Originally posted to Blogspot on:
April 2, 2009:
Note: This is the first section of a longer short story. I’ll post fiction from time to time to keep this blog from being too self-centered.
(the story – part one)
Fingers sticky with melted fruit, caked with the remnant of tropical wonder, Annihila cracked her knuckles and began typing at seventy words a minute. She had a napkin lying around somewhere, but with mounds of documents toppling on her desk and a deadline ten minutes out, she didn’t have time to search for it. Wherever it was, it was gonna stay unused for awhile.
Beside her monitor, a final banana hung from a piece of string, tied to a tack nailed to her cubicle wall. The skin had gone spotty from sitting in the air-conditioning for several days and it was almost beyond her capacity to love; she had an affinity toward fresh fruit. Once a certain date passed, all care went out the window. The last banana of the bunch was on the verge of rejection. One more day before it became food for the office roaches. But it hung in there, patiently waiting its turn for consumption. Its heart would soon emerge from within the peel and Annihila’s eyes would grow wide with anticipation. Soon, the banana’s purpose would be fulfilled.
Annihila usually stared at the monitor whenever she typed, but this time she looked at her keyboard, ensuring she didn’t misspell anything. Bits of leftover banana smeared across the keys, covering the letters like paint. She’d have to find that napkin eventually. After she finished her report.
She finished it in eight minutes. That left her two minutes to run to the printer, fish out all five double-spaced sheets, and hand deliver it to her editor.
At the printer, she skidded to a halt, reached for the tray, then stopped, her hands poised over the sheets. As a professional, she could only turn in a clean report, free of banana residue. She took a moment to lick her fingers.
With thirty seconds left, she burst into her editor’s office with the proposal flapping in the wind. He was on the phone.
“Green light this now,” she said, as she set the report on his desk, “and I can have the feature ready by tonight.”
The editor scanned the pages as he nodded to whomever he was speaking to. They were talking about a corporate CEO who fell from his pedestal. He checked his watch.
“Cutting it close there, aren’t you?” he asked. “No, not you. One of my staff writers just came in and—” He stopped on page three. “Are you serious?”
Annihila folded her hands as she waited for the editor to finish the report, or the phone call.
The editor pointed at her. “I’m talking to you.”
“Oh.” She opened her legs a little and wrapped her hands behind her back. “I thought you were still—”
“You realize what you’re suggesting, right?”
“Of course. I feel very passionate about this.”
The editor set the report onto his desk. He didn’t bother touching the fourth or fifth page.
“Let me call you back,” he said to the phone. Then he hung up. His wrinkled face creased into a raisin-like accordion. “Annihila, what’s gotten into you?”
“I’m not sure what you mean.”
“What are you feeding me? How do you expect to pull this off?”
“With all due respect, the outline is right there.”
The editor rolled his chair backward, clutched the edge of his desk, and stood. Both the chair and his back creaked.
“I’m not suggesting an inability for you to write it. I’m expressing my doubt in your selling it. No one is gonna fall for this.”
She brought her feet back together, placing her fingertips against her hips.
“I don’t want anyone to fall for it.” Her collar warmed around her neck, and pressure entered her forehead. “I believe in my story.”
The editor picked up the report and threw it across the room. The pages blew past her knees.
“No one is gonna ban The Beatles’ music. Under any circumstance.”
“They will if you give me the green light—”
“Why should I green light this? Do you know how many sponsors will lose faith in us? You’re on a blood mission to nowhere.”
Annihila stooped to her knees and gathered the sheets around her. “This cause is important to me. We must ban their albums. We must rally nationwide support.”
“For what? Because you’re unhappy?”
She grouped the pages in order.
“I’m gonna write my feature, whether you approve it or not.”
The editor returned to his chair.
“I won’t approve it.”
“I’m still gonna write it.”
Annihila turned around and headed for the door. She half-expected the editor to stop her, to admit that he’s made a big mistake, but he did nothing more than breathe loudly.
She stopped a few feet outside his office. Her heart thundered. She knew this was the right call, despite her lack of support. It was as clear to her then as it was when she first woke up from her dreams of bananas that morning. People were under a vicious spell. They needed freedom. She knew it even in her sleep.