Everybody’s got something to hide except me and my frisbee!

By Eric Brinling

Let me confide in you, my loyal reading public: I’m scared. I’m really scared. I might even go so far as to say that I’m downright frightened. Maybe not quite terrified, but it’s getting there. I’m on the cusp of terrifism. It’s a horrifying state to be in.

    I went outside today – which alone is newsworthy – to find a brave new world. Everyone around me, from the garbage man to the construction worker to fancy lady Francine “la damme française” Laderoute and even Fanny and Lady, her dogs, were wearing masks. Even the sidewalk had a mask on it, suggesting that it too was in on the plot. I longed to return to the safety of my closet, but I put on a brave face. I had made a commitment to several strangers that I had met on the r/Pitt subreddit that I would meet them to toss around a frisbee, like normal college students are supposed to do. 

    To my horror, they too were wearing masks. How did they expect to catch any frisbees? With their hands? 

    They just stared at me judgingly. I glanced nervously between them. One of them, a tall boy with astonishingly short legs and a disproportionate torso to make up for it, and a very large, ugly head with eyes that seemed to be two different sizes and ears that seemed to be two different shapes, one like a boat and the other like a camera, and hair that seemed to have been styled in the form of an elliptic paraboloid – what was I saying? Anyway, this guy seemed to be the least judgmental and kindest of the group, so I tossed my frisbee at him.

    Surprisingly nimble for his little dachshund legs, he dodged away and said, “Dude, we’re not frizzing with you if you aren’t going to wear a mask.”

    What were they all hiding behind the masks? I guess I had been in that closet for a long time. Do people still have mouths? Are mouths taboo? Did some serial fruit-placer go around putting orange slices in mouths across Pittsburgh, creating a need to cover one’s mouth constantly in fear of the orange slice placer? Or maybe aliens have invaded, and they were able to replicate every part of the human body except for the mouth, and I’m the only real human left? But then why would they want me to wear a mask, shouldn’t they want to keep me marked as a true human for future brain autopsies or for a spare member on their Wednesday night human pop culture pub trivia team?

    Whatever it was they were hiding, I knew I had no similar need to wear a mask. I felt my mouth to make sure it wasn’t replaced with a garbage disposal or a plastic bag or a mirror or something and, finding my mouth wet and squishy as usual, picked up my frisbee and went home. I don’t think I’ll come out again for another few months, maybe masks will be out of fashion by then.

The fruits of your labor

By Eric Brinling

Ripe Fruit: How To Know When Produce Is Ready To Eat

You wake up. It was all a dream. The coronavirus, the Trump presidency, the imminent environmental apocalypse, all of it. You sit up and rub your eyes, which are grapes. Your fingers are plump little bananas. It’s another fruity spring day of your freshfruit year at the University of Cherry Pitsburgh. 

    You check the clementime on your phoneydew. It’s late. You jump out of bedfruit and go to brush your teeth (which are snowberries) with jelly, or whatever the toothpaste equivalent is in your fruit-themed world. You’re meeting up with your old fruit school friend Jackfruit for the first clementime this semester, and you don’t want to be late. Finally, someone to wine to about how depressed (as in a wine press) and lonely you feel. 

    You head to the lawn below the Cathedral of Pearning and wait on a bench plum for your friend. To your annoyance, you have to wait for several persimminutes before Jackfruit arrives. Finally, you see him walking past the Thomas E. Star-Fruit statue. 

    “Hey Jackfruit, how’s it hanging?” you ask politely in the customary way that fruits greet each other.

    “Grape!” he says, more enthusiastically than you had hoped. You had expected him to have a similar calabur of general meloncholy to yours. His fruity play on the word ‘great’ took you by surprise, and not in a good way.

    “Why’s that?” you ask, your voice close to betraying your cavendisinterest.

    “I went on a date!” says Jackfruit, his pearly snowberries showing a wide, banana-shaped smile.

    “With who?”

    “Do you remember Melonie?”

    Of course, you remember Melonie. In your despearate attempts to find friendly fruits last semester you went to some lemon’s party at Carnegie Melon. There you met Melonie, whom you introduced to Jackfruit. You thought you had a fine fruitship with her, but your cornuspondence* had grown berry slow of late. Now, you suppose, you know why.

    But you just say, “Yes.”

    “Well,” says Jackfruit, “we’ve been hanging out (as fruits do) for a while now and I think we make a really good pear.”

    “Good to pear,” you say after a short pawpause.

    “What?”

    “Pear, you know, like hear. Maybe it’s better when read in text than when spoken aloud,” you hope that to be the case, but you also know it might have just been a bad joke. But it was easy. Low hanging fruit, so to speak. 

    “Ah okay. Well, I have to prune off, I’m afraid. Melonie will be raisin hell if I don’t get to lunch to watch her eat her fruit salad.”

    “No, yeah, that’s fine. I have to call my cran-ma and grand-papaya anyways,” you lie, having no intention to call your elderberries. 

    You watch the mango. You know in the peach pit of your stomach that this is the last clementime you’ll see him for a long while. You wish you would have said, “Orange you glad I introduced you two?” or “Please hang out with me more, Jackfruit, I’m cripplingly lonely,” but your wit was not quick enough. 

    You sigh and reflect on it all. You started the day with two friends, or so you thought, and ended with zero. Maybe you should’ve never introduced Melonie and Jackfruit. Maybe you should’ve just tried harder. You really did give it your best, but it seems that others have harvested the fruits of your labor. And what are you left with when it’s all said and done? Kumsquat!

*Important note: this is not, in fact a pun on the word ‘corn’ but rather a pun on the word ‘cornus’, a genus of fruit-bearing trees. Corn is not a fruit, so that wouldn’t work. Now that I’ve explained the joke, it’s hilarious, right?