by William C. Blome
When rather late in the day Quincy got in the peach orchard by crawling under the surrounding chain-link fence, he made a quick calculation that if he again used his skull cap for a sack, he could jam maybe eight or nine peaches in it before it would hold no more and probably break apart at the seams. Quincy guessed most folks would reason the same way, though he conceded that might not be the case if they knew that last week, he had used the cap to bag pears, and in that orchard (not far from here), he’d overstretched his cap to the point where the seams were now really weak and ready to break.
And sure enough, Quincy’s skull cap split apart as the fifth peach was being stuffed in, and all the stolen peaches fell and went rolling in the tall grass. More importantly, when Quincy bent down to pocket at least a couple of the peaches, he was bitten by a black snake. He became so enraged he kept trying and trying to catch the snake and kill it, though it was soon obvious he wouldn’t be able to, and by the time he gave up on his fruitless scurry about the orchard, he’d come to admit this permanent failure.
But now darkness enveloped everything, and Quincy had no idea where the space under the fence was for him to crawl out and go home. As he laid down sad and tired and propped against a tree, he began to wonder if sleep was a good idea; that is, Quincy couldn’t help but ponder if the black snake in hiding might not be interested in taking a second bite of the apple, so to speak.
***William C. Blome writes short fiction and poetry. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as The Alembic, Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.***