Fruity

She moves her skirts and sits on one of the tall chairs by the bar. “Mike, a plate, a bowl, a butter knife and a slicing knife please.” Mike delivers said implements to her and stands in front of her, polishing the bar.

“Thank you, Mike.” She reaches into her large bag and pulls out a fruit and a jar of peanut butter. She begins slicing and coring the fruit as she speaks. Other patrons draw closer, sensing the presence of the creative muse.

“The Chinese Pearapple. Interesting fruit, isn’t it? Crisp and firm, like the apple, sweet, like the pear. Tastes good with peanut butter too.” She passes the plate around before taking a slice for herself. Settling back, she muses. “You know, my friend Tom Jackson made a better pearapple. Looks a bit different, too. Kind of a light violet in color. I never could figure out how he got it that color. Personally, I think it is a mystery to him too, but when pressed, all he ever says is “ancient Chinese secret.”

She rides out the light titter of laughter before continuing. “Why, you ask, would he wish to do this? Well, one fateful day, he went with his wife, Faith, to the local market. In the produce section, he came upon a fruit he had never seen before. The sign said it was a Chinese Pearapple. He was truly astounded. ‘Why,’ he thought, ‘I have pear trees. I have apple trees. I could do this!’ So he purchased the fruit, took it home and ate it. He was not completely impressed with it, and determined that *he* could do better.” She pauses, takes a bite of the fruit and munches reflectively before swallowing and continuing.

“Well, since he wasn’t all that impressed with the fruit, but was interested in the concept, he determined that the seeds would do him no good. He had to start fresh. So he studied up on the fine art of grafting and plotted and planned. He grafted this branch to that tree and that branch to the tree over there. He cultivated the worms, brought in bird feeders, fed the ants and prayed for bees to help with pollination. Two years passed and he tried the first fruits of his labor. ‘Hmmm, not bad,’ he thought, ‘but I can do better.’ So he toiled more, with a graft here and a cross pollination there. Faith would often visit him in the orchards, bringing him lunch, helping him and listening to him mutter. He didn’t like the color of this crop. He didn’t like the texture of that crop. These flowers were not properly pollinated. That soil was not properly oxygenated. He didn’t like the name ‘pearapple’. Faith listened to his grumbles in silence and helped wherever she could.”

“Now the ants and bees seemed to love the fruit more than the regular apples and pears in the rest of his orchard, so harvest time quickly became a race between man and insect as to who could get the most fruit. The birds, too, seemed to take great delight in the fruit. All the while, his fruit came closer and closer to what he had envisioned. Then came the day Faith had waited for for so long. Coming toward the orchard carrying his lunch, she heard him give a great shout. Worried, she hurried to the orchard. ‘Tom, what is it?’”

“He turned, handing her a lovely light violet fruit that he had sampled. ‘It’s perfect!’ As she lifted the fruit to her lips, a flying ant landed on her hand and began to feast upon the sweet fruit. She raised her other hand to brush off the visitor. A gasp from Tom stopped her.”

“He pointed at her. ‘Upon my Faith!’ he exclaimed. ‘It is a pear ant that is a flying purple pearapple eater!’”

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