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The Last Pickle
Was he joking?
If Terrence was honest with himself, he’d admit the last pickle on his plate was the best because it put the finishing touches on a good meal. He might even be accused of saying it was better than dessert. He didn’t plan it that way but it happened that way every time he had a sandwich outside his home. Of course, the rule was only in his head and no one else was privy to it, but it existed.
Today, Terrence was lunching with an old friend, Malcolm. They had known each other for 20 years when they served together in the military. They kept in touch yearly after they parted ways, but didn’t have nearly enough time to discover each other’s habits and foibles.
When Terrence emerged from the bathroom at the end of their two-hour chat, he noticed his plate was gone, so he looked around for it.
“What’re you looking for, your tray? Oh, I let ‘em have it,” Malcolm said. “They were chomping at the bit for it.”
“But my pickle was on it.”
“Sorry, man. I thought you were finished.”
“Oh? What made you think that? I was savoring that thing. I always save my pickle for last.”
“Bummer. I’ll make it up to you some time.”
“Eh, don’t worry about it. I need to wean myself off those things anyhow.”
“You mean, like, you’re addicted to them?” Malcolm asked.
“You might say that.”
“Is there some kind of support group for that, you know, like Pickles Anonymous or something?”
Terrence stared straight at Malcolm without the hint of a smile, but his face turned beet red.
“Yes, there is, as a matter of fact. I’m the Chief Pickle in charge of Cucumber Brine,” Terrence said.
Malcolm shook his head. “I see you haven’t lost your sense of humor in all these years.”
Terrence said nothing.
“You’re not joking, are you?”
“Maybe, maybe not. Is a pickle addiction something to joke about?” Terrence asked.
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