Friday, March 29, 2013

The Banana Phone

I started on a short story earlier today. It's along the lines of some of the wackier shorts in my collections, and I thought I'd share the first 580ish words. Unedited, etc. so forgive the lack of polish. The tentative title is: THE BANANA PHONE. This will be a light lesbian romance (girl meets girl).

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THE BANANA PHONE

Chelsea was forty years old and liked banana phones. Yeah, she was one of these weirdos who pressed a banana to her ear before she ate the fruit. “Hello?” she would chirp. If she was alone, she’d carry on a few sentences’ worth of conversation, her end only:

“Yes, this is she.” PAUSE. “Certainly, I’m available to organize your closet.” PAUSE. “Let me make sure and check my schedule. How’s next Tuesday? Great! Buh-bye.”

If someone, such as her mother or best friend was with Chelsea, Chelsea would exclaim “Hello!” into the banana phone and look expectantly at the other person. Usually, the other person played along.

On a Saturday morning in mid-September, Chelsea awoke and performed ordinary bathroom ablutions. She dressed for her usual weekend-morning jog, a four-miler through her residential neighborhood.

Underwear. Sports bra. T-shirt. Running shorts with a soft fabric liner. Socks. Shoes.

In the kitchen, Chelsea grabbed an empty water bottle and stuffed four ice pieces through its opening. She filled the rest of the bottle with tap water and took a swig.

Yum. Good stuff. She loved water. None of that soda pop poison, nope. And forget bottled water. It was tap water dressed up in fancy names such as Shining Creek or Diamond Stream. Studies showed as much.

Chelsea tore a banana from its cluster. She’d gone shopping yesterday and bought five bananas yellow as the sun.
“Hello?” she said into the banana. PAUSE. “Oh, I’m fine. Just going for a jog in a minute.” PAUSE. “I slept great. How about you?”

“Excuse me? Who is this?” A deep, growly male voice.
Chelsea blinked. Dropped the banana and whirled in place. Her kitchen was the same as always. Lazy waves of sunlight rolled through the windows, and the kitchen table sat on four unthreatening legs. All the windows were closed. Her neighbors’ voices never carried.

“Who is this?” The same deep, growly male voice. It seemed to come from the banana.

Which was impossible.

Chelsea’s gaze fell upon the blue CHIQUITA #4011 COSTA RICA sticker on the banana. She pressed a desperate finger to it. End call! End call!

She waited a few moments before venturing a: “Hello?”

Nothing.

She sagged against the counter and sucked in a relieved breath. Her heart jerked back to life, and she took a tentative bite from the tip of the banana. It tasted the same as any other banana. Certainly no deep growlies.

Chelsea decided that something close by must have picked up a radio signal. She had been about to eat a banana, damn it, and a strange voice wouldn’t stop her.
She bit into the thing with gusto.

*****

Later that day, Chelsea went out to dinner with her parents, then to their house to play cards. She arrived home about eight p.m., and her stomach rumbled. Her parents were early birders—had to be at restaurants by five p.m.

Chelsea peered at the cluster of four bananas. She’d told no one about the surprise voice. Had somewhat managed to convince herself it never happened. Her mind had played tricks on her.

“I won’t let bananas scare me,” she muttered, and ripped a banana from the pack. She forced the fruit to her ear but said nothing. What if the man talked to her? Or what if a different voice did? Chelsea clenched her teeth, and for the first time she could remember, proceeded to eat a banana without saying hello first.

*****

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