In recent years there have been great forward strides by the Mount Perry Scientific Community. One of the greatest of these strides has been in the agricultural field, with the long awaited announcement of the freeze dried watermelon. Doctor Eye Shrinkum has taken a three foot long Charleston Grey Watermelon and freeze dried it to the size of a common Black Eyed Pea.
This news is heralded as the greatest advancement in the agricultural field since the news horse manure was good for growing mushrooms. Now a farmer with a field of ten-thousand watermelons can harvest his crop, freeze dry them and ship the whole field of watermelons in a 55 pound bag.
As it’s freeze dried the watermelon develops a hard skin and is impervious to any kind of damage until it is re-hydrated by the ultimate consumer. The consumer needs only to place the pea sized watermelon in a bucket of water and stand back. On contact with water the pea sized watermelon is INSTANTLY re-hydrated back to its size at harvest having lost nothing of its field ripened sweetness or texture.
Once dehydrated, the watermelon could be kept in storage indefinitely without losing any of its taste or texture. A farmer could now grow a ten year supply of watermelons and simply keep it in a bag in a dry place, taking out and shipping only what was needed to satisfy the market and maintain the price.
This method of shipping and dehydration has resulted in tremendous savings to the consumer as it is now possible to ship watermelon at a fraction of the original cost and even a private citizen can take a dehydrated watermelon and place it in a letter to a friend in, let’s say Alaska and know their friend need only add water in order to enjoy this formally Southern treat.
To date, there has been only one possible problem reported. It seems that Yodar Hoopelhoffer, the Mount Perry town idiot, decided he wanted to watch the dehydrated watermelon re-hydrate. He dropped the pea sized watermelon into the bucket of water and leaned close to watch it expand. The re-hydration was so rapid the watermelon flew up out of the bucket striking Yodar full in the face. He should be out of the ICU ward shortly after reconstructive surgery is completed to restore his nose to its original size and length.
This one minor problem connected with such a radical scientific advancement was quickly overlooked as the first crop to be grown completely for the Dehydrated Watermelon Project was ready to be planted. The entire citizenry of Mount Perry, Florida, turned out to wish the farmers well in their efforts.
After all if the farmers were successful they would have more money to spend in the town and this would have a positive effect of the gross product and income of every citizen in Mount Perry. It was going to be good for all.
The growing conditions for the crop were ideal. Adequate rainfall, a longer than usual growing season, and hot weather with lots of sunshine made for a bountiful harvest. The harvest in tonnage was nearly double what it had been in previous years, but no one cared, dehydrated watermelon could be kept indefinitely, provided it was kept in a dry place.
Things went exceptionally well as the crop grew and matured to record sweetness on the fines. One could nearly walk across a field stepping only on the firm bodies of thousands of beautifully mature watermelons. Everything was in readiness for the harvest and dehydration process to begin. Once again the citizens of Mount Perry turned out to wish the farmers well in their venture.
On the given day, the machinery could be heard all over town as it roared to life harvesting and dehydrating the watermelons and depositing the seed like dehydrated product into bags at the back of the machine.
The machines were about one-hundred-fifty feet long with a big cutter like thing on the front that cut through the tangled vines. Behind the cutter was a basket like thing with holes in it that caught the watermelon but allowed the chopped up vines to pass through the holes. The watermelon rolled to the back of the basket like thing and was hoisted up and out by a thing that looked a lot like a huge slotted spoon. The watermelon was then gently lowered into the second half of the machine.
The second half of the machine was a long box like affaire, with steam belching out at various points along its top. On closer examination one could see the ends of a great many shafts protruding from it and they were all turning very slowly in unison. At the very back of the box like thing, sat a man with a cloth bag catching the dehydrated watermelons and putting them into the bag. When the bag got full, he stitched it closed with his sewing machine and began filling the next bag.
The full bags were taken periodically by truck to the storage area where they were carefully stacked in a temperature and humidity controlled area. They would remain in their climate controlled atmosphere until it was time to ship them to the customers all over the world. All of whom were clamoring for their first taste of Instant Watermelon.
At last the big day arrived and a rail car rolled up to the front door of the storage facility and 800 fifty pound bags of dehydrated Instant Watermelon were loaded into a special box car. Amidst the cheers and well wishes of the entire population of Mount Perry the box car rolled off onto the main track and was made part of a special train on its way to the exact center of the United States for shipment to every corner of the world.
About twenty miles from Mount Perry, the special car hit a fault in the track. It tipped over and fell into a quicksand bog. According to the few survivors who got away in time, the car sank all the way to the bottom and into an area of unlimited water supply before the box car broke open. What followed was a virtual Vesuvius eruption of watermelons.
The re-hydrated watermelons flew straight up out of the quicksand bog in a continuous stream surrounded by clouds of flying mud and liquefied quicksand. They flew up to a height of several thousands of feet. Some even attained orbit. It is estimated it will be raining watermelons world wide for the next year or so. We all know the term, “Nuclear Winter” the term, “Volcanic Winter”. Well, this is an, “Instant Watermelon Winter”.
Copyright ©2003 Robert P. Herbst. All rights reserved.