It’s dark in here…but not scary.
Rooted in darkness, the sugar beet grows. It reaches for the sun in the throes of sun-seeking single-mindedness. Adding to itself, cell by cell, its root tendrils reach for other beets like external veins and arteries connected to a wine-colored heart. Pulse, expand.
Pulled from its comfortable pad, it travels in a wheelbarrow, exposed. The sun it so singly sought fries the sensitive ends of its love-seeking tendrils. The farmer can’t care. It’s a vegetable.
Lying alone, having fallen from the barrow, it seeks the soft, cool earth where it lived for so long. The ground in the barn is hard and cracked, unwilling to give it a soft opening in which to slide back in and thrive. Reaching for the sun is no fun unrooted.
So it lies there, contemplating its color. Some varieties look like potatoes, but this one knows it looks like merlot. It is sweet in the middle like a honey pot, yet it lies there to rot on the barn floor.
Until the farmer’s son grabs him by his greens and throws him into the corner, discarded like an unwanted ace. His grimy hands grab his girl and he rolls with her in the soft straw as the beet, bruised, is relegated to gazing from a spectator seat. At least the beet isn’t being squished under the girl’s naked back. That would leave a mark on both.
Looking like a failed heart transplant in the corner of the barn, the beet waits for the farmer’s son to finish plowing his girl. Tendrils dry quickly at the ends, its touch becoming like parchment paper, the bordeaux draining from his skin as the farmer’s son begets his paternity with the care of a sail-less pirate ship in a maelstrom.
And still the vegetable watches, withering in the straw until the farmer enters the barn.
“What the hell are you doing?!” he yells at the boy before he can consummate his desire in his semi-deflowered maiden, grabbing the beet by the greens and throwing it back into the barrel next to others of its kind.
The boy slides on his trousers, the girl replants her flower, and the beet is content to be squeezed against others of its kind, awaiting granulation. Better fruit for the farmer than a barn-begotten baby.