La Pirámide Comestibles (excerpt)

by Tyler Samien

It is rumored among southern Texans that down Hwy 57, through Eagle Pass, and across the Rio Grande, roundabouts Piedras Negras, a small produce shop, sells, in addition to the peppers and tomatoes upstairs, a different type of commodity below, the Vegetable Brothel, as it is humorously called by Texans before a laugh and nudge, as in: “My you’re looking healthy lately, haven’t been cheating on Susan at that Veggie Brothel have you? [Laugh] [Nudge]”. A few years back, with its presence in pop-culture peaking, this Vegetable Brothel was passionately condemned from the brimstone pulpit of many a Baptist church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday evening. During this same time, in argument and common schoolyard rancor among boys, and a few girls too, the insult: At least my mom doesn’t work at the vegetable brothel, was quite common, and caused more than a few retaliatory spitballs.

But that was a few years back. The Vegetable Brothel now shares, along with the Desert Chupacabra and Crockett’s Ghost, a place in regional folk legend. It is a reference used less frequently by anyone besides cliché individuals like the school bully who doesn’t, and will never, realize that there was an art and creativity involved in cutting another human being down.