Friday, September 11, 2009

pink: an assignment for my fiction class

A pink smoothie was an undesirable choice for him. Strawberry, cherry, watermelon and other fruity pink flavors had never seemed particularly appetizing. But this morning, he saw the pink smoothies everywhere, and his mouth began to water. He spotted a pink smoothie in the hand of a girl walking her small and fluffy dog down the sidewalk. He caught a glimpse of a pink smoothie on the table of a mustachioed man reading the morning’s paper. He even noticed a group of giggling blond teenagers each holding a pink smoothie topped with a dainty swirl of whipped cream. With each sighting, his cravings for the bubblegum-hued monstrosity doubled, tripled and quadrupled.

In class, his mind strayed. He saw the figures from Russian history projected brightly on the screen, but in his mind, their fur hats were pink. In biology, every cell was pink. Every organelle was pink. Every tissue was pink. He twirled his golden curls distractedly around his finger and failed to take any notes. Staring blankly at the flag pinned up on the wall of his French classroom, the colours shifted from bleu, blanc and rouge to bleu, blanc and rose.

His hours at work passed in a manner that can be described only as agonizing. One person visited the menswear shop where he worked, and she was simply looking for a tie to give as a gift. As he tidied the store, he glimpsed himself in the strategically placed mirrors. Even the red shirt he had chosen after rolling out of bed that morning betrayed him, appearing pink in his peripheral vision. He watched the clock and envisioned pink hands pointing to pink numbers. Finally, 5 o’clock came, and as he locked the doors and counted the money in the till, his heart began to pump harder.

By the time he made it to the coffee shop down the street, he could barely contain the violent hunger. He placed his order with the bubbly barista behind the counter. When she asked for three dollars and ninety-five cents, he wrestled his wallet from his back pocket and fumbled for a few dollars. He handed the money over, almost shaking from anticipation as he heard the blender start. He hovered near the counter, never taking his eyes from his prize.

Finally the smoothie was his. The cold plastic cup was placed into his sweaty-palms and his eyes shot from one end of the building to the other. Bee-lining for the door, he glanced at the drink in his hand, his excitement building. He took a deep breath, and lowered his mouth to the straw, taking a long and drawn out sip. He spluttered, his mouth involved in a sudden traumatic experience. The colour was not all this smoothie had in common with Pepto-Bismol. The taste was identical, and the texture had the added pleasure of chunks of ice. He coughed and spat the mouthful of smoothie on the sidewalk in an attempt to expel the horrible taste from his mouth. Disappointment slowly emerged from beneath the grimace of disgust on his face. He chucked the cup in the direction of the garbage can, quickly turning and stomping away. The cup hit the sidewalk and cracked. Smoothie oozed across the pavement, seeping into the cracks, and flowing stickily into the gutter, dyeing everything in its wake pink.

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