Fruit in Need This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 6, 2010
Walking the streets of New York City in a grey raincoat, I passed across a fruit stand parked in front of the local supermarket. The perfumes of sweet and creamy honeydew and luscious, cold watermelon called to me. The vibrant colors of the crimson strawberries and Gala apples, the green and red grapes and the fresh neon oranges appealed and excited my senses. All that freshness and antioxidant located on a ten-foot-long table. Every fruit was stacked and organized in crates, the citrus on the way left and the plums on the very right. The more exotic fruits like pomelos and dragon fruits sat on the back of the table. I ran my fingers along the waxy apples, rough oranges, and the tiny seeds and indents of the strawberries. Caught in a haze of color and smell I heard a noise to my right.

“Hey kid, hey you!” a rough, heavy Brooklyn accent called out to me. I frantically spun around on the pavement, my coat swooshing, to see a plum all the way on the right side of the table, rolling towards me. “So err… I heard ya like plums, kid.”

“Yes, I’m pretty fond, why?” I replied curiously examining the plum. The plum hopped on my shoulder and came next to my ear, it’s cold, rubbery skin against my neck.

“Listen, I know ya weren’t gonna buy no plums Miss, but we’ve got a guy in dat crate back there who needs immediate help. Won’t ya help a brother?” the plum asked solemnly. Perhaps it was the perfume of fruits getting into my head, but I could not help but feel sympathy towards this plum.

“Let me see this friend of yours,” I told the plum as I placed him back in his crate.

“Chop, chop boys. Bring him out for the nice lady to see,” the plum called into the crate. Minutes later, three plums emerged supporting another, stacked like a three sided pyramid.

“Oh god!” I yelled. The plum on top was missing a good chunk of his flesh and flies were buzzing around his wound. The sweet, sticky aroma poured out everywhere like the scent of decaying flesh would. The manager of the supermarket must have noticed me jump back at the sight of the plum and came outside in a rush, pant legs sliding past each other in a woosh, woosh sound.

“Is there a problem ma’am?” he said in a panicky Indian accent, “You seemed startled. Can I get you to a taxi or hospital?”

“No thank you, I’m fine,” I told the man, “I would like to buy these plums.” I placed four plums into a plastic bag and rushed towards the register. A breeze blew into the store and the bag rustled playfully. The man took the fruit from my hands and weighed it on a cold, stainless steel, digital scale.

“Ten fifty,” he told me, staring down at the fruit, “You sure you don’t want to replace that rotten plum?”

“No thanks,” I said and paid him a twenty.

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