Story telling from Australia
Pick me. I know you want to. Besides you’ll be doing me a favour I might only have a few days left, one or two at most. What if today’s my last day? Will anyone else see how perfectly ripe and blush pink I am?
The pear tree on Brown Street is laden with fruit, has been for weeks now. A pear hanging over the fence calls to me each time I pass on my way out to the desert.
If you don’t pick me what’s the point? I clung on through winter, survived the spring when biting winds blew other blossoms into obscurity and sudden downpours drenched and spoilt the rest. I didn’t let go. Five others on this branch dropped and withered before they reached the size of a walnut. Not me. Sink your teeth into my juicy ripe flesh and I’ll fill your mouth with dense sweetness.
You’re hesitating. What is it? Worried about maggots? That’s a skill in itself you know, repelling maggots. You have to be watchful, always on your guard because if a dirty maggot breaks the surface of your skin it can tunnel through to your heart and lay its filthy eggs in your flesh. And what if you do find a maggot (not that you will but let’s just suppose) is that so terrible? There’s a whole lot of fruit in me and only so much a filthy maggot can eat. You might see traces of the rancid tunnel where he squirmed and dug his way through to the soft, sweet centre, you might even catch a glimpse of the beast himself but chances are he’ll be long gone. He’ll have left his mark, that’s all. It’s a risk you’ll just have to take.
Reach out and touch me and I’ll fall from this tree as easy as the last leaf in autumn. Don’t let me drop. Don’t let me join the rest of them hidden in the long grass under your feet. I’ll spoil. I’ll rot. I’ll turn soggy and soft until there’s nothing left but a dirty brown stain. I’m ripe. I’m ready. Pick me.
Clyde has a practical solution to the greedy thief in me. ‘Knock on the door and ask,’ he says.
That never occurred to me.