Anne SST8 Headline – line edited version

8 Feb

Tech: green and red wash or spot, do we have a mirror ball? I’d like a bench to sit on, like a park bench if possible, but if not just chairs to suggest a bench.

Running time: approx 6 minutes

Armadillos, Zebras and Tomatoes.

Leprosy can be spread by armadillos.

To humans I mean.

It’s in them, when they’re born.

If you handle an armadillo, you should be aware of that

and tell your doctor what you’ve done.

They can give you antibiotics to clear it up.

Not like in the bible days, when your foot dropped off!

Last week I saw a giant zebra in the park

just standing there.

When I looked again it was a tree.

That happens doesn’t it?

You think you see something

and know what it is

and all the time you were wrong.

That Mrs Hogg never liked me,

skinny, boney.

Said I didn’t walk fast enough.

Hoisted me onto her hip

striding along, calling after the other kids,

and me wailing, from her bony hip dug into me

or the indignity,

I don’t remember.

Made me eat tomatoes,

I threw up.

You shouldn’t make people eat stuff they don’t want to

if you ask me.

On Sunday my mam would drop them into a bowl of boiling water

wait until their skin peeled back like a smile,

then fish them out with asbestos fingers and peel it away,

cut them thin for sandwiches.

They made the sliced-white soggy.

I hate that.

One time on holiday we met the man who grows them.

Through the big white gate

make sure you close it behind you.

See the sign saying PRIVATE, but we’re allowed down there

because we’re going to see the man.

Down the lane.

like a tunnel, trees arched above our head

you can’t see the sky.

It’s so quiet.

Except our feet scrunching on the stones.

At the end is a big garden with a high wall all round.

At the end of the garden are rows of greenhouses

the smell is like being buried in the ground

not in a scary way

in a soft way

like the earth will be your blanket

and the smell gets stronger the closer we get.

The man comes out smiling,

big-smiling with scrunched up eyes

but he has buggy boggle eyes

popping out of his head

and his hair isn’t flat but all sticky up

and his hands are the colour of the dark under the bed

nails short, black line across the top like I’ve drawn it on with a pen.

Dirty, but clean-dirty if you know what I mean?

He takes us into a greenhouse

through tall green plants

heavy with plump red tomatoes.

The smell makes me close my eyes and breathe in.

Makes me want to rub those fat red babies on my skin,

rub the leaves between my fingers to feel their furry earthiness.

Then suddenly, I want to love them

and dropping them in boiling water was never such fun again.

Still that rubbery skin, sticks in your teeth

pulpy flesh

slimy seeds

like bogeys.

Yeauchavie!

Why did that Mrs Hogg make me eat them?

So I tried to love them.

Worked hard to love them.

Inhaled their scent

tasted them timidly from time to time

dipped them in salt like fresh fried doughnuts in sugar

anointed them in oil as green as their leaves

blended them with garlic to pour over spaghetti

stuffed them with rice, fresh parsley and onion,

until slowly,

they changed,

that skin seemed radiant

then the flesh seemed firm not pulpy

the seeds seemed sticky-sweet not slimy.

Until,

I LOVE THEM!

And now

I love them.

Things are like that sometimes

If you look again

You see them different.

Did I warn you about the armadillos?

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