The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

Apples & Ripov/1
by Albert Russo

Ripov lived in a shoddy tenement house which faced the I.O.U. Insurance building, a sparkling curvilinear structure whose bronze-hued mirrors greedily absorbed the daylight.

Every morning after he'd opened the curtains, Ripov would stare at the building with ecstatic eyes. Not exactly a pariah, Ripov limited his diet to four meals a week. By his demeanor and by the way he dressed, no one would suspect his actual social status. And he would not have had it otherwise. He would do a few odd jobs occasionally, and then just to cover his modest needs. The rent of his mousehole did not amount to much, and, though he did not eat like most people, Ripov knew his body's requirements almost to the calorie.

Tall, well-groomed, and quite handsome, Ripov fit the description of the aggressive young executive that a success-oriented society so avidly feeds on. Ripov held no bank account, no insurance policy, nor for that matter did he abide by the rigid laws of consumerism. And yet he always managed to remain within the confines of legality. A feat he could only be proud of inasmuch as he was spared the qualms of the Internal Revenue. They couldn't claim anything from him: he was penniless. On the other hand, Ripov was endowed with an iron constitution. But how happy or unhappy was he? That he kept a tightly sealed secret. But one thing Ripov couldn't resist was apples, and I.O.U.'s trademark was a Golden Delicious surmounted by a Granny Smith.

One afternoon Ripov decided he would go and inquire about the sign. There were half-a-dozen people waiting in the lobby ... and a basketful of apples at each side of the entrance. Two businessmen and a young lady were leafing through magazines while nonchalantly munching on an apple. Ripov swallowed several times before he approached the basket containing the Golden Delicious. As he was about to select one, a doubt arose in his mind and instantly glued his lips together. He eyed the Granny Smiths at the left of the entrance. The receptionist, meanwhile, juggled the intercom and two telephone receivers, passing on messages and announcing visitors.