Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Jolly Green Giant

Ironically, the Jolly Green Giant was neither jolly, green or even big. In fact he was sad, jaundice-yellow and rather puny. Born into abject poverty, life was tough in the Valley for his parents, Fred and Gerta Untsmeyer, local farmers who watched crop after crop fail due to the fact the American government had allowed the military to use the Valley as a nuclear testing site. Their green beans came up stunted and covered in hair, the corn grew actual human ears and all their chickens suddenly began speaking Hungarian. Which in itself wasn't a bad thing because they gave Gerta a very nice chicken paprikash recipe but they unnerved the neighbours with their foreign tongue since, at that time in the Valley, anyone with an Easter European accent was considered a Communist. From the beginning the Jolly Green Giant was sickly and for the record, his original name was Mandrake Bilboa II but everyone called him Blinky because he blinked incessantly from all the radiation sores on his eyelids. The other Valley children taunted him with this little song sung to the tune of Black Plague and Onions:
"Blinky, Blinky, he's really stinky
And he's also very dinky
And you can beat him up with your pinky
Or even your little winkie,
He's a blinky, stinky, weak-as-a-pinky radiation-sore covered kind of kid."

Well, it goes without saying that this produced in poor little Mandrake Bilboa II a terrible inferiority complex, making him the butt of every schoolyard joke and getting him picked on by every bully west of the Euphrates but ripe for the picking for scientific experimentation. Which is when the American government stepped in. Because with the ingestion of so much of his family farm's radioactive vegetables altering his genetic structure in ways only dreamed of by aging scientists who may or may not have at one time worked for the Nazis and had spent much too much time with monkeys in their laboratories to the point where some of them had married their lab subjects (throwing some very lavish weddings too with $25 a plate bananas and roast beef entrees), Mandrake was a prime candidate for a top secret military project called "Operation Giant Vegetable Man."

General Edwin Mollschnauzen remembers: "We took this poor kid who really hadn't much longer to live, and turned him into a mean green giant killing machine or at least that's what were hoping for. Unfortunately the experiment didn't produce all the results we had anticipated from our extensive research and DNA recoding extrapolation graphs and charts and well, we were stuck with this giant green guy with a  heart of corn niblet gold and the soul of a saint. Well, that is after he crushed some of his classmates who had taunted him previously. Anyway, I've got to say the kid was keen even when we shot him up full of Brussels sprout juice and gave him the musculature of a legume. Since we took him away from his parents we needed to simulate the nurturing experience so, remember those experimental monkeys removed from their mothers and given a wire mesh surrogate covered in old bits of broadloom, well, we gave the kid an enormous green bean to cuddle and nestle with and well, we even succeeded in growing breasts on the green bean so that he was able to suckle on his bean mother and drink of her life-giving nutrients and form a bond that we hoped would accelerate the vegetative growth process. I mean that's how focused and determined we were with this project. The idea was that as a giant vegetable guy he would blend in with the shrubbery and trees and other green stuff, thus fooling the enemy that he was really part of the scenery and then, when they were thoroughly convinced that everything was safe he would step out of the forest or bushes or vegetable garden that he was crouching down in and squish the enemy troops with his enormous feet or pick them up and pull their heads off with fingers bigger than all the combined sales of Boxcar Willie's Greatest K-Tel Hits. Unfortunately it didn't work out so we sold him as a mascot to a vegetable canning company in the Valley and the rest is history."

The Green Giant took to his new role as a vegetable company mascot and working with the renowned voice coach, Mildred Filcher, known for her work with both Hollywood actors and famous singers like Ernest Borgnine, Phyllis Diller and Jim Nabors, he perfected his trademark Ho, Ho, Ho with a deep, booming baritone that was said to shake the pea shoots right off the vine. Ironically, many of those classmates (at least the ones that he didn't initially crush when he became a giant), over the years, due to radiation poisoning, became the very things they once made fun of Mandrake for being. They now have their own mutant municipality in the Valley as they're too hideous to look at and so had to be removed from the rest of Valley society. Also they like to eat dog innards and blowfly larvae and nobody really wants to see that.

Now in semi-retirement, the Green Giant spends his days tending his radioactive garden and raising three-headed chickens for fun and profit. An amateur gourmet cook, he can often be found in his kitchen working on one of his special pork rind recipes or mixing up one of his famous bark mulch smoothies. From the abandoned missile silo he calls home you can often hear the music from his rare and extensive collection of nose gourd flute players of the Outer Hebrides wafting out across the Valley. Although old age has made him a little limp and stringy, he's still a giant of the people and likes to take walks through neighbouring villages, sharing a joke or flattening someone's house accidentally now that his eyesight is failing him. His Ho, Ho, Ho may sound a little weak and raspy these days and he often needs the Little Sprout's help to wipe his bum after going to the bathroom but without him vegetables would just be something we rub on our rashes or use to insulate our houses instead of something to be enjoyed down through the ages.

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