On a fateful Monday morning, not unlike many other unfateful Monday mornings except for the small fact that is was filled with significances, Rachel A. Barbury sat down at her desk and noticed that her monitor had turned into a kumquat over the weekend.
Were we scheduled for an update? she thought to herself before realizing that no, her monitor turning into a kumquat was definitely not an update. If anything it was a mistake.
This must be a joke she thought while raising her head above the cubical wall and scanning the office with distrust. But there was no obvious source of mischief about. In fact, the office was fairly quiet and might have seemed completely empty were it not for the faint sounds of distant clicking coming from the general direction of the customer service department.
Rachel turned back to her desk and found that her newly ordered Nortel business phone was now a pineapple. What the??
It was quite alarming. Not one but two of her most important pieces of office equipment had turned into fruit in under two minutes. And it was only a Monday! She looked down. Her keyboard was now a cluster of red grapes. She looked to the side. Her computer tower, and all the components inside of it—her motherboard, her hard drive, that little annoying fan, and yes, all of her life’s work—was a starfruit.
Well, this is just ridiculous, she said unable to believe that her life was slowly but surely turning into fruit. And she was right. It was ridiculous. It was even absurd. But it was also real and it was also happening and as something both real and happening it needed to be dealt with.
Rachel’s first reaction was to pick up the phone and call for help but the pineapple with its tough, pointed leaves and brown, prickly outside would be offering no assistance. There was only one thing for it. She was going to have to yell.
Help, she said.
Yes, said, because it really wasn’t much of a yell. She said it somewhat confused too. As if she was unsure of her ability to ask for it—this help thing. She had never yelled for help in her office before. Was it even allowed? She looked down at the cluster of grapes before her and decided, Yes. Yes, of course, it must be allowed. So she tried again.
Help. Help, she said, this time with more feeling and conviction.
Help! Someone! she said, this time with more volume and intensity.
But still there was no help and her stapler was now a banana. Her favorite gell roller pen now a plum.
And so it was that Rachel A. Barbury began to cry. To cry for all she had lost yes—all of the work held in her computer tower, all the messages that were trapped inside her phone, all of the staples that would never know the pleasure of holding Rachel’s printed documents together. But also for all she would lose—for surely her job was at stake. They could not help but blame her for all of this.
After all, she had not been on her best behaviour of late. Just last week she had spent a significant amount of time reading an article on diet supplements that was in no way work related. She watched a particular YouTube video of a young Bonnie Rait, singing Angel from Montgomery, at least twice. And before that, she had spent a good fifteen minutes chatting it up with Ron from accounting while getting a glass of water from the kitchen. Was it her fault he had such an arresting way of describing his wife’s drive from the city? Of course not. Just as it was not her fault that her file folders had all become baby oranges and her computer mouse was an apricot. But try explaining that to your superiors when it is 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning and there are piles and piles of work to be done. They simply wouldn’t understand.
And Rachel was right. They didn’t understand. Upon showing up at precisely 9:02, Rachel’s boss took one look at the mess of fruit that was her previously orderly cubical and thought, much like Rachel did at first, that surely this must be some kind of joke. The kind of joke that was not at all funny. The kind of joke that got one fired.
Now I’m really in for it, Rachel thought right before her boss handed her a box and, as the saying goes, sent her packing.
After gathering up the rest of her personal effects that had not turned into peaches, lemons, or blueberries, Rachel headed for the door. But alas, her load was not easy to bear. For while she walked to her car, her box grew increasingly heavy as the photograph of her now-deceased grandmother turned into a kiwi, her framed diploma from UCSB transformed into a mandarin, and the fun messages her co-worker Alison had once pinned to her wall all became large ripe grapefruits.
By the time she got to her car, that had of course turned into a watermelon, her arms were so tired she dropped her fruity belongings right there in the parking lot and watched in dismay as the fleshy pulp that was her working life splattered on the concrete before her.
At such times there is not much one can do. After all, with both her job and car gone what did Rachel have left? When she finally managed to make it home what would she find there? A safe place to rest and her cat Harry waiting for her? Or an apple? Rachel no longer knew what to expect from life and so she stopped expecting. She sat down on the watermelon, pushed a few cherries aside, grabbed the closest strawberry, and didn’t think of anything other than her hunger as she took the first bite.
And though she had once heard that technically strawberries are not a fruit (their seeds are only on the outside) she didn’t mind at all. Because, as anyone who has ever had a strawberry can guess, it still tasted sweet.