Synthesis (sin’-the-sis): An apt arrangement of a composition, especially regarding the sounds of adjoining syllables and words.

I was surrounded by artichokes, following the slowpokes seeking the Great Artichoke. It was no joke, these oldsters believed they could retrieve their youth—their hair, their waistlines, their butts, and more—by drinking the artichoke’s juice. They all certainly did need some physical restoration, but the notion of a giant therapeutic artichoke somewhere in the fields of Castroville was, to put it mildly, crazy.

They’d heard about Giant Artichokes on one of those alt-right podcasts, where they also learned that Joe Biden is a robot controlled by a Chinese restaurant owner working for the Chinese communist government. Accordingly, we should listen to nothing Biden says, or we will be “communified” and become “brain slaves” of the Chinese government. The show’s host, Rev. Sky Goshawk, sells a number of snake oils: Sin-Free Pork Rinds, Fudge Blessings, Exploding Satan Chasers, and more. The podcast is called “Poisoned Minds,” and it does just that.

My job at the nursing home is to take 4 to 6 people on day trips once-a-week. That’s how I ended up in the artichoke field, wondering what the foray would yield. Probably a chorus of complaining oldsters badmouthing Rev. Goshawk. Then, Mr. Blanko, a decrepit mess of a man, yelled “There it is.!” And there it was: a ten-foot high artichoke. They all had aluminum straws they had purchased from “Poisoned Minds.” They jammed them into the giant artichoke and started sucking away. Old Mrs. Phipps was the first to show effects. She patted her butt and said softly, “What do you think of this?” She went from 80 to 30 in a flash. She was beautiful, with the benefit of her age and experience, she was perfect. All my charges were now in their thirties. I couldn’t wait to show the giant artichoke to the world—what an amazing “cure” to the aging process, plus, I had fallen in love with Mrs. Phipps.

We got back to the home around eight. Everybody was shocked when they saw my passengers. They all wanted to go to the fields, but we talked them down and promised that we would all go tomorrow.

Mrs. Phipps and I slept together that night. When I woke up the next morning, there was an naked old woman lying next to me. It was Old Mrs. Phipps. I shrieked and jumped out of bed. She sat up and said “Oh dear, I must drink more giant artichoke juice.” We got in my car and drove to the artichoke fields. We looked, and looked, and looked but we couldn’t find the giant artichoke.

I was heartbroken, disgusted and confused. When we returned to the home, I sprinted up the stairs, packed and ran back down to my car. The group I’d taken to the fields came running out of the home yelling “Take us back!” They got to my car and started rocking it back and forth. I slammed it in gear, floored it, and took off in a cloud of dust.

“Are you ok?” I asked. Mrs. Phipps answered “Yes” from the floor behind my seat.

Definition courtesy of “Silva Rhetoricae” (

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