Distorte is a collection of stories written by Pierce Gleeson

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Apples are the Only Fruit

The year is one of those ones in the future. They’d said things would change for years, ominously. You’re not sure when it happened, but it did happen.

You have not eaten a banana in ten years. Since the End of Bananas. You can’t remember what they tasted like and you’re beginning to suspect they didn’t have a taste. What you miss is how they felt like someone hugging your stomach. You miss that.

Kiwis still exist, of course. Some thousands of miles away. When your kids ask you about them you can call up a picture in seconds. You can show them videos of kiwis being sliced open on summer tables. But you can’t show them a real live kiwi. You explain how they were once flown around the world in half a day, and also explain that every kiwi required more than its own weight in carbon emissions to reach your kitchen. The kids nod; this is a familiar story.

Scientist are trying to replicate the taste and mouthfeel but everything they do tastes like Jolly Ranchers. You don’t mind. Did anyone ever really like kiwis?

All you ever seem to get your hands on are apples. Thank goodness for apples. They are small and bitter and taste like the ones out of your uncle’s orchard when you were young. Oranges can be found a few times a year. Shipped up on sailboats from Spain. They’re dry and brown but the price is still enormous. You miss good oranges.

Last June your brother slipped you a punnet of strawberries lifted from his block garden. You gathered the family and sat at the kitchen table, eating slowly. The kids gave exaggerated gasps and smacked their lips to mark the occasion. John decided he wanted to plant one but you told him there was nowhere it would grow. You made him eat it. The kitchen smelled like fresh fruit all morning. Your wife cried a little, but it was a good day.

Written by Pierce Gleeson
Posted on the 08 Nov, 2007