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The Modern Apple by Sally Kilpatrick

The Modern Apple

by Sally Kilpatrick

Sometimes the Tree of Knowledge isn’t a tree.

When I put my baby on the bus for her first day of kindergarten, two things happened. First, I wiped away an errant tear—the flood had come three years earlier when I’d put my oldest on that same bus. Then, I almost fainted dead away there on the sidewalk with the overwhelming number of possibilities for seven hours of blissful freedom.

I should clean the kitchen or tackle the ever growing mountain of laundry that was my own personal Sisyphean rock. I could be nostalgic and catch up on the long abandoned baby book of the child who’d just stepped on the bus. Maybe today was the day I’d start a new diet and exercise regimen….again. Or I could always go shopping—even grocery shopping might be blissful without repeated cries for Lucky Charms, star fruit, or any number of other things for which I didn’t have a coupon.

And then there was that other thing.

Puffing my way up the steep hill back to the cul de sac almost convinced me exercise was the answer, but I shrugged it off in favor of a cup of coffee, a legal pad, and my favorite purple pen. Such freedom required strategy. Contemplating the possibilities required a wide open space, and that’s how I settled on the back patio with coffee mug in hand and pen and pad on the glass table in front of me.

At the top of the page I wrote, “Georgia LeBeau’s Goals for the School Year.” As caffeine hummed through my veins, the ideas poured forth. Take up yoga. Watch more classic movies. Look into laser hair removal. Finish the baby book. Cut back on coffee and wine. Yeah, right.  Read more books….

            Read that book.

No, I couldn’t do it. Not with so many other things to do, so many worthy things to do. There on the edge of the patio sat a neat row of sea shells from our trip to the beach earlier that summer. I frowned. How long should it take a person to clean out some shells and find a home for them? Surely not a month and a half. I turned back to my list. Clean shells. Wash sheets once a week. Create a chore chart. Volunteer at the soup kitchen. Take care of the dry cleaning and the hand wash pile. Go to a museum. Check out books from the library every other week.

Not that they would have the book I really wanted to read. Or did I want to read it? The PTA president had blushed impishly at the mere suggestion. The English teacher next door swore it was filthy and, even worse, riddled with stylistic and grammatical errors.

Despite what curiosity had done to the cat, I couldn’t control myself any longer. I gathered my cup and my overly ambitious notepad and brought them back into the house. I needed to go outside and pick up those shells, but instead my feet carried me to the living room. With trembling fingers I picked up my eReader from the tiny table that sat between my husband’s recliner and my overstuffed chair.

No turning back.

And when the search function finally found Fifty Shades of Grey, I clicked Buy It Now.


Sally Kilpatrick is a former Spanish teacher by trade but currently works as a stay-at-home mother/writer/figurative herder of cats. A native West Tennessean, she writes Southern fiction heavily influenced by the farm and small town where she grew up. She currently resides in Marietta, GA with her husband and two children.


Now don’t tell me that ending didn’t make you smile.:)

Well, that’s our offering for 2012 (which is almost over, can you believe it?) Hope you enjoyed reading these stories. And don’t forget to comment! Today’s the last day for a chance to win one of our terrific prizes:

We’ll be posting the winners on Monday, so don’t forget to tune in then.:)


Carol Burnside - December 28, 2012 - 1:22 am

Ha! I loved it, Sally. Modern apple, indeed.

Mary Preston - December 28, 2012 - 2:46 am

I certainly did smile. Temptation comes in many forms.

Marilyn Baron - December 28, 2012 - 4:14 am

Yes, I’m smiling. I have that book sitting on the desk in my hall, waiting to be read. A friend of mine loaned it to me months ago and since then I’ve read dozens of other books, and that one remains on the table, tempting me. I may be the only one in the world who hasn’t read it yet. Thanks for the very clever story and thank you everyone who stopped by the blog in the last two weeks.

Linsey Lanier - December 28, 2012 - 10:57 am

I love this twist! Thanks for the smile, Sally. You always deliver. :)

Sally Kilpatrick - December 28, 2012 - 1:42 pm

Thanks, ladies, for stopping by and reading my little almost flash fiction piece!

Maxine - December 28, 2012 - 4:19 pm

Oh, Sally, that was great. Still smiling. Still have not read “it”. But will.

Sandra Elzie - December 30, 2012 - 12:41 pm

Hi Sally,
I’m getting so tired of saying I’m late to the party, but….. :-)

This brought back fond memories of sooooooo many years ago when I was in your heroine’s shoes.


Debbie Kaufman - December 30, 2012 - 1:21 pm

Ha! I’m even later than Sandy! So in the moment that at first I thought you were talking about putting your own child on the bus!

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