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Pineapple Noir


They sat in the shabby Polynesian restaurant on the outskirts of Los Angeles. When she looked disapprovingly at the nearby decorative coconut, he promptly gave it three slugs from his .38. At this point, she knew that he was a lump of anti-social clay that she'd mold to her liking.

He was a private detective that she had hired to investigate a jewelry scheme being pulled by her septuagenarian husband; a plot which involved the ransoming of her own prized jewels to obtain the one-of-a-kind 'Radish Diamond'. She didn't think the old man had it in him, but here it was, his deceit.

Salad arrived, as the plates with wilted lettuce were dropped onto the table by the listless waiter. The private detective fired two more bullets into the romaine before him, and then looked to her for approval. She gave him an icy stare and he dropped the .38 onto the table, hungrily digging into the pineapple which had been situated on small dishes all around his placemat.

A dark figure loomed in the stark backlight, and slowly moved forward to apply a chloroform-soaked artichoke leaf to the private investigator's face. As he faded into oblivion, nothing was visible except the slowly fading coconuts hanging from the nylon line above the table. She turned her thoughts to her decrepit wheelchair-bound husband, circling in his dark room, levelers casting shadows. She would somehow regain control of the jewels, and she would use this sorry excuse for a private investigator, slumped over his pineapple surprise, to achieve these ends. But first she would chew on the recently arrived eggplant, as the neon red sign of the restaurant blinked onto its purple skin, transforming chemicals in her brain into an even more vengeful state.

The next morning, she was on the patio in her chaise lounge. But this was no ordinary chaise lounge. On the sweaty, blood-stained plastic surface, there was a diverting floral pattern which she often stared at for hours and hours. She said that the pattern reminded her of strange meadows that she had perhaps frolicked in as a child in a past life. The wheels of the chaise lounge were oiled and rigorously tested every morning at 8:00 a.m. The backrest tilted to three different angles for varying degrees of relaxation and comfort. She usually spent the morning in the chaise lounge, plotting, scheming, and analyzing the weak points and vulnerabilities of her adversaries.

That morning the private detective arrived, she sat down in the chaise lounge, and he pushed it around the yard, being rewarded with a package of brightly colored candies. As the private investigator wheeled her across the lawn toward the desolate shrubbery of her vegetable garden, a plan was hatched to wrest control of the jewels from her husband, who continued to spin in circles in his dark room.

While pushing the chaise lounge, the private investigator stared at her, imagining how her wealth and influence could enable him to obtain a gold-plated fruit bowl for his seedy downtown office. As the private investigator told her of his wide-eyed childhood, and adulthood, running through apple orchards, she saw in him her lost innocence. It dawned on her that time spent with the poor sap could cause this sense of wonder to seep into her pores like berry juice slathered on her body. With this new perspective on how they could fulfill each other's dreams, she gradually lost interest in the plot to regain the jewels, instead moving to Orange County with the private investigator to open a vegetable stand at the local farmer's market, with dark and disturbing results.

Eric Suhem lives in California, and enjoys the various qualities of his vegetable juicer.