Forbidden Fruit

by Jake Barnes


A kid came into my office and sat down. She apologized for missing class. She had an operation on her leg, she said. She asked if I wanted to see her scar. She rolled up the leg of her jeans, but they were tight, and she couldn't roll them high enough. She got up, clasped her books to her ample chest, and with a cheery “See ya,” she left.


After my vasectomy, I got a T-shirt with a picture of an orange on it. It said "All Juice, No Seeds." I wore it when I sat in the sun by the pool at my apartment complex. My lady friend accused me of advertising.


My teacher buddy says that when his wife found out about his girlfriend, she filed for divorce. He doesn't want to see his girlfriend any more, he says, but she comes over to his apartment. He can't say no to her, he says. What she likes is for him take off his clothes and get down on the carpet on his hands and knees. She puts a collar on him and leads him around on a leash.


Two women were sitting on a bench at the south end of the field. They were deep in conversation. One was an older woman with gray hair. She looked up and smiled as I passed. The other woman had her head down. She was talking rapidly and waving her hands. “I got the test results back Friday,” she said. “Now what am I supposed to do? How can I tell an eight-year-old boy that his father's not his father?”