Once upon a time there was a carrot and an onion who were best friends. They lived together in the lefthand bin in my refrigerator (I think I recognize these guys, actually).
The carrot was old enough to know a thing or two but not so old that he had to go in the compost bin. And the onion looked up to the carrot, not just because the carrot was taller. The carrot had seen a thing or two and even claimed to know what was in the Tupperware at the back of the lowest fridge shelf (Note to carrot: please let me in on this).
One day they were sitting on the kitchen table while the fridge was being cleaned out. And while they were waiting around, they met a funny jar of black weird stuff.
“Who are you?” said the onion.
“Me? Good heavens, don’t you know? I am a jar of Bovril, my dears. A delicious meat-essence spread much beloved by the English. You may dilute me with water and I become a lovely drink. Or I may be spread upon toast. Among other things.”
“You don’t say,” said the onion, who felt a little green around the gills at the thought of this.
“Oh, ugh,” said the carrot, in a cross voice. He was cranky, because he had caught a glimpse of himself in the Bovril jar’s glass surface. And just like someone seeing themselves unexpectedly in a mirror, the carrot suddenly felt – well, defensive and insecure. He looked frowsty and hairy – not good for a carrot. Or anyone.
“I make carrots and onions very happy,” the Bovril said. “Take a look in my glass side, just there. See? That is how happy you two would be, if you were covered in Bovril.”
“Oh – no thanks,” said the onion. “I’ll just be rolling off the table now, goodbye.” For the thought (and smell) of the black tarry spread inside the jar made him afraid. Who would use such a thing? the onion wondered.
It was all quite worrying. He was going to ask the carrot, but the carrot noticed how much better he looked, the longer he stared at the Bovril. The carrot was no longer listening to the onion. The carrot had been hypnotized by the wily jar!
And when it was time to go back into the fridge – the carrot was nowhere to be seen. The onion was afraid, and hid in the corner of the lefthand bin until he was incorporated into some minestrone the following week.
P.S. The carrot was cleaned up and made into delicious muffins, actually. And the Bovril? He went back into his cupboard until the next English person came around looking for things to spread on Rye Crisps or turn into brothy beverages. And it lived happily ever after!
Many many thanks to Heather for the colorful and, may I say, delightfully zippy, ad! I’m feeling much better now.