The Grape Diaries

Fruit Paradise

‘Hello. Good evening and welcome to Really Absurd news. Our top story today: the decline in the purchases of grape as part of the five a day portion of fruit and vegetables for the Big Fat Mouths. Our reporter investigates what has caused this sudden unpopularity in exclusive interviews with ripening grapes and some Big Fat Mouths. Penny Pomegranate, over to you’

Pomegranate: The market has seen a remarkable shift in recent years in the popularity of grapes as one of the Big Fat Mouth’s five a day. Grapes which were once one of the third most popular fruits to buy are now the tenth selection of the Big Fat Mouths. As a result many unwanted grapes are lying in shop counters withering and dying naturally of old age. I interviewed a grape in Walmart, Mississippi, to ask it what it thought was behind this sudden phenomenon.

Grape1: I say its all becawse of them damn tropical froots that be coming abroad this land from yonder. They be stealing our limelight and takings our prowfit. I think it’s a travesty! I really does! I mean they juss got no respekt. We grapes be genetically modified these days too to keep out them bothersome seeds! I mean what more we gotta do to make them Big Fat Mouths wanna like us and take us to Fruit Paradise.

Pomegranate: I interviewed another bunch of grapes in Hainsbury’s store, North Carolina, to hear their side of things.

Justin: We didn’t even know this was happening. I mean, nobody tells us anything, we are always kept out of the loop!

The other grapes in the bag nod in assent.

Justin: I mean, I had noticed that a few of the older folks were hanging around a bit longer, but I just attributed that to….aaah!

Pomegranate: Oh! Oh dear! It seems we lost transmission there for a second. I’ll just see if we can return…

Unfortunately it looks like Justin the grape was just plucked by a Big Fat Mouth. Not to worry, we have his older sister Jemima who is…was, right next to him. How are you feeling?

Jemima: Well I think that what just happened to Justin just proves that all this talk about us not been popular is rubbish! Sure I’m sad to see my brother go, but I am proud that he has been picked to go to Fruit Paradise at such a young age! *lets some tears fall* I hope I will be able to go soon.

Pomegranate looks at the rest of the withering or mouldy grapes in the bag.

Pomegranate: I too share your sentiment because the truth of the matter is, if you’re not picked soon the only place you’re going is the bin.

A shocked gasp comes from the bag of grapes and they all shudder in horror.

Pomegranate: Now over to Banana Barry in Tesco’s London to talk to the grapes in the fruit stands.

The camera focuses on the grape food stand section. It is packed full with ripe grapes of every colour. They are staring towards the side of the camera in an awed silence.

Pomegranate: Barry? Barry? Are you there? What happened?

The camera refocuses to the left a little, and we see the carcass of Barry’s exterior has been carelessly discarded on the ground.

Pomegranate: Barry! BARRY! No!

Pomegranate composes herself.

Pomegranate: Yet again, evidence of the Big Fat Mouths’ penchant for different fruits. Earlier today I interviewed a few of them to find out why they were no longer enticed by the wide selection and simplicity of seedless grapes.

Big Fat Mouth Laurie: Well….I uses to likes dem, but they was becoming expensive so I sez I mite as well gets apples. And plus I saw some nice looking mangoes over yonder too. Every time I walk by them though, I gives them a smile to let them know I’m thinking about them.

Grins toothily exposing decayed teeth.

Pomegranate: That smile would make any grape feel thankful for long life. There’s some vessels you want to go into Paradise in, and then there’s ones you do not.

So there you have it. A conclusive account for the lack of interest in grapes. Other fruits know only too well how this decline has effected their life expectation but most take it on the shoulder because as they say, if you’re gonna go anyway, you might as well go ripe, plus the quicker you arrive at Fruit Paradise, the longer you stay. You’re gonna see your family there anyway. This is Penny Pomegranate for Really Absurd News.

Later that day,in a house somewhere in New Orleans, a bunch of grapes are huddled together in a bag in the fridge.

T.J.: I’m just asking y’all if any of you have seen this Fruit Paradise everyone talks about! I can ask questions can’t I!

Louie: No you aint askin. You tryna convince us that there is no Fruit Paradise!

T.J.: Well who the hell told you there was a Fruit Paradise anyway?

Louie: My parents.

Other grapes mumble in assent.

T.J.: And did they ever see this paradise?

Louie: Yeh!

T.J.: How do you know that?

Louie: Because they told me about it.

T.J.: You saying they came back and told you about it?

Louie: Well they didn’t come back and tell me about it. They told me before they got plucked, that one day after ripening they’d get plucked.

T.J.: So how do you know for sure that they went to Paradise? There is no proof! I don’t see none of y’all relatives that have ripened up and been pluck coming back to tell you about Paa-raaa-dise! I ain’t even seen their ghosts! So what actual evidence is there to prove that there is such a thing as Fruit Paradise after we plucked by a Big Fat Mouth!

There is a contemplative silence as all the other grapes digest this cold fact.

T.J.: Fact of the matter is, that could be IT for us! Nothing else after. Just born to feed those Big Fat Mouths.

Anne: T.J. I’m getting sick and tired of your disbelief. Frightening everyone unnecessarily just becawse you don’t believe! And why do you keep talking about us feeding the Big Fat Mouth?! We ain’t gonna feed nobody!

T.J.: More fool you for thinking that! You may be tired but I’m just letting y’all see how you’ve been brainwashed. My old man and my ma always gave it to me straight. They says ‘son, we ain’t gonna pretend to you, cos you is our child. We know you be hearing bout this Fruit Paradise and thing, where we all be meeting everyone that’s ever gone and been plucked by them Big Fat Mouths, but the truth of it is there is just no proof! Sure it’s nice to think that we gonna go on to some better place, but we don’t wanna deceive you. Fact o’ the matter is, we don’t know what happens once we plucked by that Big Fat Mouth. In fact, the only thing we can be certain of is the fact that we get chewed! We seen many of our friends get chewed before our very eyes!

Carson: T.J. Shut up! I’m tired of your nonsense! We aint gonna get ‘chewed’, we gonna get plucked.

T.J.: What the hell do you think you’re gonna get plucked for? To get chewed, chomped, mashed!!! To feed a Big Fat Mouth!

Some of the younger grapes start to cry.

Carson: No it’s not! The process of getting plucked is to take us to the vessel that takes us to Fruit Paradise.

Rory: Yeh, it’s called the tongue.

Ash: Yeh!

T.J.: Yeh, and do you know what the tongue is? It takes you to be chewed, in a Big Fat Mouth, after which you are swallowed into a Big Fat Stomach where acids disintegrate you. I saw it on T.V. It’s called the digestive system.

A few other grapes start to get angry with T.J. and budge him. Suddenly a bright white light appears, and the grapes used to the darkness are stunned into silence. A hand reaches for the bag. There is an excited titter amongst the grapes. Its time to go to Paradise! The Big Fat Hand reaches down and plucks off a section of the bunch. T.J., Ash, Rory, Carson, Louie and Anne are amongst them. There is large woo amongst the grapes as they are held up in the air. They are plucked off the branch one by one and put into a Big Fat Cup. They think it’s the tongue and cheer heartily. Suddenly they are submerged in water. This didn’t feature in the tales about Paradise, but it is cool and refreshing and the grapes like it. The Big Fat Hand rubs them a bit. Soon enough, the water is tipped out and the grapes are prevented from falling by the Big Fat Hand. There is an air of anticipation amongst them. There is still and silence for a while. Then, all of a sudden the Big Fat Hand looms over the cup, swipes a grape from the top and…in full view of those at the top of the cup…drops it into its cavernous Big Fat Mouth. There is a horrified shriek as the grapes at the top watch their friend being chewed to pieces and see the juices running from the side of the Big Fat Mouth’s mouth.

Marigold: Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Roger got chewed by the Big Fat Mouth!

As the message passes downwards to the grapes at the bottom, pandemonium breaks loose in the cup. Suddenly no-one wants to be near the top anymore as the Big Fat Hand, time and time again, swoops down to pick another grape.

Carson: T.J. you were right! Maybe we won’t all go. Maybe it’ll just pick the more ripe grapes.

But every time the hand swoops down, convinces the grapes more and more that they are all destined for the Big Fat Mouth. The smaller grapes manage to squeeze themselves towards the bottom of the cup and every grape fights not to be chomped next. Suddenly, the Big Fat Hand stops reaching down into the cup and the grapes huddle and tremble in complete silence. No grape dares to think that the slaughter has stopped.

After a while Rory speaks.

Rory: T.J. I can’t believe we fooled ourselves into believing in Fruit Paradise! You were right all along! Maybe if we had listened to you we wouldn’t be in this mess.

T.J.: Listen I’m not gonna gloat that I was right cos that aint gonna help nobody. I’m just as scared as the rest of y’all. Fact o’ the matter is Rory, there is nothing we coulda done bout this. We was all gonna get plucked and eaten someday. That’s just the life of a grape. It’s a waiting game.

Ash: A waiting-to-get-eaten-by-a-Big-Fat-Mouth waiting game. I wish I had believed the truth earlier! I coulda prepared myself. Got used to the idea of getting chomped. Now all I can do is shiver and cry like a baby and feel like my whole life’s been a lie!

Lana: Listen, I’m not giving up the idea of Fruit Paradise! You guys might but I won’t! It exists! I know it! And I’m not giving up on the idea that we might get out of here alive without being ea…

Before she completes her sentence, the Big Fat Hand swoops down and plucks Lana. There is a universal scream throughout the remaining grapes!

Carson: Oh my gosh its back again! I don’t wanna go, I don’t wanna go, I don’t wan……

Carson is picked up. At the same time as Ally. The grapes recoil even more in horror as they realize the Big Fat Hand is now taking multiple grapes. Some grapes too shocked by the unfolding events have ceased to try to preserve themselves. They lay like sacrifices on the top of the heap awaiting their turn. Now instead of worrying about when they are going to be taken, the grapes are consoling each other and saying what they need to say before they are taken. A military attitude overcomes the bunch and now every grape about to be taken up is encouraged with pride, fear, and honour like a soldier going out to war. They are heroes giving their lives for the sake of others…for a short space of time anyway.

It soon becomes clear to all the grapes that if indeed they are destined to end up in that cavernous Big Fat Mouth, then it is better to go sooner, with other grapes left behind cheering you on, than to be the last grape, with no-one to support you. Suddenly there is a reverse of the events earlier and now the grapes are scrambling to be at the top. No-one wants to face that black, chomping, digestive system-entity as the last grape standing.

Finally there are only two grapes left. T.J. and Daniel. Both are trembling violently and secretly praying that they are next. The Big Fat Hand swoops down, and it is to them as if everything is in slow motion. The fingers stretch yearningly, greedily, towards them. The tips encircle both of them. They are both snatched up, and thrown absent-mindedly into the direction of Big Fat Mouth, whose tongue is licks its lips in anticipation….

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