Orange in Ascension

by Martin Reed

It’s quick when it happens. Apparently it always is. Creeps up, takes hold, and the first thing you notice is pulsing. Yes, that’s how it was for me. It pulsed.

You can be doing anything. Watering the lawn, driving to work, making out, doing your tax, or like me you could be wandering lost in the Tesco fruit and veg aisle, not quite getting the point. Row upon row of products, goading you, meaningless, painfully solid.

It was the tangerines that did for me. Their orange never quite so orange as orange can be. Never so orange as now. I was standing beside the trolley, both kids in it, squabbling: I’m-sitting-at-the-front-no-I’m-sitting-at-the-front-you’re-squashing-me. And this bland orange from the tray of tangerines started to make me quite cross, unable to decide with which shade of non-orange to compromise.

Then the pulsing. And that was it.

It set me going, that lack of orange, sent me vibrating, sent me less solid, sent me roofwards.

Where are you going, daddy? shouted Roddy. He’d won his place at the front of the trolley, looking up to give me a victory grin but saw me hovering some way above the aisle.

Oh I’m just off, I called back, smiling, although I doubt it looked like a smile, probably more like a nova.

Jeannie shrieked with laughter, Daddy gone boom like a big fat orange.

But it wasn’t like an orange, almost so, but much more.

Bye bye, Daddeeeeeee.

And I was off, wondering for a moment, while I still cared, while matter still mattered, whether they’d be next, whether they’d follow at all, and then roofwards, such balled citric energy, on into this mist of everything and nothing, the fruit and veg bland, way behind, barely there.

Martin Reed is a northerner now living and writing in London; his work can be found in numerous obscure corners of the internet and in a few print anthologies; he’s learning to blog badly at

  1. #1 by Bob Clay on January 19, 2009 - 8:11 pm

    I like this, it’s a bit creepy, but it’s good.

    When I read it the second time, I could hear that repetitive voice from the film ‘Blade Runner’ ……… ‘Move on, Move on, Move on.’ … as a sort of soundtrack.

    I’m staying away from Tesco fruit stalls in future.


What did you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: