Making Lemonade

Making Lemonade

by E.E. King


You’re walking down the street
A man wearing a white Tee-shirt that says Life hands you something
It is round
It is yellow
It smells like summer
Like weddings
Like fields
Like bees
Like hot alcohol-less toddies
You miss the alcohol

You enter a department store
A man wearing a gray fedora and heavy glasses approaches
His glasses are cracked
Held together by masking tape
“What year is it?” he asks
His voice is shrill
Like the whine of a foreign mosquito
You wonder if mosquitoes have nationalities
If they are patriotic

Only the female bites
She needs blood
To make babies
To nurture her young

The males are vegetarians
Flower suckers
Fruit eaters

You tell him the year
“It’s 2015”
“It WORKED!” he says
He raises his arms in a V
Holding them wide
Holding them heavenward
As if hoping to catch a falling baby
He rushes outside
You see him buy dozens of newspapers
As if he needs them
Like protein
To feed babies
To nurture his young

You walk past a store
It reads “Just Tires”
You wonder if that means only tires, or righteous tires
You wonder if tires have souls
The Jains believe everything has a soul
Even rocks
Even tires, but not just tires
You wonder if anything has a soul
You are cynical

You are driving home
Three semis block your view
You cannot see the horizon
You cannot see the way ahead

One of the semi’s doors fly open
A million yellow fruit tumble out
Like small, oblong, cold suns
They bounce along the freeway
Squishing beneath wheels
Smelling like summer
Like weddings
Like fields
Like bees
Like hot alcohol-less toddies
You miss the alcohol

Their flesh makes the road slick
Tires screech
Not just tires
Also brakes
People shriek
In high shrill voices
Like mosquitoes

The other semis skid and slide
They weave
Like drunken behemoths
Like dancing hippos
They swerve toward each other
Doors crash open
White crystals spill out
Hard as sand
Fine as hope
Glittering like snow
Smelling like dreams
Tasting like toothache

The doors of the third semi open
Bodies cartwheel out
They rise heavenward
Up, up, up
Like seeds in the wind
Weightless as anticipation

The woman in the car ahead shrieks
Her voice is shrill
The high-pitched whine of a Southern mosquito
She raises her arms in a V
Holding them wide
Holding them heavenward
As if expecting to catch a falling baby
She lets go the steering wheel
“Jesus, don’t leave me,” she squeals
“Jesus, take me too!”
She opens her door and throws herself sideways
Out of the car
Somersaulting onto the road
She does not bounce like the lemons
She does not scatter like the sugar
She does not float like the bodies that are still rising
Up, up, up
Drifting away like balloons

They are flawless
These floating bodies
Their mouths are wide-open
In a silent scream

The road is slick
With yellow pulp
White sparkles
Red blood

You watch,
Hoping you’ll see a soul rise
In the West
Like an omen
The world is not finished yet

E.E. King is a biologist, writer, actress and artist. She’s worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain, planted butterfly gardens in South Central Los Angeles and lectured on cruise ships. She’s an avid scuba diver.

Ray Bradbury called E.E. King a writer “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I cannot recommend her work highly enough.” Her books are Dirk Snigby’s Guide to the Afterlife, Real Conversations With Imaginary Friends and Another Happy Ending, and children’s The Adventures of Emily Finfeather.

Check out art and books and butterflies at

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