FORTY-ONE, 2.0

Ricky’s mother told him not to crack open the jar of pickles, but Ricky loved pickles, so he’s about to do it anyway. He’s wild about pickles, can’t remember a time without them. Only twelve years old, Ricky figures he’s eaten at least one pickle a day since he was three.

And he ain’t joking.

His mother had consistently, through his lifetime, warned Ricky that if he kept eating pickles at this rate he’d turn into a pickle before he was twenty. To Ricky, this would be a dream come true.

F*cking pickles were delicious. Who wouldn’t want to be one?

So here is is, after school, eating the pickles from the jar his mother had warned him not to open. But why? Were they magic f*cking pickles? Would other dimensional doorways open up because Ricky devoured a pickle?

Or would he, Ricky, actually fulfill his mother’s warnings and become a pickle?

The jar, to be certain, was slightly odd. Cylindrical and more yellow than clear, the jar was unlabeled and contained exactly a dozen pickles. Upon opening, the scent of vinegar and egg seeped into Ricky’s nostrils and caused a tingling sensation in the back of his throat, which led to a pleasant chill through the rest of his body.

He smiles, pulling a pickle from the jar, and eats that one practically whole. Barely chewing the f*cking pickle.

The vinegar is warm in his throat, and the spices are just right, just enough zing to send his mouth into a numbness for 0.5 seconds — the perfect amount of time.

He eats two more pickles to bring the count to his magic number of three f*cking pickles eaten. He sets the jar back in the fridge, with the lid on so hopefully his mother won’t notice.

Then he sleeps.

When he wakes up, he can’t move because he’s stuck under the covers. And he can’t take them off because he’s a G*ddamn F*cking pickle!

Why the hell am I a pickle? He tries to speak, to yell, to call his mother, but nothing comes out. Pickles don’t have mouths. And he’s a big pickle, so the smell is ten times that of a normal size pickle. Vinegar floods the house, a scent so strong even Ricky is disgusted.

His mother opens the front door, and as soon as she yells “UGH” Ricky knows he’s in trouble. But so what?

How do you punish a pickle? You can’t exactly torture it, since a pickle is already basically a tortured cucumber. What do you do to a pickle that might be your son?

Ricky contemplates the look on his mother’s face as she approaches his bedroom, and wonders how he’d react if he saw a giant pickle.

He’d probably eat it.

He hopes his mother actually hates pickles as much as he loves them. He closes his eyes, or would if he even had eyes, and wishes and hopes and prays. Mother wakes him up with a splash of water to the face, and Ricky is back to his old self.

Guess those pickles really were magic, because he never eats pickles again.

F*ck pickles.

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