Still Life: A Love Story
Retiring for the evening, the unknown artist glanced around his studio and left the room with a quiet "click."
"The coast is clear!" shouted a banana.
"Whee!" screamed a kiwi.
Rex eyed the green apple across the table. The red apple waited all day
to talk to her. Nonchalantly, he rolled over and charmingly delivered
what he'd practiced all afternoon. "Hey Greenie, I noticed you came in
today with the latest bag of groceries. Where ya from?" Rex was real
smooth with the ladies.
The green apple smirked at the red round playboy. "Listen pal, you red
boys are all alike. You sweep me off my feet, take me to your bowl for
the night and then dump me for the next piece of fruit you see."
Rex tried a softer approach. "Aw, I figured you could use a friend. You shouldn't judge an apple by its color."
"I should say the same to you," she replied indignantly. "You think because I'm green, I'm easy."
Boy, he thought, she's obviously been bruised in the past.
• • •
fruit's motto: Life is too short. Apples and oranges last a week or
two, if they avoid the floor. Bananas, however, quickly brown. They
party all night like a bunch of fraternity brothers surviving maybe
four or five days. Once a piece of fruit turns, it rots in mind and
body. Since misery loves company, it joins the other bad frowning fruit
crawling around and reeking of depression. Rotten fruit are miserable,
cantankerous and colorless. Doomed for the trash, they're lucky if they
die without the horrible infestation of fruit flies, the nightmare of
all fruit. You walk into a room of crowded pineapples and say "fruit
fly" and you walk out with a shirt pocket full of quickly lost fruit
juice and leave behind a heebie-jeebie-filled bundle of nerves.
• • •
Ho!" cried the leader of the strawberries, marching her troops toward
the chocolate syrup bottle. The little red army squirted the chocolate
into a bowl and dove in with a thick gooey splash. A banana flipped on
the portable radio. Caribbean music and tropical laughter filled the
The wide-eyed green apple stared at the
strawberry banana dance party. Frightened, she began to step back
toward the edge of the table.
"What'sa matter Greenie?" asked Rex. "Ain't ya ever been to a fruit party before?"
"What are those bananas doing?" she gasped with awe.
"Oh, those boys peel off their skins and dance every night with the
strawberries and chocolate. It's just delicious! Say, what's your name
"Grace," she hesitantly replied.
Rex wondered how this green orb of innocence survived the grocery store
notorious for its rampant debauchery in the produce sections. He
remembered his grocery store days, frolicking through the melons. He
had stumbled upon a warm and fuzzy, misplaced peach. When she revealed
her pit to him, his stem curled. And Myra, the exotic mango made his
seeds quiver. She ultimately dumped him for a pompous papaya.
On Rex's first day in the studio, he found a luscious orange. A bunch
of grapes warned him that apples and oranges don't mix. He decided
against getting closer to the orange when later that evening, two beefy
grapefruits rolled over him threatening his skin if he came anywhere
near the bright silky orange. Apparently, she already had a boyfriend.
But Grace intrigued him. For a fruit so seemingly unworldly, she was
defiant. What was it about this new juicy gal? Her flawless green skin
that reflected the moonlight glow? Her little freckles dotting her
perfectly round body? How she blushed when she watched the freshly
peeled bananas dipping themselves into chocolate and dancing
licentiously around the giggling strawberries?
Rex watched Grace roll closer to the edge of the table. She stopped and
looked away from the fruit orgy. He noticed that she still had two
sprouting leaves on her stem. Wow, he thought, a virgin! How has she
managed to escape unscathed from all the apples piled on top of her in
transit, or the perverted bananas in the grocery store?
Rex considered himself old and wise. He'd been around for a while,
nearly seven days. Those frat-boys wouldn't make it past three days
judging by their quick-ripening behavior. He felt sorry for the green
apple and for some reason, wanted to take responsibility for her
safety. Particularly when he thought of the rotten fruit in the studio.
The rotten fruit had over-ripened. They were black, mushy, and hairy.
They trudged nightly around the studio together, spoiling other fruit
and leaving a sludgy muck-trail in their wake. Rex would protect the
naîve Grace from these beasts.
Grace returned her gaze to the chocolate swim-fest. Slowly, her
features softened and Rex noticed how beautiful she was. She caught him
smiling at her and smiled back. His seeds quivered. No one affected his
core like that since Myra, the exotic mango.
He rolled over to the fruit punch bowl. "How's the punch tonight, guys?"
In a smooth Jamaican accent, a mango bartenders replied, "Oh Rex, mahn,
the punch is so fine. We have Tortuga Rum from the Cayman Islands. And
here's another for your fine lady friend over there."
Rex rolled over to Grace and offered her a cup of punch.
"Thanks," she replied. She took a sip, contemplated it, and took another big gulp. "This is delicious. What is it?"
"It's a Caribbean specialty."
She took another big gulp and felt her face redden. "It makes me kinda tingly."
"Slow down, baby, or you'll find yourself on the floor."
Rex and Grace danced to the Caribbean rhythms until Rex was out of
breath and Grace was out of punch. "May I have another drink?"
"Sure. You stay right here, okay?"
"No worries, brah!"
Ruby, another red apple came up to Grace and introduced herself, so Rex
left them to talk about girlie "applette" stuff. He rolled back over to
the punch bowl and chatted with Perry, a pineapple who spent some time
complimenting Rex on his date of the evening. "You got yourself a young
one, my friend. Be careful with her, and don't let her out of your
\Rex was about to say something but heard a loud "Wheeee!" behind him.
He turned to find Grace spinning around and dancing a little too close
to the edge of the table.
"Grace!" he cried.
Grace yelped and disappeared from the table. Rex rushed over expecting
to see the object of his desire a mere mushy spot on the linoleum. He
looked down to see Grace stunned, dazed and a little bruised on the
chair below. "Are you okay, Grace?" he asked with relief.
Grace giggled. "Hey, can you tell 'em to turn up that music?" She
started to sing along: "Why don't we get drunk and screw." She giggled
again dancing on the chair. She spun around and looked up at Rex. "Hi
"Sweetheart, please stop spinning until we can get you back up here."
Then he saw the sludge. On the floor, approaching the chair. The rotten
fruit saw the near falling of Grace and oozed closer. Rex could see the
evil sneers on their globby faces.
Grace started to spin around again. "You mean like this?" Still
laughing, she slipped off the chair into the gloppy middle of the
rotten mass. Immediately enveloped by the black hairy mass, she let out
a muffled giggle. Then she was gone.
"Grace!" he cried. "Grace! NOOOOOOO!"
The rotten fruit jeered at Rex. A low gurgly voice boomed out, "Now
she's one of us Red Boy! She's spoiled, if you know what I mean! HA HA
HA HA HA!" The burbling glob ejected two wilted leaves as it rolled
away into the corner waiting for its next victim.
"Oh, Rex," said Ruby.
"I ... I think I loved her Ruby. She made my seeds quiver. Her moonlight reflection was incredible."
"Yeah," said Ruby softly. "Makes you think twice about falling for organic."
"What are you talking about?" Rex was confused. Granted, Ruby was wise, been around awhile,
showed a few wrinkles. But what the hell was she talking about?
"You didn't know? She was picked up from a roadside stand. No
pesticides, no immunity, no exposure to anything. And this kind of
place overwhelms them. Still, I'm sorry for your loss, sweetie."
Rex realized why Grace was shocked about the banana orgy and why her
leaves were still intact. He felt a dull ache in the middle of his
core. If he couldn't spend the evening with his new found and
subsequently new lost love, he would drown his sorrows.
"Can I make you another rum punch, brah?" the mango bartender asked.
Rex looked meaningfully into the bartender's eyes. "Grace used to called me 'brah.'"