Apple, banana, crown, devils, eggs, friend, gods, house, icycles, Jasmine, kite, lemon, mom, never, open, preen, quarter, river, salivate, turtles, underneath, verbal, wicked, x-ray, yellow, zenith.
There’s my 26 words beginning with each letter of the alphabet, as prompted for Aphabet Soup. I’m now supposed to write a story using each of those words.
The lone apple tree in Old Man Herman’s backyard was a daily retreat after school. It was always loaded with delicious apples. It took me and Chuck at least three attempts to squirm underneath the chainlink fence to gain access to that tree. A feat well worth the reward, until the evil gods discovered what we had been doing.
Identical houses, like parrallel lines on graph paper, were common where I grew up. Two preened hedgerows separated our house from Old Man Herman’s, and then that dreadful chainlink fence. We never worried about getting caught; I think Old Man Herman somehow knew what we were doing and just didn’t give a shit at his age. Our house was pale yellow, and stood out from the rest of the houses on the block. I think my father got tired of trying to find the right house after a night of drinking. Mom never seemed to mind, she used to say that it matched the green of the hedgerows.
School was never something Chuck and I cared much about, other than getting to see Wicked Wanda, we’d just as soon stay home and raid Old Man Herman’s apple tree. Wicked Wanda was a beautiful black girl with green eyes, I was in love, Chuck knew it and always let me walk next to her on the way to lunch and recess. I didn’t care if she was wicked, Chuck tried to warn me but I wouldn’t listen. He knew devils lived inside those green eyes, but I only saw the zenith of my sexual awakening.
I decided to ask Wanda if she’d like to accompany me and Chuck one day after school. She accepted my invite and said she’d meet us at the kiddy turtles in the park. We’d sometimes bend those things as far down to the ground as the spring would allow and launch eggs we’d sneak out of the fridge. We nailed a kite once, tore a hole right through the center, the kid flying it wailed like a newborn baby, we laughed till our jaws hurt. Wicked Wanda showed up with a friend of her’s that we’d never met. I didn’t mind, Wanda was my main focus, but Chuck and I were a bit uneasy when we saw that Wanda’s friend, Jasmine, had a scar shaped like a banana on her forehead. We gave each other a puzzled glance, then started towards Old Man Herman’s apple tree.
The crown jewel of apples was located at the top, Chuck was a faster climber than me and usually beat me to it. There were more apples like the crown jewel, but we always made a verbal agreement to reach one specific apple. Our signal to race was the dropping of a quarter, and whoever reached the apple first also got the quarter. Chuck had amassed quite a collection of quarters but would always use it for fishing stuff we’d need when we’d trek down to the river. After watching Wicked Wanda and Jasmine wrestle with the fence, Chuck and I figured that neither of them would be much of a tree climber, in the end it didn’t matter.
At the drop of the quarter Jasmine beat everyone to the base of the apple tree, she turned and waited for us. Chuck got there next, then Wicked Wanda. Running as fast as I could to catch up, I wondered why Jasmine hadn’t started climbing yet. Chuck had stopped and was staring at Jasmine, when I got there I noticed what he was staring at: icycles were forming along the edges of Jasmine’s banana-shaped scar. Wicked Wanda was on the other side of the tree, her mouth was open, she was salivating, long sharp teeth began creeping out from her gums! She grabbed my arm and as she was pulling it towards her mouth, the apple tree began changing into a lemon tree. I tried running but Wicked Wanda held tight, I screamed for Chuck’s help, but he was trapped in a large frozen icycle, dangling from one of the lemon tree limbs.
The liquid dye injected into Old Man Herman showed up on the x-ray as an abnormal blockage of an artery leading to the brain. He died in his sleep and was buried underneath his beloved apple tree. It’s said one always awakens before dying in a dream. As I lay next to my beautiful wife Wanda, I think about that apple tree, but only for a second, I kiss her gently on the cheek, get out of bed and choose what I’ll be wearing to the funeral.