I reached into the kitchen pantry for a chocolate bar that cost me $1 during our weekly shop.
My sweet tooth said “yes” while the rest of me dreamed of the health benefits a nice lettuce and cucumber sandwich would bring.
There’s a sign over the bread in the supermarket which apologises that the bakers might not be able to bring us bread due to a short supply of some ingredients.
It’s sad. Tumbleweeds blowing through aisles 1-3.
I’d never carried any regret following a decision not to fork out $100 for an electronic bread maker. It didn’t make sense. The ingredients cost as much as the bread, and our team at my supermarket do a such great job. Until now.
Like my lack of regret. Until now.
I couldn’t help but take a stroll down the fruit and vegetable aisle.
It was like putting your hands behind your back and your chin in the air as you admire the artefacts in the Louvre in Paris, at first past relics that look pretty much like the last, before running into a mass of people, all of them looking at the tiny Mona Lisa.
Here we are in the supermarket, passing the herbs, lots of types but mostly green. Then we hit the cucumbers and are staggered they’re twice the price they were last week.
Then, there we were. About six of us, all sitting back shaking our heads in disappointment, thinking we’d see something bigger – something actually worth $11.99. Because where there’s supply, there’s surely demand, right?
Who in their right mind would be paying this much for something so disappointing? Remember when the lettuce leaf mix next door was considered to be the fancy stuff?
There were three of them. Iceberg lettuce. Sitting there under a fluorescent light ensuring the beads of water which had been sprayed by their special caretaker glistened an attractive glow.
Like many who see the Mona Lisa, I was inspired. Not to paint, but to grow.
Because we’re missing out. From our antioxidants. From our fibre that helps prevent our intestines from curling into a ball. From calcium that stops our blood from hardening like an open tube of hair product. And from the potassium that keeps me enthused to take Wags for a walk in the morning.
You know I actually saw a man with a polo-neck skivvy and a toupe slyly extract a lettuce from his reusable shopping bag at the checkout. Before pulling it out, he looked around to make sure nobody saw it. I wasn’t sure whether he was embarrassed he could afford it, or scared of being robbed.
Either way, you can trust me. For I have a solution. All for the price of a hydroponics system big enough to light up the tallest part of my ceiling.
Incognito, I went along to the garden club last week to learn how to create baby lettuce out of seedlings, at which point they could be transported into rows of pots in the ceiling.
From the type of pot to the ratio of chemicals in the soil, I’d stolen all their dirty secrets.
In my roof, there would be enough space for about 800 lettuce with a street value somewhere in the range of $10,000.
Sure, the heat of the lights will attract some unwanted guests. But when the police come from their heat-sensing helicopters, I’ll offer them each a choice of recently-picked lettuce heads. Just one.
Take your hush lettuce, kind sir, and pay that man down the street a visit, with his horrible little outdoor herb garden. He swaps his crop. He’s taking my clientele. Arrest him.
Once they’re gone, I’ll jump on “Me.We” and other unknown social media sites to let those suffering lettuce withdrawals know that I know a guy.
I don’t want them seeing where I live, so we’ll meet in a carpark where I’ll sell them just enough lettuce to get them through the week, at which point I’ll have cut a new mature harvest.
And who knows. Maybe if the price of cucumbers get as outrageous as the lettuce, we’ll invest in other crops. My place will be the centre of a neighbourhood vegetable cartel, houses with hidden garden patches visible only by an identifying gnome by their front gate.
Meanwhile, I’ll be so rich that I’ll be able to buy the battery that stores the solar from the panels. And I’ll have so much of it that energy minister Mick de Brenni will be bringing his bureaucrats around for a tour, and a swanky high tea.
I’ll have bought that darn bread maker not because I wanted it, but because I could.
And Wanda and I will be rolling out of bed to the smell of freshly baked sourdough, topped with a thinly-cut salted cucumber slice and an indulgently overloaded base of three, maybe four, leaves of freshly grown iceberg.
Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.