New flash fiction: Eric Suhem is liberating fruit


Liberated Fruit
 
In the supermarket, the little watermelon cubes sat, docile, next to the plastic containers housing honeydew melon cubes, doing time in their own small square sections. Like cats de-clawed, under the buzzing fluorescent lights, the melon cubes’ spirits languished, cut off from their natural environment. Nearby, the cantaloupes were stacked in their section, the piped-in Muzak vibrating off of each melon’s skin. Slowly, the cantaloupes started shaking, more and more actively. One of the cantaloupes near the bottom of the pile had glimpsed the outside world, through the smudged glass of the supermarket’s exit door, and was becoming excited. It began to slowly bounce around in its cramped position, causing the whole stack to shake.

Eventually the cantaloupes at the top fell to the floor, and began to roll along the linoleum. The melon that had first spied the sky outside also dropped to the floor and quickly rolled to the head of the line, leading the other cantaloupes toward the exit. The cantaloupes were cheered on by the small boxed melon cubes, who were unable to move, but could vicariously experience this event. Over the rubber mat of the electronic door the cantaloupes rolled, along with a head of lettuce that decided to join the procession, and the door instantly opened, as if it had been waiting years for the melons to approach. One by one, the melons rotated out of the supermarket into the mid-morning sun, freedom at last! They paused in the parking lot then maneuvered towards the avenue, their leader at the fore.

At that precise moment, Rhonda turned the corner in her car, her eyes off the road, reading dog-eared anarchist tracts, as the lead cantaloupe rolled tentatively into the street. A sudden squashing was felt under the left front wheel, as the melon was crushed, plastering seeds and orange inner fruit across the pavement. That inspirational visionary cantaloupe would soon become a martyr, and the other melons in the group, along with the head of lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce #38, would go on to lead productive existences, making pilgrimages to other supermarkets to spread ‘The Message’.
 
She glided purposefully through the blueberry bushes, filling a brown paper sack with plump berries. On her grey sweatshirt was a large ‘H’ made from neon green tape. “The ‘H’ stands for ‘Humanity’,” she explained to anyone she encountered. Rhonda had nearly filled the bag with berries, and left the forest, heading towards a cliff by the side of the ocean. On the cliff she had set up a rickety card table, which was already supporting a large bowl of nectarines. Rhonda poured the sack of blueberries into a bowl on the card table at the side of the cliff. “We now have balance between nectarines and blueberries,” she cooed, staring at the two bowls. “World, feel the power within your soul of this sacrificed golden fruit, and be healed!” she declared, pouring the bowls over the cliff.
 
Iceberg Lettuce #38 was removed from the supermarket counter to observe all of the actions of its consumer, Rhonda. First, she placed it into the plastic bag, then into the shopping cart. Next, Rhonda carried it along the sidewalk, and into the apartment, where it would be placed on the cutting board for shredding. But before so, it caught a glimpse of the pieces of paper on the wobbly-legged card table, outlining Rhonda’s plans for focused nuclear attacks, as her attempts to heal the world had been frustratingly ineffectual. The head of lettuce remembered ‘The Message’, which was that the vegetation and fruit would spring from the ground in a last defiant movement. “You have not heard the last from us!” they would all sing, strangely on-key, as the mushroom cloud would expand to extinguish their physical manifestations, but not their life force.
 
However, none of this turned out to be necessary, as the latch of the refrigerator clicked, and a honeydew melon rolled out onto the kitchen floor. While Rhonda paced the linoleum, reading an anarchist cookbook, one of her spiked high heels impaled the melon, sending her to the floor and into the hospital for six months of casts, slings, pulleys. The bowl of fruit was always by her bedside.


* Eric Suhem lives in California and enjoys the qualities of his
vegetable juicer. He can be found in the orange hallway
www.orangehallway.com


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