They sat and stared at each other – maybe not with actual loathing, but pretty close to it. Close enough that the air between them began to charge and shimmer, each of them willing the other to give in, skulk away morosely and noisily bang cupboards for a while. Connie knew that that was going to have to be her, that she’d have to finally succumb and stalk off lest she risk brain implosion from the ceaseless glare that was boring into her sanity. She had to break contact, she had to, but dammit, that meant giving in to this freakin’ pineapple that had materialised unbidden on her dining table and she was not about to lose a glare-off to a piece of tropical fruit.
Three minutes later, Connie was making her way out the front door, banging cupboard doors on the way just for the hell of it.
Connie sat on the train contemplating the pineapple. She hadn’t bought it, she’d checked her receipt just to make sure. She didn’t have a flatmate that would have bought it and she was currently single, so no dice there. It had just appeared in the middle of the table overnight which unless she was missing something about the secret lives of fruit, was something that pineapples were not known to do. It was very odd and more than a bit disturbing. She’d checked all the doors and windows and they had been all locked. The best she could do at the moment was put it down to some weird reverse burglar worried about her vitamin c intake. At least the bastard hadn’t stolen anything. Didn’t make it less unsettling though.
As the train pulled in to Flinders Street, Connie got up and made her way to the door. As it opened and she stepped out, she glanced back to check that she hadn’t left anything behind. When she spotted the lone pineapple sitting where she had sat, her brain locked up. She was swept out of the train and onto the platform by crowd. She spun and whirled as her brain tried to regain control and steer her back to her seat. She just missed getting back on the train, and so all she could do was stand and watch as the train departed, pineapple sitting there, openly mocking her, on it’s way to South Morang.
Connie looked up and down the platform as the pineapple bearing train disappeared, desperately seeking someone who might be laughing at her, might be watching her intently for a reaction. There was no-one, everyone was caught up in the morning routine of getting to work. Maybe she imagined it, the pineapple on the train. Maybe it was nothing. As she made her way up the escalator, Connie worried about what was worse – an imaginary pineapple or a real one.
The elevator doors opened and Connie stepped out cautiously. She’d made the fifteen minute walk to the office without encountering any spike-topped fruit. Luckily the fruit stand was pineapple-less, she’s not sure that it would have survived her inevitable flip-out if it had been stocked. Now the issue was the office. Checking the lobby to make sure it was sans-piña, she got as much of herself together as she could and made her way to her desk. Using the rush-up-and-sit-down-quickly-so-no-pineapples-appear method, Connie got herself seated. A quick check to make sure there was no errant fruit near her, and she threw herself into work to take her mind off the pointed-headed bastards.
Before long, the intricacies of formulating a multi-lateral bauxite trade deal pushed any thoughts of pineapples down deep into her cortex. Deftly avoiding the need to leave her seat as she smiled sweetly at people on their way to get coffee, calling on people to come to her for a change, and having a quick lunch at her desk, Connie made it all the way to afternoon tea time without getting up and giving a pineapple a chance to usurp her position. However, her plan to have coffee come to her began to unravel as it dawned on her that perhaps she had smiled sweetly at just a few too many people on their way to coffee and that the six macchiatos that had resulted from that strategy might want to vacate the premises. Crossing her legs was beginning to have minimal effect, and before long the realisation that she was doing her 3-year-old niece’s wee-dance caused her to take action.
Lucky to have her own glass fishbowl office, Connie made sure she locked it and walked quickly to the toilet. Carefully checking each cubicle for fruit, she finally picked one and sat. While she tinkled away, she thought about the stupidity of the day. All in likelihood, her mum had dropped the pineapple off at her house sometime yesterday and she just hadn’t noticed it last night. The pineapple on the train was probably just imaginary. Seriously, who stalks someone with a pineapple? Work had been stressful for the last few weeks, relationships had been strained. A pseudo-pineapple was the least worse thing that could happen. Bladder relieved, mental stress ratcheted down a few notches, Connie made her way back to her office door, unlocked it and went in.
Although the glass muffled most noise, the whole office got the general gist of the screaming when Connie sat on the pineapple that had been left on her chair.
She stalked out of the office carrying the pineapple by the spines like you would a severed head, mental stress now ratcheted back up to beyond slightly deranged. She glared and glanced around the office, eyes wild and darting, face and mouth twitching as she sought to find who had done this, who had deposited this thing on her chair, on her train, on her dining table. Her manager nervously approached her, afraid of pushing her over the edge. A quiet “Connie,” and a gentle hand on her shoulder was too much though. Connie exploded with a rage of a scream and she hurled the pineapple. It smashed into the window and bounced off, rolling back to Connie’s feet like an over-eager retriever.
It was too much. Connie slumped to her knees, rolled over to the foetal position and began crying. She was done, the pineapples had broken her.
Life was a blur of sedatives and white linen sheets over the next week or so. It had been decided it would be best if Connie convalesced somewhere with around the clock care and attention. A sign on her door reading “No Fruit” in fairly no-nonsense handwriting had kept likely triggers away. Daily chats with a number of kind and gentle professionals had been of great assistance. With her mental stress dialled down to soporific-relaxed and a small phalanx of random Scrabble tile named pharmaceuticals to keep it there, Connie bid farewell to her carers and hopped in a taxi to her mum’s place for an extra week of care. Making it’s way down Beach Road towards St Kilda, the taxi passed a triathlon. The taxi driver slammed on the brakes as Connie started screaming and banging on the windows. She jumped out before the taxi had stopped and ran towards them, those monstrosities, those abominations of nature. She ran towards them, grabbing a stake out of the ground as she determined to end them once and for all.
Those giant pineapples standing sentinel either side of the road, holding up the start/finish line banner for this, the Tropicana sponsored event, didn’t stand a chance.