Paul’s conversion to vegetarianism hadn’t been a problem at first. She’d actually been happy to see him get enthusiastic about something for once. However, that seed, like the courgettes, had grown fast, fruiting and swelling into full on ‘Save The Planet’ fanaticism. Her beautiful garden had been dug up, with every conceivable space turned over to veg growing.
“Nothing must go to waste” was his mantra. The car was replaced with a tandem bike, holidays with an allotment, new clothes with charity shop cast downs.
Sitting down at the kitchen table that fateful night for her birthday meal, how she’d wished she could have her old Paul back, serving up his usual idea of a treat, a supermarket meal deal for two with cheap in house plonk. That would’ve been bliss.
Isabel scrutinised the plate in front of her.
“What is this?”
“It’s courgette, five ways”
“There’s Courgette Bonbon, Fritter, Tartare, Roast and Courgette Surprise. I’ve opened a bottle of our nettle wine as a treat. Tuck in, but save some room, I’ve made a caramelised Courgette Tart for pudding. You’ll love it!”
Isabel assessed the contents of her plate, the fritter was swimming in a pool of grease, the tartare was simply raw courgette spirals, the roasted courgette was burnt beyond recognition. As for the gloopy brownish slurry, that must be the courgette surprise. The only surprise would be if she didn’t projectile vomit after eating it! The bonbon was the only edible looking thing on the plate. Perfectly round, with a crisp looking, lightly toasted breadcrumb coating. Isabel stabbed her fork into the bonbon. It exploded like a lanced boil. Pustule like lava hot courgette juice squirted up her bare arm.
Screaming, she rushed to the sink, thrusting her arm under the cold tap. Although the tears in her eyes blurred her vision looking out the window, she could swear the courgette flowers, spilling out of her once beautiful rose beds were laughing at her. That was when it happened. She snapped. Charging out into the garden grabbing a spade, she attacked the courgettes, their laughter now turning to screams. Paul flew after her, frantically trying to grab the spade. One huge courgette swore at her. She grabbed it, twisting it free from the triffid like plant. Turning to face Paul she knew exactly what she was going to do with it!
The judges booming voice snapped Isabel’s attention back to the present.
“I repeat. How do you plead. Guilty or not guilty?”