The watermelon dwarfs the little fridge it’s displayed on, green rind overtaking white plastic.
The watermelon dwarfs the little fridge it’s displayed on, green rind overtaking white plastic. It currently resides with a family of three. They survey their prized mass from the kitchen table. Through the crack of an open window, the sounds of bleating and braying fill the room. A group of flies buzz around a haphazard pile of unwashed dishes. None of this matters—all focus is on the rare, marvellous melon.
“Not tonight,” their father calls.
A week painfully elapses, and the melon rests proudly, yet to be sacrificed. Both children hold their hands against the rind, cool and firm. Gavin gives it a cheeky slap, feeling it vibrate in response, while Rose laughs and observes a yellow spot on its underside: it’s perfectly ripe. Gavin darts to the drawer by the squeaky sink, pulling out a butcher’s knife as long as his arm, while his accomplice handles the plates. The knife hovers a fraction from the rind, an inch away from the prized sweet scarlet flesh. But—
“Step away from the watermelon!” their father bellows from another room. “Put that knife down!”
Alas! Gavin drops the knife immediately, unable to stop it from falling in such a clatter that it cuts a small slit into the side of his thumb. Their father rushes to the green giant’s side—he anxiously gives it a thorough pat-down, grubby hands leaving bits of dirt against the rind. The melon will live. He turns around sharply, his eyes full of wild anger, then whips back around to carefully lift the watermelon from the fridge. He tenderly places it on the top of their tallest cabinet, well out of reach from his two miscreants.
Mealtimes become tense after the unsuccessful heist. The two youngsters share looks of aversion as their father inhales his chicken and rice. White stringy meat and soft beads of rice mush between his set of six teeth. He coughs and a clump of food escapes through one of his mouth’s generous gaps. It lands in the centre of the table followed by a thick trail of saliva. The children look away as he rises from his haunches, grunting and straining with his arms outstretched to retrieve his projectile. While avoiding this unfriendly sight, Gavin and Rose stare up at the green mass. Both appear concerned—something looks off about it. Has it doubled in size? One thing is for sure: its round sides have most definitely swollen abnormally outwards.
At the following breakfast everyone keeps their heads down and avoids eyeing the growing globe on top of the cupboard. A tiny fan sits on the table, its laboured droning unable to serve a single iota in subduing the relentless heat. Gavin and Rose watch their father lightly tap his spoon on his usual morning boiled egg. Crack crack. They both stare wide-eyed and full of anticipation as the shell splinters. He stops, something finally registering in his brain, and gives a sly smirk. With one quick and heavy thwack he beheads the egg, snatches his sausage fingers for the bread and savagely dips it into the white chamber. His daughter watches the yoke run down the egg’s shell. She catches her brother’s gaze as both look longingly up towards the watermelon. They wonder in reverie— What’s he waiting for? Why won’t he let us eat it?
“Not today,” says their father with a menacing snort. Bits of egg dangle from his double chin. Gavin slumps in his chair and wipes the sweat from his forehead. Suddenly, the miserable whirring from the fan ceases. There is a moment of pure silence. Then, a thunderous bust, and the insides of the watermelon pelt the room like a monstrous monsoon. The walls and windows are coated with a furious, thick coat of crimson. With the squeals of their father as mere background noise, the children run around like barnyard animals, rejoicing in the scarlet hues.