Sunday, May 17, 2009

Protrudio Says — Hey! 5

As you may recall, Abysswinksback-goers were invited to partake in the following writing exercise:

“You are a ghost. In a supermarket. You can’t touch anything, scare anyone, and you may not even be an ex-human. What do you see on display that moves you? Something you recall from your mortal life? Some odd new product by which you’re fascinated? Or a sink plunger?”

I can confirm that the results are now in, and Protrudio has selected a lucky winner from the vast range of both submissions, after deliberating atop his favourite yak-hair cushion for over four and a half hours. A tough decision indeed, but in the end, there can only be one winner, and though it’s true that in many civilisations throughout the galaxy, all the spoils are typically swept up by evil fascist overlords (backed up by tons of nukes), I’m happy to report that this won’t be happening this time round as both of the entrants were humble mortals. I think. Furthermore, on this occasion, I have overridden Protrudio’s decision as there is hardly a whisker between both entries. (If it helps, he chose his own feeble effort, submitted about five minutes ago.)

So here they are, lovingly recreated in the order they were received...

First off is this one from Bevie

I watched her fill her cart. Milk. Cheese. Bread. Frozen vegetables. She didn’t seem to bother much with pricing. Just took the name brands. Hmm. Must have money to spare. The other shoppers were taking their time, comparing prices of generic labels to advertised.

It was fascinating to watch the people, myself unseen. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. After all, it wasn’t like I could interact with them anyway. As far as they knew I was just some cold spot in the store. Some actually shivered walking through me. Wish I could shiver. Wish I could experience the sensation of picking something up, dropping it into the cart, and pushing it around the store. But I couldn’t.

I couldn’t even get excited about looking at this woman. I knew she was beautiful, but so what? I had no physical sensation to stimulate. What a waste. No ring on her finger. How could someone so beautiful stay unattached? What did I care? I was alone in a crowd. No one to talk to because no one could hear me. Just endless loneliness.

I was about to leave when I saw her take something from the shelf: Jiffy Pop Popcorn. I loved popcorn. My favorite snack. Memories filled my mind. Peeling off the cardboard protection. Shaking the foil pan over the stove. Listening to the popping and watching the aluminum foil rise up like a volcano about to burst. The burst of steam when I cut the top open. The beautiful smell of buttered popcorn filling the kitchen. The wonderful taste as I put it in my mouth. The choking, because I had taken too much. The darkness. And then looking down at my lifeless corpse. Hmm. Maybe I should keep following her. Might have someone to talk with soon.

And here’s one from Queen Viciouspants herself...

Margaret can't see the supermarket. It wasn't here when she was alive, she says. All she sees when I take her there is farmer Atkins field.

- Where are the cows? she asks and I point to the sliced meat section, but the joke is lost, because she can't see that either. While I stand in the middle of the tinned vegetable aisle, she stands beside Atkins Oak, which she says is the biggest tree she's ever seen. She circles it to show me, passing through racks of tins and packets and most of the fruit and vegetable department. I agree that it must have been a big tree.

Margaret is upset that she can't see the cows; she swears Atkins Field should be full of them. They should be able to be here, like us, she says. I've never worked out why we can't see the ghosts of animals. Margaret doesn't know either. I say we shouldn't worry, surely that must mean they are all happy in some animal heaven, but I can't help looking back at the sliced meat when I say it.

- I'm happy, says Margaret. - Why am I not in some kind of heaven?

I don't know why she keeps asking me that. She knows I don't have an answer.

I make Margaret go to the supermarket with me a lot, despite the lack of cows. I like to go there. Although I could spend as long as I like looking at the magazine covers, the sweets or the toys, all the things I used to to like to look at in the supermarket, I don't. Instead, I follow the route Mum always took, starting at fruit and vegetables and going up and down every aisle, because she never knew what she might have forgotten to write on her list that she might remember just by looking. I walk quietly like she always wanted me to. I don't complain and I don't moan, I just walk. Up and down. Looking. Following the aisles, not skipping a section or cutting through any racks. Up and down. Margaret doesn't really understand, but she follows me where she can, skirting the tree at times and reappearing halfway down an aisle. She doesn't talk either.

I always finish at the toiletries section where Mum bought her anti-perspirant and talcum powder. I stand in front of her favourite brands and that's when I really wish I still had a sense of smell. I'd like to smell my Mum. Just one more time.

More dilemmic horns than a herd of buffalos picking straws to see who wins a trip to the nail bar, n’est-ce pas? That said, if both lucky winners would like to email me their details, I will arrange to mail out their choice of prize from the following juicy offerings: chocolate, gravy, whisky miniature, rawlplugs, pencils, a potato or a crap crap crap crap crap mystery prize.

Meanwhile, over to Protrudio...

Slurpilicious wibblings of unadulterated yumminess! Did Whirl mention I wrote about a giraffe, by the way? Lost in Tesco, looking for bananas? When it dawned on me that said creatures of the plains rarely dine on bananas, the deadline had passed. But I submitted it anyway, hoping my moving lines about the poor giraffe’s attempts to peel the largest of the bunch with her phantom please excuse me. The last time I was moved to tears like this was when my soft scoop chocolate ice cream blaster got a stray almond stuck in its squirt nozzle...

But, on! Up! Between!

My recipe for this time around, although technically edible, is actually more a form of protection for those moments when you find yourself suddenly ambushed by undersea molluscs or kraken. So, frying pans at the ready...


For this audacious expose of raptures, you will need

5 slices of bread (big and roughly square)
3 eggs
2oz linguine
A feather from a colourful bird
1 Mallet
1 six inch nail

First off, bring a pan of water to the boil, marvelling as the bubbles rise to the surface like miniature crystal balls in a sea of possibilities. Next, deftly ponce five small plates onto the worktop like you were a Harlem Globetrotter spinning a quintet of basketballs, and distribute the whipped innards of your three cracked eggs evenly between them, adding a little salt and pepper and gayly singing

Eggs eggs eggs I love you
Eggs oh yes it’s true
The clarity of your albumen
shows you’re never blue.
And yes your yolk is sunny
occasionally runny
yellower than honey
perfect on roast bunny.

Donning sportswear from your favourite Olympics (mine is Mexico, 1968: great sombreros), javelin the linguine into the boiling water, carefully noting the recommended cooking time. Incidentally, if you’re ever confronted by Prawnspawn Gladiator Mutants while you’re trampolining on the thick-set skin of a wayward blancmange, I’ve discovered said beasts of death, destruction and disgraceful table manners are allergic to guacamole. Just a tip.

As the linguine begins to soften, soak your bread in the egg mix and fry, one at a time till the surface of each slice glistens with oil and has the texture of scabrous herring. Then, using the mallet and the six inch nail, beat four holes along each edge of the first four, leaving the fifth half done so if you folded it in half, you wouldn’t have mirror images — just one side with eight holes in and the other with none. Whatever the recommended cooking time of the linguine, aim to be two whole minutes shy as the last nail ka-chunks into the bread.

Now it’s time to sew the bread together with the linguine. Overcook it, and your Helm of Stupendousness will literally fall apart at the seams. When you’re done, you should have an inverted box-shape, with a flap, which you can flip up to make a brim. Simply crystallize the brim edge with a blowtorch, pop your feather in the top, and you have yourself the dinkiest hat this side of...the place where they have lots of dinky hats.

Time now to bid you all farewell once again, and I trust that you’ll experience an unusually high degree of fun as you cavort your way through the next fortnight clad in your home-cooked hats. Whether worn at work or at play, Protrudio’s Celebrated Helm of Stupendousness cannot fail to invite whoops of delight from all around, and, should your undergarments unravel in a Stray Thread Caught On Passing Bus catastrophe, may be donned as a temporary G-string.

Happy cooking!


fairyhedgehog said...

Congratulations to Bevie and McK - those were both very good.

I have to go now to fry up some eggy bread. What size needle do I need for sewing with linguine?

Kiersten said...

Ah CRAP. I can't believe I forgot about the deadline.

I'm furious with myself. I deserve a good lashing with linguine.

Whirlochre said...

Protrudio has a range of signature pasta darning needles, starting at at £24.99.

I take it you mean a lashing of bolognaise sauce? To make you feel better?

McKoala said...

Go, Bevie! Go, me!

Protrudio, sometimes you are plain scary. Plus, wasn't the promise for a recipe featuring our favourite vegetable, hmmm?

I will gladly forgo the scary postage required from Whirl in order to send a miniature of whisky or a crap, crap, crap, crap, crap prize*, in exchange for a genuine recipe for my favourite veg, being aubergine. The challenge is out there.

*unless it is a beanie knitted entirely from Geoff's fur, in which case I want it.

sylvia said...

I'm sorry I didn't take part but I did enjoy reading the results !

Robin S. said...

YAY- I'm on. Couldn't get on here yesterday - it would start to load and then I'd get shut down...

Whirlochre said...


Chris Eldin said...

Loved reading those!! Congratualtions!
But part of me thinks you're trying to placate the koala to make up for other things. Hmmm?

I'm sorry I didn't partake in this. I am really hoping to have more time for the enjoyable aspects of blogging after next week.

Whirlochre said...

Placate a koala?

McKoala said...

I am unplacatable. Word count is duly noted, but where is the link that will make me laugh? Remember that part of the penance?

Whirlochre said...

I'm not the best collector of YouTube funnies, and maybe you've already seen this, but here goes anyway...