Once it was widely believed prunes grew on trees. The confusion was understandable, given how many of them seemed to be about. But though they could be found practically anywhere, prunes were most often spotted in clusters pressed tightly against the gates of the nearest plum orchard looking in. There they might remain by the hour intently watching a single plum as if waiting for the precise moment of its fall. How full to bursting with the sweet life did they hang, those plums, so blithely indifferent to the miserable end the prunes were positive lay in store for them: a sudden drop to the ground, followed by the revolting decay of all that mouth-watering flesh. Never to know the glory of being plucked in their prime instead and dried into a perfect prune. Had these heedless plums no notion of the rewards promised by the prunish life? They must! Only perverse attachment to their delusions about the delights of this world could explain why the plums paid absolutely no heed to the wise counsel of prunes, as if it was of no interest whatsoever to a plum that the prospect of its fall had drawn so many of the shriveled persuasion to gather in wait. But it was certainly of interest to the prunes. So much so they felt it their duty to focus on nothing else. News of any plums on the point of bursting with life’s sunlit joys instantly passed from one puckered mouth to another. In no time at all, the familiar crowds had shown up once more to urge upon the plums the error of their ways before it was too late. As they pressed there together, eager to a prune to point out to every plum what horrors awaited it, the intensity of their own commitment to the task frequently caused these models of the wrinkled life to grow a little warm around the edges themselves. As a result, moist patches started to appear on many, first only here and there but then, as they began to spread, in a thin sticky film from top to bottom. After a certain point, it could be nearly impossible to separate prune from prune in the heat of these vigils, when they cleaved to one another so tightly in their massed intent, ceaselessly pouring forth their witness to the folly of each and every plum. Stewing in the juices of their own certainty.
Copyright © 2005 by Geoffrey Grosshans