’s weekly customers. The bell that rings when the main door opens doesn’t always work, but it surely rings when she walks in. She always wears a skirt that reveals her elegant legs. Pickle does not have legs, so this fascinates him. Her eyes are a glossy bright green. Pickle appreciates this color, for he is a pickle and pickles are usually green, but his olive-drab green texture could never compare to the beautiful emerald shade with which she looks upon the world. Pickle mapped out their future together the moment he first laid eyes on her.

He imagined their first kiss by the river running through Cloverdale – her lips pressed against the crisp texture of his juicy skin, her hands running up the bumps on his pickled body. Days after, they would marry and move into an apartment on Tenth Avenue in New York City to raise their pickle children, beginning a movement for pickle equality across the United States. Perhaps one day, one of Pickle’s descendants would be nominated for an Academy Award. History books would have an entire chapters dedicated to the rise of pickles in society, and pickles would learn to read.

Pickle cannot read.

A name would complete his image of her, but he had no way of finding out. Gud never talked to the customers and she was always alone. Pickle usually would never speak, for his voice sounded muddy, but he feels now is the time. He must know her name. She slowly approaches the counter, raising his pH level with every step. She smiles and sets her shopping basket on the counter. Pickle loses himself in her smile as Gud removes the contents of the basket, which slowly grab Pickle’s focus. The girl’s smile loses innocence. Pickle’s brine mind begins to fall apart.

Vlasic: Zesty Dills, $3.84. ✷

Peter CullPeter Cull graduated from the University of Oregon in 1997. He lives in Tillamook County where he grew up and is now a freelance author. He has written several short stories in the past, including “The Life and Times of Hubert Fish” and “Mailbox Games,” and is currently working on a novel titled The Dubious Existence of the Silly Man with the Silly Name. Peter plans to move to New York City after publishing his novel and continue to inspire kindness in his community.