Legend of the Salad Traveler, p.1Jerry J. K. Rogers
Legend of the Salad Traveler
Copyright© 2011 Jerry Rogers
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Blue and Star Backfield and Wormhole Cover Art
Design and Licensed by Cristian Vazquez
Without a doubt, I have to dedicate this novella to my nephew Cameron. If it wasn’t for his fun and fanciful imagination, jovial personality (although misunderstood by many) as well as a writing style truly engaging, I wouldn’t have been inspired to conceptualize and write this story. Thanks Bud.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 – The Disappearing Salad
Chapter 2 – The Guide and the Shower
Chapter 3 – A Lead Presents Itself
Chapter 4 – A Sudden Detour
Chapter 5 – The Game
Chapter 6 – Is That a Ministry in Your Pocket
Chapter 7 – The Chase is On
Chapter 8 – Legend of the Salad Traveler
Chapter 9 – The Journey Ends?
About the Author
Chapter 1 – The Disappearing Salad
Carl had a friend who was a radio broadcaster with a remote studio setup in a little cottage in the rear of the property. The cottage sat right next to the sidewalk where many persons would pass. Not to say that these persons may have been involved with what happened, but Carl’s friend thought it was a better explanation than what actually did happened. So what am I talking about? Carl’s friend’s salad ended up missing. You see, Carl’s friend was taking an afternoon break in the cottage getting ready for an early evening broadcast and decided to snack on a nice, light salad: spinach leaves, a little red onion, sweet cherry tomatoes, a few sliced mushrooms, a little chopped boiled eggs and some crumbled cheese. He topped it with some honey Dijon mustard dressing. Bringing it out to the cottage, he realized he had forgotten a fork. Going back into the house, he thought, Why lock the cottage? Most of the equipment is too heavy to dismantle and carry away and who would want to steal a salad?
Coming back out, fork in hand, Carl’s friend was ready to pounce on the sustenance. He was amazed to find the salad was gone. What Carl’s friend didn’t realize was that today was the fifth day of the fifth month, and the weight of the salad, minus the bowl of course, equaled five point five ounces. This couldn’t have made the salad happier. All of this happened to establish a wormhole to another universe where nothing but salads like to go on vacation.
Now, I’m not sure if you know who Schrodinger is; he theorized unique concepts with cats. His theory: you never really know the true state of existence of the cat until you actually measure is the cat there, is the cat not there, possibly existing in another universe or dimension? Poor cat, popping in and out of existence at the whim of someone deciding to determine if it exists or not. Well Carl’s friend thought the salad had been stolen, not simply if it existed or not. Of course, what else is he to think when, with fork in hand, he comes out to a cottage with a remote radio studio next to a sidewalk where lots of people walk, some who may like salads that weigh five point five ounces?
At this point, Carl’s friend thought of only one thing to do, head out to the sidewalk with fork in hand and see if the person who may have stolen his salad could be found. And walking out to the sidewalk where lots of people walk, there were lots of people walking, but none with a salad weighing five point five ounces, minus the bowl, of course. He did come across two young men walking towards him who appeared to be arguing back and forth, but saying only two words. One yelled out, “Pittsburgh!” the other, “Philadelphia!”
Walking up to Carl’s friend, one asked, “Excuse us sir, could you help us solve an argument concerning Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in relation to the state of Pennsylvania?”
“You mean like where each city is in relation to the other inside the state?”
Both men looked dejected as if someone stole their favorite toy or stuffed animal, ripped its head off and set it on fire.
“You mean they’re cities?” the older one asked.
“Yeah, why?” Carl’s friend queried.
“We thought they were states!”
Recovering from the shock of this new information, both men continued walking down the sidewalk engaged in a new argument, one yelling out, “Los Angeles!” the other, “San Francisco!”
Just as Carl’s friend put his hands to his mouth to help amplify his voice and yell to the two men that San Francisco and Los Angeles were cities as well, he saw the fork in his hand and remembered the reason for being out on the sidewalk where lots of people walk. Being distracted because of the two men, however, made him realize that if the salad thief had been out here, he, or she, or maybe even Schrodinger’s cat could well be very far away, even possibly enjoying his salad.
All of this did actually turn out to benefit Carl’s friend. Had he been in the studio at the time enjoying the salad instead of being on the sidewalk next to the cottage where lots of people walk, he’d be receiving a call on his office phone from Carl who happened to be locked out of his apartment asking for the spare key. By taking the key over, Carl’s friend wouldn’t have encountered a strange man who would have taken him on a strange and wonderful journey. Still being angry about the salad, however, would have made everyone else on the trip angry and, in the end, an ordinary trip miserable. But since Carl’s friend was outside and not able to hear the phone, but that was another story. You may also ask why Carl didn’t call his friend on his cell phone. It happens that Carl’s friend didn’t have a cell phone considering it too ended up missing earlier in the day, the salad and phone making plans to meet later for a drink or two, if they had time.
The thing to do now was head down to the local bar with fork in hand. Maybe there, he could order some decent bar food, with a salad of course, eat, and then head back to get ready for his evening broadcast. Reaching to check for his wallet, Carl’s friend realized he left it inside the house next to the cottage. Trying to get inside the house, the door was locked, keys inside. Carl’s friend was now locked out of his home. For him though, this was no reason not to head down to the bar. The concept of tabs active and in use at his favorite bar, and after already paying a good portion off, he realized it was another reason not to go. Plus, he already had the fork.
He made his way to the tavern adorned with faded wood, windows slightly angled due to the settling of the building over the years, the florescent sign that used to say Bravo’s Tavern now illuminated only Bra ‘s T ern. Entering the establishment, the smell of beer and greasy food assaulted Carl’s friend’s nose. Going over towards the antiqued, wood-covered bar, he sat down on a red, plastic-covered stool grabbing one of the ketchup and mustard stained mini-menus scanning for something to eat.
“What’s up boss?” a burly man in his mid-fifties asked of Carl’s friend.
“Nothing much. Just hungry,” he answered eyeing the menu. “Know what, gimme the fish and chips, a coke, and…” running through the food selections, he found what he was looking for on the back side, “…a salad.”
The barkeep pulled a tablet device from his smock, clicked a couple of soft keys on the multi-touch screen and returned the device back into its pocket. “It’ll be out in a few. H
“Could be better.”
“Yeah, same here. Got up late this morning and, rushing to open, someone almost hit me.”
“Well at least you didn’t have someone steal your salad.” You see, Carl’s friend was still upset about the missing salad, not realizing the salad was still enjoying its vacation, right about now, actually frolicking wherever salads like to frolic in alternate universes with other salads, maybe meeting up with the cell phone later.
“Whaddaya mean someone stole your salad?”
“I was prepping for my broadcast, made a salad to snack on, forgot a fork, went back to get one, came back to the cottage and it was gone.”
“That why you got the fork?”
Carl’s friend glanced at the fork. “Yeah.”
Chatting for a few more minutes, the food arrived. The battered fish was shiny and dark ebony, the chips several shades lighter than golden brown appearing almost raw, the romaine lettuce salad looked fresh, popping with vibrant cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a few slivers of red onion. Carl’s friend thought it may actually satisfy his desire for his missing salad. Even though the salad appeared appetizing, the unique, oil and vinegar house blend salad dressing didn’t appeal to his taste buds. The salad recognizing his discontent, decided to give him heartburn later on.
Finishing his meal and being fully satiated, Carl’s friend remembered he still had to prep for his evening radio broadcast. Even though the ratings were low, he didn’t want to disappoint his listening audience member. Notice the word “member” is not plural. The last time Carl’s friend received the ratings report from the marketing department of the head station he was syndicated through, it statistically equated to one person. He wasn’t sure though why he hadn’t been pulled from the air.
Now I don’t know if you recall that Carl’s friend had been locked out of his house after going to get a fork and would have tried calling his friend to have him bring the spare key. But, since Carl didn’t receive the phone call, because Carl’s friend’s phone had been missing, (we won’t discuss the partying with the salad that had been planned earlier), Carl missed out on the wonderful journey that could have been. Carl’s friend decided to head back down to his cottage remembering about his spare key, and he himself ended up on the strange and wonderful journey.
Reaching into his back pocket, feeling a void, Carl’s friend remembered his wallet was locked in his house. “Dude, you mind catching me on the tab side? I locked my wallet inside my house, and I need to have someone bring my spare key.”
The barkeep pulled out his tablet device navigating through several screens ending with raising an eyebrow and scowling at Carl’s friend. “You know how much you owe already?”
“Hey, I made a payment a couple of weeks ago.”
“And do you know how much you owe?”
“Dude, you know I’m good for it. You even know where I live and work.”
“And do you know how much you owe?” the barkeep asked emphatically.
“It can’t be that much. Let me take a look at that thing.”
The barkeep snapped it in front of Carl’s friend’s face where his countenance mutated from one puppy dog plea of “please sir, may I have another,” to disbelief, viewing the inordinate total amount displayed on the screen. “Ouch, I didn’t know it was that much. But come on, I don’t have my wallet. How’m I supposed to p...”
Before Carl’s friend could finish, the barkeep already pulled out a towel, dish rag and smock from under the bar for just such a situation.
“Come on, I have to get ready for my broadcast.”
Carl’s friend glanced at his watch. “A little over three hours from now.”
“You should be done in two. Keep jawing and it’ll take longer.”
Continuing his attempts to plead his way from accomplishing kitchen detail, Carl’s friend found himself reluctantly working off his meal. Satisfied with the work accomplished, he was released from his imposed payment servitude some 105 minutes later.
Walking back to the cottage formulating the outline of his evening broadcast, Carl’s friend glanced across the busy street where a lot of people were walking in front of the quaint stores, shops and cafes. He saw the two guys he met earlier, when he had a fork in his hand, who were arguing back and forth about a couple of cities. He thought he heard one of them mention something to the effect of being lost. Carl’s friend ignored them, remembering he forgot the fork he’d taken when he went to get something to eat. The fork didn’t mind; it gave it a chance to catch up with some relatives, especially since Carl had “borrowed” the fork from the tavern during a previous visit. Then it ended up with his friend during a visit taking a plate of leftover barbecue back to the cottage a week earlier after a small get together of friends.
Carl’s friend realized he smelled like dirty, soapy water, grease and other kitchen-related, odorous smells, when combined, not too pleasant. Glancing at the digital clock on the wall above his office chair where the radio studio was set up, he saw he had almost an hour before he’d have to remote in with the station engineer to prep for the broadcast. There was time for a shower.
Heading over to the bathroom, something on Carl’s friend’s work desk next to the studio equipment caught his attention; his phone reappeared. He quickly surmised he must have overlooked it when searching for it earlier. He did think it was odd the phone appeared to have the residue of a slippery substance, detecting the aroma of olive oil with a hint of vinegar. He quickly put it with a fresh set of clothes he pulled from the cottage closet as he got ready to bathe himself to make sure he didn’t lose it again.
Pulling back the black and white checkered shower curtain, Carl’s friend turned on the water setting the temperature to a nice lukewarm, pulling the curtain closed again to prevent rebellious shower water from attempting to escape into the main bathroom area onto the floor. Disrobing, he realized he needed a fresh set of underwear. He wrapped a fresh towel around his waist, proceeding quickly into the cottage’s spare room attempting to put the indentured servitude he had just accomplished behind him.
Drawing the shower curtain, preparing to take his shower, he saw a strange man standing in the middle of the tub. Water from the showerhead rained on the stranger drenching him from the chest down. Jumping back and nearly slipping, Carl’s friend almost dropped the towel he was holding around his waist to cover his privates, now grasping it even tighter. He wondered, What is this strange man doing standing in my shower?
“Hey,” the man asked, “you wouldn’t have seen a couple of guys looking for the state of Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, would you?”
Legend of the Salad Traveler by Jerry J. K. Rogers / Science Fiction have rating 3.6 out of 5 / Based on18 votes