The Watermelon

Bo was eating a watermelon pretending he was a wolf and that the watermelon was you.

“Don’t eat the seeds.” Kate said.

He didn’t listen to his sister, growled, ate the seeds anyway.

“Oh…I told you.”

The kid’s face was wet with fruit. He let the juice drip down onto the table.

“I’m not stupid.” Bo said.

“But you don’t know everything.”

“Says you.”

“Don’t you know what’s gonna happen?”

“Uh, yeah. According to you, a watermelon’s gonna grow in my belly.”

Bo was wild. Nearly feral. He jumped up from the table- went off to kill cowboys. He was dressed like an Indian now, you just couldn’t tell. The costume was invisible.

The following day Bo got sick and had to be pulled out of school. Fever, a rash on his chest and arms, he couldn’t keep down food or water.

His worried mother pulled his shirt up to listen to his heart.

Bo’s stomach had become massive, bloated, oblong. She felt the odd bump. It was very hot. She tapped on it. There was an echo.

She took Bo to the hospital, but it was too late. He died surrounded by frantic nurses and doctors, in a flash of noise and helpless science.

The boy’s funeral was interrupted by a thunderstorm. Everyone went inside, talked in low voices. They cried as if competing with the rain which didn’t stop for two weeks. Cats and dogs.

Some time later, Kate came back to her little brother’s plot. As she walked through the cemetery, she couldn’t believe how green everything was. All of that rain. The grass was as tall as the grave stones. She had a hard time finding Bo’s plot.

When she did find it, there were thick vines and large elephant ear leaves.

A watermelon plant growing like mania.

Kate pulled back some of the leaves, there was Bo himself underneath, attached to the vine, eyes shut, as if asleep.

He was just the way he had been before, though now he was growing on a vine. Kate looked down in disbelief. When she pulled him off the vine, his eyes opened.

“What happened?” the boy said, not missing a beat.

Kate explained it all, grinning.

“You gonna listen next time?” She said.

“Probably not.”

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