The bluebird of happiness landed on my shoulder. A tree squirrel dropped a walnut in my outstretched hand. A harp played, and the trees parted for the heavenly ray of light to shine down upon him as he sat wild-eyed, feasting, mango juice dripping from his goatee. I gawked at him longer than considered polite. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from his glistening lips, his artfully disheveled hair, his stylishly rumpled clothes, looking every bit like a hung-over Abercrombie and Fitch model.
The peaceful, tropical-themed backyard wedding reception was on a hot, sunny August day in Reno. The backdrop of mountains glimmered like a mirage in the desert. Roses and jasmine scented the still air below the canopy of oak trees. And somewhere someone was giving a toast to the bride and groom. Glasses clinked—I lost mine but was too distracted to replace it. Mango man paused briefly to consider his champagne flute, and after only a flicker of hesitation, he resumed his devouring of what was supposed to be a table decoration.
After he obliterated the centerpiece, he stood abruptly, chair falling over into its folded position, and with a crazed look, scanned the other tables. Clearly, he’d already gotten to them. All that remained were pineapples, bananas, and papayas. And one mango—in my firm clutch.
When his eyes met mine, it sent electrical impulses throughout my every region. He licked his lips. I tossed the ball in the air a few inches, and then licked mine, slowly of course, like they do in movies. He sashayed over with a cocky, playful grace that triggered an interruption of my cardiac rhythm. Weak in the joints, I just leaned there, clinging onto the iron railing for support, heart palpitating.
He caressed my hand and loosened my fingers off the mango, and right there in broad daylight, in front of two hundred properly-behaved wedding guests, and a few storybook woodland creatures, he seduced and fondled it, the mango. I fainted.
We were married on a mango plantation in Hawaii six weeks later. That was twelve years ago. Twelve slurping, sucking years later, the smell of mangoes no longer stirs passion but of revulsion. Twelve years of sticky little drops on my floors and kitchen counters and bed sheets. My Abercrombie naughty boy turned into a National Geographic edition of Early Man: a boxer-wearing, belly-bulging crazed wild beast with a Grizzly Adams beard caked with mango pulp.
The bluebird had long ago taken flight. The squirrel digs through the trash for mango seeds. The harp has been replaced by a belch; and the trees were cut down for a failed mango orchard.
Some people just can’t be convinced mango trees won’t grow in the high desert. Those same people probably could be lured into the low desert. Without water. In the heat of summer. If it meant a visit to the “mango farm.”
It’s run by a commune, I’ll tell him, that holds the original heirloom: untainted, unmodified, and grown only in organic soil imported from the coast of Ecuador. They created a rainforest-like greenhouse and welcome two outside visitors a year. Very careful selection process; you have been chosen. But not me, I’ll say. I can only transport you to the designated drop off point. Just keep walking west and you’ll be picked up shortly by a member of the Secret Mango Society. Enjoy your trip.
My idea sends electrical impulses throughout my every region and triggers an interruption of my cardiac rhythm. The oaf snores, snorts, and grunts while I lie here in the dark, clinging to my own fantasy for support, heart palpitating.
Based on a writing prompt from Fear of Writing by Milli Thornton:
As Juicy as They Come Your spouse is addicted to mangoes—that slurping
sound drives you wild and makes you want to kill.
Thanks to Tricia for getting into the spirit of the FoW prompts!
Pictured is Tricia Sutton in her writing jacket—it’s called a robe in some parts—and one of her distractions, Spanky. She’s re-written the beginning of her novel over a hundred times, using at least 99 of the listed 100 Worst Novel Beginnings. By the time she’s finished, they’ll need to expand the list. To see what she’s been doing during The Great Novel-Writing Coma of 2009/10 (and the first month of 2011), visit her publication page.