the light from his laptop: a story


Ah, yes. The R & M Industries 5920 Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer in bright red. Yesyesyes. The light from his laptop gives Malcolm an unnatural glow. He grins at the Amazon page for the apple peeler/corer/slicer. It’s gonna make him so happy. He can feel it.

He takes a delicate sip of his mango Four Loko and considers the intricacies of the machine. How it works is like this: first, you jam the apple into a metal rod, which removes its core, then you begin cranking the handle which rotates the apple around a blade until slowly, all of the apple’s skin is sheared off. Finally, it is sliced into bits. It’s a torture process that borders on medieval in terms of gruesomeness.

To begin consuming the apple, you must first admit that you hate it; you have always fucking hated fresh fruit. Malcolm finds beauty in this.

Actually, Malcolm cannot remember the last time he ate an apple, or any other piece of produce. If he buys the machine, he will definitely start though. Probably. He knows that the amount of flavored beef jerkies he eats is not going to lead to a long or healthy life, which actually is maybe why that’s the only thing he’s eaten for something like three months. But enough. This is not about the beef jerky. It’s about this wonderful machine.

The Amazon reviews suggest that it works particularly well with the most symmetrical apples. This also makes perfect sense to Malcolm–only the most perfect apple specimens deserve this kind of torture. It’s like when ancient tribes would sacrifice their most enticing maiden to satisfy their gods. (Although actually, what ancient tribes? Malcolm would check Wikipedia but he’s been banned from there after he tried to create too many conspiracy pages.)

Malcolm hopes this will not be a repeat of the banana slicer thing. As in, he bought a banana slicer and it came and he opened the box but it made him really sad. Now he had to buy bananas, he had thought, and find something to pair with sliced bananas, like yogurt. It was the pairing process that depressed him; the process asked too much of him. Also, he thought, why did this banana slicer exist? Didn’t people have knives? Didn’t people have teeth?

The apple peeler/corer/slicer is different though because it is a product of human ingenuity. It is a legitimate invention with components, harkening back to the style of Benjamin Franklin (Maybe. Fuck, he misses the sweet comforting interface of Wikipedia).

In his computer chair, his butt feels numb despite his special ergonomic cushions. It’s almost four in the morning. A simple “Add to Cart” will make this treasure his.

He doesn’t click the button. He doesn’t do the thing. He can’t. Once he buys it, he will no longer anticipate the moment of buying it. Malcolm knows his tired sad self well enough by now to be aware of this.

Malcolm is this end product apple that the machine produces; he is peeled, cored, sliced. Totally removed from what his untampered self should look like. He briefly imagines a tanned version of himself running outside, interacting with a tree or with a girl in some way. The thought process is tiring.

It is harder and harder to pull away from the computer chair every day.

The numbness spreads from his butt into his legs.


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