I don't recall when I first tasted avocado. It might have been as a starter in the kind of restaurant that thinks it's sophisticated to use the term hors d'oeuvre. For a while, I regularly added a pack to my supermarket trolley until the millennials got a taste for avocado on toast. Although I don't object to being on trend occasionally, it makes it hard to eat ethically where we have to import them: I don't want to be responsible for the loss of rainforests to get my fix.
When I can't easily find a 99-word story to fit the prompt, it often helps to have a further constraint from the book I'm reviewing or something I've recently – or less recently – written myself. I vaguely recalled placing an avocado bathroom suite in my second novel, Underneath, about a man who seeks to resolve a relationship crisis by keeping a woman captive in a cellar and, tramping the fields this morning, I thought I might pair it with my character Matty's possible reaction to being served food she'd never heard of in her childhood almost a century ago.
But I've got to the stage as an author where I forget what I've written. (Let's hope it's because my publication list's growing rather than something more sinister.) In the process of composing my opening paragraph I recalled that I do have a short story about the West's insistence on year-round availability of produce we can't grow ourselves. Although it doesn't mention avocados specifically, I could make sure the 99-word version does. If you have a spare twenty minutes, you can check it against the published version even if you don’t have a copy of my short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity, as I recorded it for a local green festival when it had to move online.
Selena thought they resembled hand grenades, but beneath the toady carapace the flesh was melt-in-the-mouth divine. Yes, the price had doubled recently, but avocado on toast would set her up for a successful day.
Three packets in her trolley, she moved on to the bakery counter. Turning her head, a trail of sooty footprints marked her path from the greengrocery section. Yet the soles of her shoes were pristine.
With a sigh, she retraced her steps. She knew the drill. She could scrub the floor she'd sullied. Or return the airfreighted produce that depleted the rainforests to the shelf.