Ben Fitts

Raspberry Heart

“You know, I wasn’t always a raspberry,” said the raspberry.

“That makes sense,” Mr. Dudley said, glancing up from my notes. “You would’ve had to have been a flower before you could be a berry.”

“No, no, no,” sighed the raspberry. “I was actually never a flower at all.”

“So you just came into existence as a fully formed raspberry?” Mr. Dudley questioned.

“Nope, not that either. I used to be a person, then one morning I took a shower. I walked into the shower a good looking thirty-three-year-old woman with legs for days, and I walked out a raspberry.”

“What happened in the shower?” he asked.

The raspberry shrugged the best it could without having any arms, causing the shoulders of its tiny grey suit jacket to shift slightly.

“I couldn’t tell you,” said the raspberry. “It’s honestly kind of a blur.”

Mr. Dudley made a note on his clipboard. The raspberry had no face, which made its emotions hard to read, but he still got the sense that it felt concerned whenever he scratched another note onto the page.

“All that I’m saying is that I’m more than a raspberry. I used to be a human, and I have all the qualifications that come with being a human. I have a B.A. in Economics from Sarah Lawrence College and a Masters of Business from Georgetown McDonough. I have over a decade of experience in the private sector.”

“Is that information not on your resume?” he asked, lifting the resume off my desk for further inspection.

“No it is,” said the raspberry. “It’s just that you haven’t asked about, or even mentioned anything on my resume even once. All you’ve done is ask me about being a raspberry!”

“Because that’s more interesting,” Mr. Dudley said. “Everyone who has ever interviewed for a job at this firm has brought a resume. They’ve all had degrees and previous work experience and qualifications and all that nonsense. But you’re the first candidate I have ever interviewed who is a raspberry.”

“But I’m more than just a raspberry!” cried the raspberry with such fervor that it wobbled a little bit.

The raspberry was too small to sit on the chair usually reserved for interviews and still be seen, so it had set itself on my desk by Mr. Dudley’s big computer. He was nervous watching it wobble, afraid it would fall over and mash itself against his keyboard. That could make his fingers sticky after typing for about a week.

“Ask me about the seven years I worked as head of marketing for Kington Pharmaceutical Supplies,” insisted the raspberry. “That’s actually relevant to this position.”

“Being a raspberry, do you still have to eat?” he asked.

“What?”

“Do you still have to eat?” he repeated. “You appear to still be alive, in a way. In your raspbitic state, do you still require the intake of nutrients in order to maintain your existence?”

The raspberry sat in silence.

“And if you do need to eat, can you just chew off a little bit of yourself?” Mr. Dudley added as an afterthought. “If you were to eat a small amount of yourself, would it grow back?”

“I don’t have a mouth,” grumbled raspberry after a pause. Mr. Dudley guessed that counted as an answer.

“How is that you’re even talking to me? It’s not like you have a throat and vocal cords?” he asked after a moment of further consideration. “Or do you?”

“No, I don’t have vocal cords. I’m a goddamn raspberry,” said the raspberry.

“How are you vocalizing then? You don’t have a mouth that’s opening and closing to form syllables, or at least not one that I can see. Yet you manage to communicate to me in clear, articulate English at an audible volume with a distinct, pleasantly feminine lilt to your voice. How is any of this possible?”

The raspberry trembled and it turned an even brighter red than it was before.

“I don’t know!” it shrieked. “I don’t even know what happened to me! I was enjoying a perfectly nice, calm Sunday morning an ordinary human being, and then I somehow I became a motherfucking raspberry! I don’t know how this shit works! I’m just trying to live my life as normally as I can, regardless of whether or not I’m a raspberry!”

Mr. Dudley lowered his clipboard and looked at the raspberry, his hazel eyes big and mournful.

“You’ve been through so much,” he sympathized. “I’ve never previously considered the struggles a raspberry might face in modern society, especially if the raspberry was once a person used to enjoying the perks of human privilege.”

“A good looking human with legs for days,” sniffled the raspberry.

“Yet you still come here and apply for a high-paying position at a prestigious marketing firm,” he continued. “You haven’t given up on life, despite that fact you are destined to live the rest of yours as a raspberry. I admire that. In fact, I might go as far as calling it inspiring.”

“Does that mean I have the job?” asked the raspberry, its voice quivering with hope.

“No,” Mr. Dudley said. “I’m afraid I can’t get over the fact that you are a raspberry. Every time I would see you in your cubicle, I won’t see my new head of marketing. I’ll just see a raspberry in a tiny pantsuit. It’s nothing personal. It can’t be, because you’re not even a person.”

The raspberry emitted a pained, gargled sound. Then it exploded. Chunks of raspberry and tiny fabric rained across Mr. Dudley’s desk.

“I guess I broke its tiny, raspberry heart,” he said, surveying the carnage.

Mr. Dudley pulled a Ziploc bag out of the mini fridge by the side of his desk and withdrew a turkey sandwich that he had been saving for lunch and a fork. He lifted off the top piece of bread and scraped the remains of the raspberry onto the lettuce and turkey and tomato.

He had felt like something was missing when he had made that sandwich that morning, but at that moment he had known what it was.

His sandwich needed a little raspberry.

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