Chris Versus the Succulent Pear
(Excerpt from "Totally Losing Face and Other Stories")
Chris is passed out on his bed, his body splayed across his mattress like roadkill spread out across a barren expanse of pavement. The hot Arizona sun cuts through the holes in Chris’s blinds, piercing his exposed skin and triggering Chris’s sweat glands to form pools of liquid on his slumbering body. He slowly spirals out of a deep dream and abruptly comes to. He initially becomes aware of a slight ache in his head and struggles to open one of his eyelids. With each nanometer of eyelid lifted, the pain in his noggin intensifies ten fold.
“Eeeeyeowharghugh!” he squeals in agony. He fights to throw the bed covers off his sticky body and sit up. He teeters on the edge of his bed, looks at the clock on his desk and rolls his eyes in pain. “2:00 p.m.,” he says to himself. “Shit, I wanted to get up early today.” Suddenly becoming dizzy and disoriented, he rests his arms on his knees and focuses on his breathing. When the cobwebs in his mind have cleared, he stands up, only to fall back on his bed.
He jerks himself up and tries to steady his swaying body. He steps over a pile of clothes and nearly slips on a notebook jutting out of his open backpack. He makes his way down the narrow hallway of his two-bedroom apartment; his hands slide along the walls for support. His fully erect dick sticks out of his boxers, guiding him to the toilet like a divining rod directing a farmer to water.
He walks into the bathroom and flicks on the light. “Ahhhhh,” he groans, contorting his face as the bright light blinds him temporarily. Shading his eyes with one hand and steadying himself against the wall with the other, he takes a long, relieving piss, which mostly hits the mark.
Forgetting to flush the toilet, he walks to the sink and gulps down some water from the tap, lapping it up like a thirsty dog. He brushes his grubby teeth, washes his greasy face and then peers at himself in the mirror. “Gawd, I look like a trauma victim,” he says to himself. He pulls out chunks of an unidentifiable substance from his long brown hair and ties back his natty locks in a ponytail using a black rubber band.
Walking into the kitchen, he searches for a morsel of sustenance. The sink is overflowing with old dishes that he hasn’t had time to wash. He lifts a few pans up from the kitchen counter, hoping to find a crumb here or there, or a half-eaten burger with which he can squelch his hunger. A large roach runs for cover. Seeing nothing edible, he opens the cabinets, hunting for any sign of food. An unopened bottle of Tequila stands alone in the corner, beckoning him. Shaking his head, he continues his search.
Finding not one iota of nourishment in the cabinets, not even any canned products, he desperately opens the refrigerator: Nothing in it except beer and condiments. He eyes a small packet of ketchup that has mysteriously adhered itself to the back inside wall of the refrigerator. He contemplates opening the packet and oozing the contents down his neck, but reluctantly decides against it.
Chris opens the small freezer door on top of the refrigerator; a gust of cold air hits his face. He gazes across the frozen landscape, like an arctic hunter in search of food, and finds only two ice trays, a pair of socks and a crescent wrench.
“Denied, but wait, what’s this mound of chunky ice in the corner?” he says to himself, as he pries a frozen container of Margarita mix from its icy tomb. He shakes his head and tosses the object back into the freezer.
Chris wanders into the living room, which is sparsely decorated with old, mismatched furniture, but heavily littered with empty beer bottles, soda cans and ancient pizza boxes. He spots a box of crackers under the couch and makes a beeline for it. Hoping that it hasn’t been completely consumed, he opens the container and squints inside. “Not one damn cracker!” he says to himself. He turns the box upside down and drops the measly portion of crumbs lollygagging at the bottom into his mouth. A minute amount of cracker dust rests on his dry tongue and latches on, unwilling to hop off and descend down his throat.
Chris returns to the kitchen, grabs a not-so-dirty cup and cleans it briefly. He heats up some water and makes some green tea with a used tea bag from the trashcan to wash down the cracker bits, hoping the tea will mute the loud rumblings emitting from his stomach. He quietly sits down and sips his tea while gazing curiously at the afternoon sun forcing its way through his kitchen window. The sun’s rays spread out across his kitchen like a fan. He stares closely at each individual ray, observing the different shades of white.
Chris glances at the beer calendar hanging on the wall to his right, displaying a gorgeous, sparsely clad woman, holding up a brew and smiling lovingly. She seems to truly want him to consume the beer. He begins to contemplate what he will do the entire month to occupy his time. The wind blows gently outside. Satisfied with his plans for the month, he stares back at the sun’s rays, which have become more intense. He peers back at the calendar and notices that it’s on the wrong month. He slowly rises and flips the calendar pages forward two months to April, where a different girl in equally scantily clad clothing is promoting the same brand of beer. She seems to be pouting and thinking sexual thoughts as she bends over the product, which is lovingly displayed on a barrel, her bulging bosom threatening to break out of her tight blue blouse. Her bare torso with its pierced navel invitingly entices him.
Chris re-contemplates what he will do for the entire month while staring lovingly at the model. Leaves rustle on the trees outside. Satisfied with his plans, he flips the calendar pages back to February, because he likes Ms. February’s face and body better.
Suddenly, he recalls buying a pear a few days back and can’t remember ever eating it. He runs to his bedroom and locates his backpack; he digs around and finds the fruit. “A pear!” he mutters enthusiastically. After kissing the pear, he carries it carefully into the kitchen. He washes a dirty plate and a knife, then dries both of them on his underwear. He washes the pear as well for good measure. All clean, he gently dries the multi-orbed fruit and even exhales onto it a few times, polishing the skin on his boxers to give it a good shine.
Chris walks over to the table and places the oblong greenish pear upright on the plate and lays the long, shiny knife close by. He arranges the knife so it is perfectly perpendicular to a point exactly tangent to the plate at 3 o’clock. The pear’s light green skin, only slightly bruised, seems to glisten. It’s almost begging to be eaten. He puts the plate in the center of the table, rearranges the knife, and eyes the plump fruit carefully hungrily.
Knife in hand, he notices that the sun’s rays slicing through the window are striking the pear in such a way, that it looks like it’s glowing. “This would make a great still life picture, if I only had some apples, grapes and leaves to adorn it with,” he thinks to himself.
His hunger takes over, and he decides to slice the juicy fruit into small pieces and enjoy each one slowly while sipping his warm cup of green tea. “That would be a most perfect start to this most glorious afternoon,” he thinks.
Chris lifts the moist knife and approaches the defenseless pear with his armed hand, pausing to consider the best angle in which to slash the fruit.
“What are you doing?” a voice says clearly from inside his head.
“What do you mean, what am I doing?” Chris replies to the voice inside his head. “I’m going to eat a pear, isn’t it obvious?”
“You can’t eat me, I’m not a pear,” says the voice.
“What? You, the pear, are talking to me right now?”
“Yes, I’m using mental telepathy.”
(To continue reading this story, please purchase a copy of "Totally Losing Face and Other Stories").
Excerpt from "Chris Versus the Succulent Pear," a short story in Hillel Groovatti's new book of short fiction entitled Totally Losing Face and Other Stories.