I lift the axe from the shattered watermelon. Juice drips from the part that splits the wood, I think it’s called the head, but I’m not sure. Axe-head. Does that sound like a thing? Have I heard that before? The drops are pink on the tarnished blade, lighter than I expected, but still pink. It strikes me that, as a globally connected species, we’re short on watermelon flavored things. Take grape. There’s millions of grape flavored things. I can shove a handful of candy from any part of the world in my mouth and I will inevitably be greeted by the taste of grape. But watermelon—very rare. Maybe there’s a country out there, a watermelon country, say Japan or Albania, laughing and singing and drinking watermelon soda and eating watermelon flavored marzipan.
Jade has locked herself in the camper and told me she’s never coming out. But it’s hot, even as the sun disappears between the pines. She’ll come out. She can’t poop in there, has to use the cinderblock washrooms provided by the campground. She says the one in the trailer is claustrophobic and there’s no ventilation. Like pooping in a gym locker. Says the smell is horrific, but also wet, and it’s the wetness that gets her. Sticks to her skin, or so she says. I’ve had many sour mash mornings in that thing, and I’m not concerned about wetness or smell, of course it’s going to smell, I’m concerned about arrival and departure times.
She’s in there because she wanted watermelon for dessert. To cut the watermelon she needed the knife, and she couldn’t find it because she said I used it to shotgun beers last night and lost it in the forest. I told her I put it right back in the drawer, where it belongs, and she said I passed out on the picnic table. Well, the two things are unrelated in my opinion. She disagreed and continued needling me about the knife.
So I told her I’d cut it like Gallagher. She doesn’t know who Gallagher is. So I said I’d show her.
It exploded on the first swing. A chunk, jagged flesh and opaque rind, bounced from the crime scene and hit Jade in the chest. She was pissed and stomped to the trailer, face like she was the only child that didn’t get a toy. I didn’t give her attention because hitting the watermelon was the most fun I’ve had since cheese fondue. I can’t believe a man became famous because of it. Wish I had a mallet. What a genius.
I set the axe down and move to the trailer, knocking meekly on the rupturing door. The weatherproof outside knocks the insulation, the insulation knocks the wood paneling on the inside. Jade doesn’t respond.
“Come on Jade, let me in, I was just joking around,” I say.
“You’re such an asshole,” she says.
“That’s literally what Gallagher does,” I say.
“I don’t think I love you anymore,” she says, voice waning, running out of batteries.
“What?” I say.
A loud sob, apparent and shrill, muffles as she digs her head into the sheets of the foldable bed. I retreat and spend twenty minutes picking up watermelon pieces, no matter how small, and walking them to the dumpster by the entrance to the campground.
About the Author: Most people are worried about chemicals in their diet, Travis is the opposite. When he dies his body will already be in a state of preservation and ready for his pyramidal tomb. He updates his published work at his website, travisoltmann.com
Story Song: "I Got a Life" by Dojo Workhorse