Thursday, June 09, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday: cleanup in aisle five


Prompt: Write a story using the words banana, iguana, elbow, flaming, and pogostick and make it wacky, absurd or bizarre.
***
They met in the bananas. She was methodically rooting through the stacks of produce, searching for the perfect seven-banana bunch, just as she did every Saturday morning. It was not a task she undertook lightly, there were rules to be adhered to, rules governing the specific length, ripeness and consistency of the bunch. And there had to be seven. It was cheating to break up a larger bunch into the correct number.
As she pulled the tape measure out of her purse to measure what appeared to be an acceptable bunch of bananas, she felt her elbow jostled. “My apologies, miss,” a smooth voice murmured in a broad Cockney accent.
She swiveled her head around to the address the speaker, but there was no one there. The closest person was the stock boy in the next aisle, arranging oranges into a neat pyramid. He was a long-armed young man, admittedly, but even without using her tape measure she could tell that there was no way those limbs could reach from that aisle, and all the way over top of the mangos on sale for 99 cents apiece, to reach her elbow.
This was not good, this was definitely not good. Not only was she hearing voices again, now she was feeling phantom nudges as well. In her distress she dropped both her tape measure and the apparently acceptable bunch of bananas onto the produce pile in front of her.
“Oof, just missed me by a hair, love,” the voice exclaimed, this time a little louder, a little less smooth, but every bit as Cockney. This was followed by a slight chuckle. “Not that I’ve got any hair to miss, mind you.”
It was an iguana. An iguana standing there on the stack of bananas, looking up at her with big dark eyes. As she stood there slack-jawed, he regarded her with a tilt of his little green head. “The name is Martin,” he announced with a slight bow, “and I must say, being nearly offed by a tape measure is a small price to pay for a chance to meet such a stunning creature as yourself.” She could swear he winked at her.
“I am not seeing an iguana!” she protested, more to herself than to the apparition in front of her.
“Oh no, see, that’s where you’ve got it wrong,” Martin asserted, throwing his arms open in protest. “Not an iguana at all, miss. I’m a gecko. Mother was a gecko, father was a gecko, although a bit of waster, he was. Brothers and sisters - all geckos. Come from a long line of nothing but geckos.”
He was indeed a gecko, she could see that now. And he looked vaguely familiar. Had they had this encounter before, or was she simply remembering one of the scenarios that sometimes ran through her head, those dress rehearsals that she sometimes confused with real life?
“Do I know you?” she offered, hesitantly. “I feel I do…”
A slight shrug of his little green shoulders, followed by a bashful smile. “You might have seen me on the telly,” he admitted, “I do a bit of acting, commercials and the like. Not that I would presume to call myself an actor.” He shook his head and waved off any suggestion that she might do just that, and reached down to pick up her dropped tape measure, winding it carefully back into its case before offering it to her with a crooked smile. “But people seem to like me well enough.”
Over the next half hour, as they chatted, she began to understand why. Martin was actually quite charming, far more charming than most of the non-reptilian gentlemen friends that she had entertained lately. Even so, she was surprised to find herself rather flattered when he admitted that he had noticed her before, on her regular Saturday morning trips to the grocery store. “How could I not notice such a lovely lady?” Martin declared, clasping his little green fingers to his heart, “especially one who rides a pogostick to the green grocers.” He flashed his crooked little smile at her. “I’ve been meaning to learn to ride one myself, for an upcoming role. Perhaps you could give me a few pointers.”
When Martin suggested that they continue their conversation over peanuts and a round of flaming sambuccas at the gecko-friendly bar at the other end of the strip mall, she agreed without any hesitation.
“I just need to buy my bananas,” she told him, giggling slightly as he offered her his arm. She picked up the apparently acceptable seven-banana bunch that she had been measuring when they met and started to put it into her grocery bag, then stopped and with more recklessness than she had ever remembered feeling in years, tore one of the bananas off the bunch and tossed it back onto the fruit stand.
She had a feeling she wasn’t going to need a banana for tomorrow morning’s breakfast after all.

21 comments:

kelly said...

damn it! I read it before I realized it is only Thursday

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Ha! I knew I would get you eventually, Kelly. Let's see you try to unread it now.

L said...

Ha! That was the most fun thing to read on a Friday morning!

kelly said...

hmmphh...anyhow good story.

It was the gecko's tongue she was intrigued by right?

Joyce said...

I could totally picture this whole incident and their conversation. What great fun this was. You did a terrific job with this one!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hey thanks, Lesley! Happy to offer some fun to the day.

Shame on you, Kelly, it was his personality and winning smile.

Thanks, Joyce, it was actually a lot of fun to write. I can't wait to read your offering this week.

Glen said...

sambucas essentially rock! Great work.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks, Glen! I love how we both read "flaming" and immediately thought "sambuca".

bloody awful poetry said...

That was fun! You have a winderful touch for the absurd. And iguanas.

bloody awful poetry said...

Wonderful. A wOnderful touch for the absurd. Or you know, winderful works to. As in you are full of win, and therefore write winderful stories.

kelly said...

what are you talking about? I was referring to him being a silver tongued devil. Is there some other meaning that I am unaware of?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You just invented my favourite new word, BAP. Winderful is so much better than the original! (Glad you liked the story, too.)

Obviously I have misjudged you, Kelly... yeah, right.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

What a marvelously fun story! Great use of the prompt, especially turning the iguana into a gecko... wonderful imagination at work here.

As personable as Martin is (what a perfect name for a gecko!) I gotta admit... when I read that last line...

"She had a feeling she wasn’t going to need a banana for tomorrow morning’s breakfast after all."...

I was thinking of Martin's tongue as well, not his wit and charm.

But then... perhaps that is just me putting way too much into her quest for the perfect bunch of bananas...

Still... why else would she need only six? *wink*

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Honestly, Veronica, it was not until I had finished writing the story that I thought of the other possibilities for the bananas and the gecko-love. So innocent am I.

Glad you enjoyed the story. I missed reading yours this week, and hope to see another offering again soon.

kelly said...

ha! so it's not just me

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Evidently not, Kelly!

Sue H said...

Greatly entertaining - but I think if I'd have seen anything 'alive' amongst the bananas I'd probably have beaten the land speed record for getting the heck out of there!

I have to say, though, I had no idea geckos were so charming or eloquent!
;-)

rayyanek said...

Barbara,this was utterly fantastic. Not only was the goofy woman totally likable and vivid, the writing itself was really well done. Loved it!

And thanks for the comments on my story...I'm always late with the responses!

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

I missed not doing a story for last week as well... and what a wonderful prompt it was! But, I am glad that I had the opportunity to speak... it was an interesting experience... and, if only one person in the group took away something that helps them... then, it was well worth the time.

I am back this week for Teens In Space... in fact... I am just putting the final "brush strokes " on FIRST KISS. Then, I have to search for a picture to go with the story and I will post the links on Thursday! This week's prompt was a lot of fun too!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

There is a gecko who is the tv spokesperson for an insurance company whom I have to confess that I have always found very charming, Sue. Martin is based upon him, lame as that may be.

Thanks so much, Ray! This was such a fun story to write. It was really freeing to be given license to be silly.

Your story sounds like a winner, Veronica, looking forward to reading it! I'm not sure I will have a chance to write one this week, sadly.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

Thank you, Barbara!

Oh, I love those commercials... what a voice! You are so right... he is quite charming!