It was a warm summer night when it dawned upon Angie that being a banana split should never mean you have no rights. She had been a growing banana tree too. A part of her had grown chocolate beans and another had walked around in the pasture as a full-grown cow, always prepared to give her milk when her farmer asked her to. She had accepted her fate like a true banana split; let herself be packed in plastic and carton. Never had she complained even a word.
Angie wouldn’t say she had nothing to contest. It wasn’t her choice, after all, to leave her children behind without goodbye. She didn’t ask to be taken to melt away on a sunny terrace in Napoli. She had gone with it as all good banana splits do: unjudgemental and fearless, ready to be consumed and digested, most probably by a fat foreign tourist. Of course she would prefer to be served to a high-class passionate Italian lady with a long Bordeaux dress who would then drink some deep red wine during sunset on the beach. Afterwards, the lady would make sensual love to a charming Italian man, exchanging just the aftertaste of a delicious dessert. It was not an uncommon scenario to dream of for banana splits, but a goal that only a lucky handful attain.
Fridges are cold. Not a single aspect of Angies soon to be composed banana split body was made for near freeze. But Angie didn’t shake. She’s the strong kind, that does all she can to keep the peace with fellow meals in the fridge. Well-raised banana splits know that over-shaking a shelf may for example cause bavarois to collapse. And some kinds of meat can get angry. Bull’s balls for example, can’t stand the sound of shaking shelves. They’re known for their temper, so it’s always best to avoid the scope of their attention.
Long has Angie been mentally prepared. Yet when you’re growing on a tree in Ivory Coast, it is hard, impossible to imagine what cold darkness is like. There is no one there who knows anything about a fridge. Anything more than speculation. All common knowledge about fridges are the legendary tales of this one banana called Cuban Jack because of his cigar shape, who had once returned to a tree, ready to be eaten by a lonely traveller with a jeep and a coolbox. Jack had been full of ironic remarks about the circle of life. He’d been crying one moment, laughing the next. From his unstructured sentences the community had made stories which rapidly spread through the region, and had been retold ever since.
One thing had been obvious from the moment Angie entered the fridge. You can imagine your fate for as long as you want, but you’ll never know what it’s like until you’re stuck in the middle of it. Oh, how much did she want to talk with Rebecca and Martha now. Evaluate. The cold had been creeping slowly past her skin, into her core. The darkness had brought her into a state of numbness, so bad that even maturing her cells would be unthinkable. Thinking itself hurt after a few hours, but Angie was the mental type of banana and kept doing it at any cost.
“What if I had fallen slightly more to the left? What if someone else had picked me up? Would I have ended up in this same cold? What if I freeze to death? Will they still eat me? What if the balls hear me think? Will they go after me?” But with the passing of the hours, she slowly realised that nothing was going to change, and that the thoughts that haunted her were actually desires of some sort, although she doubted that she wanted to die. “So here I lie…” she thought slowly “motionless in the cold … wanting to see things change”.
Had she slept? It was impossible to tell how long it had taken until the fridge door opened. An eternity, maybe a few. They say that hell burns, but what if it’s cold instead? Outside air entered, bringing along warmth and scents which now appeared so wonderful that Angie would give anything to leave this lonely hole. Though the moment of opening may have been brief, the change it brought about was considerable, and by the time the lambs had left the fridge, one could sense a wave of hope.
“What happened?” asked Henry the Tomato. No reply. “You’re all afraid of those balls, aren’t you? Well, I can tell you they’re as round as me, and to roll in this cold is impossible.” “This is Adolf speaking” Angie was unsure if the voice she heard was icier than the fridge itself. More violent in any case. “If anybody says another word, you and your family will have a bloody future”.
Silence. Angie was back to her thoughts again. Raised on a tree in paradise, with always as many sugars and as much energy as she needed. Now this. What had she done to deserve this? She wondered where Rebecca and Martha were.
“The tomato is right!” this time it was Otto the Oyster who dared to open his shell. “We’re afraid of the balls, while in fact, they are as weak as we are in here.” “Easy for you to say,” said Bert “you have a shell that protects you and your family. And balls hate salty water anyway, especially bulls’.” “Hey Bert!”, cried Wilma the Foix Gras “could you raise the temperature a little? I’m freezing down here.” “Sorry, strict orders from the owner. They’d fire me and I’d end up at some dodgy recycling centre between a bunch of smoking machines.” Bert did not even want to imagine what his cooling element would look like carbonated.
“That’s it!” The voice of the balls must have been close to freezing. This time, Angie shivered. “Henry will splatter first! The fatty liver will be next…”. “Of course … we believe you, Adolf”. Angie could hear some tension in the tomato’s voice this time “try to get to the fourth shelf if you can.” At that point the knowledge seeped into the minds of the contents of the fridge that the balls’ threats had indeed been pure bluff. They were incapable of moving out of their wrapper, chained by the cold as everyone else.
“Rats … ” said the bavarois “I’ve collapsed”.
Murmuring increased and it did not take long before the voice of the bovine testicles was fully overruled by the numerous conversations that were now providing all these lonely souls some warmth. “Where did you come from?” a peewit’s egg asked Angie with a seductive African accent. “I came from paradise, she answered. I was hanging together with my brothers and sisters, warm and unconcerned, untill we all got plucked and I was deported here.” “Me too. I was happy inside M’peewit, my mom, but she betrayed me, and forced me into the big cold world. I did not know that I would soon be taken away from there and end up here. It’s even colder here! I’m freezing my freckles off!”
Conversations got jollier. The only one still intimidated by the balls was the orange juice standing in the door in front of their shelf. It was the scent, probably. But Bert raised his voice again. “Guys… you’re producing too much heat. Cool down or I’ll have to do it.” He quickly found out that these fruits and vegetables were set, and would not accept another repression. Not now. Fearing his reputation he switched back to cooling mode, triggering a spirit of revolt.
It was under these circumstances, her inner rebel fully awake, that the fridge was opened, and Angie was once again harshly separated from her fellows, this time by the hands of the cook’s assistant, who had just received an order that would settle her purpose once and for all. Before she knew it, she was laying on a plate, peeled and split by the edge of a recently sharpened knife saying “I cannot help it! They’re making me do it!”. The newly appeared void got filled by three balls of vanilla ice cream, poured upon with chocolate sauce, and on top of that they had to carry a cherry. Yet while the cherry, the ice cream, the sauce and the banana had never met, through an unlikely turn of events, together they felt whole. “Where you there in the fridge?” “Yes I was.” “Same here.” “Me too.” A full grown banana split in mutual understanding. “Let’s do this for Henry the Hero.”
A distance spectator was deemed not to notice what was about to take place on the terrace of this two-star restaurant, the name of which I promised not to mention for reasons you may understand. A closer spectator might have been alarmed by the ice that began to bubble. The meeting that was taking place, between Alessandra Cocopelli and Salvadore Picanotto, concerned the matter if it was truly necessary to omit the role of the Queen in their interpretation of the play of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In fact, that was the reason they had given to each other, but waiters considered it rather likely that these two would end the night in each others arms. No unlucky hit at all, but somewhere during the confrontation with the knife, Angie had lost her obeisance to human beings. She saw a different future arise.
It began with a single splat. For an instant, Miss Cocopelli wondered if a bird had given a disgusting twist to her dessert, but two more tiny eruptions followed. A spot on her green dress. She let out a little yell, not in the least uncharming to mister Picanotto’s ears. He stood up in an attempt to reveal his inner gentleman, grabbed a tissue, but was bombarded with slices of banana loaded with chocolate. The waiter approached and witnessed how the couple received stain after stain on the clothes they had so carefully selected to impress each other. They ran, but where followed by a whirling cloud that looked like a delicious smoothie.
“What’s happening, Andrea?” Alarmed by the noise, the manager had come outside, presuming he would be the designated man to save the situation. “It’s the banana split, sir, it’s going nuts!” “What did you do to it?” “I just served it, and then it attacked those people.” Andrea was about to get fired, when the choco-vanilla-banana twister shot the cherry into the soup of another client, screaming: “TO ARMS, dishes! Let’s show these slave drivers who’s on top of the food chain now!”
The tale about what happened next differs according to the narrator. Most deny the event whatsoever, but some distant witnesses recall a storm of béarnaise sauce and a mashed potato quake. What is known is that from that day onwards, fruits, vegetables and meat have kept fighting for their rights around the world. Every time you get a stain of tomato, wine or coffee, every time you burn your mouth or bite on something hard, remember they are after you. They will not stop until they’ve got us all.