He thought himself, one of the most prodigious pickles in his neighborhood, or at least on his immediate block. Heralding from County Dill, in Ireland, Albert Pickle cut quite a commanding presence in the streets on his typical afternoon jaunts. His spats shown bright white in the low light of late sun. He tipped his Stetson toward a gaggle of gabbing young gherkins.
Albert tapped the tip of his walking stick to the pavement punctuating his turn onto Swan Avenue. Leaves in the great oak on the corner rattled brilliant heralding his presence, fancied Albert. He lived alone in one of the largest mason jars in town. He was married only once to a cute little Kosher kirby, named Lizzette. She'd run off with the orchestra leader of a band she'd been singing with.
She'd simply left Albert a note on a grape leaf attached to his favorite alligator shoes. In it she'd written:
Dearest Albert Do to the fact I've fallen in love with Norby, I shudder to think I'd only be living a lie if I kept your poor heart in chains. Maybe as the oceans of the years pass by you'll find it in your soul to forgive my unfortunate tumble. Oh Albert, I think you'd even grow to be quite fond of Norby, he really is the bee's knees. I left you some cheese curd in the pantry. Don't forget to wear your scarf when the weather shows its teeth. Now wish me luck!
Lizzette was measuredly melodramatic, but most gherkins were predisposed to this bent. Albert eventually did forgive her indiscretion and he actually wished her well, to himself. He never heard from Lizzette again. The one thing that just galled him to no end was that she fell for Norbert Kartuzkie, a fat Polish Dill with a big mouth to boot. He didn't even have the salt to confront Albert. But it didn't spike his vinegar as much as Lizzette referring to him as "Norby," that made him want to really put the mustard out front.
Norbert wasn't even Kosher, nor was Albert, but it just wasn't the gentlemanly thing to do to a fellow dill, damn it.
All that terrible history aside, Albert had become very well adjusted as the years rolled by. He just missed that certain someone to share the mason. He had become a member of the local Lion's Club, but sometimes it just became too dull and tiresome sitting around a big cage waiting for this animal to wake up. And, in the off-chance it did, the beast did not always roar. It was a rather old lion that smelled quite badly and Albert just didn't feel these clubs were all they were cracked up to be.
There was a brief advantage though, you met fellow lion-watchers. One night while all members were present surrounding the cage in a portent of possible arousal, Kimchi, a friendly Korean pickle leaned in toward Albert. "Ah, yu fon ooma ya?" Albert had had conversations with Kimchi in the past, and although he could not speak Korean he could understand Kimchi's English fairly well. He had asked Albert: "Have you found a woman yet?"
He went on to tell Albert that he had a sister-in-law that was recently widowed. Her husband had been half-sour one night and stepped out in front of a pickle bender.
Albert agreed to a date.
So, on a rainy Friday night Albert wore his best Alligator loafers, later he wondered why, as he had to cover them up with his rubber cormorants. He noticed his bow tie was crooked as he left the florist's store, but both hands held a bouquet of pepperoncinis. He caught his reflection in the window picture with that torrid adzuki girl and aside from his askew paisley bow, Albert thought himself mildly dashing.
He arrived ten-minutes early at Kimchi's Mason Pagoda. The rain was merciless, but Albert was thankful he'd remembered his umbrella hat. Norma, Kimchi's sister in-law answered the door and ushered him in, she was a sweet pickle and smelled interestingly of garlic.
Albert was warmly surprised and immediately felt comfortable. Asian pickles were always a distinct mystery to him and he felt he should remove his cormorants and Alligator loafers before entering any further. As he bent over his umbrella hat fell to the floor, spritzing raindrops across the bamboo foyer.
Norma reached his umbrella hat at the same time as he, it flexed and spritzed some more, she laughed and bathed him in air u'garlic. Albert proudly peeled the cormorants from his prized loafers. "Wow what a pickle, I love umbrella hats.
Albert placed his cormorants into the corner of the dampened foyer. "Me too," he said. And suddenly the Alligator loafers seemed so contrived, as though to impress. Albert actually felt low as pickle relish on a hot-dog. His friend, Kimchi entered the living room with two robust martinis and a tray of fine sushi. "Welca alba, ya ma Noma I hav ve fav dink fa ya. "Welcome Albert, You've met Norma, I have your favorite drink for you," he said. "Yes Kimchi" said Albert. Norma smiled her Korean smile as if there were such a thing.
Albert thought, a smile is universal. He grasped his Waterford goblet and sipped until the tom-olive tapped his lip. "Salute" said Kimchi and Albert wondered when his Korean syntax had collided with the Italian vernacular. "Salute" said Norma. And that's when Kimchi's wife, Wishyonce ran into the room. "Kimmy" she yelled. "You never told me Norma's date was here!
And she handed the pickled octopus to Norma as Kimchi looked on. Garlic wafted in the air and Albert thought he might be in love, not since Lizzette had he been so canned. "Da lio clo so crazy, an sti so ba, I no go ba,." "The lion club is so crazy and stinks so bad, I'll never go back" said Kimchi.
And Albert understood.
Albert was so enamored with Norma he put his octopus down followed by his half-finished martini, tomolive bounding in the center. He made a request or maybe a toast. "You folks should really get an umbrella hat rack, but that aside, I really think I have a thing for Norma. I really like her and I finally forgive Norby."
Well, there was a silence throughout the pagoda that would be hard to imagine, long and awkward. Kimchi smiled, and acknowledged Albert, the code of pickles was universal. Norma gathered her gaze as Wishyonce reclined on a lilly.
Albert raised his goblet, the bouncing tom-olive a happy witness. "Everyone," he said, and Albert seemed very sure of himself. "I've made a decision." Albert walked to the foyer of the pagoda found his alligator shoes, opened the door and threw them out into the rain.
"I'm happy to be a pickle, but I'd be happier to be married to a Korean pickle that smells like garlic!" Not a lot of what Albert said made sense, all he knew was he needed to feel wanted, he wanted someone there to watch a sunset with, eat a cookie, fire a shotgun, climb Mt Kilimanjaro or just share a bowl of sweetbreads.
A week and two days later Albert and Norma were married.
Wishyonce was bridesmaid and Kimichi the best man. They held the ceremony in the foyer of the Mason Pagoda with the lion from the "Lion's Club" awake and looking on. The rain continued, but a rainbow was on the horizon for Albert and Norma Pickle. Lizzette, through the nuptial grapevine heard of Albert's fortuitous pickling with the widow Norma.
Norby turned out to be a cad.
Silently, she brined for Albert... her loss.