From the writers’ imaginations to yours, this week we deliver fresh fruit. Summer is the ripest season for fruit, though it is not summer everywhere.
Surprisingly, not everyone is attracted to the sweet gift of orchards. But fruit makes for a tasty topic. It even makes a plea for proper placement.
And, fruit kills.
Let these stories trickle down your chin if you dare take a bite out of reading.
The Lush Summer Fruit of Rush Springs by Paula Moyer
Jean had a strong opinion about tomatoes. “Vine-ripened,” by itself,
still left a lot of room for some pretty mediocre stuff. No, the best
were grown in Rush Springs, Oklahoma, and – but of course! –
Aah,: the dark, brick-red flesh, the pure satin texture. Not a grainy
molecule to be seen. Tomatoes and melons of all kinds from this part
of the world were absolutely the best.
The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival was unforgettable: the mid-August
heat and the band. The singer belted out “For the Good Times,” backed
up by a pedal steel guitar. Sixteen, Ferris wheel kiss.
Forgotten Fruit by Larry LaForge
“Hey kid. Right here’s good. Between the apples and oranges.”
The youthful grocery stock clerk laughed as he carried the crate of heirloom tomatoes. “Sorry Mr. Tomato, we’re headed to the vegetable section.”
The head tomato protested vehemently. “You can’t degrade us like that.”
“What’s the big deal?” asked the clerk.
The tomato fired back. “Most folks like fruit, but some barely tolerate vegetables. We demand our rightful fruit status. Did you sleep through Botany class?”
The clerk grinned mischievously as he deposited the tomato crate alongside the onions in the veggie section.
“This isn’t over!” yelled the tomato.
The 100-word version of this story is posted at larrylaforge100words on Flash Fiction Magazine.
No, Thanks. I’m Not Hungry. by Sarah Brentyn
Kim pinched a grape with her painted nails. Her lips parted with a spastic twitch and she popped it in her mouth. She held her fingers there for a few seconds. Kim always left her fingers near her mouth a little too long after she ate a piece of food.
Her lips pushed out then sucked in then twisted up at the corners while she chewed. Her cheek bulged. She mumbled something about how good the grape tasted, a piece of gelatinous spit landing on my cheek. I gagged and watched Kim swallow the chewed-up fruit, her neck convulsing.
The Honey Locust by Charli Mills
“The fruit of honey locust is sweet,” Hickok said, breaking open a pod to show Sarah dark peas inside. He grinned as she nibbled, then nodded. “Makes great beer.”
“You could make liquor from water, Mr. Hickok.” Before he could reply, he noticed distant riders on the prairie. One appeared naked on a galloping horse. The other was Cob.
“We’d better go.” He led Sarah through cottonwoods to their hobbled horses. He knew Cob was dragging another poor soul to the honey locust. The four-inch thorns twining the tree were agony to bare skin.
Torture was Cob’s favorite fruit.
A Fruitful Harvest by Norah Colvin
Little Tree stood alone at the edge of the orchard thinking, “What’s wrong with me?”
The other trees grew tall. Their branches, laden with bright green leaves and sweet-scented blossoms, seemed to whisper mockingly.
The sun shone. Rains watered the soil.
Their blossoms turned to fruit, a plentiful harvest.
Confused and dejected, Little Tree avoided the celebratory festival.
Then all grew quiet. The bigger trees rested, preparing for the next season.
Suddenly an insect orchestra and an unfamiliar fragrance startled Little Tree.
“What’s up?” it asked.
“You!” they buzzed relishing the richness of its golden blooms.
A Fine Line by Amber Prince
The grudge had thrived for decades. No one understood what fueled it. No one dared ask. Some whisper it was a girl from childhood, others murmured it was a parent’s favoritism. Fools they all were, for this bitter dispute was rooted within the ground.
A lonely apple tree perched high on a hill, dividing two property lines. The land left behind by a father to his two sons.
The brothers planted two seeds, only one of which grew tall. Each year they fought over whose tree the fruit fell from. Then, who would get the first crisp, juicy bite?
Flash Fiction by Anne Goodwin
Standing guard at the entrance, the cherries on the welcome desk caught Wasp’s gaze. Luscious globes brimming over the cut-glass bowl, glistening as if someone’s mother had held them under a running tap to wash away the dust. Had they stormed the greengrocer’s by mistake?
Brock cocked his gun towards the queue. Fox passed the bags across the counter. Wasp reached for a cherry but his gloved hands failed him, and the mask cloaked his mouth.
Customers whimpered. Fox told the cashier to hurry up. Wasp was a boy again, scaling the orchard wall.
Grabbing the bowl, Wasp fled.
Flash Fiction by Robin L. Flanigan
Dabs of red nail polish line the tips of the old woman’s white sandals.
“Grandma, did you paint your toes with your shoes on?” Anna asks.
The grandmother turns her head, looking sheepish. “I guess I should take them off next time,” she answers. Her feet dangle off the edge of the examination table, her ankles creased and swollen below the hem of her dress, her toes curled into each other. She’s quiet as she waits for the doctor.
Anna can’t think of anything to talk about. She can’t stop staring at those feet, those heels like wrinkled peaches.
The Poor Mango!! by Ruchira Khanna
Julie is licking the sides of her hand while holding the seed that had its hair protruding indicating that all its juice has been sucked off.
“For God’s Sake! Give it up, Jules!” mom shouts from the kitchen window.
“Nah! I wanna retaliate by sucking all the liquid out of Bill via this mango, Momma!” she shouts back with spite and vengefulness as she stares at the seed with her red swollen eyes welling continuously with tears and her lips twisted from those darn memories with Bill, who left her drenched like a buffoon on a cold
Fruit by Geoff Le Pard
‘I was passing, Mary.’ He put a foot in the door. ‘We need to talk. My mother’s not well…’
‘Uncle Rupert!’ Penny pushed past her mother. ‘Come in!’
Rupert handed Penny a bag. ‘Peaches.’
‘You remembered.’ She hugged him, before biting into a succulent fruit. Juice dribble down her chin.
‘Get a cloth.’ Once Penny had disappeared to the kitchen, Mary said, ‘You will not buy your way into our lives.’
Penny bounced back, her cheeks smeared with sticky juice.
‘He’s can’t stay.’ Mary shut the door.
Penny glared at her mother ‘What’s wrong with you, Mum?’
Flash Fiction by Irene Waters
The sweet, sickly scent of the over-ripe fruit invaded her nostrils as she entered the room. The case of juicy mangos she had been given that morning would not last long in this heat. The thought of throwing her beloved fruit away was too difficult to contemplate so Nelly sat, the case in front of her and proceeded to eat the yellow, dripping fruit one after the other until she devoured the entire twenty-four mangos. She sat with juice dribbling from her chin and a self-satisfied smile on her face which was swelling rapidly.
Mango allergy the coroners report read.
Family Time by Pete
We were out on the porch. Ant Silvia rocked in one chair, slobbering peach juice all over herself, and Mom in Dad’s chair, watching the evening sun melt away. It was quiet, minus Sylvia’s gross slurping that called the ants and scattered the lightning bugs. It was her third peach and I was seething, but Mom shot me a look.
When the chair finally stopped, I turned just as Ant Sylvia stood. “Well, I’m leaving in the morning, sweetie.” And before I knew it she planted a mess of a kiss on my cheek.
Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough.
New prompt on Wednesday. All writers welcome!
And what a delivery! A great compilation as usual! Tasty morsels to tempt our reading palates!
Instead of “hot off the press” this one is “fresh off the press.” Tasty, indeed! Thanks for your delightful story that blossoms on the page!
So true! 🙂
Well done everyone – I really enjoyed all the fruity flashes and look forward to whatever morsel you present for our next prompt Charli. Thank you also for compiling them in the one place.
Yes, well done, one and all! The compilation is always my favorite part.
I’m glad to hear that as it is a huge amount of work for you. Thank you 🙂
Like riding horses–doesn’t feel like work. 🙂 So glad ya’ll show up to write!
These were all lovely reads, Charli. But my two favorite were Forgotten Fruit and The Honey Locust. Forgotten Fruit made me smile and your story portrayed a nice image and beautiful writing, as usual.
I really must dab my pen in some flash fiction.
Forgotten Fruit is not easily forgotten! Larry writes memorable characters–tomatoes, water, horses. Thanks, I’m glad you liked The Honey Locust. Do dab your pen one of these weeks! 99-words is meant to keep it manageable among all our other priorities.
I loved reading all of these! The one by Irene Waters made me laugh out loud.
What a way to go. Death by mango! Thanks for reading!
Fabulous fruity flash. Thanks, again, for the prompt and putting together this collection. Such a fun read every week. Interesting, though, how none of these were what I expected from a fruit prompt. I love that. Every single week these writers surprise me. So varied and so good.
It’s delicious to to nibble each one as they come in, but best to savor when they’re all together! You all are such great writers–so much creativity, wit, depth. I love the surprises each week!