“We’re so self-important. So arrogant. Everybody’s going to save something now. Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save the snails. And the supreme arrogance? Save the planet! Are these people kidding? Save the planet? We don’t even know how to take care of ourselves; we haven’t learned how to care for one another. We’re gonna save the fuckin’ planet? . . . And, by the way, there’s nothing wrong with the planet in the first place. The planet is fine. The people are fucked! Compared with the people, the planet is doin’ great. It’s been here over four billion years . . . The planet isn’t goin’ anywhere, folks. We are! We’re goin’ away. Pack your shit, we’re goin’ away. And we won’t leave much of a trace. Thank God for that. Nothing left. Maybe a little Styrofoam. The planet will be here, and we’ll be gone. Another failed mutation; another closed-end biological mistake.”
― George Carlin
The Last Banana
Brenda Sullivan was a beauty queen… or had been a beauty queen once… or an ex-beauty queen. She was crowned Miss Universe. There were representatives from the Moon Colony, Space Station Alpha, and the hollowed-out L2 Lagrange Asteroid. Brenda thought she could really truly claim the title of the most beautiful woman in the universe.
But she didn’t come from offworld – she represented Arkansas. Growing up on the poor side of Little Rock, she never thought she’d be able to leave the planet. But when she married Raef Sullivan they went to the L2 Lagrange Asteroid for their honeymoon.
Raef had made his fortune founding a long series of flashy companies that were very successful in being successful, even if they never seemed to make money… or much of anything else. He knew when to sell his share and to move on and his investors seemed more interested in being involved with a Raef Sullivan enterprise than in actually making any money.
At here wedding Brenda wondered what is was going to be like to be rich beyond imagination and she was happy to find out. She learned from Raef that even if you don’t have to worry about money you still can think about it. Think about it a lot.
One day, Raef called Brenda into his library, “Come look at this!”
An elaborate wooden case sat on the table in the middle of the room. Gold lettering across the lid spelled out the word, “CAVENDISH.”
“What’s in the box?” Brenda asked.
“It’s the last banana.”
“Banana? I thought the fungus destroyed all of them. I haven’t seen a banana in years.”
“I know, that why this is the last one.”
“Yeah, the fungus wiped out almost all of them. For a few years, there were some uninfected farms on isolated island here and there. You could buy them at obscene high prices. But the International Fairness Board ruled that wasn’t fair – and the UN bombed the remaining farms with infected soil. A month ago a single plant was found in an isolated valley on Borneo.”
“Yeah, and it, of course was destroyed. But someone smuggled out a single fruit.”
“Of course. It’s the last banana.”
“How did you get it?”
The only reply that Raef made was rubbing his thumb and forefinger together.
“More than you can imagine.”
“I don’t know… I can imagine a lot.”
Raef walked over and opened the case. There, in the center, nestled in a little hollow carved out in the shape of a banana and cushioned in red velvet was… a banana. A perfectly ordinary, slightly bruised, curved yellow Cavendish banana.
“Look at it,” said Raef.
“Stare at the last banana long enough and the last banana will stare back at you,” replied Brenda. “Are you going to eat it?” she asked.
“We are going to eat it.”
“Eat the last banana and it will eat you,” Brenda replied. “When?”
“Time flies like an arrow… but fruit flies like a banana,” Brenda said.
“Should we slice it, or eat it as is… take turns?” Raef asked.
“Didn’t Freud say that sometimes a banana is just a banana?”
They lifted the banana out of the case and started to peel it from one end. They passed it back and forth, each taking a bite, taking turns, until the banana was gone.
“How was it?” asked Raef.
“Not bad. Not the best banana I’ve ever had,” said Brenda.
“Maybe we shouldn’t have eaten it. Maybe was should have grown a banana tree,” said Brenda.
“It doesn’t work that way. Bananas are… were all clones. They are not seeds. They are not fertile. That’s why they are extinct. Now they are extinct.”
Brenda looked at the peel on the table. “The last banana peel. The world will be safer now. Not so many slips.”
“Probably not. I’m sure there are ancient things in museums made from banana peels. Native headdresses and such.”
“So this one?”
“Drop it in the trash.”
And Brenda dropped it in the trash.