There are forty-seven doors in my house, but only three windows. We are open and closed. Petey (my kid) says I should get a job in paradoxical philosophies. I hold his hand and go outside through door thirty-three. This is when I get hit by the falling expansion peach.

It is the size of a normal peach. Now it isn't. It bounces off my head and grows into a Peach-Planet. Petey and I are sucked away with its gravity and our home shrinks away and all the doors are closed. All the windows are closed.

Petey is holding onto my hand like I'm a balloon elephant with mild autistic tendencies. I say don't let go. He says I won't let go (we're sentimentalists like that). The Peach-Planet sucks into orbit and we can feel it shift, feel it suck, it sucks.

Massive worms grind their teeth and burst through the surface and send peach-pulp scattering. Peach-people, fully matured (yet no more than a day old), approach me and Petey and I'm not sure if they are peach-men or peach-women. Maybe they're neither. Maybe they're something altogether different. They say something I don't understand and I look at them. They say something else and I squeeze Petey's hand. They yell something and tie rope around my neck and around Petey's neck and tug us behind them, taking us back to their peach-town.

Petey says I'm scared.

I say me too, son, me too.

In the town the peach-people look at me and Petey and their kids play with pop-guns and make gun sounds with their mouths and wear helmets for hitting things and falling over and not getting hurt. Petey doesn't have one and a toothless peach-kid throws a grenade at Petey and it explodes into thousands of little birds that spray everywhere. The parent of the grenade-throwing-peach-kid smacks them across the helmet and stares at us. The peach-kid cries, then stops.

Petey and I are taken to a small farmhouse and tied up on the back porch. The peach-people say something I don't understand and I say something they don't understand. They go inside and play poker and Petey goes to the end of the porch at the end of his rope and does a little wee. I curl up and go to sleep and dream of bank loans skiing down mountains in big purple hats. Petey dreams of going to a peach-kid and showing the peach-kid his big gums.

The big peach-person (who kind of looks like a Ned) wakes me and Petey up and we see the earth rise. I miss the earth and Petey misses the earth. We miss the earth together. Ned touches my hair and says something and hands me a weird shape-tool and takes me out to the field. Ned takes Petey to the other side and hands him a smaller shape-tool. I stare at Ned and then at the shape-tool and Ned comes over to me and smacks me across the face. Ned snatches the shape-tool and starts moving it through the ground in a weird shape-motion. I take it back and try doing it. Ned watches me do it. I don't know if it's right. I do it again. Ned walks over to Petey and teaches him the same movement. Petey does a clumsy shape in the ground and Ned hits him and snatches the shape-tool off him. I yell out. Ned looks over and I go back to shaping. Ned does the shape again and Petey does another clumsy shape. Ned smacks him to the ground and I drop my shape-tool and run to him.

Ned yells something at me and I pick Petey up and hand him the shape-tool. Ned hits me. I get up and guide Petey through the shape a couple of times. I let him go and he shapes on his own. A little shaky, but good enough. I look at Ned and he thinks so too.

We stand in the field, just me and Petey, shaping it continuously each day every day and my back is sore and my arms are sore and my legs are sore. Petey is exhausted and he hasn't shaped a quarter of what I have. His little bones are turning to peach-pulp and bruising so fast. We sleep on the back porch and drink peach-seed soup.

Petey dies. He gets buried out back, behind the barn.

In the field I can feel myself dying too. A group of drunk peach-teenagers sneak into the back yard at night looking for things to destroy and they boot stomp me in my sleep and I dream I'm being eaten by jazz singers. I wake up and Ned is fighting off the peach-teenagers with his katana and they're falling apart at the waist and splattering onto the ground. The neighbours hear something going on and they come over with their own katanas and start fighting Ned. Ned dies and falls apart at the waist and some other peach ties me up and slings me over their shoulder. I forget where I am. Another peach-person kills the one carrying me and picks me up over their shoulder. I fall asleep.

When I wake up there is only one peach-person and we are on a hill and the peach-person says that I will no longer work the fields. I say I want to go home. The peach-person says I can't. I say how do you know my language? He says nothing. I say are there others like me? He nods and picks up his katana and walks away.

"The Expansion Peach"

Copyright: © 2011 S. T. Cartledge


S. T. Cartledge is a weird, surreal, experimental writer from Western Australia. He spent his childhood brooding around in a small coastal town and has since spent the beginnings of his adult life brooding around in a small coastal city. His greatest thrill in life is antagonising grammar nazis at every opportunity.

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