Short Stories

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A conserve for meat or cheese ©

Jack picked up the little jar and read the label. “Lime and gooseberry conserve for meat or cheese.” He pressed his lips together and pushed them up his teeth. The little jar went back in the fridge and Jack picked up the mayonnaise.

The jar sat on the shelf, unable to move, and watched the door of the fridge swing shut. The light blinked out and the jar was alone. Surrounded by dead and motionless food; it started to weep. Tiny beads formed on the outside of the glass; rolling down they began to weaken the glue on the back of the label.

The jar, or Jarcon Ligoo-miche as it was also known, was not from Earth. Yes; it had been bought in specialist supermarket around Christmas last year, but that had been a mistake. Not entirely Jarcon’s fault and not from a lack of preparation.

A hero among his people Jarcon had travelled for sixteen lifetimes to reach Earth. His body slowed to near death; the ship piloted by the most expensive biological computers built from Jarcon’s detailed designs. The planning was as good as it could be but errors had crept in.

In the fridge, cuddled by darkness, Jarcon - its label hanging limp and useless - felt naked and totally alone.

Jack finished his dinner and cleared the table. The plates went on the side, not washed and quickly forgotten. Looking back he noticed the mayonnaise. That would have to go back in its rightful place.

Just as Jack was reaching for the egg based condiment his phone rang. In the fridge Jarcon jumped, it had been sleeping. It heard the sound of the phone as was reminded of the mating call of a bird on its home planet. The muffled sound of Jack’s voice confused Jarcon until it remembered where it was; locked and helpless in the cold darkness.

The phone call finished, angry at the end. Listening carefully Jarcon could hear Jack’s approaching foot steps. With a jerk that made two milk bottles jangle together the fridge door was pulled open. Light flooded in from the outside and the internal bulb dazzled the little jar’s senses.

Jarcon watched as Jack’s frustration grew; trying to fit the mayonnaise onto the top shelf. Jarcon’s shelf. There wasn’t much room and the other items started to shuffle around to make space.

It was a box of tofu that made the final attack. Jarcon was nudged too far and fell; smashing against the floor, glass flying in all directions. The delicate lime and gooseberry jelly, the medium of Jarcon’s soul, began to congeal on the floor. The last sound Jarcon heard was Jack swearing. A string of words the broken jar did not understand.

Burying the pieces of the shattered traveller in a plastic bag under the sink Jack flicked off the lights in the kitchen and went to bed; alone.

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