On a day much like any other, the bananafish swam the seas. The sun was hot, the waters were cold and the wind blew perfect waves across the surface of the ocean. Amongst these waves surfed holidaying humans talking about books and home, and beneath them swam unimpressed fish talking about bananas and caves. The humans looked rather peculiar to the fish, floating along the roof of their home, bobbing between the waves. All but a glance was the height of their interest though, as the three bananafish continued to swim lethargically along with the current.
“How many bananas do you need Sharon?”
“Enough to survive Joe,” said Christopher on behalf of her. She had six bananas in her mouth.
“We already have loads in the cave. You’re always hungry, you two.”
Unable to talk, Sharon simply rolled her eyes. She wasn’t actually eating the bananas, for a fish’s mouth was the only means of transportation they had for their food. But it was then that she almost choked on them, as an arm, with what looked like five little worms on the end, darted through the water and pointed at her. The three fish darted away themselves, ignoring the muffled murmurs coming from the surface. As it was a regular occurrence in their so called ‘home’, this did not bother them greatly. But they were beginning to feel like they were being forced to hide. For days, sometimes weeks on end, the bananafish were reclusive in their own caves. Trapped in their own homes. Nothing in particular had ever happened to any one of them, but they were the kind of creature that was not prepared to take a chance. So, on the rarity that the bananafish did leave their cave, they left in numbers and carried back the bananas in numbers on their return.
“This should be enough for a few days at least” said Christopher.
“Yeah. All the people come out at this time of year, we can’t be greedy. Make them last boys” Sharon insisted.
Joe contributed to the conversation. “I’m bored.”
Sharon and Christopher looked around at him, and then at each other in perfect synchronisation.
“I want to go out and play.”
“You’re not a child anymore Joe. Didn’t you just see what happened out there? It’s too dangerous, you’re staying here. Besides, I’m hungry.”
What Sharon said always stood.
“These bananas are good for you. You ought to eat more of them.”
“After I eat them, can we go and play?” Joe persisted.
“Maybe. We’ll see.”
“It’s getting to that time of year though, we might be best staying here for a while,” whispered Christopher, “we have enough food. Don’t you think?”
“I’ll check it out once we’ve eaten. “
The three fish slowly made their way over to the pile of bananas Sharon had recently added to. With the exception of Joe, they tucked in in silence, eating them whole as a snake would eat a mouse. While Sharon and Christopher were solely focused on the feast before them, Joe’s eyes were active as ever. They shot about the cave with only the expressed intention of keeping his head busy.
“Why doesn’t he eat?” pondered Christopher.
“I don’t know. It’s starting to worry me now. One banana a day isn’t enough for any growing bananafish.
“We’ve asked him, and we’ve told him, hell, we’ve even forced him to eat more. What else can we do?”
“There’s nothing more we can do. I guess it just means more food for us.”
Sharon stopped and looked around for Joe.
“Hey Joe,” she shouted across the cave, “if you don’t eat these bananas, we will!”
As usual, he was in his own world and failed to even acknowledge what Sharon had said. She looked at Christopher, who shrugged his fins and said “tuck in”.
The corner pile of bananas in front of them was massive but the bananas themselves were quite small, and seeing as though these fish were a small breed, they could really only eat one at a time. This didn’t stop Sharon and Christopher racing each other towards indigestion though.
Making every mouthful as big as it could be, they ate and ate, only pausing to breathe. Joe was uninterested and therefore unaware as to whether they were saving him any food or not. There was always later. Meanwhile, he was still wondering around the cave with a curious state of mind. There was nothing he hadn’t seen before, but after all, he was a fish. Aimlessly, he drifted out of the cave door and into the open ocean. The humans that had startled the fish five minutes earlier were elsewhere and so the visible surface now seemed empty. So too did the ocean itself. Joe stopped for a second or two to scan the vast seascape, and then went on his way. He knew where he was going but not where he wanted to go, as he rarely did. The same dull stones and pebbles surrounded the cave. Stretches of sand swept the ocean floor beyond these stones, and the waters grew dark and mysterious. Nevertheless, Joe swam around sticking to what he knows, looking for someone to talk to. He didn’t have to look very far, as a fish almost twice the size of him swam right in front of his eyes.
“Hello,” said Joe.
There was no response.
Unimpressed by his ignorance, Joe caught up to the fish and cut his path short.
“Hello,” he said again, cheerfully.
“What?” was the grunted reply.
“I’m a bananafish.
“Are you a bananafish?”
“No, I’m just a fish.”
“Where are you going? Why are you by yourself?”
“Why are you by yourself?”
“I’m not, I live in that cave with my friends, Sharon and Christopher. They’re in there now. Where are you going?”
“I’m not going anywhere, and I’m by myself because I have no other choice. Now go and see your friends.”
“Why are you here if you’re not going anywhere then?”
“Just go back to your cave.”
“But I don’t…want to yet……they’re eating…”
Joe trailed off to a whimper as the big fish swam away. The disheartened bananafish watched him swim beyond the stones and into the mystery. He turned 180 degrees and swam slowly from the edge of the stones back to the cave. Before he got there, he shouted Sharon.
“Can we go and play now pleeeease?”
They were probably still busy eating, he thought. But when he rounded the corner into his home, he found it to be empty. All that remained were three small, delicious bananas.
An adaptation of J.D. Salinger’s ‘A Perfect Day For Bananafish’, written from the point of view of the bananafish themselves.
Joe, the youngest of the bananafish, is an easily distracted quizzical being who lives with his two older friends, Sharon and Christopher. As perusual, he is harassed about his eating habits, and as perusual he ignores it. But he soon finds it to be not such A Perfect Day For Bananafish…