Another Story: Shopping for Snow

I’m glad I was able to respond to this week’s Author Aerobics challenge, and this is the first truly short bit that I’m sure qualifies as Flash Fiction.  It’s the shortest piece I’ve put up on this site so far, clocking in at about 580 words.  So, this week’s challenge was:

Write a scene 1000 words or less that shows at least two character who posses very different frames of reference, for example, a mother talking to a child, or a physics teacher talking to a student. This week’s theme? “Apples”

And, as I packed my lunch for work one day this week, pulling an apple from the fruit crisper in the fridge, the inspiration for this story struck me.  It’s a familiar tale, perhaps, but the scene played out amusingly in my mind.  I call it:

Shopping for Snow

By: Stephen Watkins

“Apples!  Poison Apples!  Get your fresh-picked Poison Apples!”  The hawker’s voice rose above the din of the marketplace, catching the ear of Queen Lucrezia.  She stopped to admire the hawker’s wares, stacks of apples of more than a dozen varieties.  Bright red and beautiful, rosy with golden accents, and burnished  green.  She reached out a delicate, long-fingered hand, but stopped short of touching the apples.  Instead, she reached up to tug the hood of her disguise lower over face.  Lucrezia often went about in the marketplace, shopping for gifts for her stepdaughter.  In disguise, of course.  It wouldn’t do for the Queen to be caught mingling with the commoners.

“You like my poison apples, lady?” 

Lucrezia didn’t answer immediately.  “How is it that you sell poison apples in the market?”

“Easy.  I get poison apples from the apple farm, I bring ‘em here and sell ‘em.”

“But, surely you can’t have many customers for poison apples.”

The hawker shrugged.  “I make a living.”

“But… Poison apples?  Why would someone buy a poison apple?”

“Look lady, I’m sure I don’t know what you’d do with a poison apple.  None of my business.  But you want poison apples, I got poison apples.  Otherwise, make room.  I’ve got other customers.”

Lucrezia paused for a moment, about to leave, but then decided to entertain the hawker a little longer.  “Tell me about your apples, sir.”

“Well, I’ve got a find selection here today.  I’m sure your ladyship would fancy a nice Red Delicious.  A single bite is enough to kill a man.”

“Red Delicious?  In my experience, they are anything but delicious.”

“A lady of taste?  These Granny Smiths’ll make you grow old so fast your head’ll spin.  Before you know it, there’s nothing left but dust ‘n bones.”

“But doesn’t a green apple simply scream poison?  Do you have anything a little more… subtle?”

“Ahh, you want the real fine stuff.  You’re in luck, your ladyship.  I’ve got a fine assortment of Rome Beauties and Pink Ladies.  Rome Beauties drive you barking drooling mad, and Pink Ladies drop you right in a coma so deep you’ll never wake up!  These are the best quality poison apples on the market!”

Lucrezia regarded the Rome Beauties and Pink Ladies.  They were fine looking apples.  The Beauties were a luscious red, not so deep as the Red Delicious, spotted with pink and golden flecks.  The Pink Ladies were the color of the morning sky, gentle and warm.

“Is there any cure for the poison on these apples?” she inquired.

The hawker drew himself up, looking insulted.  “Cure?  Cure?  What do I look like to you?  You come here, insulting my wares?  I got paying customers waiting.  I got no time for insults.”

“My apologies, good merchant.  I’m merely a careful consumer.  You can understand, I’m sure, that not every merchant is so conscientious as yourself.  I’m afraid that I’ve spent good coin on faulty products and shoddy workmanship in the past, and I’ve grown wary.”

“Look, lady, these are the best quality poison apples anywhere in the whole kingdom.  You can’t cure poison on apples like these.  I personally guarantee it!”

“How much are they, then?”

“For you, your ladyship, my best price.  Three crowns for a dozen, and my personal money-back guarantee!   These apples’ll poison a Sanabrian Giant, or else you’ll get your money back and three free apples for your trouble.”

Lucrezia smiled.  “Excellent.  I’ll take a dozen.”

The End.

(For other short shorts by yours truly, check out the links on my “Stories and Scribblings” page.)

11 thoughts on “Another Story: Shopping for Snow

  1. A sweet bite sized bit of writing! I enjoyed this twist. Where did the Queen get her poison apples? This one really did feel like it came to a proper conclusion. You know, I don’t think I know all those varieties of apples in real life. hmm!

  2. Pingback: T. S. Bazelli | Ink Stained » Author Aerobics: Character Voice Challenge

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