The movie review is running behind. In the meantime, I present you this half-baked tale.
Gus had a habit of seeing dangers in everyday things. Sidewalks, nachos, dry grass, anything. “You might trip and crack your skull on the sidewalk, or choke on a nacho, and dry grass is a dangerous fire hazard! I’m not going out there!” His friends always tried to coax him out of his house but it never worked.
“Hey, Gus, why don’t you come and join us for a game of billiards?”
“And get clonked by a ball? No thanks, I know my limits.”
“Well, how about a movie, then?”
“And trip down the steps in the dark?!”
This continued until one day when Gus ran out of his favorite brand of floss. Yeah. So, he needed to buy more floss but he won’t go to the store. Through sheer force of will, his friends get him to go. Once in the store, Gus is amazed by the aisle of floss. Apparently the clerks must like it as much as he does. He heads over to the check-out counter with his friends when they pass through the produce section. Gus happens to look over to his right, proceeds to drop his floss and lets out a piercing shriek. “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!”
“Gus, what is the matter with you?”
“THERE, right over there, that thing!”
“…Gus, that’s a potato.”
“Don’t go near it!”
“Okay, Gus, you know what?” The friend goes over and picks up the potato, puts it through the check-out, then comes back and puts it into the bag of floss. They make Gus take it back to his house where they tell him to keep it in his kitchen.
“So that you can prove to yourself that this fear of mundane objects is unhealthy. Everyday, we want you to spend a moment looking at this potato and to say “It’s only a potato.” Then, go out and say that to every parking meter that looks at you funny. We don’t know how else to help.”
They then leave Gus in his apartment with the potato. Gus looked at the potato. His eyes widened and he ran into his room and locked the door.
The next day his friends came over to see how he was doing. They find him locked in his room. “Gus, come out of there.”
“No, take that thing away!”
“Gus, come on.”
“Get rid of it!”
“Gus, it’s just a potato for God’s sake!” His friends had to tell him they took the potato away before he would come out, at which point they dragged him into the kitchen. There sat the potato. Gus tried to run but his friends sat him in a chair and told him to stay there.
“No, I don’t want to! It-”
“GUS! Calm down, it’s just a potato.”
“Gus,” said one of his friends very slowly, “we’re going to leave now. Stay here with the potato and in the morning you’ll see that there’s nothing to worry about..” They then left Gus with the potato.
Gus sat there into the night, staring fearfully at the potato. He began to sweat.
“It’s just a potato…” He looked at it and shuddered. “It’s just a potato…” The potato sat on the table. Gus leaned away and fell out of his chair. “No, it’s only a potato!” He crawled away from the table and backed up against the wall. “A potato! A potato! it’s only a POTATO!”
The next morning, Gus’ friends came back and knocked at his door. Five minutes later, when he hadn’t answered the door, they let themselves in and went to his room, expecting to find him hiding again, but door was open and he wasn’t inside. They went to the kitchen; he wasn’t in there, either. Not in the living room, not in the bathroom, not out on the balcony. They decided that he must have come to his senses and gone out to meet them; maybe they had missed him by mere minutes. Off they went in search of their chum. Not one of them paid any attention to the potato that still sat on the kitchen table.
After all, it was only a potato…
At the time that I wrote this, years back now, there was an online challenge on some forum or another to write a short piece of weird fiction. So I wrote about a guy who gets done in by a potato. There’s no deeper meaning or look into the main character’s psyche, it’s really just a potato that kills you. I don’t know how, it just does. What do you think?