Chapter III, The Lean Years

Shortly after Veggie appeared on Justin Wilson's television show, Justin died. Veggie took Justin's death really hard. Veggie thought the world of Justin, and still says being on his television show was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Justin was the man Veggie admired more than any other. Veggie had often said that Justin wasn't scared of any fruit, nut, vegetable, or herb. He admired him for that and for the fact that Justin was a star. I guess you could say Veggie had kind of a plant crush on Justin as getting over Justin's death would take Veggie years and years.

The whole squash debacle didn't help matters any either. Oh sure, he beat both the squash and the gourds, but I had come to his rescue. I think he would have rather died than to have placed non-combatants at risk, but even when I said I'd do it again if I had to, he still wasn't happy about it.

The fact is, he was scarred both emotionally and physically. When those gourds attacked Veggie they tore through three layers of his bark. A lot of people began to criticize Veggie and myself for our actions. They said we didn't fight fair and used excessive force in defeating the combined armies of squash and gourds. Of course none of them bothered to think about the fact that it's perfectly natural for plants to try to crowd each other out. Had it been the other way around the squash wouldn't have hesitated to wipe out Veggie and his entire species. Veggie can't help the fact that he's on a slightly higher rung on the evolutionary ladder.

Of course that didn't stop P-E-T-S (People for the Ethical Treatment of Squash) from wagging their tales and coming down hard on Veggie. In their dried up, little pea brains, Veggie Head Stalker was public enemy number one. It didn't matter that he had a heart of green and chlorophyll ran deep in his veins, they were out to get him no matter what the cost.

Their first attack was with a pair of hedge clippers, but I noticed the bulge in the jacket of the P-E-T-S hit man, and stuck my pen in his eye as he lunged for Veggie's head. P-E-T-S denied any knowledge of the attack, and the trial of the would be assassin is still pending all these years later. Then P-E-T-S formed a PAC (Political Action Committee) and solicited Congress to enact sanctions against Veggie. They also announced boycotts against Veggie's sponsors. It only took a few months before those sun-deprived, nematode sucking, spindly, rag weed Congressmen and Corporate CEOs began to shrivel up, pull up roots, and run away from the vegetable they had once touted as a national hero. He was even banned from PBS.

But then what can you expect from artificially lighted, fossil fuel fertilized, inorganic hybrids?

Even with all his problems, Veggie wasn't about to give up. With a little bit of help from his parents, Fruit E. and Candy Apple Stalker, Veggie managed to go on. Sometimes ol' Fruity would even go with us. I guess I should have pulled up roots like everyone else had done, but by this time Veggie was much more than my employer, Veggie was my friend. As a matter of fact there were often months between paychecks back then, but Veggie believed in his cause, and I wasn't about to let a lack of greenery stop me from recording his story. I guess I had become just as obsessed as Veggie was...


Potatoes, potatoes,
hide there 'neath the ground
waiting and waiting
for you to come 'round.
They'll snag both your feet
to trip in their vines
face down in the dirt
with mud on your mind. 

Beware the potato,
he's crafty and smart
as he lurks 'neath the surface
to fill you with starch.
And with his friends, Butter
and vile Sour Cream,
he'll make you grow fatter
to cause you bad dreams.

Look out Vegetable Stalker!
there's 'taders 'round here.

"Well I'll be deep fried and dipped in batter. It looks like the Vegetable Stalker is up to his arm pits in chips. Of course that's not much when you're lying face first on the ground. Anybody got any ketchup? Mustard maybe? Get up Veggie Head. We've got more adventurers to check out. And Y'all can continue to check out the Adventures of the Vegetable Stalker right here as our story continues with The Vegetable Stalker Goes South.

Y'all come back now, ya' hear."