“Bananahead has lost his appeal.”

So speaketh the AgraCon spokesman to the picketers and protesters gathered in the lobby. NOT IN MY FRUIT BOWL! YELLOW BASTARD! GOD HATES BANANAS! their poster boards read. Snarls and raised fists and arching angry eyebrows purvey the mob. The spokesman calmly straightened his tie, slicked back his hair and gave the crowd and the cameras a plastic smile.

“Ladies and gentleman, AgraCon wants you to know that your patronage is important to us. We would like to reassure you do have a voice, and that voice was heard, loud and clear. That said, it is in light of recent events that AgraCon Inc. will no longer be carrying the Bananahead brand. Our relationship with Bananahead over the years has been both illustrious and profitable, but providing you – the public – with delicious, family-friendly, produce and produce-additives has, and will always be, our number one priority. It is our hope that you will continue enjoying AgraCon’s diverse array of food-like consumables – from beef nuts to werepears – AgraCon, Let Us Put Our Yummy In You©.”

He gave the thumbs up.

The crowd let out a cheer. Bananahead’s 15 minutes of fame were up.

*   *   *

Officially, the corporate bigwigs in their Armani suits claimed Bananahead’s particular type of ‘services’ were no longer necessary. Marketing wanted to take the company in a new direction – Can-Dee, the Can-Do Cantaloupe was testing well with both boys and girls, ages 5-12, and Rufus, the Skateboarding Say-No-To-Drugs Kumquat has been popular amongst the coveted demographic of male’s, ages 18-34. But being the mascot for AgraCon Inc. Produce Division was the role Bananahead was born to play. After only a few modeling jobs in several small, yet reputable, medical journals, it was those very same corporate bigwigs that came and plucked Bananahead out of obscurity, skyrocketing him to superstardom. And now they were just going to take it all away? Just like that?

It’s not fair.
*   *   *

Billboards. TV commercials. A line of plush toys with his grinning, yellow face – Bananahead was more than a mascot, he was a cultural icon. His signature catchphrase ‘A banana a day keeps your demons at bay’ entered the lexicon, usurping the apple’s former throne as America’s favorite fruit-related idiom. His logo adorned t-shirts and lunchboxes. The official Bananahead Bananahead Hat was last year’s ‘must-have’ item, topping the crowns of trendsetters from Milan to Paris. The Adventures of Bananahead Saturday morning cartoon was lauded with a Peabody Award for Exc­­eptional Children’s Programming and his personal memoirs Beneath the Skin sold over a million copies during its first month on the market…

But then came his guest spot on Oprah, and in an instant, everything changed.

He was to announce his recent engagement to teen-pop princess Misty Meyers. They had met during her recent European tour and had both hit it off immediately. During the interview, Oprah asked him how his relationship was going. Elated and in love, Bananahead couldn’t contain himself – he leapt onto the couch and took a huge shit, right on the cushions. He smeared his feces all over Oprah, her crew and the audience. He rolled around in it, giggling. He put some on his tongue and held it out for the world to see. We all looked on in horror, thinking stop, Bananahead, stop! What in god’s name are you doing?!?

But it was too late. The backlash had begun.
*   *   *

The tabloids – the paparazzi, bloggers and sycophants – they just couldn’t leave Bananahead alone, could they? Always watching. Dissecting. Judging. And the greedy, spaded eyes of the over-caffeinated public, they just had to know every intimate detail. Every private moment. They had to keep digging, until they found that one brown spot on his otherwise perfect soul.

Beneath Bananahead’s thick, yellow rind, he is still a man, is he not? And a man has needs only a man could understand. And what goes on behind closed doors should be nobody’s business but their own, correct? What is normal anyway? It’s all very subjective.

Of course, it didn’t help that Misty called it rape.

But c’mon, she knew the deal when they met. She knew he had certain…proclivities. She knew the aesthetics were going to be a bit, uncomfortable. “It’s not my fault,” cried Bananahead, “It’s just the way that god made me.” But you can’t blame Misty for saying what she said; she needed to protect her own career. The tween crowd doesn’t need to know every kinky detail of their illicit affair, though I suppose everyone was just a little bit curious how she was able to fit his whole body up there.
*   *   *

When the news of Bananahead’s ‘extracurricular activities’ broke, adulation turned quickly to disgust. “How could you do this to us?” the public demanded, “We trusted you, Bananahead! We loved you!” But the consensus was in. The population agreed:

“Keep your goddamn head away from our children!”
*   *   *

Bananahead’s fall was meteoric. AgraCon canned him. His agent wouldn’t answer his calls. Larry King had him on to give his side of the story, but the interview quickly devolved into a bout of racial slurs and name-calling. FOOD FIGHT! the Post dubbed it. He was label a pariah. A sexual deviant. Scum. There was no doubt about it.

Bananahead was rotten.

After all, AgraCon’s most recent polls show that most mothers don’t want their children chowing down for breakfast on a bushel of makeshift dildos. And who can blame them? It’s hard enough to get your kids to finish their bowl of fake vaginas in the morning without trying to cram some nutrition down their throats.


Copyright: © 2011 Danger Slater


Danger Slater is the world’s most flammable writer! He’s so flammable that he’s actually on fire as you read this! Seriously. Why are you still here? Go get help, goddamn it! He’s short fiction has appeared in online magazines, offline anthologies, and his poetry can be found on many truck stop bathroom walls across the country. His first novel, called Love Me, will be out in Summer 2011 from the Jersey Devil Press. For more disinformation please visit his website: dangerslater.blogspot.com

The trees have been known to calm me yet they haven’t since that day. I was walking off a fit of rage when I came upon the shack. I stumbled into a hillside clearing and there it stood in all its wooden one room malevolence. A creek rushed silently beside it, the underwater blades muffling its flow. Demons and birds perched in the surrounding trees watching me silently with glowing eyes and rotted souls.

I would have walked away and sought my masochistic redemption in the thick dark of the woods except I heard the theme song from M.A.S.H. from inside the little structure. The song was sorrowful but the jokes immortal. Hawkeye could always cheer me up, and Klinger wore dresses my mother emulated. She never smiled as much as him though. Flower patterned funerals have a different taste. I pulled myself from my memories and pushed the door open without knocking.

My poor manner karma was instant and uncomfortable. Splinters dug in my fingers and squirmed under my fingernails. I thought of sweet January; naked flesh, bloody lips, shivering in summer time. The song changed and I found myself tapping my foot on the dirt floor to Rezso Seress’s Gloomy Sunday. A two song soundtrack for students of sorrow.

A demon stood on a step stool, the song emitting from his wide open mouth. He held a sign that read ‘gun metal tastes like cherry’ scrawled in black sharpie marker. I marveled at his musical innards reproducing such a haunting tune. A tear formed in my eye as the song reminded me of failures and aborted dreams.

“Why do you disrupt my bathing?” A calm deep voice asked from behind me.

I turned and noticed a man sitting in an old stand-alone bathtub with hooves instead of rounded feet. The man had two small horns protruding from his forehead and a bubble beard. Rose petals and eye balls floated on the surface of his steaming bath water. A black dog with mis-matched eyes curled up on the dirt floor next to the bathtub. I thought of sweet January again; her lovely scars and gnashing teeth. The horned man snapped his fingers. My memory vanished in the echo.

“Why do you disrupt my bathing?” The man asked again as his soap beard dripped.

The music stopped and I looked back to the demon. He glared at me and held a sign that read ‘razor blade rebellion’ scrawled in black sharpie marker. In the silence of the shack I missed the haunting tune. I shrugged my shoulders and mumbled an apology.

“Is there no common decency anymore?” the man asked.

The black dog raised his head and shook negative.

The demon started the song over from the beginning and my toes tapped along. He held a sign that read ‘the tighter the noose, the sweeter the juice’ scrawled in black sharpie marker. I found courage in the pit of my stomach where all the bad feelings swirl and used it to answer the bathing man.

“No,” I told him, “for everyone burns in the fire of life.”

The horned man splashed his bath water at me; flinging eye balls and rose petals all over the floor. The water hit my face and plugged my nose. My eyes burned but I told myself I’d never cry in front of strangers again. You never know if the strangers know we are all ghosts in the fog. So it’s better to not give them the chance to judge you.

“I see,” the man told me while applying more bubbles to his chin. “And what of forgiveness? Does it still pester?”

“No,” I told him, “for solitude is a cold flaming mistress.”

“I see,” He answered. Then he pulled a rag from the water, held it out to me and asked, “Could you wash my back?”

“No,” I told him, “for I lost my kindness when all my toys broke.”

He nodded sadly and lost himself in his own memories. I shuffled my feet and waited impatiently for him to speak again. The black dog stood slowly and stretched; one eye on my and one eye on my nightmares. Still his master said nothing. So I broke his concentration by snapping my fingers. The echo wasn’t near as impressive but still he looked at me.

“May I steal your demon?” I asked using the voice I employed when asking for the toys- now broken- when they were shiny and new.

The horned man leaned back in his bath and slid down into the water. He opened his mouth and swallowed up bathwater then he spit the water like a fountain.

“No,” he told me, “but you may take his sign if you wear it around your neck.”

“Fair enough,” I answered content to leave the humid room with my soul and a souvenir.

The demon handed me the sign with a small loop of barb wire attached so I could wear it. I put it over my head and bowed. The horned man waved me away. The black dog scoffed and spun in place three times before laying back down beside the bathtub. I walked out the wooden door into the night.

My eyes were glowing strange neons and they lead me home through the forest. Demons and birds squawked and chirped blasphemies at me but the words on the sign kept me strong. I held a sign for all to see that read ‘my emotions are zombie’ scrawled in black sharpie marker. 

"The Devil's Bath Shack"

Copyright: © 2011 Jonathan Moon


Jonathan Moon is the horrorcore author of Mr. Moon's Nightmares, the upcoming HEINOUS, and co-author of The Apocalypse and Satan's Glory Hole with Tim Long. You can keep one eye on him at all times by following his Monkey Faced Demon blog at http://www.mrmoonblogs.blogspot.com/.