“Yes, but the matter had less to do with whether or not you are capable of doing something and more about whether or not you should do something. Does that make sense?” the principal calmly asks the little boy. “Mmm, hmm,” the boy nods, absolutely unaware of whatever the lady speaks to him about. “No one is telling you that you cannot do such and such,” the lady continues on, “The responsibility here lies upon me to inform you as to when some things are appropriate and when some things are not...such as the little incident here not too long ago.” The boy continues to hold her gaze despite the feelings he has not the words to put into words. “Well, I suppose you ought to just go back to class now, you hear?” the principal commands, “But I will be seeing you again here in my office after school. Is that understood, mister?” The boy nods a fearful nod. “Yes...” the lady directs, “ma’a...” “Yes...” the boy imitates. “Ma’..am...” “Ma’am.”
The boy stands at the front of the class, “The Little Apple,” he begins to read aloud, “So there’s this orchard. It’s a lovely orchard set within the trough of a low valley. Luckily for this valley, the hillside runs east to west thereby allowing for pure, beautiful sunlight all day long, and at the right latitude, the sun distills its warmth on the valley all year round. Within the orchard grows apples, sour, grumpy apples. Most people do not know this about apples, but in general, apples tend to be very grumpy due to the grumpy disposition of apple trees. This, however, is a well-known fact among apples since apple trees, upon the fruit-bearing age, soon realize that they do not get to go along the journey of the apples they produce. Stuck, rooted within the soil of the ground upon which they were either planted or randomly landed, the trees that bear the apple fruit no longer have the whims of life to which to look forward. Instead, the duty of the tree diminishes into the constant reproduction of itself, but the apples themselves are not of the tree’s own self. The apple, instead, is its own thing unto itself, and once ripe, the apple separates itself from the tree that bore it, never to be seen again, off on its own life, free from the constraints of deeply rooted roots.
“In this particular orchard, no matter, lived a curious little apple who thought that there simply must be something other than other apples in this world. Beyond the leaves of his own tree all he could see were more trees, endless, and above him, sky, stretches of sky perfectly framed by the summits of each little hilltop. Obnoxious would be how the other apples of the orchard describe him, if ever given the chance. Dreadful perhaps would be another way to describe the way in which he trounces about the orchard asking all sorts of silly questions to the other apples about life and how there are nothing but apples to be seen for, well frankly, for forever. Some apples thought it a fun game to send the little apple searching for the end of the orchard, which they admittedly knew did not exist. Despite their lack of imagination, the little apple went in search for the end of the orchard, which he knew would be the beginning of something else entirely. To no avail, however, he found that the orchard seemed to never come to an end. He walked for hours at a time in each direction and lost hope after he bruised himself a few times, attracted the unwanted attention of bugs, and needless to say, hopped on back home a little despondent but not yet thoroughly discouraged.
“Apples would come and go, plucked, carried away by humans, never to be heard from again. Never once did an apple who left ever come back. Oh how the little apple wished to be picked. To be the one to have a chance to leave this place and truly find that there was something more out there, there, somewhere, out there. Hour after hour he spent swinging from the branches of his tree, asking questions, wondering out loud, trying to engage someone, anyone in a conversation about how there must be more!
“Then the day finally came when the little apple was picked. He was so thrilled. Me! I! I have been picked! I am finally going to see where all the picked, chosen apples go! What do they get to see! Who do they get to meet! Wherever they go, it must be amazing since they never come back! Again, given to a little good fortune, the little apple sat at the top of a large basket, privy to the goings on in the world that he knew not. First, he was carried for a long time down a long stretch of apple trees that he thought for sure would never end as the other apples would hoot and holler at him about his new adventure. But it did end. The trees of the orchard finally came to an abrupt halt. He looked down the line of tree after tree to his right and saw that there was some sort of road where the trees stopped, and to the left he saw a large red building and more trees that seemed to line the same road. Off in the distance, he imagined that he could see his tree, But alas, he thought, Probably not. I have traveled too far. How amazing is this adventure! he exclaimed to the fellow apples in his basket. No one would humor him, of course. Soon he and the rest of the apples were bathed, examined, and then gently set into a box lined with some sort of soft, white cushion. And then the world went dark.
“What felt like a lifetime later, he eventually dozed off. He awoke to a harsh version of what he used to know as the sun’s light, but this light did not make him feel alive. If anything, the light above drained the energy from him, but he was too excited to feel too tired from the not-sun’s light. A little yawn and a short stretch later, he looked around and saw that he was in the company of many apples and what looked to be like other such creatures. He wriggled a bit and hopped over to the edge where the apples and some sort of orange, bumpy, slightly lumpy round creatures sat. ‘Hi!’ he exclaimed to the round, orange creature. ‘What do you want?’ the orange creature scoffed. ‘I’m an apple. What are you?’ he excitedly inquired. ‘I know that you’re an apple,’ the orange creature responded full of disdain. ‘Oh, how do you know that?’ ‘What do you mean? I’ve lived next to apples for an entire day now,’ the orange creature snapped. ‘Well, what are you?’ the little apple prodded with a grin. ‘I’m a goddamn orange!’ the orange yelled.”
The boy glances up from his paper. The teacher busies himself with a pen on a notepad.
“‘Oh!’ the little apple gasped. ‘Well what in all’s mighty is going on over there?’ asked a bunch of skinny yellow fellows across the way. ‘This little twerp here doesn’t know what an orange is. And I bet he doesn’t have a fucking clue as to what you are,’ the orange laughs.”
The class gasps a little gasp. Again the boy quickly glances at his teacher. The teacher does not notice his use of profanity.
“‘Well, that’s alright now, you old crank,’ the skinny yellow bunch goes on, ‘You don gone on worry bout no theng now, ya hear?, you little apple,’ the yellow bunch continues, ‘We’re bananas. Have you ever seen a banana before?’ ‘Why no I haven’t good sirs. Or ma’ams?’ the little apple gleefully turns his attention to the bananas. ‘Yes! Either, both or neither is just fine by us,’ the bunch replies in unison.”
“Excuse me,” interrupts the young English teacher, who probably graduated from graduate school not too long ago, “Let me just stop you for a quick second. This was supposed to be a 500-word essay. You’ve read far more than that already. Are you almost done?” the teacher sighs. “Uh, yes, Mr. Waddick,” the boy responds, a little perturbed. A louder sigh, “Okay, continue on. But I’m going to have to stop you for good soon if you don’t finish up because there are other students who still need to read their assignments.” “Okay,” the boy says, “May I continue now?” “Yea, go ahead.” The boy scans his paper, “Uh...right, okay, so...”
“...the little apple is delighted to have the attention of some other, what the bunch refers to as ‘fruits’ and continues to ask the bunch all sorts of questions about the other fruit and soon learns that there are also vegetables and leafy greens who grow in the ground, and other fruits that fly here from other countries. He then inquires about if any of them have ever met other apples from the orchard that he’s from. And a somber quiet falls over all the produce as most of the other fruits and vegetables who have now begun to join in the conversation look at him with a tight, pursed-lipped smile. ‘Well,’ the bunch begins to explain, ‘This is sort of the end for fruits like us.’ ‘The end?’ the little apple furrows his brows. ‘Oh, honey, don you kno?’ the bunch goes on, ‘This, well, sweetheart, now this here is pretty much the last place yer sweet little eyes will ever see.’ ‘But I don’t understand,’ the little apple states as he begins to feel a tinge of something deep inside himself. The screams of a small, human child. And that’s when he learned all that he would ever need to know about this place, the last place that creatures such as himself will ever see.
“A human adult reaches up for the bunch and skillfully pulls one of the skinny, yellow bananas from the rest of its bunch. ‘AAAAHHHHHH!’ the pulled banana squeals. ‘It’s gaddum alright now, ya hear!’ one of the other bananas yells at the screeching banana. And then the adult tears at the top of the skinny, yellow banana until the little apple hears a small, ‘POP’ from the top of the banana and the banana goes quiet. The adult’s hand continues to peel the skin off the skinny, yellow banana until the little apple sees the cream-colored insides of his new friend. The little apple begins to shake and whimper as the adult forces the top of his new friend into the mouth of the screaming human child. The neighboring fruit do not even notice. The bunch to which the now deceased friend belonged winces, whispers among themselves and falls silent. The little apple, horrified, silently gasps in an attempt to not draw any attention to himself, then decides that he too ought to retreat to his new resting place and perhaps ponder the desires of his curiosity.”
The entire classroom sits… silent. Thirty, beady little eyes look upon the face of the boy. “That’s all,” he finally states, “Sorry for taking up so much of your time.”
Red & Blue Make Green by TK Camas | 2016 | pp 177-183