Home > Cuisine by Brian Schropp > SCHROPP INVESTIGATES: CHIA SEEDS

SCHROPP INVESTIGATES: CHIA SEEDS

By Brian Schropp

“Gotta get there before ten, Brian, if we wait any longer we won’t have a good spot.”

The heat was already unbearable at this EARLY time (9:15) in the morning making it even harder to keep up with hobbled ‘Dr.’ Nickelbee. The poor man was limping harder and looking even more disheveled than last time. His ‘wild man beard’ gave the impression of him being twenty pounds heavier which may or may not have been the case.

My parents still drop me off in front of his current residence (a seedy motel in a very bad section of the downtown area) for my therapy sessions even though I’m pretty sure he isn’t a practicing therapist anymore. I even asked him a few weeks ago after spending half a day with the man in his filthy motel room with neither of us uttering a single word. “Say Nickelbee, are you still my doctor?” He didn’t say anything back but for the first time that day he turned to look at me and that alone said it all. His eyes were absolutely cold and uncaring yet screaming out all the pain and hurt of the universe of his soul. The slight twitch of his lip which wanted to develop further into the full motion of the mouth so he could express the emotions tormenting him. In fact, the next few times, we sat in total silence for my whole ‘session’ which made for an uncomfortable surprise today with his constant non-stop babbling since arriving.

“Come on Brian, gotta get there, gotta hurry, gotta get a good spot–”

Nickelbee at one point was selling cat related crafts online (I never saw a single order come through). This has taken a harsher, darker turn with him now selling cat (and racoon) carcasses at the local open flea market down the street. I figure he now spends his time wandering around looking for these dead, most of the time run over bodies instead on making crafts.

The burlap sack which was being used to drag the goods to the market was leaving a red streak across the parking lot. If the smell wasn’t bad enough the random bloody cat paw or twisted racoon head sticking out of the sack made matters almost vomit-inducing. There was almost a light at the end of the tunnel with the faint speck of the flea market on the horizon but the the unforgiving sun, blazing brightly in the blue sky, was proving too much. The pavement in front of us turned into rolling waves which made the way impossible to navigate.

Dr. Nickelbee in happier times.

‘Dr.’ Nickelbee wiped his forehead with his wrinkled, grimy jacket sleeve and muttered, “here’s a good spot, Brian, I found us a really good spot–” Being nowhere near the actual flea market, he unfurled his flea-infested blanket and sat down next to the burlap sack. “GET YOUR CAT AND RACOON PELTS.” His voice was so loud and unnerving that the few folks who happened to be in the far corners of this empty parking lot were taken aback, tripping over themselves or dropping what they were carrying. He patted the burlap death bag like it was his best friend. “COME GET YOUR FUZZY WUZZY CAT AND RACOON PELTS.”

I was at a crossroads on what to do. I really didn’t want to leave my former therapist here by himself though the thought of staying here with the smell and the heat was unthinkable. I figured my best bet was to head up to the flea market and try to locate some kind of delicious, delightful snack. I felt like I certainly deserved it after putting up with all this crap. I promised myself if I had any money left over I would buy Nickelbee some type of drink to keep him hydrated. If worse came to worse I could probably find a first aid stand and bring him back one of those paper cones with water.

He took no notice of me as I ventured forth through the blacktop waves towards salvation. My imagination began to run wild on the snack possibilities I might find. Maybe a fried little weiner sandwich since we were just outside of the Deep Northern Suburban line? Or maybe a seven or an eight or if the Gods were kind, a nine layered burrito. My mind continued to spin out of control thinking what could be in each of those layers.

I knew these sweet thoughts and dreams weren’t going to live up to expectations when I neared the place. The brightly colored tents, the endless noise of some loud jam band, the wretched smell of sweat and incense (which was almost on par with Nickelbee’s sack). I wandered upon some sort of hippie community instead of the flea market. Did the relentless heat make me walk up the wrong side of the parking lot? I was already running on fumes and couldn’t fathom turning back now. I was just going to take my chances here.

I soon became lost in the mist of hippiedom. The swirl of colors, the men and women scantly clothed yet equally as hairy, those faces giving me nasty looks with some muttering, “who brought the narc?” Weren’t these people suppose to be the loving, non-judgmental type?

My hunger pangs became too much after a short while. I held out my arms, my face sweating profusely. “Please, please doesn’t anyone know where a nacho cart is? Maybe a hot dog vendor of some type? You can’t tell me that a hippie doesn’t enjoy a mid morning snack?!!”

These heartless so called ‘humanitarians’ could do nothing but laugh at my plight. Finally some dirty hippie with a little sliver of a conscience came over to me. “Hey dude, hold out your hand.”

He took some packaging from his cargo shorts which looked like it came from a supermarket, how bad could it be? Into my innocent, slightly shaking hands was poured what looked like brown seeds. What was this abomination? I looked to the dirty hippie. “Don’t worry man it’s a snack we eat.”

Again I was fooled by the packaging, if it was from a commercial food chain, maybe it was some kind of candy.

Much like the ‘pizza’ I had a few weeks ago I knew instantly once the seeds were in my mouth that I was in for a hell ride. The flavorless bitter taste sucked all moisture in my mouth making it a dry wasteland. The texture of coffee beans rolling over and over again on my sensitive tongue.

I used my hand to get this disgustingness out of my mouth and wiped it on the front of my shirt leaving a foul brown streak. Most of the free-minded onlookers found their inner tolerance meter and decided they had seen enough.

“Dude, what the fuck is wrong with you?” The dirty hippie asked.

“What-what-in President Pondicherry’s name did you give me?” I was on my knees with my arms held wide open, tears streaming out of eyes.

“Just chia seeds, man take it easy.”

What the hell was I given?

“How could you–” my mouth was becoming too dry to speak “-give me something out of a plant to eat? What sort of people are you?—so dry—my mouth–becoming so faint—”

At this point I fell into a fetal position which is not only my standard defense but the position I feel you would fall into so close to death. Eventually a much larger man with his gut sticking out of his dye tie shirt came over with a garden hose and started to hose me down. Maybe, just maybe, I would live to write another article–

The dirty hippie shook his head in free love disgust. “When are people like you going to wake up and realize there is a new dawn rising? Get a clue and listen to a little ‘Unappreciative Living’, the vegan lifestyle is where it at!!”

My mind perked up from the ice cold yet refreshing hosing, ‘vegan’. Did he mean like ‘The Vegan Brothers’ who almost killed Scott Pizzaman and myself with that pizza? Did they have something behind this? Just who were these brothers? I needed to keep my mind (and mouth) open at all times now.

EDITOR’S NOTE- BRIAN, YOU MISSED THE MEETING WE SET UP THE OTHER WEEKEND. WE STILL NEED TO SPEAK WITH YOU, PLEASE CONTACT ASAP.

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