“Pecan” by Shome Dasgupta

Pepper stood in the middle of a field. She wore a yellow dress. Short. I looked at her thighs.

Why are you so pretty, I said.

Pepper wasn’t paying attention to me. Her hands were behind her head, like she was being arrested. She was coughing. I patted her on the back. She slapped me in the face.

Don’t touch me, Pepper said.

She took off her dress, and in her underwear, she stuck one of her hands inside of her. She told me to take off my clothes. I did. Then, I was inside of her.

Do you think we can be friends, I said.

Pepper slapped me and said, Never.

Pepper didn’t have any friends. She lived alone. Her brother, Robert, was the only person she talked to, apart from me.

How come, I said.

You’re no good, Pepper said.

How come, I said.

Because you’re here with me, she said.

I said, But I want to be here with you.

That’s not good, Pepper said.

What’s good, I said.

Let’s get some sno-cones, Pepper said.

In her truck, Pepper was still naked.

Shouldn’t you put on some clothes, I said.

Don’t feel like wearing clothes today, she said. She said, Feeling suffocated.

At the sno-cone stand, I got a spearmint one and Pepper got a strawberry one. She stayed in the truck. We ate them in the parking lot. I got one for Barn, too.

I should get this to Barn, I said.

It was a coconut flavored one.

We went to my house. My brother was in the tree. I could only see his legs–the other branches hid the rest of his body.

Barn, I said, coconut.

Pepper was in the front yard, too, still naked, with her hands on her hips. Ma came out the door.

Pepper, she said, where are you clothes.

It’s hot, Pepper said. I don’t want any today.

The mailman came by our house and stared at Pepper. He dropped all of our envelopes onto the street and drove off, almost hitting the Stop sign at the corner of the street.

Ma said, you’re causing trouble Pepper. She said, come inside and get something to eat. I got a pecan pie brewing.

Barn, I said, coconut.

A t-shirt fell from the tree. Then shoes. Then socks.

I said, Keep your clothes on, Barn.

His pants fell to the ground, and then his underwear.

Barn, I said, the bark is going to scratch your skin. I said, coconut.

My brother climbed down the tree and tripped over one of the roots. He got back up and put his hands on his waist. Pepper scratched her arm. Barn scratched his arm. Pepper scratched her leg. Barn scratched her leg. Barn started running and tapped Pepper on the hip, and continued to run–in circles in the front yard.

Tag, Pepper said.

She chased Barn around the yard and tapped him on the back.

You’re it, Pepper said.

Barn turned around and started chasing Pepper. I went inside the house with Ma. She pulled out the pie from the oven and cut a slice for me. Pecan. I put some vanilla ice cream on top and watched it melt into the pecan sap.

Pepper, Ma said, she’s something.

I said, This is good pie.

She’s a wild one, Ma said.

The vanilla makes my tongue tingle, I said.

Maybe she can get Barn to talk again, Ma said.

I said, Pecan.

Pepper and Barn walked in, covered in grass and bites.

Pepper said, We fell into an ant pile.

Wash it off, Ma said.

Barn was trying to scratch his back but he couldn’t reach. Pepper told Barn to go wash off first. She came up to the kitchen table and looked at the pie. I gave her a bit. She closed her eyes as she chewed.

More fiction at Used Furniture.



  1. That was beautiful Shome, hauntingly beautiful.

  2. I love me some Pepper

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