Pie for the World

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Sometimes saying that you like apple pie doesn't lead to the most expected adventure

Submitted: July 18, 2017

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Submitted: July 18, 2017

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If I hadn’t said I liked apple pie I might not be plodding along this road kill-lined maze. No wonder there’s so many koalas with their insides out; every driver’s too busy trying to figure out where the next turn is amongst the trees, they’re not looking out for any animals, even if they are of the native type. If they’re not on the crest you can shoot them, grandpa once said. A second latter there was a scatter of possums in the nearby trees. He’d shoot a possum, grandpa would, but he couldn’t put his dog down when it could hit by the car. Tender old man, he was, but only tender for certain things.

I tried to keep my eyes on the road, and tried harder not to think about apples. Every ounce of my body regretted the words coming out of my mouth. Some part of me should’ve stopped it, even if I had to put my foot in my mouth. I wasn’t even talking about real apple pie, but the one’s you get at Macca’s where the apples obviously aren’t real apples and it’s all covered in deep-fried fat. That was the type of apple pie I meant, not the ones which are baked with fresh apples still with their skins on and covered in a thin layer of dry crumbs. Yep, if I hadn’t said that then I wouldn’t be trundling down this forest path to see grandma, just so she can teach me how to make apple pie. Mum had been so enthusiastic about it; grandma makes the best apple pie, go see her for a while, she’ll teach you. After that she had nudged my ribs in the awkward way someone does when they can see you’re not happy about it. You can teach your wife one day, impress her in the kitchen, she had said. Of course that’s what every kid my age is thinking about, just pull any nineteen year old off the street and ask them their dream in life. It’s to make apple pie for my wife, they’ll say. Only in Mum’s dreams.

The radio trickles down into a hum. It dropped somewhere between Timbuktu and Toongabbie, though ask me where either of those places are and I’d be lost like a cat who can’t be bothered to find their toy. I had hoped it would come back on once I reached Woolloomooloo, but I don’t know where that is either.

“Maybe on the edge of the world,” I mutter, trying to replace the now silent radio. It’s quiet in the car, with only the dead koala every second corner and the consistent hum of the engine.

“Maybe,” I said, trying to break the boredom of silence. “That the edge of the world has music no one’s ever heard of.”

I tried to let out a tune and coughed. Singing was as foreign to me as the desire to make apple pie was. Maybe if I found the edge of the world I wouldn’t have to go to gran’s place.

“Where’s a genie?” I ask to the empty car. “Can I click my heels and wish for the edge of the world?”

In reply, another dead koala wallops by under the car. It was bigger than the other ones, and noticed too last minute to avoid it. At least I don’t think I’ve killed any today, at least I hope not.

“If it’s not on the crest you can shoot them.”

I turn another corner, the windy road doing enough to make anyone wonder where their life was heading. Maybe my life could be heading down a better path right now, one that didn’t end with apple pie that wasn’t fried and golden.

With another laborious sigh, I approach the next hairpin turn, immediately preparing myself for the next one I knew would be coming.

For a few moments, my foot stalls above the accelerator, and the car ambles along the straight, open stretch of plan. Without a second thought I palm my foot down, joyously gleeful at the end to the road kill maze. Empty space flies away beside me, dusty dirt flicking up beside the car. Mum’s words about keeping the car clean fly from my mind at the same time. This was what freedom feels like; freedom from dead koalas and apple pies.

The car begins to stutter, a low rumble coming from inside it, its body heaving and wheezing and finally, in a dramatic cloud of dust, coming to a halt.

“Shit mate,” I curse. “Shit.” I jump out of the car, avoiding kicking the living daylights out of it. This car can’t break down now.

Behind me the road stretches, and any reminder of the trees and road kill is far gone. I had successfully landed myself in the middle of nowhere.

“You little shit box,” I say to the car, hoping it was in as much pain as I’m in.

I walk round to the front, thinking if I could look into the bonnet maybe I could figure out what’s wrong. I’m better with cars than I am with apples.

Since all I had expected was a road, it’s odd when I see the road has ended. Just like that, a point in the dirt where there’s no more road. Even odder then, was the brochure stand that stood just where it ended. I look at the car with distaste.

“Keep suffering.”

I amble my way up to the stand; seeing an array of brochures like you’d expect at any tourist centre. Picking up one I squint in the light.

“You what mate?”

Quickly I grasp for another. This couldn’t be right. The biggest brochure, the one left of dead centre and a space up, which apparently is the optimum advertising spot, draws my eye. There’s a large, smiling koala, wearing something almost like Blinky Bill but a bit more civilised. The brochure, in loud clear and somehow frightening writing read; Welcome to the Edge of the World.

“The edge of who’s world?” I questioned it. Maybe this was some type of metaphor where the edge of the world actually means the last shop in town or, I shudder at the thought, the end of the line.

Not knowing what else I can do I flick through the brochures. So you’ve made it to the edge of the world...The road that goes no furtherI forgot to pee at the last stop.

I paused, nope I didn’t need that last one. There was a mighty pile of brochures tucked into the stand, and still absolutely clueless, I dug further. The one’s lower down told of different things, and with the sun shining heavy enough to form a thick sweat, I was glad at least it wasn’t dark. The creatures that lie beyondMagic on the edgeThe land that should’ve ended. Oh they told of all manner of things; creatures and magic and places that never should be believed. They were both fascinating and terrifying.

Around me lay brochures strewn in the dirt. I had looked through all of them, hoping one would hold an answer. The only one that wasn’t on the ground was the big one with the civilised Blinky Bill. I grasped it in some vain hope.

“C’mon Blinky Bill, we’re mates right, I watched you all the time when I was a kid, even more than Winnie the Pooh. Help a mate out.”

I opened the brochure. The koala stared up at me, a small stubby finger pointing across the page.

“What would you rather?” Inside my heart was beating, a solid thrum waiting to explode. I read on.

“To learn to make apple pie, or have the edge of the world?”

It was a simple question, one line, plonked on the page as if the answer didn’t matter. I scuffed the brochures beneath me feet; it was a fantasy world, one that only ever came true in books. Except now. If books have ever taught me one thing though, it’s that people don’t return from places like that.

Can’t trust the rabbits, grandpa always said, nor the possums, they’ll go stealing your fruit. The koalas though, he’d say, they’re the worst. They deceive you with their looks, and their slow moves and how they sleep, but when they get going, they destroy it all. Grandpa had always spoken highly of Grandma’s apple pie, because it’s made with love he’d always say.

I stare down at the question.

“Sorry mate, but I’d rather learn how to make love.”

I slip the brochure back into its place. Returning to the car I flip the air conditioning on high and turn the keys. As if nothing had ever happened, the car thrums back into life and I turn onto the road back in the other direction.

I drive away, grateful for the coolness now blasting my face. Taking a last glance back in the mirror I see the brochure stand fading away and I’m sure there’s something behind it; an oversized koala that you’d expect to see in Costco.

It’s not long before I see the trees rising closer, and then I’m back on the track with the road kill maze. I may’ve just seen the edge of the world, and had an opportunity as rare as getting a parking spot at the mall on Saturday, but there was a world here I haven’t learnt about it. As grandpa always said; you can’t just listen to the stories, they’re just memories, you got to make them. If that meant I had to learn how to make apple pie with Grandma then that was that, and maybe one day I could even teach my wife with love.



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