Tuesday, October 13, 2015


by nick nelson

illustrated by konrad kraus

editorial consultant: Prof. Dan Leo

the apple in the window was the reddest johnny had ever seen.

he looked around. the street was dark and deserted.

he didn’t even like apples.

but the apple looked like it was laughing at him.

johnny didn’t like being laughed at.

it was late, but there was no sign in the window saying “closed.”

there was none saying “open” either, or anything showing the store’s hours.

he turned the handle of the door. it gave - the door was open and he could enter if he wanted to.

suddenly johnny realized he was alone - not only in the street but in the whole city.

the city had been declared a “free” zone.

the bombs would start falling any minute.

johnny took his hand off the door and started to walk away, toward the outskirts of town.

a few raindrops fell.

would they bomb the city if was raining? he didn’t know.

and then he remembered.

in the free city, when the bombs started to fall, he would meet a dame.

and she would show him the way.

she would help him escape.

they would start a new life together.

or maybe not. he was not sure about that part.

he retraced his steps to the store with the apple in the window.

when he got back the apple was no longer in the window.

he opened the door.

he did not see anybody in the store.

it was just a store that sold newspapers, lottery tickets, candy, soft drinks, packages of ramen noodles, and cans of spam and vienna sausages.

no apples. or bananas or grapes or watermelons either.

there was a green door in the back, beside the softly humming refrigerated display case of soft drinks.

the door opened.

the dame came out. she was carrying a suitcase and had a handbag slung over her shoulder that was as big as the suitcase.

she was even more beautiful than he remembered.

“what took you so long?” the dame asked johnny.

“i got confused,” johnny answered. “but it is starting to rain, we have plenty of time.”

she reached into her pocket. johnny figured it was for the apple.

it was the last thing he remembered.


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