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Fruit of Temptation

June 13, 2008

I go for a walk with Badger.

The air is crisp, the trees are shady, and the streets are quiet. I look into the front yard of each house we walk past, searching for a dog to pat on the head and skritch behind the ears. It turns out to be a very undoggy row of houses, but I do come across a tubby cat snoozing on the bonnet of a car. In the absence of a dog, it’ll have to do. I reach out to pat it but as my fingers descend, the cat opens a malevolent eye and tries to eat them. I am very fond of my fingers so I hurriedly withdraw them. This is why I was looking for a dog in the first place.

At this point, you may think that Badger and I are growing old, what with the evening strolling and peering into gardens. I would like to stress that this is not the case at all as I am eating an ice cream cone and the walk was Badger’s idea anyway. So if anyone is growing old, it is him. Not me. Just so we’re clear on that.

(Edit: Badger would like to state emphatically that he is not old and is in fact, very young at heart (as well as in head). But we know that that is exactly what old people say, so let’s just leave it at that.)

We walk on. Suddenly an orange tree catches my eye. Unlike the miserable thing growing in my backyard, this tree has a multitude of ripe, juicy-looking, actually orange oranges hanging from its branches. Coming across a tree like this is obviously a sign of opportunity. It practically invites all and sundry to partake of its gifts. What’s more, most of the fruit is actually hanging over the fence. Really, all that’s needed is a sign with “PICK ME!!” glowing in neon lights.

I walk over to choose which oranges get to go home with me. I don’t really want to discriminate so I decide to take ALL of them home. “Let’s steal these oranges!” I exclaim to Badger. I reach out to pluck one and…

SNIP!!! A small branch close to my fingers falls to the ground. I freeze in terror. Through the leaves of the tree, I see a frail, tiny old man glaring at me. He is brandishing a large pair of garden shears. He works the blades slowly, daring me to reach for an orange again. Like I said, I’m quite partial to my fingers so I withdraw yet once again.

Boo! I resolve to return tonight with a bag.

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