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EDICT

July 4, 2018

“I’m Matthew Selles. A gentleman of cultured taste. And this is Bella Vodka. A vodka of cultured spirit.”

 

I’m always surprised to hear my own voice on playback. But I think I sound convincing. And my hair looks great. But the Bella Vodka people haven’t called me in months. Maybe I should look for my next promo modeling gig. Or maybe I should give in and take EDICT’s offer. Money talks louder than morals.

 

Time for my morning cube. And I’ll give this copy another shot.

 

Full-length mirror, squared shoulders, gelled hair.

 

“Do you want optimal nutrition, but also want to avoid dangerous GMOs? Are organic food markets too pricey and too far from home? Then join me in reaching full nutrition potential with EDICT.”

 

No. Didn’t sound convincing. Maybe if I try another cube.

 

“Don't get left behind. Upgrade from outdated eating habits to the modern method of optimum nutrition by joining the Essential Daily Intake Cube Team.”

 

Sounds like I’m selling snake oil. I can’t sell these cubes with great hair alone.

 

-----

 

“Hey Matt, it’s Freddie.”

 

“What’s up?”

 

“Just checking to see if you’re still on board.”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

“Great. I want to make sure you don’t feel any allegiance to EDICT. One of our operatives says their upgraded cubes contain a derivative of BZ. It's a mind-control drug. I don't know whether that's true, but we can't be too careful.”

 

“I’m in this for the money. And to help with the cause, of course.”

 

“Great. Just one thing... you didn't actually try any of those cubes, did you?"

 

"Don't worry. I sell the message. I don't buy it."

 

"Right. Just remember how evil EDICT is. They work for Stan Moon. They supply Moon with chemical contracts and lobby the government to abolish GMO rules. And with Moon on the government’s payroll, we need all the help we can get. Infiltration is the only way we’re gonna win the war against fake food.”

 

“I love food. Real food. Count me in.”

 

“How people can give up real food is beyond me.”

 

“Well, real food is hard to get these days. Unless you want to get over-charged and hassled by cops at a farmers’ market.”

 

-----

 

Baggy clothes, check. Hat, check. Sunglasses, check. Self-destruction. It’s what’s for dinner. More cops at the farmers’ market this year. And everybody looks paranoid, not just the vendors. And if I’m recognized, I’m toast. But… it’s so sexy. Fresh, verdant, organic cilantro and parsley, scrunchy and still wet with dew. People eating pesticide-free plums and permissions out in the open. They’re even eating non-GMO tomatoes, juice dripping off their elbows. Decadent. Overwhelming. Just a taste...

 

“A beet and a fig, please.”

 

“Twelve dollars.”

 

“Keep the change. Thanks.”

 

So weak. Can’t wait. Pretty sure no one’s looking. The beet is warm. Still has dirt from the field.

 

“Thank you for this, which I am about to receive.”

 

Skin and all. Firm and raw. Oozing purple. Sweet, crunchy, earthy prime nectar. And it’s gone.

Lips are stained. Hands are stained. So ashamed.

 

-----

 

“Matt Selles, EDICT’s own promo model, at Pensacola Farmers’ Market. I’m in awe. You sure no one recognized you?”

 

“Pretty sure.”

 

“What did you get?”

 

“A beet and a fig. I’m looking at the fig now. I have it on silver plate. I even lit a candle. Freddie, am I crazy?”

 

“No, man, you’re not crazy. You were saying about the fig..?”

 

“There’s a label on it. Says ‘Mission Fig.’ The label is covering a crack.”

 

“I heard if a fig is cracked, there might be a wasp in it... you gonna open it?”

 

“I’m getting a knife now. What’s that about a wasp?”

 

“It’s probably just a myth. Open it. Tell me what you see.”

 

“I peeled off the label. It’s like this fig is… too alive. Or maybe… too primal. It’s purple-black, like a bruise. Oh… I smelled it. It smells like a fermented peach. And the knife slides right through. The inside... it's a glowing strawberry. Red with seeds."

 

"Matt? What are you talking about?"

 

"This isn't right. Freddie, I gotta go.”

 

-----

 

“Remember, this part is crucial. You sure nobody will be at the headquarters?”

 

“I’m sure, Freddie. I'll show up at two a.m. The gate will be unlocked.”

 

“Thanks, man. You’re a hero. Tonight we re-write the rules...”

 

-----

 

Damn this headache. No more pills, no more cubes. I just want food.

 

Anything left in the fridge? Carrots.

 

Pry the lid off the bowl. Unwrap the foil. Unwrap the plastic. Cold, mushy, cooked carrots. One by one, smash with my tongue.

 

I taste nothing.

 

Tasteless, like a cube.

 

At least cubes have texture.

 

A quick blood analysis, and print. Another cube with a Bella Vodka chaser. The last of the Bella Vodka. The first of my upgraded cubes.

 

Sleepy...

 

-----

 

Warm. Bright. A great night’s sleep, finally. Even though I left the TV on again.

 

“…the terrorists were part of an organization that infiltrated farmers’ markets across the nation. The terrorists posed as vendors, and sold poisoned produce to unsuspecting customers. As a precaution, the federal government has issued an emergency ban against the selling and distribution of crops from non-regulated farms. In related news, four terrorists were arrested in a sting outside the EDICT headquarters in Pensacola early this morning. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about this story.”

 

Depressing. But we can't be too careful. I’ll give channel 5 a shot.

 

Serendipity. My commercial’s on.

 

“…kit comes with an instructional DVD, 3-D EDICT printer, and blood-nutrient analyzer. A non-invasive blood analysis calculates your nutritional needs, and your printer prints a cube you can chew or dissolve in water. Each cube is precisely formulated to meet your minimum daily nutrition and calorie requirements, based on your individual analysis, taking into account your age, gender, lifestyle, and any preexisting health conditions. Join EDICT. No one will be left behind.”

 

I’m always surprised to hear my own voice. But I know I sound convincing. And my hair looks great.

 

*

 

The above is my entry into this contest.

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