Locked In Produce

Sonny’s Grocery & Market

Jeter Campbell, Produce Manager                                                                                                 Conversation with himself and anybody who will listen to him.

Jeter spends much of his time tending to his vegetables and fruits on the produce aisle.  He looks at everyone to ensure they are fresh and displayed attractively for his customers.  He is well known in the area and has had loyal customers for years.

He is best known for his watermelons.  Jeter sez: “the best watermelon in the world come from Dothan, Alabama.  The sweetest and juiciest watermelon around.”

Jeter spends most of his time at his produce table in the stock room. There he prepares his fruits and vegetables.  He trims bananas and onions.  Selects grapes of all kinds.  Smells his peaches to see if they are sweet.  Separates and cleans his fresh turnips and greens.  Makes sure his lettuce is crisp and that his vine ripe tomatoes are red and plump and fresh.

It’s the first of May and summer is approaching.  Watermelons are in demand all summer long.  Jeter is expecting his first delivery of melons this afternoon. Every year he orders all types of watermelons in all sizes and shapes and variety.  And yes, they all come from Dothan, Alabama.

Jeter stores his watermelons in his produce cage.  It is a complete iron cage.  It allows ventilation but is used to secure his prize crop of melons.  The only access to the cage is by key.  The cage has a release bar inside to open the gate should it shut close behind him.  This is the only way out.  He is working in and out of the cage today preparing  a place to set his first 100 melons of the season.  He sells 50 per week.

While carrying wooden pallets inside the cage, Jeter trips.  He drops the pallets and falls to his knees.  He attempts to pull himself up by grabbing the bars of the iron cage.  Instead, he pulls on the iron gate and slams it shut on himself.  He locked himself inside the produce  cage.  Release bar won’t budge.  Locked inside and he can’t get out.  No way out till help arrives.

Over the intercom he hears:  “We need some help up front.”  Again, “We need some help   up front.” “That’s Laverne.  She must be alone and flooded with customers.  By the way, where is the help needed up front?  He hears running and jumping and yelling.  Hears a ball bouncing on the pavement.  They’re shootin’ hoops.  It’s Billy and Joey.  The ones needed up front. But I need some help back here.  They run off and are nowhere to be found.       Laverne continues to wait.  Jeter continues to wait.

“Since I’m locked in produce, might as well make the best of it.  I know I’ll get out, but not just yet.  You know, every year I sing my watermelon song.  I composed it several years ago.  I sing it for the customers every year accompanied by my banjo.  It’s a really nice tune.  I see my banjo case.  It’s in the cage!  Hooray!  It’s singin’ time.   Here goes it.”

One-two-three-four.  Strum-strum-strum-strum.

Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.

Watermelon Dothan! Watermelon Dothan! Watermelon Dothan!  Strum-strum.

Over intercom:  “We need some help up front!”

Customers on the produce aisle.  “Where’s Jete?”  “But, where’s the watermelon?”         Jeter hears his customers but is too proud to yell for help.  Jete thinking to himself,       Can’t have them see  me locked in the produce cage.  Just can’t.  They will laugh and laugh and laugh.  Where’s some help when you need’em?  The truck is almost here.  Got to get out!

Jete, this is the voice of your writer.  You know–Frank!  Ha, Ha, Ha!  Feeling cagey? Don’t worry Jete.  I’ll get you out.  I’ll write you out.  Soon!  I’ll write for help.

Over intercom:  “We need some help up front!”

Billy and Joey reappear at the front of the store.  They run in and say to Laverne:               Where’s Jeter?  The watermelon truck is here.  They’re waiting at the dock for Jeter.    We’re gonna find him.  They can’t wait!  Laverne: They can just wait.  I need you boys right here, right now.  Don’t go anywhere!

Jeter hears some sound and movement outside the dock door.  He thinks out loud.  They’re here.  Soon I’ll be set free.  But, not just yet.  Since Jeter no show, the driver and helper step across the street to Rooter’s Diner.  They’re served a tray of sandwiches along with 2 large mugs of root beer.  Driver says:  “The best mater sandwich I’ve had in a long time.”  “Let’s have another round of belly wash!”  They take a long break and return to the store 2 hours later.

The two enter the store and ask Laverne :  “Where’s Jeter?”  “Need to unload these melons.”  A melodious sound of music and voice are heard from the stock room.            Driver says:  “I hear a banjo!”  Helper:  “We know who it is.  It’s Jeter.” “Pickin n’ Grinnin!”

As they approach the stock room they hear a voice singing and a banjo strumming.  They   open the door and see Jeter behind bars just a singing his watermelon tune. They laugh and laugh and laugh.  Jeter says:  “Can you let me out?”  “Please.” Jeter is set free. He leaves the stock room with banjo in hand.  Out to the produce aisle and greets all customers there.

You all know the tune.  Sing it with me.

One-two-three-four.  Strum-strum-strum-strum.

Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.                                                 Best watermelon in the world…come from…Dothan…Alabama.

Watermelon Dothan!  Watermelon Dothan!  Watermelon Dothan!  Strum-strum.

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