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The Apple Story (Better Version)

by levi johnson 16 days ago in Short Story
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One Time a Thing Happened

"What am I doing here?" The question seemed to well up from somewhere deep in Adam's stomach, wrenching him back to his task at hand. He looked down and he was holding two different name brands of chicken soup. "Oh, yea I'm getting soup." He thought. He paused a moment reading the labels wondering what the perquisites were for determining what constitutes organic. Without thinking, he put them both into his shopping cart. Adam started pushing his cart down the aisle aimlessly and the question arose again, "What am I doing here?" The question hit him so hard it seemed to shake him to his core. "Jeez, I am so distracted maybe I need some coffee. where's my list?" Adam thought to himself.

Adam started pushing the shopping cart with one hand and fumbling for his grocery list with the other. Front pocket, nope. Back pocket, no. Shirt pocket, bingo! He clumsily put his reading glasses on as he continued to push the cart. He was just getting his eyes to focus on the list when he bumped into a pyramid of apples. His cart came to an abrupt stop. One single apple fell from the display. It rolled across the floor stopping next to a potato chip display that was adjacent to the produce section.

Adam left his cart to retrieve the renegade apple. He walked across the aisle and up to the display. He bent over to pick up the apple. Just as he was about to pick it up, he became transfixed on the apple. Pausing for a moment. Then picking it up. Adam stood up with the apple in his hand, never taking his eyes off it. He stood still as if time stood with him. A store clerk saw Adam staring at the apple. He watched a moment and asked, "Sir, can I help you?" Adam gave no response. He just stared at the apple. The clerk asked again. “Sir, can I help you?” Adam just stared into the sheen of the apple. The young store clerk shrugged and went about his business.

People had started noticing Adam. One woman approached trying to maneuver her cart around him. She cleared her throat. "Ahem." she said. No response from Adam. Finally, the woman turned her cart around and pursued a new route. Several minutes had passed and more people noticed him standing still as if time stood with him. One young boy pointed and said, "Mom what’s that guy doing?" The boy’s mother gently but firmly pulled his arm down. She told him it’s not polite to point and stare.

An hour had passed by. Adam had a small group of people standing there, watching him watch the apple. Three college kids had begun live streaming the happening. The store management was getting nervous. They had not been trained for such an eventuality. The general manager was alerted to the situation. He told the staff to not bother him. Surely, he will get tired of whatever it is he was doing. He asked the crowd to please disperse. Most did but the three college kids stayed. Their live stream had hit three million views and counting.

The internet wanted more Adam. The comment section was rife with curiosity and theories about what he might be doing. One viewer wrote, "I wish I loved anything as much as he loves looking at that apple." Memes flooded the internet. Adam instantly became known as "The Apple Guy". People began posting pictures of themselves staring at apples under the hashtag “appleadmiring”. Pictures of people at the top of the Eiffel tower, staring at apples. People at Mount Rushmore. The Louvre. Atop hiking trails. At the beach. From their dorm rooms. Stuck in traffic. All staring at apples. Nobody knew what was happening, but no one wanted it to stop.

A young store clerk named Eve, alerted Dan the manager to another situation in the parking lot. She said, "Hey, you should check this out." Dan and Eve made their way through the crowded store. Dan realized the situation had got quite out of his control. He continued to shoulder his way to the parking lot where he found it completely full of people. People having barbecues and holding up signs that read "Apple guy is alright!" and "We stand with Appleguy!"

"What is going on?" Dan asked in complete dismay. The young store clerk named Eve said, "They appear to be tail-gating." She then proceeded to take out here phone. Eve showed Dan the live stream of the man staring at the apple in his store. "Twenty-three million viewers. How long has he been staring at that damned apple?” Eve pointed out to the parking lot. Someone had taken the liberty of displaying a giant digital stopwatch usually reserved for sporting events. It read three hours, two minutes, thirty-six seconds and counting. "What are we going to do?" Dan asked. "I don't know there is anything you can do. People are pretty into this thing." Eve replied. Dan went back to his office completely and utterly bewildered.

Dan picked up the phone and dialed 1 for the store intercom. Dan made the following announcement. "Valued customers, the store will be closing early today. Please collect your items and proceed to the nearest checkout." He then went to the security room to view the security cameras. It appeared his announcement had little to no affect.

Dan shouldered his way to where Adam was standing. Standing still as if time stood with him. The crowd seemed to be in good spirits for no reason at all. Dan finally reached his destination. He breached the solid ring of people surrounding Adam. Even Dan could feel a static in the air. An electricity maybe even. Adam stood as if the very concept of reality was in question. He stood in defiance of space and time. Adam stood as though he found a snag in the fabric of the universe, and he was staring straight through the hole. Dan took one step toward Adam when someone grabbed his arm from behind. "Hey back off dude." Dan's assailant shouted. "I just want to talk to him." Dan shouted back trying to pull his arm away. "Just leave him alone." Another voice shouted. Dan still trying to pull away from the crowd became frustrated and began yelling. "Your all loitering and trespassing. I can have you all arrested." The crowed unscathed by his empty threats surrounded him and sent him unwillingly crowd surfing out of the store. Dan was furious. He pulled his phone from his pocket and angrily tried to dial nine one one. After fumbling his password twice, he elected to just use the emergency dial-er.

Nine one one, my name is Debra. Can I have your name and location please? The dispatcher asked. My name is Daniel Andrews. I am the general manager at the Food smart grocery plus outlet on twenty third St. Dan replied. What is the nature of your emergency? The dispatcher asked. Dan paused a moment blinking. Sir, are you in danger? Again, Dan paused. Sir, are you being held against your will? The dispatcher asked. "No." Dan answered finally finding his words. "There is a man in my store staring at an apple and there is a bunch of people staring at him and disrupting the store." The dispatcher was quit now. After a short pause the dispatcher announced that she was sending an officer to his location.

The time on the stopwatch in the parking lot read, eight hours, twenty-two minutes, three seconds and counting. Dan stood behind the police barricade among the police officers. He had spent the last two hours fielding phone calls from corporate, answering questions for the police and giving interviews to reporters. The sun was setting, and he was supposed to be home three hours ago. The police had assured him that the crowd would lose interest and people would start to go home. There was no reason beyond some misdemeanor offenses to warrant more assertive tactics. Be patient and they will go. The police assured him. They did promise to keep the premises surrounded and monitor the situation.

As the story made national news that evening Adam stood staring at the apple. Across the world people stood staring with him. The comments from the live stream were full of hope and wonder for reasons no one could quit figure out. Some of the comments read.

"I have no idea what is happening right now but i don't want it to stop."

"I get it man i really do i'm gunna set things right thanks apple guy!"

"I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and see this dude standing here."

Finally, one simply said; "Yasss! Apple guy!"

Some reporters came in and filmed around four am and tried to ask Adam some questions, but Adam stood still as if time stood with him. When they couldn't figure out how to make a story out of it. They ceded the exclusive back to the diligent hands of the three young college kids. Some of the viewers of the live stream pulled an all-night-er with Adam. Some greeted everyone as they woke. The Good Good Coffee and News Morning Show aired a few seconds of Adam's live stream. They gave everyone an update on what was described as a very bizarre event in the Midwest.

Dan, after very little sleep, pulled up to the police barricade. The parking lot still full of people waking up. The live stream went down for an hour or so around two am, to the dismay of the internet, but was soon up and running again. The stopwatch in the parking lot read twenty hours, nine minutes, fifty-five seconds and counting. The three college kids were set to miss their morning class, vowing to see this thing through to the end. They marked the happening as the most important thing they may ever do. They were diligently taking turns holding and charging phones.

People started wondering if he was going to pee soon or eat something. Concerns for his physical and mental health began to arise. A doctor was brought in to monitor his vitals. He slid a blood pressure sleeve gently around his off hand. The doctor attached some heart rate monitors. Adam stood still as if time stood with him. A psychologist was brought in to evaluate what kind of psychosis could bring this on a person. Analyst analyzed, spectators speculated, people hypothesized, but Adam stood staring into the apple as if the mysteries of the universe were being revealed to him.

People were getting anxious. The comments read

"What gives!!! dooooo something this is driving me crazy but i can stop watching."

"This guy is making my feet hurt he's been standing so long."

One viewer commented; "What do you want from us already."

Adam stood motionless as if he wasn't even breathing, though the doctor assured us he was. Adam stood there. Next to the chip display. Adjacent to the produce section. In the Food Smart grocery plus outlet. Concealing the mysteries known only to himself within the confines of his gaze.

The mood was tense, and Eve was getting restless. She made her way through the crowd of people. Eve broke the circle surrounding him. Oddly no one stopped her. She walked right up to Adam. Looked him in the eye and said, "Why don't you take a bite" Adam didn't move but shifted his eyes to meet hers. The crowd let out a gasp. The internet went silent. Adam stared deep into her eyes for a moment and turned his attention back to the apple. He opened his mouth and slowly brought the apple to his teeth. You could hear a pin drop. He paused for a second. Then he broke the skin of the apple taking a bite. The unmistakable sound of a crisp apple being bitten into rang across the world. Adam turned and looked directly into the camera and said, “What am I doing here?” He looked into his other hand remembering his list and said “Oh, yea I’m getting soup.”

Alternate Ending

The mood was tense, and Eve was getting restless. She made her way through the crowd of people. Eve broke the circle surrounding him. Oddly no one stopped her. She walked right up to Adam. Looked him in the eye and said, "Why don't you take a bite" Adam didn't move but shifted his eyes to meet hers. The crowd let out a gasp. The internet went silent. Adam stared deep into her eyes for a moment and turned his attention back to the apple. He opened his mouth and slowly brought the apple to his teeth. You could hear a pin drop. He paused for a second. Then he broke the skin of the apple taking a bite. The unmistakable sound of a crisp apple being bitten into rang across the world. Adam turned and looked directly into the camera and said,

"Nothing will ever be the same again."

The live stream crashed. The food smart erupted into pandemonium. The Food Smart grocery Plus Outlet patrons spilled into the parking lot. The timer had been tipped over. It read, thirty-six hours, twelve minutes, and forty-two seconds. People all over the world took to the streets. The world suddenly seemed to be a much more tumultuous place than it had been. Grocery stores were torn apart, food supply chains dismantled overnight. The world erupted into chaos. The landscape across world was post-apocalyptic. The interruption in the food distribution set off a chain reaction. Financial institutions crumbled. The cities burned and nothing was ever the same again.

No one ever saw Adam again. People remembered him as the man who captivated the world and Eve as the woman who was the catalyst to whatever it was that transpired. People would put their children to sleep at night telling and retelling the events that had occurred. The story of Adam before everything changed.

Short Story

About the author

levi johnson

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