Pascal’s Banana

“No… I’m going to go home and try to talk some sense into her.” Then he laughed. “I’ll whip out my powerful burrito and convert her back.”

close up photo of golden banana
Photo by cottonbro studio on

I was hanging with my friend the glass guy at the ice cream parlor in a place called Fordham, Kansas. It was a flat and yellow place, lots of golden grains and things like that. There was a cereal factory on the outskirts of town.

The parlor was quiet because it was the middle of the afternoon, and Pascal was sad. He told me he just found out his wife was now into women. She had told him everything.

He started to cry while dipping a silver spoon into his banana split. It made me uncomfortable as I licked at a mint chocolate chip ice cream cone. I asked if it was maybe more than that. He said he had been working way too much, working on windshields. Pascal complained that the company made him wear a uniform and smile… “And for what? So my wife can discover new longings.”

He told me that she confessed of being tired of always sitting at home alone waiting for him while he worked. Then a friend of hers encouraged her to go out. They got lubricated with liquor during a luncheon, drove home, and tumbled in the sheets while poor Pascal was working on someone’s newly cracked windshield in the woods. Pascal said it was a crazy older couple who were out looking for Bigfoot. They hadn’t seen him but blamed him for the crack. “He’s a lot smarter than most people think,” the man had said. “He’s got a gift for mischief, too.”

Pascal set the spoon aside and pushed his banana split away. “I’m so upset, I can’t even enjoy this,” he said. “What am I going to do? She wants a divorce.”

I bit into the top rim of my sugar cone. “Give her one,” I said. “And maybe you should take what’s left of that banana split, take it home and throw it in her face.”

Pascal looked at me like that was a seriously dumb idea.

“That’s not going to solve anything, man.”

“It might make you feel better,” I tried to convince him.

He dragged the banana split back in front of him and continued to eat it. He was really cutting into it and spooning it into his face like an abominable snowman. I pushed the end tip of my ice cream cone into my mouth and wiped my hands with a paper napkin that was far too thin. I drank a cool glass of water. I don’t know why, but cool water is always so good after ice cream.

Now Pascal had the banana split boat in two hands and he held it up to his face and was licking it all over. “This is what she was doing,” he said through the sloppiness. “To another woman.” He continued to lick the banana split boat until it was all nice and sparkling clean. He set it down with a rattly thump on the small table in the booth where we sat.

“Pascal, my friend,” I said. “That’s a bit much, don’t you think?”

“What… Do I disgust you or something? Do I disgust you like I must disgust my wife!?”

“Pascal, come on. Settle down, man. It will be okay.”

“How the hell do you know how everything will be!? I feel like my life is over.”

I tried to think of something to say that would hopefully cheer my friend up, but all I saw was him sliding deeper into despair. “You still have your job.”

Pascal scoffed and rolled his charcoal eyes at me. “My job? Yeah, great. I’m tired of people coming to me all freaked out and losing their shit because they have a tiny little chip in their windshield. They act like if they drive any further the whole thing will just come crashing in and kill them.”

“But I thought you enjoyed smiling and waving goodbye to your satisfied customers after a job well done.”

Pascal looked around before he spoke. “Can I tell you something?”


“I don’t really feel that way. I mean, inside my true self, down here in my rotting guts… I just want to scream and run and jump off a cliff.”

“I had no idea you were so down.”

“Yeah… I’m what they call melancholy. I’m not the sparkling, happy soul I pretend to be.”

“Maybe you need to talk to someone,” I said. “Like a professional.”

“A professional what?”

“You know. A counselor or someone like that.”

Pascal made a negative sound with is mouth and waved his hand in the air. “Not for me. I don’t like talking to strangers. I’ll deal with this myself.”

The waitress in the pink and white uniform came to the table and set down the check. I snatched it up, looked it over quickly, and handed her some cash. “Thanks.” She smiled and stepped away without saying a word.

Pascal started to climb out of the booth. “What are you going to do now?” I asked him. “Wanna go see a movie?”

“No… I’m going to go home and try to talk some sense into her.” Then he laughed. “I’ll whip out my powerful burrito and convert her back.”

I grimaced at that thought. “All right. Call me later if you want.”

“I will.”

We stood near each other and embraced like men do, with a quick hug, our heads to the side, and a few hard slaps on the back.  

Then he looked me dead in the eye. “Hey. If you ever get a crack in your windshield… Promise me you’ll take it somewhere else to get fixed. I don’t think I could deal with it. You know, with you knowing what you know about me.”

“Okay,” I said. “I promise.”

He attempted a smile, clamped a hand on my shoulder for a moment, and then walked out of the ice cream parlor and into the bleached golden light. I didn’t know it then, but it was the last time I ever saw him.


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