The Fruit Truck
Sean Ulman

The double axel fruit truck, plump plums, peaches & pears painted on its side, had arrived in Seward, Alaska from northern California. It was the season’s first trip and there was a small crowd picking through baskets at the moveable fruit bazaar set up in Metro Gravel’s gravel lot. A devout father and his two sons restocked, bagged fruit, and, with change made from a shoebox cash box, handed out wallet pamphlets promoting Jesus and the secret to salvation. Customers generally tolerated the spiritual suggestion; the father and sons sold such juicy fruit at an un-inflated bulk price. Some considered it a miracle to have the ripe bounty of stone fruits, melons, apples, and kiwis so far north.

A couple with several bags of fruit checked out. The younger son with placid glassy green eyes gently placed a pamphlet in the woman’s hand as though it were a communion wafer. Accustomed to saving paper, the woman tried to return the leaflet. “Oh, no thank you, sweetie. We don’t practice,” she found herself saying. Instead of taking back the pamphlet, the boy looked to his father, who was busy lecturing a local gardener about the growing conditions and varying care for each of his eight white peach varieties. Meanwhile, the woman’s husband, a wiseass atheist with zero tolerance for public religious solicitation, took the pamphlet and crumpled it. The boy flinched. The man smoothed the wad flat. “Hey, you know I haven’t done this in awhile.” Drawing on his hobbyist’s childhood habits and speedy fingers trained at sleight of hand, he made, with a minimum of folds, an elegant origami paper plane. With a yo-yo-ist’s wrist flick he sent the structure sailing over the father’s head into the open truck.

“Yes, sir.” the father said to the gardener. “We’ll be here the first Thursday of every month.”

Sean Ulman, worder birder baller server, is writing a novel about Seward, Alaska and Art. “The Fruit Truck” is an excerpt from that project’s sprawling file of vignettes, tabbed Town Sounds. Other excerpts can be read at Thieves Jargon, the2ndhand, Emprise Review and Cirque Journal.