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Woman in a Man’s Game

By Robin Brox
File photo

I decided to check out Pineapple City.

I chartered a plane over some stupid forest and came down in the Eastern city of Arbisonia.  There was a driver waiting for me with a handwritten sign that said BOX.  I didn’t make a big deal of it.

“You gonna’ drive me all the way out to Pineapple City?” I asked.

“Yeah.  Two hours.”  He didn’t turn around.

I dumped a big bag of pills and a six-pack on the seat.  “I’m gonna’ make a time of it, then.”

“Suits me.”  He put on some terrible music without asking.

It seemed like the next thing that happened was that we were pulling into a gas station.  The driver nudged me awake.  “That’s Pineapple City up there,” he said, pointing east.  I seemed to have a vague memory of the driver stopping for a long period of time, then a milk crate being dumped beside me.  It seemed to contain long plastic containers full of some sort of green substance.  I recall the driver on a cell phone.  “Yeah, I got a big box for ya.  It’s finely-ground and nonmagnetic and you can layer it to create a natural realistic scene.”  There was a pause.  “Nah, it’s foolproof.  And they only had the putty in the pints.”  Another pause.  “IN THE PINTS.  Yeah, that’s bullshit.”  The rest of the ride was a blur.

The driver didn’t seemed interested in taking me into town.  He sat down on a bench and smoked a cigarette, started chatting up some guy in overalls.  I got my suitcase out of the trunk and walked down the old Interstate.  There were only a few wood frame buildings here, raw and weather-beaten.  Then I saw the sign.  “PINEAPPLE CITY”.  A little hippie was standing there was his shirt off.

“Are you Miss Box?” he asked, excitedly.  He extended his hand.  It was calloused and bony.  That’d be alright.  He showed me to my room– just a pile of boards and a single bed with a handmade quilt on it.  “You make that quilt?” I asked jokingly.  “Yes, I assisted,” he answered proudly.  “All chores are shared here in Pineapple City.  There are no pre-assumed gender rules.  Men make quilts, women fix cars, everything is equal.  Every morning, we all gather in the grains…”

I stopped him.
“You put ’em in a sack?”
He seemed confused.  “Yes, we have sacks.”
“And then you empty your sacks?”  I snickered.
“I don’t understand.”
“Skip it.  What the Christ is for dinner?”
“Come.  I’ll show you the dining hall.”
“Nah, fuck that,” I said, suddenly annoyed. “Order me a pizza. Meat Enthusiasts with extra cheese.”
“Oh, Miss Box, we don’t…there is no meat here and we don’t order, well, we don’t order any town food.”

I got the next bus out of there.

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