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Slices of Life

The day they tried corn

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It was a serious day in the garden. Various vegetables gathered to witness the much-anticipated criminal fraud case against corn. Corn had filed a countersuit claiming defamation of character and vegetative discrimination. These historic proceedings would hopefully answer the question plaguing the human and plant kingdoms since the dawn of time: Is corn a grain or vegetable?

Corn entered the courthouse amid chants of, “Grain, grain, grain,” from the other vegetables in attendance. Broccoli and cauliflower threw quinoa at him. 

The bailiff, a head of iceberg, rolled in and asked everyone to be seated. “Let us start this mess,” he said. 

In opening arguments, corn, who represented himself, argued that although technically a grain by standard definition, he deserved the title of vegetable based on his longstanding position next to mashed potatoes on the dinner plate. “Everyone knows you only include one starch with a meal,” he said. “That makes me the vegetable by default.”

The rest of the vegetables, not possessing a grain of intelligence of their own, called an expert witness to the stand. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, of Muppet fame, testified under oath that corn has been associated with politically incorrect terms. “Words like high fructose, saturated fat and processed food products are not language worthy of vegetables,” he said. 

At that moment, celery went limp and fainted. He was carried out by a large family of zucchini who arrived late and couldn’t find a space to sit.

Corn objected to Honeydew’s testimony, saying the doctor’s obvious fruity family history, not to mention surname, disqualified him as a vegetative expert. Corn then went on to highlight the nutritional and health benefits of himself. He was over-ruled.

During the commotion, kale lost his cool and let out a series of expletives. After a heated exchange, jalapeno hauled him out of the courtroom. Kale later made bail. 

Beet testified he believed corn was beat, even though the ruby red root had previously made a covert contribution to corn’s legal expenses with a note that read, “Give me some sugar.” The two, at a much later date, became the sweetest of friends.

Cabbage corroborated beet’s statement and added information that sounded a little roughage around the edges. 

Next, onion took the stand and provided layers and layers of testimony that made everyone cry. Artichoke was particularly choked up. 

Throughout the process, corn was all ears.

Not all vegetables were so outspoken. Beans sat on the fence stating they didn’t give a toot about the matter while pumpkin made funny faces throughout the day. Carrot remained silent during the proceedings, afterward reporting to the press he “didn’t care at all.”

Brussels sprouts were unable to join the discussion, as they spoke no English and their translator was lost in translation.

Finally, in the midst of broccoli’s heady and flowery testimony, a teary-eyed tomato stood up and made an announcement. “I’m not who you think I am,” he said. “I’ve been living life as a vegetable, but since the day I sprouted I’ve always known I am a fruit!”

A hush went over the crowd. The peas were not pleased and rolled off in a huff. They’d planned for months to announce their status as seeds and now tomato had stolen the limelight

Meanwhile, eggplant embraced tomato muttering through his sobs, “I’ve never felt like myself either. Perhaps I’m a fruit as well.”

Iceberg demanded order, but chaos ensued, as one by one, vegetables became fruits. Taking advantage of the hullabaloo, corn slipped quietly out the back door. He was met there by butter and salt, who’d been waiting, as planned, with a get-away vehicle. The three drove off into the sunset, never to be seen again, or at least not for a week or two.

The moral of the story? It may sound corny, but it doesn’t matter what other people call you as long as you’ve got good friends. That, and corn goes best with a little butter and salt. You might want to try it.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. You can read more and follow her column on the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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