The Great Roadtrip Vegetable Contest
Nearly-pointless fluff by Foxsong
Vignette, humor; almost PG only for typical Mulder innuendoes.
No spoilers whatsoever.
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If you feel the peculiar need to archive this, feel free, merely providing a link back to www.foxsongfiles.net -- this header will do fine.
Thanks to MaybeAmanda, Walking Thesaurus. And this fic is Gail and IWTB's fault. Details in the endnotes. ;-)
"The X-Files" TM and copyright Fox and its related entities. All rights reserved. Neither this work of fiction nor its author are authorized by Fox.
Summary: You have to have the right vegetables for a road trip.
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"Hey Scully, it's me," Mulder announced, knocking at Scully's front door. His hand was already on the knob when he heard her muffled voice from within.
"It's open," she called. "Come on in. I'll just be a minute." He followed the sound of her voice around the corner into the kitchen. Scully was leaning into the open doorway of the refrigerator, rummaging through its contents.
Mulder leaned against the counter. "Looking for something in particular?"
"I just wanted to bring some kind of a snack," Scully answered, lifting her head to look over the refrigerator door at him. "It's going to be a long drive." She ducked back into the fridge and the rummaging sounds resumed.
"There are plenty of pizza places on the way," Mulder said. He leaned back a little further, eyes half-closed, smiling fondly at the thought of it. "Extra cheese, mushrooms and olives..."
"Ew," Scully said from the depths of the refrigerator.
Mulder blinked. " 'Ew'?" he repeated. "Fine, so you can skip the olives." He glanced up at the kitchen clock on the wall. "Either way, we have to get out of here in about fifteen minutes if we want to miss the traffic."
"I know," came the frustrated reply, punctuated by the thunk of the vegetable drawer opening. "But I have to find the right snack."
Mulder almost mentioned the big bag of pretzels that was already in his car, and thought better of it. "Fruit?" he asked instead, stepping from the counter toward the table with its ever-present bowl of ripe fruit. He reached out and idly propped a banana against two peaches in a suggestive pose. "How about fruit?"
"I don't know." A plastic bag rustled. "I'm not in a fruit mood, Mulder. I wanted veggies."
Mulder wasn't sure exactly what constituted a 'fruit mood,' and wasn't sure he wanted to know. "So grab some veggies and let's go."
Scully's head reappeared over the refrigerator door. "It's not that simple, Mulder," she said. "It's not like you can just take any random vegetables that come to hand. You have to have the right vegetables for a road trip."
"Veggies are veggies," he shrugged. "Why? Are there some kind of special qualifications to make a vegetable an official road veggie?"
Scully straightened up and pushed an errant lock of her hair behind her ear. "Well, certainly, Mulder," she said. "First, it has to be easy to prepare, and easy to eat. And different vegetables are more suitable for long or short trips. It has to --"
"It has to retain its nutritional value and its yummy good taste after being in the car?" he interrupted with a grin, hoping to derail what sounded suspiciously like the beginning of one of Scully's proper-eating-habits lectures.
"Something like that," Scully said. "It's..." Her voice trailed off. Mulder saw her gaze drift behind him toward the banana rearing cheerfully up from the fruit bowl. He stepped forward and caught Scully by the elbow, turning her back toward the refrigerator.
"Let's pick the perfect road veggie, then, Scully. C'mon. Here you go. Baby carrots. Good, right?" He dangled the plastic bag in front of her. "Nice sweet tiny little baby carrots. Bite-size and crunchy."
Scully smiled. "You know they aren't really baby carrots, don't you, Mulder?" she asked. "They're just sections of full-sized carrot, peeled and trimmed to that size."
"It doesn't say anything about that here." Mulder frowned down at the label. "That's false advertising."
"Besides, they'll get all rubbery if we don't pack them in a cooler," Scully said, taking the carrots from him and putting them back in the fridge.
"Mushrooms. Mushrooms won't wilt in the car." Mulder leaned past her and picked up the little package. "A nice serving of fungi for two?"
"Uh! No," Scully grimaced. "Not raw naked mushrooms. We'd need to bring something to dip them in, and then you'll end up wearing it instead of just eating it."
"No, wait. You can feed them to me while I'm driving," Mulder protested. "It won't be messy. Really. I'll lick the dip off your fingers." Scully only took the mushrooms away from him and replaced them in the fridge.
Mulder leaned over Scully's shoulder to watch as she sorted determinedly through the contents of the vegetable drawer. "Celery? ... no, it's the dip thing again, huh?" He kept up a running commentary as she rejected one contender after another. "Radishes. They're bite-sized and crunchy too. Hey, wait -- that cucumber..."
"I've got it, Mulder." Scully plucked a small plastic container out of the fridge and held it up triumphantly. "This is it." She straightened up and closed the refrigerator door.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner," Mulder intoned, taking the container from her and holding it aloft. "The winner of the great roadtrip vegetable contest is... cherry tomatoes!"
"Grape tomatoes, Mulder," Scully corrected him over her shoulder as she left the kitchen. "Not cherry. Grape."
"To-may-to. To-mah-to." Mulder wandered after her into the living room, prying the container's lid open. He picked up one of the tiny tomatoes and popped it into his mouth. "Mmm. Not bad. Not as decadently, hedonistically bad as junk food, but not bad. Why do they call 'em grape tomatoes, anyway?"
"They're a different variety," Scully said, picking up her overnight bag and slinging it over her shoulder. "They have a higher sugar content and a longer shelf life. They came from mainland China about five years ago. The most common variety is a hybrid called Santa." She reached out and firmly closed the container's lid. "Don't eat them all on me, Mulder. They're for the car."
"You know, Scully, there's something unsettling about the way you know every last detail about all your food." Mulder regarded the container with suspicion as he followed Scully out the front door. "But there's one rather obvious thing about these tomatoes that seems to have escaped you."
She glanced over at him and raised one eyebrow. "What would that be?"
"You said you weren't in a fruit mood." He reached into his pocket and withdrew his car keys. "And technically, tomatoes aren't vegetables. They're fruit."
"Speaking of fruit, Mulder," she said as they came up to the car, "what was the deal with that banana in the kitchen, anyway?"
Mulder looked across the roof of the car and smiled. "Maybe it was just happy to see you, Scully." He unlocked the doors. "Don't sit on my bag of pretzels when you get in, okay?"
Scully put her bag in the back seat, and then moved the pretzels aside before getting into the front seat. "Just hand over the tomatoes and drive," she said, but Mulder could hear the smile in her voice.
"Your wish is my command, Veggie Woman," he said, and turned the key in the ignition.
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Rather lengthy author's note:
I blame Gail for posting this blurb to the IWTB list:
"Vegetable Roadtrip Contest
"Between March 1, 2002 and August 31, 2002, were turning the keyboard over to you. In 300 words or less, tell us what you consider to be the best vegetable to take on a roadtrip: Is it easy to prepare? Does it retain most of its nutrients and/or yummy good taste after being in a car? Is it good for a long trip or a short one? Will you add any ingredients along the way, or spice it up at your final destination? Why is it special? How would you store it, what's the appeal? Make your choice as exotic or as simple as you wish. All you have to do is unleash your imaginationand give us some descriptive details, a touch of humour and a convincing explanation as to why one should take your particular vegetable on a roadtrip. Mushrooms, tomatoes and anything you'd find in the fresh produce section qualify.
"What's the prize? One happy writer will receive $ 3000 USD to do whatever you wish. Five contestants will receive runner-up prizes of $300 USD each. ..."
Yes, it's a real contest, and no, I have no info about entering. If I had entered and won anything, I'd probably have had to give it all to Fox... :-P