Lin Page 13
prize-winning cabbage is listed as 115 pounds, or as the cursive handwriting on the winning tag breathlessly states, The heaviest in almost 50 years! The cabbage resembles alien vegetation, vaguely threatening even in its current state, with its leaves beginning to brown.

And then, just like that, one of the judges (he assumes one of the judges, he wears a tired professorial air and a smudged-out name tag droops from his lapel) who is passing by sees him and juts a finger in his direction. He was used to scenes like this in his youth, but to see it now is a bit unusual.

The judge gasps, It's - you! You're here! It's a sign!

He does not answer, does not smile, does not hem or haw or make small talk. He has discovered through past trial-and-error that the simplest, best way to conduct

himself is to make a relaxed stone wall of his face. Easiest to let others have their opinions of you, and not confirm or destroy their expectations. Glide by, smooth as electromagnetic rails.

Others have gathered, and with the judge they gaze at him with open-mouthed wonder. It's because of you that this cabbage is so large, isn't it? the judge says. Extra sun this year. You've blessed this cabbage!

Again, he does not respond, although this time he cannot hold himself back from giving the mildest of shrugs.

Please bless the cabbage! the judge says in a hoarse near-whisper. Please!

This time he lets out a deep breath that can be interpreted as resignation or relaxation. He reaches out and touches