Going bananas

Ronny bubbled with excitement, “Look, guys, it’s a brand new act. It’ll knock them dead at the show trials next week.”

Greta and Paul were less enthusiastic. This was the third time Ronny was trying out for the amateur night at the Comedy Club, his previous two attempts had sunk miserably. After the first attempt, the two of them had consoled him alarmed at the possibility that Ronnie would face depression.

Ronnie did not face depression. By the time he was ready for his second act, both his friends secretly wished he had. At least it would have prevented the phenomenal mess of the second attempt not to mention the two dozen rehearsals and revisions they had to witness where they did their best to drop subtle hints that Ronnie should perhaps delay his debut. But as the weeks past, they felt it became harder and harder to tell him just how unfunny act fundamentally was.

For this latest attempt, they could only muster uncomfortable smiles.

“Now, to start, I need a char and a table and a phone. The old fashioned type you know and a fruit basket next to it. Now Paul, you provide the sound effects.”

“What do I have to do?”

“Just ring when I give you the signal.”

“OK”

“Now, I start, sitting here, just pretending to read a newspaper and … ” Ronnie raised his hand to Paul.

“Ring …. Ring” said Paul.

Ronnie continued to read the paper. After three seconds, he turned to Paul, “well?”

“What?” asked Paul.

“Why aren’t you ringing?”

“I did but you aren’t answering.” Paul protested.

“Of course I don’t answer it, the script demands that the phone ring at least four times before I answer it. Otherwise the audience won’t feel I was preoccupied with the paper.”

Paul looked at Greta who rolled her eyes.

“OK, we’ll try it again then.” Snapped Ronnie.

“Oh all right then! Ring … ring … ring … bloody ring!” said Paul.

Ronnie reached out his hand from behind the paper and searched for the phone receiver. He cried out, “Keep ringing, I haven’t found it yet.”

“Ring … Ring” said Paul.

His hand found a banana in the fruit basket. He picked it up and put it to his ear.

“Hello?” asked Ronnie.

“Ring … Ring” said Paul.

“Hello, is anyone there?” shouted Ronnie into the banana.

A faint whispering voice came into Ronnie’s ear, Hello? Who is this?

“What?” Ronnie pulled the banana away from his ear and looked at it in shock.

“Ring … Ring” said Paul.

Ronnie put the banana back to his ear and in a trembling voice asked. “Hello … is anyone there?”

Yes? Who are you? Do I know you?

“I am Ronnie Majors. Er… who is this? ” asked Ronnie.

Ronnie Majors? What a curious name. I am Yellow Stripe. What are you?

“Ring … Ring” said Paul.

“What do you mean what am I? I am Ronnie” said Ronnie.

Never heard of a Ronnie before. I am a Musa Acuminata.

Ronnie recoiled in shock. “Greta, listen to this!”

“Ring … Ring” said Paul.

Greta who had been growing increasingly anxious at the thought of another debacle replied, “Er… sure Ronnie. But I am not sure if audience participation will be possible in the trials.”

Ronnie looked confused, “Audience participation? Oh no no no. Forget all that. This isn’t in the act.”

“Ring … what? You mean I’ve been going on for nothing” said Paul.

“Oh forget that now. Here Greta, put this to your ear.”

Cautiously, Greta took the fruit and placed it to her ear. “What am I supposed to hear?”

“Well, try talking to it” Said Ronnie.

Greta’s eyes were wide. She spoke very carefully, “You want me to talk to the banana?”

“Just say something.”

Greta took a breath, “Hello? Hello?”

“Well, what did it say?” asked Ronnie.

“Nothing. What was it supposed to say?”

“I don’t know, I didn’t plan this thing. Look maybe you are holding it upside down, try turning it over.”

Greta turned it over, “Hello? Is there anyone there?”

Ronnie looked exasperated, “Look, I don’t know how it started. Maybe if Paul starts ringing again.”

Greta was tired of this. “For goodness sake Ronnie, its just a banana. Look, I can eat it.”

“Don’t touch that banana!” Ronnie lunged at her. Paul stepped in between. He carefully took the banana from Greta. He spoke slowly and carefully.

“It’s all right Ronnie. Nobody is going to eat your banana. Lets just leave it back where it was, shall we.” He took the banan from Greta and placed it in the bowl.

“You two think I’ve gone crazy.” Cried Ronnie.

Greta stepped forward, “Oh no Ronnie, but this strain must be getting to you. We know how much this act means to you and after last time …”

“What about last time?”

“Nothing … nothing. We just think the pressure must be very tiring for you. Why don’t we go out and get a nice cup of tea. The bowl will be here when we get back.” She took Ronnie’s arm. Paul took the other.

“I think that’s a splendid idea. Lets just get some tea and talk things over.” Answered Paul

Ronnie looked at them. “I don’t know what to think. Look are you sure you didn’t hear anything?”

“Quite sure. Now don’t think about it. We’ll just have a cup of tea and the whole thing will pass over.”

They stepped out of the room.

 

Chemical signals passed furiously in the bowl. Hello? Hello? Is anybody there?

Is that you, Yellow Stripe? Its me, Red Round. What’s the matter?

Thank goodness you are there. I thought I was going mad. What kind of a fruit is a Ronnie?

A Ronnie, never heard of that.

Its just that when that great ape picked me up, I could swear it was signalling me.

Don’t be daft. You know they can’t signal. Nothing beyond fear and lust anyway.

I know that Red Round, but I swear it was trying to communicate with me.

Yellow Stripe if you don’t stop talking like that this instant, the pears will think you’ve started to rot. And you don’t want that do you? So we’ll hear nothing more about your daydreams now.

I understand.

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