How Do You Like Them Apples?
written by Kesh Brown
Once upon a time, in the magical land of Every-day-miracles-ville, a hungry young doe named Penny slowly emerged from the edge of a wood, only to find herself standing amidst row upon row of oddly peculiar trees just bursting with plump, ruby-red apples. What luck, she thought, stepping toward the closest tree. Now I am abundant, and soon I shall be full!
But alas, there were no apples on the ground beneath the tree, and Penny was not yet tall enough to reach even the lowest hanging fruit. She tried balancing on her hind legs and leaping in the air toward them. She jumped, over and over again, each time a little higher, each time finding her prize just beyond reach. Dang, she thought, her cute little doe lips curling into a not-so-cute little doe sneer… they taunt me!
Suddenly, a shot rang out. Penny froze, crouched in the grass beneath the tree. Another shot rang out. Buck shot! You can’t kill a doe with buck shot, she snickered. But still, I should run. Leaping to her feet, she heard a third shot, much closer this time. It ripped through the branches just above her head, knocking a huge, perfectly ripe apple to the ground directly in front of her. Hazah, she thought. Thanks Mister Farmer! Then she scooped the apple between her teeth and bolted for the safety of the woods. She ran in leaps and bounds, not stopping for even a moment, until she’d put a good country mile between her and her would-be assassin.
It was the most enjoyable, most exquisite, plumpest of plump, juiciest of juicy apples she had ever eaten.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch—ok, orchard— Mister Farmer was grousing to his wife about how those gawd-damn deer better just leave his gawd-damn apples alone. HIS apples! Can you imagine? Like he’s the Master Magician that created apples! I mean, sure, he spent a little time over the summer pruning and watering here and there, but c’mon man, it ain’t like you invented the fruit or the trees or nothin’. Geez. And that whole business about owning the land and everything that grows on it. Seriously? Those are strictly human concepts, dude. No other species on Earth agrees with nonsense like that. Just cuz y’all got guns you think you can simply do as you please, take what you want, and kill whatever gets in your way. Stupid humans!
Some time later—don’t ask exactly how long, deer aren’t particularly well known for their time measurement skills, so let’s just say a few hours later— while browsing on lush young grasses in a sunny little meadow hidden deep in the forest, Penny, quite unceremoniously, pooped.
Now poop is one of those things most folks generally try not to think too awful hard about, and it’s likely that deer don’t either, we’d imagine, but in this case it’s important, so please indulge us just a moment. For you see, this particular little pile of poop contained remnants of the apple Penny had so thoroughly enjoyed earlier. Like the stem, and the seeds—parts her young deer body simply couldn’t digest. She’d used much of the sugars for energy, of course, and stored some of it as fat that her body could later convert into more energy, helping her flesh and bones grow big and strong, which, in this magical land of Every-day-miracles-ville, means the apple, and this is the important part, became a part of Penny. But those little seeds and stems—as some of you are no doubt already aware for reasons outside the scope of this story— tend to get separated out and tossed aside. And seeds being seeds, tend to want to do the very thing the Master Magician programmed them to do, given the proper conditions, of course. Like, say, maybe a sunny little meadow with moist, nutrient-rich soil. Yeah, now we’re talking. Heck, with conditions like that, a seed can find the greatest gift of all. Opportunity. A chance to realize its life-long dream of becoming an apple. It will have to grow a tree first, of course, but no matter. Seeds dream big! After all, they’re seeds. That’s what they do!
The following year,—give or take a month or so, we can’t be sure… let it go, people!— Penny was in the forest minding her own business—actually, she was getting cozy with some buck she barely knew, but that’s still her business, eh—when suddenly, right at the moment of truth— BANG!, poor Penny dropped to the forest floor like a sock full of nickels. Mister Farmer, our part-time would-be-assassin, had finally caught up with his foe doe. Penny was dead. She had come, and she had gone. Sigh.
Mister Farmer quickly gutted his kill and dumped her entrails in the forest. Then he dragged Penny’s lifeless body back home, heft her into the bed of his pick-up, and drove off to town, where Mister Butcher happily carved her to pieces (I would have said that he quartered her, but then I realized, you can’t quarter a Penny). Sad, yes. At least for Penny. But it’s not the end of the story.
You see, both Mister Farmer and Mister Butcher, along with their wives and children, ate the deer meat previously known as Penny. And many of Mister Butcher’s customers sampled the jerky he made from her as well. And thus Penny became a part of these people. And the raccoons made short work of the entrails Mr. Farmer left in the forest. And so Penny became a part of them also. And a couple of those raccoons actually ended up pooping in Mister Farmer’s apple orchard during a midnight raid on the very same day that Penny was killed. And some of that poop ended up providing nutrients to the very tree from which Penny had gotten her apple. And so, in a round-about sort of way, Penny became a part of that tree, as well.
And in time, another tree took root in the hidden meadow deep in the forest. And years later, when that tree bore fruit, other deer came and feasted there, safe from the assassin’s bullets. And Penny had a part in all of it, just as the Master Magician had planned.
And that’s kinda sorta the end of our story. Except…
What about the original apple that Penny ate, which later seeded a tree in the forest, which then grew more apples, which were then eaten by other deer, some of whom no doubt were also prone to unceremoniously pooping out apple seeds into fertile soil, some of which perhaps realized their own little seedling dreams of becoming an apple…