Every day, 2 times a day, I pass the house with the bountiful prickly pear bush full of fruit. And every day, 2 times a day, I covet. Tell myself, “Imma stop and knock on the door and ask them if I can have some of those prickly pears… they ain’t doin’ nothin’ with ‘em.”
Today, on the 2nd passing of the day, a man was out in front of the house, harvesting the big, plump purplish fruits. I hesitated for a moment. Do I really have time to stop? I’d told the service technician I was on my way to meet that I’d be at my house before he got there. I reasoned with myself, “At least I can slow down and holler out the window at the gent. Maybe he’ll be ok with me swinging back by later.” I slowed my car, let down my passenger side window; spoke: “I’m glad to see you’re picking those, I’ve been wanting to get some myself!” He smiled broadly. “Oh, yeah? You know what these is? You wanna get some?” Me: shocked and delighted at the ease of the invitation, pull over the car and put on my hazard lights. Hop out and deftly avoid the cars passing me to join the man pulling the ripe fruit from the tops of the cactus. The box he was depositing his harvest in was almost full. I eyed it, thinking I’d save my ungloved hands at least a little distress if I harvested from the harvest instead of directly from the plant. As I prepared my second request, the man spoke: “Yeah, I knocked on the door to see if somebody was home, but nobody answered. So….” Wait. What? This isn’t even his house!? I’m dying laughing on the inside. Emboldened by his boldness, I ask, “Can I just get a few outta the box?” “Yeah, gone head,” he cheerfully replies. I’m too far gone as an accomplice to be shy, but I restrain myself from taking too many of the fruit. “Yeen got no bag?” He queries. “Oh, I’m sure I have one in the car,” I say as I take my 2 handfuls back towards my trunk, where there is indeed a stray plastic bag inside. I deposit my pilfered booty, wave an enthusiastic goodbye to Mr. Prickly Picker, re-enter my ride and escape the scene of the crime with the evidence staining my hands.
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