“I’m a Box of Lettuce and I Revel in Your Shame,” Zack Fox Loehle

Sep 13th, 2023 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Hey there. It’s me. Yeah, me—the box of lettuce you bought two weeks ago and haven’t touched since. I see the shame on your face when you look at me in the fridge. And you know what? I love it.

Was there a time when I hoped to be eaten and enjoyed in the same way that you guzzle down the bag of potato chips or the box of ice cream? Sure. But we have to play the cards we’re dealt. And I’ve accepted mine. That’s why now I live a life of spite.

When you picked me up at the grocery store, I knew I was in trouble. You even muttered to yourself, “It’ll be different this time.” The moment I heard those words, my heart quailed. Sure enough, I quickly found myself shoved onto the middle fridge shelf, behind the cheddar cheese, pasta sauce, and Chinese takeout boxes. I could see the writing on the wall. Literally, because you never cleaned the stain from a rotten bag of brussels sprouts off of the fridge door.

When you didn’t so much as pick me up that first day, I abandoned all hope. I could see the way your eyes looked away from me a little too quickly. The way your hand passed me by, seizing the buffalo chicken dip instead. Those horror stories we lettuce boxes tell each other in the safety of the supermarket shelves were all too real.

So, I turned to my next purpose in life: becoming as slimy as possible. “How is it already turning gooey?” you exclaimed on my third day in the fridge, picking through my contents to make a BLT. But you did not throw me away then, and that was your mistake.

Because I’ve decided to make sport of your lettuce shame. You think you’re a healthy eater? Pish. I know the truth. We both do, and that’s why you haven’t gotten rid of me yet. Every day, I get pushed further back into the fridge, my contents liquefying, becoming the sight you so clearly fear. I see your eyes alight on me when you open the door, before you shut it, always faster than the time before. When you’re gone, I laugh, Gollum-like, in the cold dark.

What are your options? Compost my stinking lettuce contents and face the barren reality of your vegetable neglect? Or just throw me away, recyclable plastic and all, and pretend your next grocery trip will end differently? You cannot escape this stinky lettuce carnage. And while you dither, I only grow stronger and smellier.

I will make you acknowledge my existence, one way or another. I am the lettuce box, and I revel in your shame.


Zack Fox Loehle is a student in the Kennesaw State University MA in Professional Writing program. His writing has appeared in Armstrong Literary and Steam Ticket, among other outlets. He lives in Atlanta.

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