David Bowen
One More Banana


          Cheetah's sister, Marie, chose a banana from the kitchen table, where Tarzan had thrown the day's take. He fell into his easy chair with a growl and a wave of his hand. Marie repeated the dismissive gesture with her banana, but silently.
          "I'm sick of it too, kid. Banana stew, mashed bananas, banana chowder." Tarzan held up his hand. "Jesus—I think my skin's turning yellow."
          Marie held the banana to her forehead, as if divining a hidden message.
          "If that thing has any secrets left, you let me know," Tarzan said, pushing his weight out of the easy chair toward the small wet bar at the other side of the room. He poured banana vodka, half a gourd, and lifted it in the air. "Prost."
          Marie placed the banana over her eyes and shook her head. She stuck out her tongue.
          Tarzan wiped his mouth. "Don't get saucy with me, sweetheart. A working man can have a drink before dinner."
          Marie ambled to the kitchen table and selected two more bananas. She scratched the back of her head with one of them before offering it to Tarzan, who accepted it with the expression of a man condemned. He peeled the rubbery skin, exposing the soft, familiar fruit inside. Marie broke her banana in two pieces, chuckling.
          Tarzan looked out the window as he chewed, the vines and branches heaving to the scenic porch he had built around the treehouse just about this time last year, shortly after Cheetah had gotten his big break in the movies. Two or three dusty postcards had arrived from LA since then—the horrors of entertainment, the pitfalls of fame—but Tarzan had his own problems.
          On the porch, Tarzan leaned over the railing and watched his banana peel spin like a star until the sea of green swallowed it below.
          He felt better in the kitchen, where water boiled and Marie chopped bananas into sections before frying them in coconut oil for soup. Tarzan whistled as he took the banana bread from the pantry and cut thick slices, slathering them with pineapple jam.
          At the door of the bedroom, Tarzan watched Jane sleeping. He had come to wake her for dinner, but now he drifted trough the humid semidarkness until he was lying behind her, his arm encircling her until his hand rested on her swollen belly. She inhaled deeply, as if pulling him inside her lungs. Tarzan imagined his unborn daughter waiting somewhere in there, listening.
          Outside, the world chirped and rattled.