There's more than one way to do a character introspective, gosh darn it!

The tuber thing has been corrected. Peeling a brass instrument would be difficult, wouldn't it?

Disclaimer: I don't own Cowboy Bebop or any of the characters therein. I don't own the rights to potatoes either, so feel free to use those in any of your stories.


Jet stared down at the sizeable mound of Potatoes that lay before him. The tubers huddled together tightly, as if seeking warmth and protection from the slight chill in the sitting room air. He examined them at length, eyeing each one individually as he sought a suitable one with which to begin.

Spotting one that had strayed a few centimetres from the herd, Jet reached out and plucked it from the table. The resulting disturbance caused a couple of the unfortunate potato's associates to startle into tumbling from the pile and scatter across the surface. Their uneven shapes and coarse skins prevented them from getting very far, however.

Lifting the potato, Jet leaned back into the couch and began a more thorough inspection. It was rough and grainy to the touch, and its skin was pockmarked and littered with unsightly eyes. The whole vegetable appeared tough and grizzled, and did not seem to be as fresh as the date on the sack had suggested. Peculiarly, Jet found that there was strangely familiar air about it, but exactly what that was escaped him at that moment.

The potato, as with its comrades, did not appear fit for the king whose name they bore. However, Jet and his own colleagues had little choice about eating them, as they were all the food that remained on the ship, short of cannibalism. The latter of those options was not too appealing however, since the potatoes had more meat on them. Plus, eating the other Beboppers would probably upset his stomach - as if they weren't already enough of a pain in the ass.

"Oh well," Jet sighed, "I guess beggars can't be choosers."

Leaning forwards, he immersed the potato in the bowl of cold water that stood along side the remaining vegetables. Firmly he worked his fingers across its skin, dislodging the residue of the sod from which it had emerged. Then, pulling it from the container, he shook off the bulk of the murky water and passed it from his right hand to his left. The sensation of a cool, clammy texture gave way to nothing.

Jet's heart sank just a little. He had never quite got used to that.

Reaching out, he plucked a short wooden-handled knife from the table and raised it to the potato. Then, pressing the knife's honed edge into the vegetable, he began to steadily relieve it of its skin. Each stroke of the blade was met with a light, satisfying resistance, and ended with a pleasing jolt as the steel escaped the rind. The whole action was soothingly monotonous.

There was a sudden jerk as the knife leapt unexpectedly from the flesh of the potato. Jet felt the pressure of the blade as it struck the index finger of his left hand. He inhaled rapidly in preparation to release a yelp of pain, but then caught his breath as he realised he felt nothing.

Not allowing himself to be moved by the incident, Jet returned to peeling his potato. He felt it better that he shouldn't feel anything.

"Potatoes again, huh?" came a disenchanted sounding voice.

Jet looked up in surprise. There he saw Spike standing just inside the doorway, hands pocketed. As usual, he had ghosted into the room unnoticed - one of his more unsettling habits.

Jet looked to his potato, and went back to peeling it.

"That's right." He replied. "And would you mind not sneaking around like that. I'm working with sharp objects here."

"Yeah," drawled Spike, "it's a regular extreme sport."

Spike drifted into the sitting room, and over to the table. Stopping opposite Jet, he peered down disdainfully at the pile of spuds.

"You do realise this is the fifth consecutive night." He observed.

"There's no use complaining, Spike." Replied Jet. "This is all we have."

"Just how much longer are we gonna be subjected to this?"

"Until we run out of potatoes, or get money for something else. Probably the former."

Spike groaned unhappily, and then took a seat opposite his partner. Leaning back, he draped his arms over the back of the chair and peered across at Jet.

"So, what are you making?" he asked.

"Don't know yet." Jet replied succinctly.

"What are the options?"

"Anything you like, as long as it has potatoes in it."

Spike adopted a long face and sank into his chair.

"I'll leave it to you." He said.

Jet went about his peeling, the steady strokes of his blade filling the otherwise silent room.

A second sound arose. The strange, protracted whine filled the air, causing Jet to momentarily down tools. Fearing that one of the ships systems might be failing, Jet looked about for the source of the sound, only to see Spike looking down at his own gut.

"How long are you going to be, Jet?" Spike asked, looking away from his vocal digestive system.

Jet sighed deeply.

"It'll take as long as it takes." He replied.

"How long is that?" said Spike.

Jet gave a low growl.

"It wouldn't be so long if you'd give me a hand. Or at least just shut up while I work."

"Me, peel potatoes?" Spike said. "You're kidding, right?"

Jet gave a wry smile. This was his opportunity to underhandedly solicit a little unpaid labour for his cause.

"Oh, I don't blame you for not wanting to help." He said. "You know, this is a lot tougher than it looks. For someone with no experience in the kitchen, peeling a potato cleanly would be next to impossible."

"Is that right?" Spike said, leaning forward and propping his elbows against his knees.

The challenge had been set, and both men knew that Spike would not be able to turn it down. A challenge was a challenge, no matter how small or blatantly contrived.

Reaching out, Spike took a potato from the pile. He then leaned back, held the vegetable up in front of his face and scratched his head curiously.

"It's a potato, Spike." Said Jet after a little while.

Spike flashed a sour look across at his partner, then reached into his inside pocket and extracted a flick knife. A rapid jerk of his wrist caused the lustrous blade to leap from its hatched-wood housing with a satisfying click. Then, moving the blade uncertainly to the potato, Spike began to peel.

Jet sat and watched in quiet amusement as Spike manoeuvred the knife awkwardly about the irregularly formed vegetable. It seemed that Spike's days with the syndicate had left him accustomed only to much less delicate uses of a blade, since his technique was describable more as butchery than skinning. With every unsteady swipe, the potato would take on an even more deformed appearance, and Spike's face would adopt an even more exasperated expression.

After a few of minutes of hacking and slicing, Spike held the potato out and examined his handy work. It wasn't pretty. Then, to Jet's surprise and chagrin, Spike closed his eyes indifferently and tossed the spud over his shoulder.

"What the hell are you doing, Spike?" Jet snapped.

"I didn't like the way that one was going." Spike replied, already reaching for a second victim.

"Spike, that potato is important." Jet informed him. "You can't just toss it away if it's not going well."

"Why not?" Spike asked. "There are always other potatoes."

"There aren't as many as you think. Soon you'll run out and then you'll have to go back and finish that one off."

"We'll see." Spike said as he set upon a second potato.

Jet sighed, and chose to concern himself only with his own peeling.

The two men continued their work in silence for a while, with the pile of potatoes on the table steadily shrinking, and that on the floor behind Spike steadily growing.

After a time, a series of footsteps became audible from the corridor beyond the open doorway. Before long, Faye emerged into the room.

"There you guys are." She said. "I've been looking for. . ."

Faye stopped as her foot struck something hard. Looking down, she saw a half peeled potato rolling across the floor. The potato then stopped as it reached the safety of the herd, mingling with other similarly afflicted vegetables.

"What the. . ."

Faye looked up to see Spike and Jet each hunched over a potato, steadily stripping them of their skins with varying degrees of success.

"What's this?" she asked of the whole scene in general.

"Potatoes." Both men replied.

With that, another semi-stripped tuber flew over Spike's shoulder, narrowly missing Faye on its way.

"Hey, watch it!" she cried as she dodged the projectile.

Faye looked behind her to the potato that was just now coming to rest. It too bore the scars and gouges of its floored brethren, all of which she deduced were Spike's handy work.

"Geez, Spike." She said. "What did those poor potatoes ever do to you?"

"It's not as easy as it looks, Faye." Spike replied without tearing his eyes from his potato.

Faye plucked one of Spike's masterpieces from the floor and looked it over.

"God, Spike, you are so hopeless." She commented. "What is this, some kind of self portrait?"

Spike huffed in annoyance, but said nothing else. He was too engrossed in his peeling to come up with a snappy come back.

"So, are you gonna just stand there, or are you gonna give us a hand?" Jet asked impatiently.

"Me, peel potatoes?" she said. "You're kidding, right?"

"It's no joke, Faye." Spike spoke up. "Of course, if you don't think you're up to it. . ."

Faye stormed over to the couch.

"Scoot over, Jet." She commanded.

Jet capitulated, and Faye dropped into the vacated space to his right. Reaching beneath the shroud of hair that hung over her hair band, she produced a short flick knife of her own. She depressed a small button at the top of its pearl handle, causing the blade to leap to attention. She then reached out and took a potato from the pile, making sure that hers was somewhat larger than Spike's.

Noticing the size of Faye's potato, Jet said,

"I think we should keep that one for baking."

He then reached for the vegetable, only to have it whipped out of his reach.

"This one's mine." Said Faye. "Get your own."

Jet did not argue. Allowing his head to sink resignedly into his shoulders, he returned his gaze to his potato. He was beginning to regret having enlisted the help of his comrades.

After a couple of moments, Jet chanced a look at Spike. He quickly looked away however, as Spike's hack-and-slash technique was proving almost more than he could stomach.

A look across at Faye yielded a rather odd sight. Her knife was raised to her potato, and her tongue was sticking out slightly in a cast of deep concentration, but she had yet to actually begin peeling.

"Uh, Faye?" Jet said, tentatively.

"What?" Faye replied.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to find a good place to start."

Jet was becoming exasperated by the whole affair.

"It doesn't matter where you start." He said. "Just peel the damn potato."

"Of course it matters where you start." Faye observed. "You know what they say. If you don't know where you've been, then how can you know where you're going?"

Jet thought for a moment about how that saying could possibly be applied to a potato, but soon gave up. His argument that women were not creatures of reason was continuing to hold water on an oceanic scale.

And so the peeling continued, with strips of dislodged potato skin raining to the ground along with sizeable chunks of good potato flesh, and in Spike's case, whole potatoes.

After some minutes, a loud and quite intrusive voice arose from beyond the doorway.

"Hello?" It cried out. "Is there anybody there?"

Several barefoot falls later, Ed leapt into the open doorway.

"Is there anybody there to play with Edward?" She called in almost operatic strains.

Then her eyes fell upon the peculiar scene.

"Ooh, potato potáto." She said in bemusement as she looked upon the trio of bounty hunters, each hunched over and peeling a potato.

Then, stepping into the room, she danced amid the discarded potatoes and pirouetted up to the table.

"Who wants to play a game with Edward?" Ed asked hopefully.

"Can't play now." Faye said distantly.

"Peeling." Spike added.

"No play with Edward." Ed observed solemnly. She then readopted her broad grin, and proceeded to dance back to the door singing, "C'est la vie. C'est la guerre. Au revoir mes pomme de terres."

Upon exiting the room, Edward looked down to Ein, who had been waiting patiently at the door.

"Ein will play with Edward, yes?" She asked.

At this, the little dog whined and lowered his ears anxiously.

"Alright!" Ed cried, and then began to march down the corridor, swinging her arms wildly as she went.

Reluctantly, Ein began to follow Ed. However, he paused for a moment, and peered through the door. Seeing how utterly mesmerised Jet, Spike and Faye had become by their respective potatoes, he chose instead to go and investigate.

Entering the room, he marched cautiously up to one of Spike's discarded efforts and took a curious sniff. The smell was unremarkable. It didn't smell much like food, or anything terribly interesting for that matter.

Extending his snout once more, he nudged the potato gently, causing it to rock slightly where it stood. It didn't run, or fight, or do anything terribly interesting for that matter.

The interest that Ein had taken in the abandoned vegetable had not gone unnoticed. Reaching into the pile on the table, Jet extracted a fresh one and gave it a quick rinse.

"Hey Ein," he said, and then tossed the potato onto the floor, "why don't you join us?"

Ein flinched as the potato rolled up to his forepaws. First allowing the potato to come to rest, he moved up to it and sniffed its clammy skin. Then, lying down and clasping the vegetable tightly between his forelimbs, he began to gnaw at its rind with his back teeth.

Though Ein was not normally one to take pleasure from the clichéd canine pursuit of chewing, he found the sensation to be oddly soothing. It was as if there had once been a simpler time; a time when this primitive act might have brought great pleasure.

Meanwhile, Ed had returned after having noticed the conspicuous absence of Ein from her side. Looking through the doorway, she found all including her canine friend to have been bitten by the potato-peeling bug.

"Freeaaakyyy." She observed softly.

Her sharp, if eccentric mind cycled rapidly through the possible explanations for their behaviour, which ranged from mutant, potato-borne viruses, to the influence of the ever-present spooky space aliens. None seemed to fit the bill, however. Then, sighing forlornly, she resigned herself to having to make her own fun.

As she marched away to find some other way to pass the time, she thought out loud,

"They sure do like potatoes. I wonder what they see in them?"


One potato, two potato, three potato, four. . .