I came home to find my girlfriend was a courgette. I don’t mean that as a metaphor, I am describing what happened. She went from having a fairly adequate human body to becoming a sentient vegetable. A vegetable that was just there, lying on the foot of the stairs, a huge shit-eating grin covering her face, waiting for me to arrive back home.
“I am courgette Ren!” she exclaimed the moment she saw me. “Courgette Ren!” She proceeded to laugh maniacally once she had uttered this. This stopped me immediately in my tracks. If she hadn’t uttered anything, expecting me to simply notice the turd-shaped vegetable near the entrance, I would’ve smooshed her beneath my soles. Bummer. “Aren’t you impressed?”
I took a look at her and simply sighed. She had definitely done this to herself. There was no doubt about it. None of her known enemies would do something as childish as this. Scratch that. They would all do something as childish as this, the difference is that they lack the know-how to achieve such a transformation. They are too busy getting high and photosynthesizing knowledge from the universe itself to put their minds – what’s left of them – into a plot like this. Ren did it. I just didn’t know how at the time.
“What’s the hidden meaning behind this, Ren?”
“I am courgette Ren! That is all!”
In all fairness, I could have interviewed the courgette rolling around at my feet, inquire about what on flat Earth happened between my leaving the house and coming back, but I couldn’t. The words were not coming out of my mouth. I was exhausted and, to put it simply, I could not get myself to care. Not even a little. The past seven hours of my life had been spent dealing with the childish demands of so-called actual adults. I don’t have the wretchedness of meeting their parents, but I do know that they made a lousy job as such. Their sons and daughters, what with their inability to reason, their entitled demeanor without being able to show any ability in any field whatsoever (unless getting drunk and boasting about it is now a science), and their need to spout childish nonsense every hour, every minute of everyday, is proof enough that they had no clue what raising children actually entailed. I hate teaching uni children. It is the bane of my existence. It also pays the bills. But what I hate the most is coming back to an amalgamation of everything wrong with my pupils mixed in into one below-average human being that I, for a lack of a better word, chose to love.
“I am courgette Ren!” she repeated. Then she loudly burped. A thick purple substance came dripping down from the corners of her mouth. It sparkled. I almost felt concern for the woman that I socially tell people I love. Almost.
I kneeled down. An extra long sigh from my part as I noticed how she was trembling with excitement. Just to make sure this was actually happening and the stress hadn’t overtaken my brain, I poked her in what I assumed would be her stomach. The courgette was real. I knew this the moment she bit my fingertip.
“This is real, isn’t it, Ren?”
She laughed maniacally. I could swear she was moving about, rolling a bit from side to side as she did, but the lack of limbs and backbone swayed me to believe it was an optical illusion. As if I actually cared.
“Why did you do it?”
“The reason anyone would do this is, if they could, which they can't, would be because they could, which they can't.”
I conceded defeat on that one. It was a fair point raised by her logic. I nodded once in order to make her know she was right. But something felt off about her response. The syntaxes of her sentence seemed too complex for her IQ. Did having a tuber brain made her somehow smarter?
I stood up as immediately as that hunch crawled up inside of me. Not only had I accepted that my girlfriend was actually right, that she was capable of making the necessary mental connections in order to say something that makes sense in the real world, but I noticed how close I was to her ‘face.’ I could see every single courgette pore up front, and it was a disgustingly green reminder about the existence of trypophobia. Up until that point of my life, I thought I was comfortable with the idea of encountering a mass of holes with no seemingly mathematical order, but now, looking at a mess of fleshy pits belonging to this particular woman, made me sick. My stomach was turning around on its own axis. The stench coming off from her mouth did not help matters. I had to turn around and cover my face to stop the vomit.
“You’re off your tits again” I told her with my back still turned against her.
“You’re just mad at me because you can’t be as free-minded as me! You’re jealous of me!” she screamed.
I wasn’t. I’ve never. Ren is the polar opposite of what I represent. She is the type of human being that follows all trends simply to be in the know. Example: she smokes weed. Her excuse is that it makes her feel part of a made-up counterculture movement she believes she understands. She even has the pot paraphernalia to back it up – including the crooked Bob Marley poster hanging on her wall to match her reggae-colored hoodie. Be it at 9:00 in the morning or just before midnight, she rolls a joint at every opportunity possible. It is practically impossible to find her in any state of being other than “entirely high.” She even has friends who she meets with exclusively to smoke “some good Mary.” She wants to be anti-establishment so hard that she has become a cliché. Weed is mainstream. Ren is a mainstream. The fact that she convinced me to join her in this activity is just a sign of how lonely I feel deep inside. Our whole relationship is, as a matter of fact.
“Look, whatever. I’m too tired. Please revert it, Ren. Now.”
“You what, mate?”
“Change back. That is what ‘revert’ means.”
“I won’t do it!”
I sighed, fearing the worst.
“Unless what, Ren?”
“Unless you watch it with me! The whole thing! The answer is there!”
“Again with this thing...”
“Come on! You will love it! You’re brainy! This is up your alley! They use big words like you do! It is so the intelligentest thing on TV!” Courgette Ren laughed again. She laughed as if her plan had worked.
“You will stay like this if I don’t, won’t you?”
“I’ll rot away and it’ll be on you! You’ll kill your girlfriend by not being involved in one of her passions! Are you OK with this?”
I was actually OK with that. Thinking back on it, I should have taken that option. It was, literally, the path of less resistance. I just had to do nothing and the matter would’ve resolved itself on its own.
“Fine…” I grunted. I was too tired to be logical.
Ren smiled, her greened teeth shining below the pot smoke our flat is perpetually drowned in. The mere act of being amongst our walls and breathing is enough to set any normal human being into a marijuana high in mere seconds. I hate this life. I hate the fact that I don’t have the courage to get away from it.
“It’s already loaded up on the Netflix!”
I cradled the vegetable creature between my fingers and walked towards our living room. I let myself fall into the couch and deposited Ren right next to me. Her smile was widening, her eyes shining even brighter. She was laughing from excitement. Our TV turned on. There it was, populating the entire 43” screen I worked so hard to save for, a colorful image with thin black outlines of two male characters: a teenager and an old scientist looking guy. I looked at it, then at Ren. She was ecstatic. I finally succumbed beneath her pressure, her mainstream pressure. I was finally going to watch her favorite series in the whole wider world. Maybe I would enjoy it? There was still that chance…
“To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Rick and Morty.”