In two separate incidents, thousands of miles apart, two men died in extraordinarily-similar circumstances yesterday - after consuming cabbage.
The men - Thomas Jeffers, 45, of New Jersey, and Nickovitch Kuryakin, 48, from Nizhny Novgorod in Russia - were both healthy, middle-aged men, happily-married with two and seven children respectively, both worked for their respective governments, drank in moderation, liked Beethoven, were keen swimmers, and neither of them smoked, but both are dead anyway, thanks to cabbage.
In Mr Jeffers' case, it seems to have been the amount of the légume consumed. According to his wife, he regularly ate a whole cabbage, and sometimes more, as he watched TV in the evening.
"He'd never eaten more than three though," she said. "Not to my knowledge, anyway."
At around 7pm on Sunday evening, the Jeffers sat down to chicken and mashed potatoes, garnished with some boiled carrots and the obligatory cabbage. Thomas finished first, and took a second serving of cabbage, then a third. Suddenly, his face turned crimson, he reached for his chest, staggered towards his wife, and fell dead on the floor. A piece of cabbage hung out of his gaping mouth.
Health experts say eating large amounts of anything is unwise, and eating three heads of cabbage particularly dangerous, as can be seen with Mr Jeffers.
In Comrade Kuryakin's case, a few details differed. Kuryakin sat down at around 5pm on Sunday to a bowl of his wife's own Cabbage Soup, a dish he couldn't get enough of, which was a good thing really, because it's just about all he ever got.
Towards the end of the broth - and, crucially, after ALL of the cabbage was inside him - there was a knock at the door. The Kuryakins looked at each other nervously. Who could it be at the door at this ungodly hour, just an hour before bedtime? Mr K put a finger to his lips, then crept to the side of the door, where, in the doorframe, and hidden from anyone waiting outside, there was a second peephole that he, himself, had created about 30 years ago for just this purpose. He didn't like what he saw. Two men, he told his wife by 'finger-signal', could be KGB, and she tiptoed away to the bedroom to get some weaponry. There was a second knock at the door, louder this time. K looked through his peephole again. Sweat appeared on his forehead. The soup had been hot, but this was something more. Mrs K returned from the bedroom with two handguns, and laid one on the table for her husband.
Mr K picked up the gun, and motioned to his wife to take up a position facing the door, about 3 yards back, and to have her weapon aimed at the doorway. K heard a third knock. His forehead streamed, as he undid the chain on the door, mumbling that he was "coming, for God's sake!".
At the other side of the heavy metal door, the two travelling salesmen from the Potemkin Cabbage Company straightened their ties and faced the door. Mr Kuryakin suddenly flung the door open and, as he did, a rogue piece of cabbage that had been stuck in his teeth, chose this moment to escape, and made for his throat. Too large to make a clean getaway, the vegetable first lodged in the Russian's throat, then managed to get into his windpipe, from where it refused to budge, and he produced a cough, a spluttering cough that went on and on and on, until the former KGB agent's face turned crimson, he reached for his chest, staggered towards his wife, and fell dead.
The Potemkin salesmen saw that this was obviously the wrong time to start looking for new customers. They tipped their hats to Widow Kuryakin, and left the building.
Be careful with cabbage; it's not as innocent as it looks.