“Alien eyeballs. Get your ice-cold alien eyeballs. Only five cents each,” yelled a pushcart vendor.
“Gimme one,” a kid said.
“On a roll or stick?”
“Roll. With lotsa mustard and onions.”
The vendor removed something that looked like a mottled green golf ball from a large pickle jar filled with murky yellow fluid. Plopping it onto a roll, he smeared it with mustard and onions.
“Yum,” the kid said. “I love alien eyeball sandwiches.”
“How about you?” the vendor asked Jim.
“I’ll pass,” Jim said. “Are those green things really alien eyeballs?”
“Yep. Direct from Mars. This batch was ripped out of their eye sockets and flash frozen just yesterday.”
“Do they come from dead aliens?”
“Nope. Eyeballs from dead aliens taste lousy. These come from live aliens.”
“They must be nuts to let somebody rip their eyeballs out.”
“Look at it this way: they get paid for every one that’s extracted. Plus, they get a gold star pasted in their eyeball amputation books. When the book’s full, they get a free trip to Disneyland. I’ve run into them in the Magic Kingdom. They’re smelly, obnoxious bastards.”
“I wonder how they get along without eyeballs?” Jim asked.
“No problem. They got fifteen on each head. And their eyeballs grow back in hours. Sure you don’t wanna try one? If you don’t like it, I’ll refund your money.”
“Okay, gimme one on a stick.”
The vendor removed an eyeball from the jar and put it on a cutting board. When he jammed a sharpened lollypop stick into one end, the eyeball twitched violently.
“Good grief!” Jim said. “Looks like it’s in pain.”
“Nah. These are so fresh the severed nerves ain’t settled down yet.”
The eyeball was still twitching when Jim took a bite. “Mmm. Delicious. It’s so crunchy.”
Before long, he gobbled six.
That night, Jim had a lucid dream in which his eyeballs turned green. An alien appeared, rammed a corkscrew into the left one, ripped it out of Jim’s head, and ate it. Searing pain threw Jim out of bed. He screamed when he saw blood gushing from his empty eye socket.
Emergency room surgeons wanted to reattach Jim’s eye, but nobody could find it.
“What happened to your eyeball?” they asked.
“An alien ate it.”
Figuring he was a self-mutilating, cannibalistic loon, they summoned a psychiatrist.
“Aliens don’t exist,” the psychiatrist said. “If they did, why would an alien rip your eyeball out and eat it?”
“Maybe to get revenge for all the alien eyeballs I ate yesterday,” Jim said.
“You ate alien eyeballs?”
“Yeah. Six. You hafta try them, Doctor. They’re fabulous. Wish I had one right now.”
The shrink transferred Jim to a padded cell.
Next day he woke up he found a new, green eyeball on his face. An army of astonished doctors examined the greenish mass.
“You’ve made medical history,” a doctor said. “Hundreds of journalists are clamoring for photos and interviews. Schools want to arrange field trips so kids can see your green eyeball. It’s one of the wonders of the world.”
Enjoying his sudden fame, Jim welcomed visitors, especially when the hospital installed a coin-operated turnstile in the room’s doorway. Jim and the hospital agreed on a 50-50 split. The entire population of Chicago paid a buck a head to view the weird-looking, green eyeball in a pickle jar.
Now affluent, Jim ignored job offers that poured in from every circus and freak show in the world.
Soon, Jim found himself craving alien eyeballs. He asked friends to locate the vendor, and buy a dozen. Their search was unsuccessful.
Jim’s cravings grew so acute he ripped out his green eyeball and nibbled it. Finding it tastier than alien eyeballs, he ate the whole thing.
Miraculously, Jim’s eyeball grew back in an hour. But, his hunger pains returned just as quickly. Consequently, Jim gobbled his new eyeball as fast as he could chew. The faster he ate his eyeball, the faster it grew back, and the more his appetite increased.
After three hours of continuous eyeball eating, Jim’s stomach exploded. Though he died, his green eyeball grew back fresh as ever.
The coroner, who performed Jim’s autopsy, tasted the eyeball out of morbid curiosity. Finding it exquisitely delicious, he became immediately addicted. Barricading himself and Jim’s corpse inside the morgue’s freezer room, he ate Jim’s regenerating eyeballs until his stomach exploded.
Doctors collected bits of Jim’s eyeball, cloned it, and mass-produced green eyeballs. They packing them in pickle jars in offshore secret laboratories. They announced a new, exciting snack food in spectacular ads during the Super Bowl.
The world was electrified, especially when learning the new snackie was low-cal, low sodium, fat free, loaded with vitamins, and eliminated erectile dysfunction permanently. Before long, American green eyeballs became the snack choice of billions.
The sudden drop in demand for authentic, freshly cut alien eyeballs created severe economic problems on Mars. Matters got worse when aliens realized they could no longer fill their eyeball amputation books with gold stars and win free Disneyland trips. They threatened interplanetary war.
Meanwhile, three billion Earthlings’ stomachs exploded when snackers ignored the Surgeon General’s warnings about excessive ingestion of cloned, green eyeballs, especially those packed in pickle jars.
Unable to raise an army because of massive depopulation, Earth sued for peace.
The Martians demanded two concessions: the destruction of every American cloned green eyeball, and the right to free trips to Disneyland, even if their eyeball amputation books contained only a single star.
Soon afterward, red noses from another galaxy began showing up on Earth. They were so tasty, Earthlings quickly forgot all about alien eyeballs.
Intense intergalactic war still rages between Martians who supply green eyeballs and outer-galactic aliens who provide red noses. Since blockades by the combatants have made both commodities unavailable, Earthlings have switched to potato chips.
So far, no Earthlings’ stomachs have exploded from gorging on potato chips.
And for now, Disneyland is free of smelly, obnoxious aliens with green eyeballs.
"A Wonderful Snack"
Copyright: © 2010 Michael A. Kechula
----------------------------------Michael A. Kechula is a retired tech writer. His stories have been published by 128 magazines and 36 anthologies. He’s won first place in 10 contests and placed in 8 others. He’s authored three books of flash fiction, micro-fiction, and short stories: The Area 51 Option and 70 More Speculative Fiction Tales; A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales; I Never Kissed Judy Garland and Other Tales of Romance. eBook versions available at http://www.booksforabuck.com/ and http://www.fictionwise.com/ Paperbacks available at http://www.amazon.com/.