...So anyway, I was walking alone through Cooks' Hill, seeing but not seeing the trendy terraces scrolling past my blind spot while my drug-affected mind wrestled with the questions she'd angrily posed during our recent philosophical fisticuffs: How do you know that everything is ultimately scientifically explainable? Why is it so inconceivable that paranormal phenomena do exist but evade analysis? She was wrong, of course; but scientific faith, like any other kind, must come from within and cannot be taught. I'd given up and walked out of her life without looking back. Things had been going downhill for a while, and she was pathetic company between the sheets anyway--the stench of incense in her bedroom didn't help. Trying to force her bullshit spirituality on me was the last straw. If I was going to change my opinions in that area, it would be because the universe itself slapped me in the face--a miracle, a ghostly visitation, an alien anal probe--not because a fiery sexy stubborn nubile arrogant leggy brunette felt compelled to educate her new toy.

As I walked, I gazed with new eyes upon the seething crowds of feminine possibility strutting past me. The blonde in bikeshorts, has she ever held a séance? Does the minx in impossibly high heels believe in stigmata? Is she noisy when she comes? A carrot hit me in the forehead. A carrot hit me in the forehead. I stopped dead, gazing at empty air, and it swung back to hit me again. And again, softer. And again, this time just a touch, the pendulum being dampened by my skull on each swing. TAP TAp Tap tap tap. Not once did I glimpse my assailant, but I grew up on a farm and, visible or not, I know what a carrot in the head feels like. Reaching a hand forward, I located the invisible dangling vegetable and for some reason--subconsciously, it was probably revenge--I batted it away viciously. I foresaw its unseeable trajectory a moment too late, and dodged awkwardly sideways as it swung back. It caught the tip of my nose violently, bringing tears and causing loss of balance. I stumbled into an old man in ratty clothes, who somehow--he couldn't have been half my weight--caught me before the asphalt did. Chuckling quietly through grey stubble, he shook his toothless head and shuffled away. "How 'bout them transparent dangling carrots?" he mumbled to himself.

I was still dazed ten minutes later as I walked into yet another of the generic cafés that infest Darby Street. There were more ways to serve the coffee than they had customers in an average day: long or short, black or white, sugar or carcinogenic substitute, scoop of icecream or marshmallow, eight different beans and three different strengths. I felt ashamed to drink there, but the impending caffeine headache decided the ideological dilemma. It only took them about eight minutes longer to prepare than it took me to boil a kettle at home, and they only charged four dollars more, so I couldn't complain. "Another coffee?" The waitress had more piercings than I had ex-girlfriends, and I stared rudely for too long before answering no. "Did you know that the second coffee is half price, and we'll give you a discount card that can be used here any time in the next month?" I would have laughed at her if the unnecessary complications of modern consumerism didn't sadden me so. "Thanks, but I just want to pay now." Did they really think that people would be enticed to pay too much--half price was still overpriced--for a drink they didn't want by a discount they wouldn't use? It was like waving a carrot in front of a donkey, except donkeys are stupid whereas I, as well as having opposable thumbs, could see straight through their scam as easily as gazing through a window. She thanked me for the undeserved tip; I smiled and said, "How about those transparent dangling carrots?"

Haggling over how much coffee to ingest almost made me miss the bus. As it was, I boarded last and ended up sitting next to a middle-aged overweight male smoker who wheezed and smelt and felt not at all embarrassed about taking up three-quarters of the seat after paying half fare. He liked sport, and unsuccessfully attempted to engage me in conversation about the local football team, the Non-Opaque Suspended Herbaceous Biennial Root Crops. No-one quite knew where the unwieldy name came from, and no-one except pedantic fans or journalists actually used it. A local Latin scholar suggested daucus carota as a pithy nickname, but for some reason that had never caught on. Anyway, the Marlboro Cow sitting next to me referred to the team by their most popular three-word epithet, and was far more excited than I about the upcoming weekend match. My cold nonchalance eventually blackened his mood, and he sulked fatly next to me, no doubt inwardly making vulgar anatomical suggestions to me and pining for a fellow fan.

Just when I thought I'd heard the last of it, a likeminded eavesdropper behind us tapped Lard-Arse on the shoulder and leant forward to proclaim his fanaticism. You  already  know  what  he  said. All I heard was, "How 'bout them..." before I stood up to get off the bus, giving Carrots Devotee Number Two an opportunity to sit next to his new soulmate.

I walked home in constant fear of invisible vegetable collisions. What a weird fucking day. At least it might have been good for my eyesight.

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