Bananas | Flash Fiction

Banana illustration - "Bananas" flash fiction

Every day at 12.45pm sharp, a middle-aged woman drops into the supermarket to purchase 18 bananas.

She’s done the same for five years. Monday through Sunday, she carefully chooses 18 perfectly ripe bananas, takes them to the checkout, packs them into her reusable carrier bag, pays, and leaves. There’s never anything else on her shopping list, it seems. It’s all about the bananas.

It’s a mystery amongst the staff, who have gossiped over the strange woman after every visit and surmised as to why she buys such vast quantities of the fruit.

“Maybe she’s got a pet monkey. Though it must be a big one if it goes through 18 ‘nanas a day.”

“Perhaps she’s just addicted to banana bread – she always buys the ripest ones.”

“But she never buys anything else – surely she’d be buying flour and sugar and eggs and all the rest of it if she was baking?”

“I reckon she’s got a potassium deficiency.”

“I wondered that, but I’ve heard that eating too many bananas can kill you – there’s such a thing as too much potassium, y’know.”

“That’s a myth! Mind you, you’d probably get an awful stomach ache if you ate that many bananas every day.”

“I think she’s just a bit… eccentric. Simple as that.”

“I think she buys them for her pleasure, if you know what I mean.”

“Ugh, don’t be gross.”

“You know what? We should just sodding ask her what she does with them all!”

And so it is decided.

The next day the lady drops into the supermarket at 12.45pm sharp, fills her basket up with bananas, and approaches the closest checkout.

“Do you mind me asking,” says the checkout clerk timidly, trying to ignore the unnerving stares of his colleagues from all angles of the store, “what exactly you do with all the bananas you buy each day?”

The woman throws her head back and cackles, startling the customers who are waiting patiently behind her in line.

“I wondered how long it might take one of you to ask,” she says, wiping amused tears from her eyes. “I’ve just been messing with you, you see? A little practical joke. I thought it would probably get you all talking. Oh, and the looks on your faces when you saw me coming back day after day, just for bananas – priceless! Great fun indeed.”

The checkout clerk frowns. “You’ve been doing this every single day for five years. Didn’t the joke wear off after… I dunno, a couple of weeks?”

“It was just too funny! Here you all were thinking that I was completely off my rocker, and now you know that I’m not. Ha!”

The checkout clerk forces a smile. “Good one! You really got us. So… will you be needing these bananas now that the joke’s out?”

The woman shrugs. “I suppose not. Gosh, the end of an era. It’s been fun, truly. Thanks for all the laughs!”

And with that she is gone, out the store, never to return.

Outside, she walks up the high street, takes a left, then a right, and heads into a different supermarket. Here, she is unknown.

She heads over to the bananas and the whole palaver begins again.

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Author: Ellie Scott

Ellie Scott is a freelance copywriter and fiction writer from Sheffield, UK. She writes speculative and silly short stories and flash fiction. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize Short Story Competition and published her first book, 'Merry Bloody Christmas: A Short Story Collection'. You can often find her hanging out on Twitter (@itsemscott), Instagram (@tinysillystories) and Medium (@elliemaryscott), or hibernating on her sofa with a book and a very large glass of gin.

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