Share this post!

Last Modified: June 13, 2023
Feature Image for May 2023 Sunday Short: Sunday Shorts is written in a light blue text on a yellow background. To the left of the text is the book cover for “Sweet Bananas” by Jack Pendarvis.
Sweet Bananas, Jack Pendarvis

May’s Sunday Short is an extract from Jack Pendarvis’s novel, Sweet Bananas, published in a signed limited edition available from Hingston & Olsen. Sweet Bananas is ordinary yet ambitious, hilarious yet tender—and one of the truest love stories you’ll ever read.


“Why am I so shallow today?” said Boris.

“Today?” said Clementine.


“I wonder why they moved the fire station,” said Boris.

There was a long pause. Clementine didn’t answer.

“No thoughts?” said Boris.

Clementine laughed and kept driving. It was late and the streets were empty.

They came to their driveway. Clementine pulled in.

“Oh! We didn’t turn the porch light on. What a bunch of dummies,” said Boris. “Home sweet home,” he said.

Clementine turned off the engine.

“You’re a real chatterbox tonight,” said Boris.


“I was just looking up the guy who played the blind painter,” said Boris. “When he was nine he was tried for attempted murder!”

“What!” said Clementine.

“He shot the man who ran over his dog.”

“Wow!” said Clementine. “Obviously this movie had some effect on us. We keep thinking about it.”


“You know what restaurant I always forget is Volta,” said Boris.

“Yes, I enjoyed my meal,” said Clementine.

“I wouldn’t call it a meal,” said Boris.

“It was a meal!” said Clementine.

“Jesus, calm down!” said Boris.


Clementine and Boris were seated across from each other in a restaurant booth. They eavesdropped on someone at the bar who didn’t want any spices on her food, not even salt or pepper. Clementine tried talking Boris into making a doctor’s appointment. She listed his different symptoms.

“Don’t forget my moles!” he said.

“I worry about you,” said Clementine. “I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“Eh,” said Boris.

“No eh!” said Clementine.

“Just put me in a boat and push me out,” said Boris. “Burning branches…”

“We buried my dad in the woods,” said Clementine. “So I don’t want a…”

“Wow, you just went really dark,” said Boris.

“What was yours, a merry carnival?” said Clementine.


“What time is it?” said Clementine.

“Who cares?” said Boris. “I’m going to say one-fifteen.” He turned on the television. The clock on the screen said 1:13. “So close. I’m a genius!” said Boris.

“Is that what it is?” said Clementine.


Clementine was in bed, watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Worf was accused of a crime and Picard was coming to the rescue. Boris stopped in the doorway on his way down the hall from the living room.

“For some reason I’m watching that whole movie where they shoot Jodie Foster into space,” he said.

“I didn’t know there was one,” said Clementine.

“I don’t think you find out they shoot her into space until the end. Contact. I think they shoot her into space.”

“The one with Matthew McConaughey?” said Clementine.

“Yeah,” said Boris. “And…” But he couldn’t think of any of the other people.

“The way I remember it, it was really slow-paced,” said Clementine.

“Yep. I’m just blanking out and watching it.”

“Nothing wrong with that,” said Clementine.


Clementine peeled potatoes. Boris was on the phone, singing “God Bless America” to his mother.

He hung up.

“I’ve never been so proud, seeing you standing there singing that with your big pee stain,” said Clementine.


Clementine and Boris were watching a movie.

“I knew something was going to happen with that poison,” said Boris.

“Yes, very Victorian,” said Clementine. “Like when Lizzie Borden bought the arsenic for her sealskin cape.”

“Why did she need arsenic for her sealskin cape?”

“To clean it, somehow. And she told a neighbor that someone was trying to poison the family.”

“But you don’t think she did it?” said Boris.

“I just don’t think she could have done it!” said Clementine. “First of all, getting rid of all those objects when she never left the premises.”

“What objects?” said Boris.

“The axe, for one,” said Clementine.

“They never found the axe?” said Boris. “I didn’t know that.”

“They found some things, but never conclusively the actual ones.”


Clementine was stressed out about her job. Boris was stressed out about his job. Clementine came into Boris’s office and sat down. Boris responded grumpily.

“Does my very presence…?” said Clementine.

“Your very presence is wonderful,” said Boris. “I just got off the phone with…”

“He’s a weasel,” said Clementine.

“He’s weaselly. He’s just…” Boris tried to hem and haw some nonsense words to express what this guy sounded like on the phone. Then he clicked on an email from their friend Kent, an actor who was filming a movie. Boris laughed. “Kent’s in this big fight scene and he’s yelling and it’s really intense and his… man-boobs are jiggling so much they have to tape them down! It was distracting everybody!”

That made Boris and Clementine feel better.

“What are you doing?” Clementine said to the cat.

“He hears something, a crackling sound,” said Boris. “I hear it too.”

“Don’t forget to get your anxiety medicine refilled.”

“I was thinking of doing that today, but…”

“I realized Dr. Gispin gave me, like, a year’s supply of mine.”

“Don’t take it all at once.”

“Oh, I’m not! I had my first nightmare about my job last night.”

“I’m surprised.”

“Yeah, I’ve only had them a few times before. When I worked at Murphy’s for one.”

“No, I mean I’m surprised you haven’t had one sooner!”


“I had another horrible nightmare,” said Clementine. “This one featured me and you.”

“Yeah?” said Boris.

“For some reason we were in a semi truck, and you were driving.”

“That’s already a nightmare.”

“We were parked on a steep incline and you put it into gear. But instead of first gear, instead of putting it into first, you put it in reverse, and we started speeding backwards down a hill…”

“Oh, good. That’s not symbolic at all.”

“We were accelerating down this hill that ended in, like, a cliff.”


Clementine and Boris lay side by side.

“Huge routs of people did about them band,” Boris read aloud from The Faerie Queene, “shouting for joy, and still before their way a foggy mist had covered all the land; and underneath their feet all scattered lay dead skulls and bones of men, whose life had gone astray.”

“A little light reading before bed,” said Clementine.


Jack Pendarvis headshot. Jack Pendarvis lives in Oxford, Mississippi. He has written two novels, three story collections, a poetry chapbook, and a nonfiction book about cigarette lighters.

Book Cover for Sweet Bananas by Jack Pendarvis

Sweet Bananas 

Jake Pendarvis

Published: Hingston & Olsen Publishing
ISBN: 9781777185527