“The Fruit Detective” by Lola Haskins

Lola Haskins


On the table, there are traces of orange blood. There is also a
straight mark, probably made by some kind of knife. The
detective suspects that by now the orange has been sectioned,
but there is always hope until you’re sure. He takes samples.
Valencia. This year’s crop. Dum-de-dum-dum.
          The detective puts out an APB. Someone with a grudge
against fruit. Suspect is armed and should be considered
dangerous. He cruises the orchards. Nothing turns up except a
few bruised individuals, probably died of falls.
A week passes. There are front page pictures of the orange.
          No one has seen it. They try putting up posters around town.
Still nothing. The detective’s phone rings. Yes, he says. And Yes,
thanks. I’ll be right over
. Another orange. This time they find
the peel. It was brutally torn and tossed in a wastebasket.
Probably never knew what hit it, says the detective, looking
sadly at the remains.
          There is a third killing and a fourth. People are keeping
their oranges indoors. There is fear about, that with oranges
off the streets the killer may turn to apples or bananas. The
detective needs a breakthrough. The phone rings. If you want
to know who killed the oranges, come to the phone booth at the
corner of 4th and Market
, says the voice.
          The detective hurries on his coat. When he gets to the
booth, the phone is already ringing. It is the egg. I did it, says
the egg, and I’ll do it again. The detective is not surprised. No
one else could have been so hard-boiled.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010
Tribute to Humor


Lola Haskins: “As a kid I loved the way Jack Webb (whose hat I also loved) used to say ‘Just-the-facts-ma’am.’ I had a really good time writing this in that spirit. And I won’t regret eating the egg, not one bit; after all, he’s already hardboiled. I do, however, feel sorry for the oranges so I said a few kind words to the one I had for breakfast this morning. And, having suffered through my little ditty, I’m sure the reader will be relieved to know that my book coming out in June has nothing to do with fruit.” (web)

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