Hot oranges and other summer fruit.

hotoranges.jpgWhen it’s hot out, as it has been in New York City for the past, oh, most of my life (or two months, give or take), nothing refreshes like a good, cold, chocolate shake; however, I can’t write about that because my wife will become angry that I’m getting chocolate shakes which are: 1) not good for me, and 2) not being shared with her. So instead I’ll write about nothing being as refreshing as good, juicy, summer oranges.
Let’s be clear: when I say I’ll write about good, juicy, summer oranges I mean that I’ll write about the dried out, pulpy, hot summer oranges being sold by a fruit vendor in midtown Manhattan. I do not mean “stolen” oranges. I mean physically hot, notably warm, unpleasantly above room temperature oranges.
I wanted, of course, a good, juicy, summer orange. No one goes out thinking, “You know what I could use? A hot orange! One that’s really pulpy!” But that’s what I got. It wasn’t expensive. To be honest I have no idea how much it was. I saw a sign that said, “3 oranges for $2.” I only wanted one orange and carried one, a particularly plump and juicy looking one, to the man leaning against the cart, staying beneath its too small umbrella, with a bored, rather-be-standing-in-a-pool-chillin’-with-my-budz look on his face. I held up the orange and one dollar in the international handsign for “I don’t know how to say this to you so I will show you my offer of trade – this paper money for your good, plump, summer orange.” He looked at me as if I were deranged.
“How much for the orange?” I asked.
He pointed at another customer.
I looked over my shoulder at the other customer. A short man talking excitedly on a cellphone as he threw fruit into a bag. I looked between him and the vendor, holding my dollar out to no one, holding it out the space above some apples, unsure why I should care about the other customer. I looked back to the vendor who then said, “Not my cart. Pay him.” The other customer was not a customer. He was the vendor. In my haste to get away from the non-vendor, the man I am now convinced is the “muscle” of the fruit vending operation, I didn’t count my change.
So, I took my orange back to my office and prepared to peel and eat, to refresh myself with its plump goodness. Only I couldn’t get through the skin. It was the toughest orange I’d ever touched. I broke a nail on it (not a finger nail, a 1 inch wood nail I pulled from my office floor). I found a knife lurking in my desk drawer and sawed into the rind. As I peeled, the orange split open, pulp yawned out at me and an unexpected warmth rose to my finger tips.
Let me repeat that: an unexpected warmth rose to my finger tips.
Yes, the interior of the orange was warm. I was disgusted. According to Wikipedia* “warm + disgust = hot.” Therefore, I was suffering from an extreme case of hot orange.
Did I eat some of it? Yes. I convinced myself that it was only hot due to the nearly 100 degree temperature. However, once I tried it I realized my error. It was hot because it was evil. Pure, unadulterated, pulpy evil. I threw it away. Luckily in my office we separate our refuse into “recyclable paper”, “non-recyclable” and “evil,” so there was a bin for it.
Only later did I remember that I could have taken it home to give to my dog, who has recently shown an interest in eating cantaloupe.
*Not really.

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