Tangerines

The tangerines were going bad. Paul knew this. He could see it. Between the yellow bananas and the big red apples were the little oranges, which weren’t oranges and which weren’t orange, completely. One was different. Walking around the table to the hutch, Paul picked up the dull green tangerine, and powder came off in his hand. Sour smelling mold floated into his face. Nose wrinkling, Paul hurried to the trash can by the fridge, lifted the lid, and watched the tangerine tumble from his hand to coat the folded pizza boxes below. Tangerine tumbling…

Paul had laughed when she had placed the tangerines in the cart.  Hurrying as usual, she put the bottom side up, so they had all tumbled out and spread, like a good break in billiards. Strange billiards where all the balls are the same color, billiards with little oranges, infant oranges. “Baby corn on the cob next?” he joked, smiling.

Frowning, Paul wiped his hand on his pants, closed the trash can, and walked back to the table. Scattering all the Condolences from the pile he’d left them in, he found a notepad with “Grocery list” written on it in pen. Paul gazed at her handwriting. He traced the “G” with his finger.  Then Paul went to the hutch and opened the left drawer. After taking out a pen, he returned to the table. And with a sad smile, he slowly wrote, “Baby corn on the cob.”

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