Sunday Snippet, Flash Fiction, Bad Fruit Cup by Bill Chance

“The absence of the will to live is, alas, not sufficient to make one want to die.”

― Michel Houellebecq

Bois D’Arc (Osage Orange) fruit

Bad Fruit Cup

Craig was going to eat fruit for lunch today. He bought it last night, midnight, on a milk run to the grocery store. They needed milk for breakfast for the kids (they get pissed off if there is no milk) and he realized they were out when he was ready for bed. Therefore, midnight milk run, not an unusual thing. Big city equals 24hr grocery stores.

Today, though, the fruit was bad. Craig opened the plastic tub up at his desk and was met with a nasty slimy smell.

He was hungry, so despite good intentions, it was going to be fast food. There was a long line, a lot of high school kids on their lunch hour already in the seats. One was goofing off so much he fell out of his chair, ice drink flew all over.

He tried to watch people sitting at the other tables. Two women nearby. One entire corner of their table was taken up by a pile of black electronic devices. Pagers, Cell Phones. While they ate they were hooked in, wired up.

Two suited and tied middle aged middle manager types were next to them. One faced Craig and he could understand the manager when he spoke. His partner’s voice was an unintelligible mumble.

“The forklifts, we’re selling ’em faster than we get them in.”
“mumble mumble mumble”
“First things first, we should fix the spare IBM.”
“mumble mumble mumble”
“But they didn’t have a backlog”
“mumble mumble mumble”

On around, the next table, a cute woman sat, her lunch eaten, reading a paperback. He stared at her as long as he though was appropriate and nobody noticed.

And that’s about it. He ate, and left, to drive across the street to a bookstore. His son had been checking these books out from the School Library; How to Draw 50 Famous Cartoon Characters, How to Draw 50 Dinosaurs, How to Draw 50 Animals . He sits for hours, typing paper spread across the coffee table in the living room, drawing. Sometimes he cheats and traces.

Craig wanted to buy him one of these books today, maybe buy one every week or so, that way he will have some that he doesn’t have to return, that he won’t worry about tearing or getting some crayon in.

And that’s about it. That’s his time off for the day.


“I once spoke to someone who had survived the genocide in Rwanda, and she said to me that there was now nobody left on the face of the earth, either friend or relative, who knew who she was. No one who remembered her girlhood and her early mischief and family lore; no sibling or boon companion who could tease her about that first romance; no lover or pal with whom to reminisce. All her birthdays, exam results, illnesses, friendships, kinships—gone. She went on living, but with a tabula rasa as her diary and calendar and notebook. I think of this every time I hear of the callow ambition to ‘make a new start’ or to be ‘born again’: Do those who talk this way truly wish for the slate to be wiped? Genocide means not just mass killing, to the level of extermination, but mass obliteration to the verge of extinction. You wish to have one more reflection on what it is to have been made the object of a ‘clean’ sweep? Try Vladimir Nabokov’s microcosmic miniature story ‘Signs and Symbols,’ which is about angst and misery in general but also succeeds in placing it in what might be termed a starkly individual perspective. The album of the distraught family contains a faded study of Aunt Rosa, a fussy, angular, wild-eyed old lady, who had lived in a tremulous world of bad news, bankruptcies, train accidents, cancerous growths—until the Germans put her to death, together with all the people she had worried about.”
― Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Sacrifice III, Lipchitz, Jacques, Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden

I am not sure what reminded me of the historical WWII movie (not a film, really, it was made for TV) Conspiracy – but I did a search and found it streaming on HBO Max. I had seen a good bit of the short (hour-and-a-half) work before. I had searched it out because I had seen a documentary on and was interested in the life and death of the Nazi Reinhard Heydrich – a particular hideous man assassinated by a team sent by the Czech government in exile.

So I re-watched it and it was crackerjack. It is the story of the 1942 Wannsee conference, set at a posh estate outside of Berlin. A group of top Nazis meet and develop the monstrous plan to settle the “Jewish Question.” It is based on the only surviving transcript of the meeting and is an awful, yet illuminating record of the thoughts of the butchers involved.

What first struck me was the illustration of Hannah Arendt’s idea of the banality of evil. Despite the apocalyptic subject being discussed, the men are obsessed with jockeying for power, style, and the food being served. It is truly a slice of genocidal bureaucracy.

I watched it with the subtitles on so I could follow the exact language. The way the couched the subjects, the way they pounded on the table, the way they insisted what they were doing was not only legal, but the only moral imperative – was chilling. Absolute, pure evil was disguised and couched in the language of duty. Think about this the next time you watch a Zoom meeting where a disastrous or immoral conclusion is arrived at without anyone talking about what is really going on.

Oh, now I remember what reminded me of this movie…. The algorithm presented me with a YouTube video showing someone that had a tiny, bit part (a radio operator) in the film. I always enjoy spotting a future star with a background part in a film.

I guess it’s inevitable that Loki would be present at the conception of the Holocaust.