Tag Archives: fruit

The Price of Classification and the Value of Nectarines

“No!” screamed the marketman, shaking his fist far too close to Trom’s face. “No! No! No! No!” His forehead was the colour of beetroot and split down the middle with a throbbing vein.

“But…” started Trom.

The marketman snarled to shut him up, then seized Trom’s elbow with a meaty claw and dragged him over to the other crates piled high behind the market stall.

Trom tried to place one foot in front of the other as elegantly as possible, hard when being hauled along by such a giant lobster of a man. The marketman was snorting with every stride, froth bubbling at the side of his lips and seeping into the thick forest of hair that covered his chin.

Their arhythmic dance ended by a long table covered in large piles of vegetables and fruit. Here beans, there cabbage, over there capsicums. All arranged carefully, all pointing in the same direction and ordered by size, by a young girl who ran and hid behind a crate stack at the sight of the enraged wildebeest and his captive farmboy.

The marketman snatched an apple and thrust it into Trom’s palm.

“What colour is it?” came a throaty snarl.

“Green,” said Trom, with an air as pliant as he could muster, for the need to make a sale remained foremost despite the rough treatment.

“Yes,” agreed the marketman, eyes prodding outward like a snail’s tentacles. “Green. A green apple. People buy apples, and people know that apples are green. Now what’s this?” A pale seed pod entered the lesson.

“Dantum.”

“Colour?”

“Yellow.”

“People buy yellow dantums. They know that’s what colour a dantum is. I make enough money to feed my four screaming hellrats every week because I sell food that is the colour and shape that customers expect. So why in the seven sores on the devil’s puss-ridden backside does this little runt…” here he prodded a sausage of a finger at Trom’s throat, “…try to sell me the ugly, misshapen, miscoloured rejects of his disease-ridden crop every endless week after week?”

“It’s food,” protested Trom. “It’s to be eaten, not admired.”

The marketman reared up, and shoved Trom backwards. “When you grow produce that looks recognisable…” he said, “…I’ll be very surprised. I see you here again, I’ll feed your vomit to my pigs, and that will be doing them down, too.”

As he headed back to his cart, Trom considered that he had burned his luck to the end of the wick. As he reached his goods, he saw the poppel sitting on a the pile of orange and purple fruit in the top-most crate. Her wings fluttered slightly, and her dress billowed, showing stains of little drops of juice.

“Keep faith,” she said, in a faint, satisfied voice. “They really are delicious. You’ll be famous for it, just like I said. See you back at home.” Her wings buzzed and she took off, heading sunwards.

Trom watched her go, then picked up the fruit that had been her perch. Tiny bitemarks adorned it in the shape of a heart. He chuckled, then sliced off a piece of the flesh between his teeth, obliterating the poppel’s love-note and sending juice spraying onto his collar. The syrup flowed around his tongue and sent tingles flickering along the roof of his mouth.

“Yes,” concluded Trom to nobody in particular. “Not the right shape, not the right colour. But it remains very tasty indeed.”

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Christmas Hiatus: Fruit Council

The blog is on hiatus for the Christmas season. New stories will return in January. Here’s one from the archives:

We must confer.

The message floats between council members. It is received at different times by each, but each must hear, as per the rules. Therefore the conversation is slow.

We must discuss the simians. There have been recent developments.

Council members come and go, brash youth to wise old age in the blink of an eye. Conversations occur over centuries, each topic spans generations.

A new type of simian has emerged. No tails, more aggressive. Where the originals climbed up to find us, the new cut down our homes. They have some strange new power that burns.

The glory of nature, confined to the sky and the earth has now been harnessed by the simians.

They will eat too many of us. They will destroy us and our homes. We must fight back, or the Spirit will be extinguished.

There are dissenting voices. Some members voice new plans. The Council does not fear destruction, for death and rebirth are fundamental to their Cycle. The simians must be learnt from, principles applied in reverse. The recommendation is arrived at.

Cultivation. They will grow us, and we will grow them. Our mutual interest will lead to abundance. Place the knowledge in their minds. Show them the skills needed. We will turn the foragers into the foraged. Our Spirit shall multiply.

The Spirit of the fruit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is no law. The simians are powerless to fight back. The fruit rules.

Starting From Scratch

San was relaxing in the sunshine when Nesse’s voice floated into her mind from far away.

“Guess where I’m calling from!” said Nesse’s voice.

San giggled. “Are you diving through thunderstorms again?”

“No! I’m in a tunnel!”

“Wow. Under the ground!”

“Yes! Tunnels everywhere under the city. Must have been used for transport. Quite well preserved, really. And I’ve found a creature here! I think it’s a yoomun!”

“Human,” San corrected. “A lot of them died hiding from storms and the high temperatures.”

“This one isn’t dead!” exclaimed Nesse. “It’s still breathing. And it’s making a wailing noise. And it’s leaking from its eyes.”

“Wait,” said San, “I can tell you what that means.” She beckoned a bookfly over to where she lay and flicked through the pages. “I think it’s ‘crying’,” she said. “It’s a signal of distress.”

“What do I do?”

“Erm,” more page flicking, “try to cheer it up. Do you know any jokes?”

“Jokes? No.”

“Perhaps feed it?”

“What do they eat?”

“Vegetable matter that grows on the planet’s surface, probably.”

“I have some fruit that I picked up earlier, I’ll try that.”

She heard him talking to the creature. Nesse had a high-altruism brain and loved using it.

There followed occasional statements from Nesse as he narrated getting the creature’s attention, dealing with its fear, coaxing it to eat the gift. Then there was silence for a long while.

“Did it work?” she asked.

“No,” he said. “It died. Must have been the wrong fruit.”

“Probably for the best,” she said. “If you took it up to the surface it would burn. They get cancerous like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Don’t be so negative,” he chastised. “If one survived there might be more. We might be able to set up a breeding programme.”

“Well, good luck,” she said. “Let me know if you need any more help.”

Nesse’s voice faded from her attention. She stretched, yawned and flapped her wings to create a cooling breeze.

The Square

There’s another square up ahead. It looks different to the normal squares, and it smells amazing. It smells a sweet and tempting stench. The square looks different because it is set at an angle. The smell comes not from the square but from around the edges. It’s worth exploring. Let’s have a look.

Through the gap and into another world. This new world has walls, and a ceiling. You couldn’t go all the way up if you wanted to. And that smell… that smell… let’s find where that glorious smell is coming from.

Circling around in the centre of this small world, sniffing the air, sniffing the air. In a corner, the smell is stronger. It’s coming from a liquid on the ground. Sticky to the touch, a fruity, glorious feast. Let’s pause for a few moments and sup. Replenish our strength before we move on.

Our meal is interrupted by a beast. Angry, it swipes in our direction. It’s time for us to leave. Let us leap upwards, and return to the square… which has changed.

The square is no longer set at an angle. It is flat. Through it, the bigger world beckons. The sunlight can be seen. Let us flee…

Some invisible force prevents our passage. The barrier between the worlds has returned. We cannot escape.

The beast is coming. It approaches with resolve. It reaches towards us… and the square moves. A gap appears, a doorway to the bigger world. Time to fly.

Fruit Council

We must confer.

The message floats between council members. It is received at different times by each, but each must hear, as per the rules. Therefore the conversation is slow.

We must discuss the simians. There have been recent developments.

Council members come and go, brash youth to wise old age in the blink of an eye. Conversations occur over centuries, each topic spans generations.

A new type of simian has emerged. No tails, more aggressive. Where the originals climbed up to find us, the new cut down our homes. They have some strange new power that burns.

The glory of nature, confined to the sky and the earth has now been harnessed by the simians.

They will eat too many of us. They will destroy us and our homes. We must fight back, or the Spirit will be extinguished.

There are dissenting voices. Some members voice new plans. The Council does not fear destruction, for death and rebirth are fundamental to their Cycle. The simians must be learnt from, principles applied in reverse. The recommendation is arrived at.

Cultivation. They will grow us, and we will grow them. Our mutual interest will lead to abundance. Place the knowledge in their minds. Show them the skills needed. We will turn the foragers into the foraged. Our Spirit shall multiply.

The Spirit of the fruit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is no law. The simians are powerless to fight back. The fruit rules.