Today’s prompt comes from Lady Jannie, who said I should write a story about bananas! She probably didn’t mean a story about someone going bananas.. but, well, it’s too late now.. Enjoy!
Dane stood in his dark living room and peered through the blinds at the park outside. People in shorts and t-shirts tossed Frisbees in the bright summer sun. Dogs barked at each other and rolled in the grass. Children yelled and climbed trees.
“There’s too many people,” Barry’s shrill voice said over Dane’s shoulder. “What if you have to talk to one?”
“Shut up,” Dane said.
He pushed the blinds open wider with his fingers. He saw her lounging in the sun near the pond, in her usual spot. She wore a pink tank-top and white shorts, her blond hair tied back in a long braid. He imagined walking up to her and saying hello. She would say ‘hi’ back, and after that he faltered.
“You can’t talk to her,” said Barry. “Look at you! You think anyone is going to talk to you willingly? Just get back on the couch.”
Dane looked down at the stained, over-sized t-shirt and sweatpants he wore. Barry was right, he couldn’t talk to anyone looking like this.
“I’ll change into my work clothes.” Dane opened the closet.
A stuffed toy banana with googly eyes, a wide, toothy grin, and big white hands appeared in front of Dane in the closet. “You can’t!” it shrieked again.
Dane pressed his palms into his eyes. “Leave me alone Barry!”
“Just stay inside where it’s safe,” Barry whispered in his ear.
“But I want to talk to people, I’m lonely, it’s been so long and I-”
“Don’t you remember what happened last time?” Barry’s voice dropped to a deep growl and red splotches appeared in the yellow fabric of his body.
“No! No, please Barry, I don’t want to see it,” Dane cried. “I’ll stay inside.”
“Good,” Barry said. The red spots receded from view. “Let’s sit back on the couch where it’s safe.” Barry floated through the air to land on the arm of the couch. His googly eyes wobbled.
“Okay, yes that’s okay,” Dane said. He sat on the couch and looked at the TV and tried not to think.
An hour later he got up to use the bathroom, and when he got back Barry was gone. Dane swept his eyes around the messy studio apartment.
“Barry?” he whispered.
Dane crept back to the window and peeked out. She was still there, laying in the sun with a book. Dane tiptoed to the closet and pulled off his t-shirt and sweat pants. He took a blue, button up shirt and slacks from the hangers and put them on. After another quick check for Barry, he opened the door and stepped out into daylight.
He got across the street and stepped onto the grass before it happened.
“Dane!” Barry screeched in his ear. “You can’t go outside!”
“Shut up.” Dane kept his eyes focused on the girl in the sun, and continued walking.
Barry appeared in front of him, the red splotches already spreading across his body. “Dane. I’ll show you.” His voice was cold and rumbling.
“I don’t care,” Dane said through clinched teeth. He was so close; she sat maybe a dozen yards away.
“Don’t go outside!” Barry floated down to land ahead of Dane, blocking his path. Barry’s touch turned the grass into a pool of blood spreading outward. The grass flattened into linoleum tiles, and walls rose up out of the ground to surround them.
Dane stopped in his tracks, shrinking down to a little boy again. “Oh no, oh no,” he said. A dark figure lay crumpled on either side of Barry the banana, and a hunched man leaned over them, breathing heavily with a dripping knife clutched in his hand.
Wild eyes and a gaping grin froze Dane in place. “Thanks for letting me in, little boy,” the man said. He scooped up the toy banana and pressed it, dripping, into Dane’s arms.
“No, no,” Dane said, he broke from his paralysis and stepped forward into the blood. It flowed warm between his toes. He looked down at his mother’s long blond hair and his fathers red checkered bathrobe. He took another step.
Barry the banana reached his gloved hands up from Danes arms and wrapped them around his throat. Dane choked for air, his vision graying, but still he walked forward. Barry’s wobbling eyes and huge red grin floated in front of him. He stepped forward through the laughing face.
Dane blinked in the sunlight and took a deep breath of crisp air. Dogs barked and the wind hissed through the trees. Water splashed as something plopped into the pond. A young woman with her hair in a braid sat reading in the grass, just to his left.
“Hello,” he said.
She looked up from her book, holding her hand up against the sun. “Hi. Nice day, isn’t it?”
“Yeah,” he said. “It is.”