Once upon a time on a farm in California, a seed was thrown to the earth by an underpaid immigrant. Soon afterward, water was sprinkled over it and the many seeds surrounding it. Half a day later, the shell of the seed cracked open and a green protrusion emerged. Roots were produced a little while later and by and by a strawberry plant grew. To the uncaring eye, this plant looked exactly like all the others in the vast automatically-irrigated field. But if one had looked closely, one would have noticed that it wasn’t: it was going to be the one to produce Stan.
Stan wasn’t like the other strawberries harvested that year, because he had a face. He also didn’t taste very good, but nobody knew that at the time. With his face came the capacity for thought. And think he did. All the obvious thoughts came to mind: I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, it’s hot out. Along with some deeper ones: Why is my head attached to a plant? Why don’t the other strawberries have faces? What is that spider doing over there?
He hung from the plant for months thinking, but eventually he was harvested: detached from the plant that produced him. He was put on a conveyor belt with thousands of other berries, was washed, and was put into a plastic container. Then darkness.
When he woke up he was still in the container, but there was light all around it. He was close to the edge of the carton, so he could see out. Dozens of pasty looking people were milling around picking things up. Days passed before he felt the container being jostled. A man with a soul-patch, wearing a checkered short-sleeve shirt, brown canvas shorts and sneakers was looking into the container. He took it over to the checkout stand where it was purchased and subsequently put in a backpack. When the container came out of the backpack it was in a kitchen. The man vanished for an hour during which Stan wondered what would become of him. He heard somebody shout far off, “Guys, I bought these great strawberries.”
A group of younger humans walked in and surrounded the container. It was opened and the berries around him were removed. “This one looks kind of weird.” “Who cares? Eat it anyway.” He felt some relatively blunt pieces of enamel surround him and remove his lower half. “Eww, it tastes like sawdust!” He was dropped on the floor where he remained until he was swept into a dustpan and thrown away.