The problem with Meredith exploding is that she gets everywhere. She turns into water and foam and salt as she explodes. There is even a cute little octopus. These pieces are vigorously distributed all over, so that the monster’s shiny tie gleams with water and the red Persian rug is all salty and the octopus is over there being cute and drying out on the hard concrete floor.
Meredith evaporates slowly over time and gets into the ventilation and then the sky.
Meredith leaks out over time and gets into the ground.
The remnants of her run in rivulets down to the sea.
People say that when you die you return to the universe. The lie of independent existence cessates; the impulses that make the self do not dissolve but rather retreat to their primordial forms as part of the larger world.
So it is with Meredith.
She is not a god of the sky but there is Meredith in the sky.
She is not a god of the ground but she is there in the ground with the vegetables and the worms.
She spreads up into the fruits.
The monster is making a sandwich. The sandwich is on whole wheat bread. He puts tuna on one side, from the can. He spreads the other with mustard. He puts a leaf of lettuce on it. Then he is discontent.
“It needs tomato,” he says.
So he goes to the garden patch outside Tina’s house and he selects from among the fruits.
“Don’t eat me,” says the Meredith in the tomato.
The monster hesitates, wary, as he always is, of suddenly finding himself in a moral fable.
“Are you a magic tomato?” he asks.
“I am a magic tomato,” Meredith confirms. “I don’t want to be eaten.”
“Of course not,” says the monster.
He takes hold of the tomato. With a twist of his wrist he pulls it off the plant. He says, “But it’s your own fault, you see.”
“It isn’t!” protests Meredith as he carries the tomato into the house.
“It’s because you’re in denial regarding your own nature as a tomato,” says the monster, “that this upsets you. It is because you have chosen to conceive yourself in a fashion that denies the flavor of your meat. That’s the only reason we’re even having this discussion—because of the essential dishonesty in you that levies minimization against the flesh.”
He touches his hand to his forehead. He has been working on Jenna for some time and he is tired.
“Here,” he says.
And Meredith catches her reflection in the tie and she sees in it the nature of tomatoes: the ripeness, the redness, the moisture. That she is a thing that may be consumed.
It dissolves the boundaries of her world; and, following that, he cuts a slice from her.
There is no pain, because tomatoes have no nerves and also have no brain.
But there is an ambiguous sense of loss and dysfunction.
The monster tastes the slice.
His stomach makes an unhappy noise.
He goes still.
“What?” asks the tomato.
“You are salty and you taste unaccountably of octopus,” says the monster. “You are a salty octopusy tomato and you aren’t edible at all.”
“Oh,” says Meredith.
He tosses her into the garbage.
There in the dark the tomato thinks, “I have suffered a false enlightenment.”
“It’s funny,” Jane says, sometimes, “that we named the lens Necessity.
“Well, it shows the monster in it.”
“He’s not invisible to Necessity,” Martin says. “He’s just not part of it.”