Peter Piper

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

Where’s the peck of pickled peppers that Peter Piper picked?

Yes, it was I, Peter Piper, who picked a peck of pickled peppers, or did I? Personally, I’m not partial to pickles or peppers, let alone pickled peppers, and a whole peck? Most people who pick, don’t pick a peck, because they’re perplexed as to how many peppers are in a peck. Thus, they schlepp home a plethora, and hope to get a peck on the puss from their spouse for the picking.

That particular day, as I approached the pepper plantation of prickly Piper Peck, and her partner, Pickett Pepper, I perceived that I had picked a poor time to pick a peck of pickled peppers from the Peck and Pepper plot. Piper and Pickett were peppering each other with epithets, and I was puzzled as to whether they planned for me to pick any peppers, let alone a peck of peppers.

Just then, I pondered how peppers could be pickled if they hadn’t been picked. The picayunish pecking of the pepper proprietors became more peppery, as they partook of a six-pack of Pabst. They were peeved that pecks of pickled peppers were pocked from the pecking of peckers. It wasn’t long before Piper and Pickett picked a bone as to the point of my presence. I piped up that I was preparing to pick some peppers. They disparaged my punctuality for not picking the peppers more promptly, for now they were in a pickle.

I got piqued at their petty petulance, and proceeded to partake of the Pabsts. Soon I was a pickled Peter, and I can’t recall if I picked a peck of pickled peppers or just nitpicked with Piper Peck and Pickett Pepper.

This story was written by David Margolis, who retired from the practice of gastroenterology in 2013 to become a full time writer. His stories have appeared in The Canadian Medical Association Journal, JAMA: Internal Medicine, Missouri Medicine,, Long Story Short, Still Crazy, and The Jewish Light of St. Louis. His first novel “The Myth of Dr. Kugelman” was published in October 2015. A second novel, “The Plumber’s Wrench,” is currently under review by an agent. He resides in St. Louis, MO with his wife Laura, two rescue kids, three small rescue dogs, and a set of golf clubs.
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