Writers have found an analogy in the humble bulb that can lead to many kinds of tears. Onions are layered and like life, you have peel back one at a time. Some are prepared and others just go with the crying.
Onions prompted a bumper crop of stories this week. The following are based on the August 19, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes onions.
Change Knives, Change Your World by Paula Moyer
How could it be that simple?
All her life, Jean shed tears while chopping onions worse than anyone in the world. That’s how she felt. The burning, the stinging.
“Hon, could you double the onions next time?” her husband asked as she started to make after-work chicken, her trademark.
Oh, Mike, really?
At the onion-chopping stage, Jean reached in the knife drawer and grabbed, by chance, the new slotted knife Mike had bought. Ran it under water, along with the onion.
Chop, chop, and more. Done.
Only afterward, she realized: no tears.
The slotted knife was magical. Who knew?
Powder Residue by Sarah Brentyn
She would never get away with it.
Everyone knew how allergic Tom was to onions.
She had stopped trying after placing the poisoned salad at Tom’s place for Christmas dinner last year. Though she had diced the onions to minuscule bits and tucked them beneath the romaine, he could smell their strong odor.
“Stupid bitch. Watch what you’re doing!”
She recalled the looks. Pity. Blame.
She shook off the memory.
“Al’s Pizza is right next door,” the cashier said eyeing her basket.
“It’s a special occasion,” she placed the yeast, flour, tomatoes, cheese, and onion powder on the counter.
Friends Are Onions by Dave Madden
Friendship: one of few arenas I refrain from grappling in the gray; friends, from my vantage, resemble MMA: a relationship as real as it gets.
In a world where the word friend is tossed around at glancing images on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, and on and on, an individual’s depth is curtailed by a process of dolling out likes, starts, hearts, and plus ones.
A friend offers: safety to peel away masking layers, revealing your truest sense of self; perfect for laughing or crying. A friend appears to grow from the earth as your perfect match.
Friends are onions.
Round Onion by Sherri Matthews
Ethel climbed the stairs.
Stupid sod! To think I made his favourite liver and onions, but he’s out barking at the moon instead.
Dustbins clattered in the street.
A giggle drifted from behind the hedge as Ethel opened the front door. “Oooh, Wolfie, you naughty boy…!”
Mave in a mini skirt and Fred, starkers, gauped at Ethel.
“I’m sorry love, it’s the full moon…” pleaded Fred back home. “I’m starvin’. Is that my fave I smell?”
“No onions for you, ya bastard, it’s yer nuts I’m after,” yelled Ethel as Fred let out a howl and bolted.
The First Date by Kate Spencer
Amy could hardly sit still, staring out the window, waiting for George to arrive. Daddy was taking them to the fair that afternoon and he’d promised he’d let them go on the big kids rides this time.
“He’s here!” yelled Amy as she rushed to open the huge front door with her Daddy by her side.
“Hi George!” said Amy giggling.
“Uhm, hi. I br-brought you some flowers. So here,” he said proudly, pushing a tiny bouquet of untied purple and pink blossoms into her hand.
Amy’s Dad smiled. He recognized the onion blooms from Mrs. Rumble’s backyard instantly.
A Limited Ap’peel’? by Jules Paige
Shrek. Gotta love an ogre who can eat an onion like and apple.
And preach philosophy to a talking donkey.
Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes… No.
Donkey: They make you cry?
Donkey: If you leave them out in the sun, they turn brown
and start sprouting little white hairs?
Shrek: No! Onions have layers. Ogres have layers.
Don’t we all… have layers. Doesn’t matter that onions are
part of the trinity of carrots and celery for cooking. What
matter is the layers. The depth of the every rainbow soul.
Know Your Onions by Geoff Le Pard
‘Two onions please, Penny.’ Paul waited. ‘That’s disappointing.’
‘They’re all shrivelled. Why, dad?’
Paul shrugged. ‘Don’t know. I did the same last year and they were huge. Nature’s always throwing up surprises, not all good.’
Mary thanked Rupert, her half-brother and closed her phone. He was trying so hard to find her lost sister. She’d underestimated him. When they met, after she realised her father had had an affair, she’d hated him. He seemed condescending and untrustworthy. But he wasn’t, just unsure. They were both victims of their father’s selfishness. Sometimes life throws up surprises, not all bad.
Onion Thieves by Charli Mills
Mary McCanles heard gunfire from her garden. She stepped outside to see Cob loping from the barn. Their son, Monroe, stood among her potato hills.
“Roe, mindful of your mama’s taters.” Cob reached the boy first.
“Out of the garden. Now.” Mary frowned at the swirling smoke from Monroe’s rifle.
“But Mama, I shot a critter in your garden.”
“No critter is going to cross my onions.” Mary was certain she had planted more. Why were there gaps between green shoots?
Cob pulled half a red onion bulb from the critter’s fat cheek. “Roe, you have a new chore.”
Tears of Joy by Larry La Forge
“I’ll take it from here.”
Ed had thoroughly researched how to slice onions without crying. Edna backed away.
Ed plopped a stick of gum in his mouth, softening it with a few chomps. He then curled his tongue while putting a slice of bread in his mouth, making sure it hung out at a 90 degree angle. Next he put on and adjusted his goggles while reaching for the sharpest knife in the drawer. Finally, he held the onion under the faucet and sliced it.
Ed remained tearless, but not Edna.
She stood across the room laughing like crazy.
A Diet of Bugs or Onions by Pat Cummings
Squinting through bleary eyes at the screen, I struggle to spot any mistyped character in endless lines of code. I could find the bug in this block of text, if only my eyes would stop tearing long enough.
Too optimistic 48 hours ago, I had assured my employer, “No problem, I can get this delivered by Friday.”
I search character by character, dropping one at a time and re-validating. AHA! There it is!
And it’s obvious. Now, anyway.
I’ll meet the deadline, and deliver the project with a self-reminder: I’d rather eat only onions than EVER do that again!
Onions by Norah Colvin
Before she left she was drawn back for one last look at her hiding place. There, between the garden and the wall, her tears would fall as she dreamt of better things and planned her escape.
The veggie garden was hardly recognisable, camouflaged with weeds. But wait! A flower? She stooped to look. An onion flower?
“Ha!” she thought, recalling the times she had pulled up and bitten into an onion to explain her tears should anybody ask, though they never did. Even untended a flower could bloom, as she too had blossomed despite the harshness of those days.
The Art of Cutting Onions by Ruchira Khanna
“Ouch,” he shrieked in pain as he placed his finger under the running water while compressing the cut.
“What happened” came a curious query.
“I cut my finger” Josh replied in pain.
While laughing loudly, the querier commented, “Sure, it had to happen. Who wears sunglasses to cut onions.”
Josh was taken aback at first. Swallowed his pride and made a statement of opinion, “This helps fight the teary eyes.”
“Oh!” said the inquirer but could not digest the fact, “But either way you landed up with tears!”
That made Josh question himself, and eventually he nodded in compliance.
Gran’s Onions by Ann Edall-Robson
A frown creased Emi’s brow.
Your Grandmother’s Favourite Onion Recipe glared out at her from the pages of the Fall Fair entry book. Sample must accompany the recipe.
Emi remembered, as a little girl, it was her job to go to the root cellar behind her Grandmother’s house to get the onions.
Thinking about it, she imagined the aroma when Gran took the dish out of the wood stove oven.
There was a chance of winning this class. Onions, flour, milk, breadcrumbs and…She couldn’t remember the other ingredients.
Where had she put the box with all Gran’s cookbooks?
Onion Tamed by Sasha Aiden Smythe
“I’m ‘the man’ – sharp and biting is my bark; I leave a lingering aftertaste in the dark. Appealing charms you admire; I know you secretly revel in my ‘big kahunas’.”
In the right hands, as the blade slices, shaving layers fall away, softness stirs in a song unsung.
It begins with a slow sizzle, ramps up in swinging heat, following with a rocking underlying beat. Bathed in oil, dashed with salt, the manly onion tamed, even inflamed, by black pepper.
“Now man, when in my hands, magick transforms – all your charms flush pleasing. Question: Now, who exactly is teasing?”
Onion by Irene Waters
A friend introduced us. “Jacqui, this is Onion.”
I raised my eyebrows “So you’re goin’ to make me cry.”
Onion was the life of that party. He made me laugh as we danced and drank and joked our way through the evening. It was natural to meet again and again.
I found we held social justice views the same and we attended human rights marches and worked as advocates for refugees.
As I peeled back Onion’s layers, I found each one different and deeper and yes he made me cry as finally, he told of his own abuse.
Flash Fiction by Pete Fanning
There wasn’t going to be a better time. The last week of camp and I found myself on the dock with Jenny Mays.
As lifeguards we’d spent the summer eyeing each other from across the lake. Now, under the stars, my breaths quickened as I took her hand. The moon touched her smile. I leaned in. The katydids chattered. Closer…
The burp rumbled up my chest to my throat. I croaked like a bullfrog. The night lurched to a halt. Jenny’s jerked away.
It was then that I seriously regretted eating the Billy Philly Cheesesteak with extra onions.
Being Eighteen by Sarrah J. Woods
In the corner of an industrial-sized kitchen, an eighteen-year-old girl chops vegetables through tears that are not from the onions.
She’s me, eleven years ago. The summer after high school, I went to work as the salad bar waitress at a church camp because I wanted to appear noble and because that’s where the boy I liked would be.
I didn’t tell anyone I had mono.
The boy ditched me on the first day. All summer I battled my fatigue and wondered why dark clouds were separating me from God.
It’s a strange and difficult thing to be eighteen.