By Tim Miller
I now call this meeting to order. Apple, the floor is yours.
Thank you. Eight score and four years ago, a member of our family, little known at the time, made the trip from the squalor of Panama to the greatest city in the world, (winks at PEAR CORE) known as the Big Apple. Once arrived, due to the lack of trash cans, this fruit, like so many, was left to rot in the streets. The inverse relationship between decay and friction led to slipping in the streets, causing widespread broken limbs, some of which had to be amputated.
It wasn’t long before a vaudeville performer known as “Sliding” Billy Watson, desperate for fame, usurped this risk to public health in the name of physical comedy. From there it was a short toss to the silver screen, where silent film stars like Charlie Chaplin seized on this remorseless schadenfreude and called it slapstick. And the rest, a century of egregious monopoly on all exocarpic humorous appeal, is, as they say, history.
Speak plainly. What are you saying?
Maybe Apple would if you wouldn’t interrupt.
That’s fine, my goodly Pear. I can speak for myself. I’m referring, of course, to the Banana Peel. But this is no history lesson. Rather, it’s a call to action. Fruits, it is time to be funny. All of us can be symbols of comedy. Why should Banana Peel be the only one?
Come off it. You can’t be serious. Banana peels are floppy, yellow, slippery. They’re hilarious. Monkeys eat bananas. ‘Go bananas’ is an expression. Did you grow underground? Have you no eyes? Tell me, what is humorous about my wrinkled outer core?
I know it all too well. We are a humorless bunch. At least you have 90210.
Peach is right. We could never compete with the floppy yellow tails, the history of falls. That noise on cartoons when someone slips.
It’s true. The same fate as Moldy Pumpkin awaits us all. If not mold, then it’s the compost bin. Do you not fear the worms, writhing in the darkness? What is funny about our decaying? Where is the humor in a slow demise?
Tell them, Apple. Tell them about your plan. Just like you whispered to me, last night. It’s magnificent. Tell them.
(rolls toward center)
I believe that all of us have the potential to be funny in the face of such darkness. Banana peel is not unique in having comedic properties. Rather it is a question of outlook, confidence. If each—
We are born this way. Better to accept our true identity and seek suitable soil for our seeds.
To sleep, perchance to dream— ay, there’s the rub.
I’ll never be funny. How can I have appeal? No one even peels me right? I just end up in pieces.
I’m thin and prickly.
How can I make puckered lips smile?
(STRAWBERRY LEAVES bursts into tears. CHERRY PIT rolls over to soothe.)
It’s hopeless. Life is hopeless. Bring on the worms.
My sweet ones, do you not hear yourselves? Do you not have ears? Orange Peel, who says you have to be ripped into odd shapes? I tell you, if a floppy yellow peel can be funny, then we can too. I am a mere core, chewed and browning, what incentive do I have to lie? This is our birthright. All fruit, everywhere, can be funny. (Rolls around, getting animated, gesturing forcefully) There is something amusing about each and every one of us. Look at Pear. Tell me that a pear-shaped body isn’t an opportunity for self-deprecating humor?
It is my shape. I cannot change.
We are depriving ourselves of more than just giggles. I tell you we are renouncing liberty itself! The freedom to inspire laughter at the end of our lives. This shouldn’t be limited to bananas. All fruits are created equally funny.
(The hall erupts in a din of fierce arguing. PEACH PIT charges APPLE CORE. PEAR CORE faints. The rinds try to break up the melee. )
KNOCK IT OFF!
(Silence ensues. APPLE CORE and PEACH PIT are separated.)
Look at me. Pale. Buff. Ridges arranged in a mesh pattern. I look like an old net. All my life I’ve thought that about myself. That I’m just this pale net and someday I’ll rot as becomes all fruit that is born of flower. Sure, my seeds may grow anew. And that’s been enough for me. But I’ve listened to what our learned friend is saying. And now, for the first time since I was just a little sprout, I’m thinking that there might be more for me. More than just crude breast humor. The warm sound of real, genuine laughter. Who knows, maybe a belly laugh or two? If a banana peel can do it, well why can’t I?
(Over the outburst of other fruit.)
I’ve always wanted to be pithy!
Your crown, a visitor has arrived.
Allow the visitor to enter.
(A soggy tomato rolls in.)
I have heard the winged words spoken in this hall, and I’ve come to speak truth.
You’re just a vegetable. Get out of here!
Aye. I thought that of myself once, too. Before I knew myself. Before I knew the truth. But lo, I am a fruit like ye.
(The hall is filled with gasps. STRAWBERRY LEAVES begins wailing.)
Liar! You’re a rotten vegetable.
(In a dramatic gesture, SOGGY TOMATO rolls past PINEAPPLE CROWN, slicing itself open, spurting a gooey puddle of seeds.)
Look! Seeds! It’s true.
If a tomato is a fruit what else is out there? We’re all lost, lost, lost.
My dear edible friends, let me not mince words. I too once dreamed of laughter in the sunset, the warmth of comedy in the winter of life. I also felt the jealosy, nay, rage, at the fortune of Banana Peel. I too thought I could cause humans to fall.
I don’t care if it’s oozing seeds. I’m telling you it’s a vegetable. It could have got those seeds anywhere….
But heed these words: I became not a source of laughter and light in the world, but an object of derision! Of shame! They hurled me at the unfunny! And the same will happen to you!
(The hall erupts again into fierce arguing. LEMON and LIME WEDGES restrain GRAPE STEM from assaulting SOGGY TOMATO.)
(Calling vainly above the shouts.)
Fruits! Fruits! If we all focus on our own unique gifts.
(A walnut shell and a peanut shell walk in.)
WALNUT SHELL (To KIWI SKIN)
What’s all the hubub?
A matter between fruits.
Step aside hairball. If you think we’re not getting involved, you’re nuts.
Tim Miller is a writer and humorist living in San Marcos, CA. His writing has appeared in places like Across The Margin, Defenestration, The Piker Press, The Writing Disorder, Sammiches & Psyche Meds, and The Scarlet Leaf Review. To the dismay of plumbers everywhere, he blogs his leaky thoughts at https://thefaucetblog.com/. Find him on Twitter @faucetwriter.