The Mustard Zone

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A tongue in cheek story about some other place like, "The Twilight Zone".

Submitted: March 22, 2017

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Submitted: March 22, 2017

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John Myers and three other co-workers had a really tough day; they had just finished a 12 hour shift digging around a burst mainline sewer pipe in 20 degree weather. But now their work day is over and a second crew can start removing the broken section of pipe from that car swallowing sink-hole.

John is 25 years old, single, and living in a one room flat. 

It's not really spacious, but John likes it because it is near the ocean; and in the summer time, well, that is a big asset. It is also near the center of town and within easy walking distance to almost anything a guy his age would want to get to, --- shops, stores, bars, cafes, etc.

 

(John arrives home.)

 

"Anybody home, anybody home," was the greeting John received from Mabel, the Cockatoo.

"Hello Mabel, how's my girl today? --- Ah, I see that you are in need of a head scratch.

There now, be a good girl and get on my shoulder so I can fix dinner.

John dug in the refrigerator and came out with a hard boiled egg and a bottle of beer.

Would you like some of this egg, little miss Fluff-butt?"

A somewhat muffled screech came from the bird and then it said, "Hay Johnny, let's eat, Oh boy, let's eat!"

"Well let me get the shell off the egg first. --- OK?" John replied, as the bird tried to walk down his arm to get to the food.

John put the Cockatoo on it's tree-branch perch and placed a slice of the egg in Mabel's nearby seed dish.

"There you go girl, now leave me be while I fix a sandwich.

 

John popped the remainder of the egg in his mouth and headed back to the refrigerator.

He grabbed a zip-lock bag filled with thin-sliced Honey-baked Ham and a package of Baby-Swiss Cheese. Last, but not least, he grabbed the French's Classic Yellow Mustard, in the handy squeeze bottle. John plunked everything down on the breakfast bar and turned the TV on, to the sports channel.

"Game's on Johnny, Game's on," the bird said, and then whistled as it rocked back and forth on it's perch.

"What a smart bird you are," John replied, as he stopped to dust egg fragments off Mabels' beak.

Afterward, John went back to the Frig for the Vlasic Dill Pickles. Then he grabbed a butter-knife and the Rye-bread before returning to the breakfast bar.

As he got comfortable on the bar-stool, John took a swig of the beer and opened the ham, the first slice went into his mouth. Then he opened the cheese and into his mouth went a slice of cheese, next was a bite of pickle. Finally, he opened the bread, laid out two slices, and shook the mustard bottle. --- It was empty!

"Well crap!" John uttered.

"Put a dollar in the jar, bad word, bad word," Mabel said, over and over.

"It's OK Mabel, Mom's not visiting," John replied to shut her up.

John said to Mabel, "This sandwich has to have the mustard. Isn't that right girl? It is not a Ham and Swiss on Rye without the mustard, and I am craving a Ham and Swiss on Rye.

Oh well, the market is just around the corner and across the street, I'll be right back Birdie-bird, you be good while I'm gone. --- OK?" John said as he puts on his work jacket.

 

***

 

When John walked into the all-night market there wasn't anyone around except for one checker and some customer talking about how cold it was outside.

John thought for a moment, and then said to himself, "Aisle 3, the mustard is on Aisle 3, --- I think.

As John drew near Aisle three he saw the word, Mustard, on the list of products, so he started down the Aisle.

There was no mustard anywhere, so John went back to look at the sign again. At the second viewing the sign on Aisle four listed mustard; John scratched his head and proceeded down that Aisle; --- still, there was no mustard.

"What the hell?" John mumbled to himself.

Once again, John walked to the end of the Aisle to look at the sign, it clearly read, Aisle 4, Mustard; so John turned again and headed down Aisle 4.

There was mustard everywhere, every shape and size of bottles, jars, flasks, etc.

There was about 15 kinds of brown-mustard and just as many kinds of gray-mustard. There was spice-mustard, hot-mustard, sweet-mustard, mustard mixed with all kinds of stuff, but there was no classic yellow mustard.

John was getting rather peeved so he looked for someone to help him. Suddenly he realized that Aisle four didn't go through, and on top of that, at the end of that isle was a red blinking light."

"What the hell?" John blurted out.

A somewhat familiar sounding female voice said, "That is a Dollar in the Jar Word."

John spun around to see a female clerk stocking a shelf right behind him

"Where did you come from?" John questioned.

"From Missouri," was the answer.

John was stumped by the answer and tried to explain, "No, I meant right now--- where did you come from right now?"

"From the stock room," the clerk replied without ever turning around.

John figured this conversation was going nowhere fast, so he just asked, "Where is the French's Classic Yellow Mustard?"

The clerk, again without turning around, pointed to a shelf, but on inspection, John saw no French's Classic Yellow Mustard there.

He thought, "Maybe it's behind another mustard jar," so he started moving jars around and looking behind them; that's when it happened.

An additional aisle opened, it was halfway down Isle four and it was at a right angle. There, at the intersection of the two aisles was a new red light and sign that read, "Aisle 4.5, French's Classic Yellow Mustard."

Aisle 4.5 wasn't a full length aisle, it was only as long as the width of the end of Aisle four and 5. And there, neatly stacked on each shelf was all shapes and sizes of French's Classic Yellow Mustard; but none were in the handy squeeze bottles.

John turned to ask the clerk about that, but she was gone.

"Where in the hell did she go?" John muttered.

"Put a dollar in the jar, bad word, bad word," John heard Mabel say.

Looking toward the sound, John saw Mabel perched on a light that was positioned just above the French's Mustard display.

"Mabel, how did you get here?" John questioned in a very concerned manner.

"On the gurney, on the gurney," Mabel stated very loudly.

"Don't be silly, Birdie-bird, now come here to me," John said as he reached up to retrieve the wayward bird.

Mabel screeched and yelled, "CLEAR!

Then John slipped and fell onto the floor, back first; --- wham.

"There is still no pulse!"

"CLEAR!" John's body slammed against the gurney again.

 

"We have a pulse --- and he is breathing," said one paramedic.

"OK, --- let’s get him into the ambulance and get some blankets on him before he freezes," replied the other.

 

As we span back from the scene we see an unusual traffic accident. A sink-hole had opened on the street in front of the market and a delivery driver had to swerve to avoid the hole. As he swerved the vehicle jumped the curb and hit John.

The driver's vehicle was the delivery truck for French's Mustard, --- from the Mustard Zone.

 

03-21-2017


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