FRIDAY FICTION with RONOVAN – #8 Boab – Critique Gratefully Received! #ThrowbackThursday

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Yes, yes, it is Friday evening, and my usual Friday evening consists of checking out the latest entries into Ronovan’s Friday Fiction challenge from the previous week, and working on an entry for the new prompt.

No clue what I am on about? Please… check it out here!

In short, here is the prompt.

Baob tree

Use the photo above as inspiration. This is a Adansonia gregorii or boab tree found in Australia. I see a lot of possibilities for stories from this one, ranging across genres. This week, don’t worry about word count and let the mind go where it wants.

Oh man Ron! My mind totally wondered!  Nearly 2000 words of wondering! If you do manage to wade through my crazy thoughts, any critique or feedback is gratefully received!

(Just as an extra bit of information, this particular tree is The Boab Prison Tree in Derby, Western Australia, famous as it was reputed to have been used to store prisoners in the 1890’s on their way to be sentenced in Derby! Fascinating but not necessarily true! See, I do sometimes like to research my pieces!)

I had always wondered why the old tree, that old boab tree that we used to pass on the way to Derby, was so fat, so rotund. It was unlike any other tree I had seen. It almost appeared to grow another tyre around it’s ‘middle’ every few days.

In fact, it seemed to echo how I was feeling. I really needed to lose weight. Since the children had been born, there was no more ‘waist’ on me… because there was no more ‘waste’ in our house.

Anything left over on the kid’s plates at mealtimes meant I would graze on the remnants, despising the idea of throwing good food away. It never occurred to me then that I should just serve them less, and offer seconds!

I needed to really sort myself out. So the internet searches started, on miracle weight loss items, or some good diet, that would help me, let the ‘old’ me out of this spongy, fetid body.

I even started asking friends and family what I could do to get back into shape, that wouldn’t involve months and months of diets and exercise. I was lazy, after all. Actually, lazy was the wrong word, I was tired, exhausted from being mum, and working. There was no time left in my day to exercise, to plan and cook ‘healthy’ food, the way all these sensible diets stressed. No, I needed slim and fast!

One day, an old aunt of mine told me something that changed my life.

“Why are you fretting child? Those curves are proof that you are a mother, and you should be proud!” I knew this was true. And my husband echoed these thoughts too. He would regularly say to me that I was all the more attractive to him, for all the lumps and bumps that had come with motherhood.

But that was not enough for me. In my head, I needed to get back to my old look, and fast. So this old aunt of mine, she mentioned something. “Now personally I wouldn’t mess with these things, it’s like some kind of voodoo magic that the tribal people believe in, but if you are intent on doing this, I shall tell you a way to wish yourself thin.”

Well, I was all ears! A miracle method to lose weight? Surely if it was true then it was the world’s best kept secret… or there was something sinister. No, I wasn’t going to think negative. After all, if there was something to help me, I was going to do it!

“You know that tree, the Great Boab? Well, folk say if you eat the monkey bread fruit from it, you immediately start to lose weight. I know a few women from my youth who swore by it, and you know, they were pretty svelte at the time… but there was something about them, almost like a discomfort, so I don’t know… I wish they were around now… I would ask them for you. It didn’t last though, they put it all back on, and then some! But I guess they were happy at the time, and then realised they couldn’t fight reality. I was never one for worrying about my appearance, but I know you seem to have got your knickers in a twist recently about losing weight, so there you are.”

That fat, old tree? Could make me thin? Really? I checked it out on the internet, and there was nothing coming up. I scrolled so many pages on various search engines, without a glimmer of information, then one day, around a week after my aunt had alerted me to this miracle solution, I noticed a link to a pretty obscure website. It was www.aboriginalabdominals.au. Strange… I had never seem this site before, and I was always trying to read up on weight loss sites. Something local, like this, would never escape my notice.

I clicked upon it and there was a cryptic message on the page;

Eat my flesh, and gift me yours
I’ll give you what you need
Your wish will come true
And from you I will feed

I scrolled down and there was a photo of the Great Boab Tree below this verse, and then the poem continued,

Just one bite will change your life
But be sure not to tell
The more you share, the more likely
That you are to swell

There was a picture of the strange fruit that grew on the tree. Then nothing.

What?

My mind ticked over, should I do it? Should I try this monkey bread from the tree? Would it work? I didn’t even know how it tasted, or whether I could even get close enough to the tree. It had been fenced off for some reason.

A few days later I needed to head out to Derby to visit a friend, and came to the bend in the road where the Great Boab was. I slowed my car, and thought, do I do this? Heck yeah! What did I have to lose, apart from all this weight!

It was not busy on the road, and I quickly hopped over the fence, and stood for a moment, transfixed by the sheer girth of this tree. I could almost see it’s ‘tummy’ moving, as if it were breathing, and its whole body was quivering with each breath, like mine did.

It wasn’t a particularly high tree and some branches hung quite low, with the fruit allowing the branches to droop further. I gingerly picked a fruit. It was like a pod, a gourd, and when I pulled it open there was a spongey, bread-like substance inside. Right. It was time to see whether I even liked the taste of this stuff!

I took a bite.

Actually it was extremely bready. I thought carbs were bad for you! A moment after swallowing that first bite, I felt an odd sensation. As I looked down, I swore I could see my stomach shrinking! Seriously! In front of my eyes! Looking around to make sure no one else was watching this, I took another bite, placing my hand on my tummy. I even felt it this time, going down.

When I glanced up, the tree appeared to be moving, or changing. In fact, it seemed to be gaining weight. Huh? Then I remembered that website, and the strange poem.

Eat my flesh, and gift me yours
I’ll give you what you need
Your wish will come true
And from you I will feed

I had eaten its fruit, and it looked like what I felt was leaving my body, was transferring to the tree itself. Was that what the poem meant?

Not wanting to tempt fate, I stored the partially eaten pod in my bag and pulled another from the tree to take home.

Off I sped to Derby, to see my friend.

As soon as I entered her house, my friend commented on my weight loss. What did she know? It was lucky we didn’t see each other often, so she thought I was on some special regime. Little did she know that I left the house, earlier that evening, a few kg heavier, and some magical mystery fruit had cut my bulk in seconds! It was nice to be complimented on my looks by someone other than my husband, so I generously accepted the praise, promising to tell her all about how I transformed myself one day.

Over the next few weeks I nibbled at the fruit, every couple of days. My husband worried that I was ill, why else would I drop weight like this? He hadn’t noticed a difference in my eating, or lifestyle, so illness could be the only thing. But I was so happy! I had been able to wear clothes that had been relegated to the ‘on the 12th of Never’ pile.

More and more acquaintances started to enquire about this diet that I was on, or whether I had a personal trainer, had I been to boot camp? What had I been doing?

Soon the temptation was too much. I had to tell someone. A few of my closest friends were sat with me around a restaurant table one evening, lamenting at their own figures, and wishing they could find a way to lose weight fast. So I buckled, and let my secret slip.

As I extolled the virtues of the Monkey Bread fruit and the Great Boab Tree, something was happening to me. My old skinny jeans, which had only fit me again last week, were all of a sudden far too tight. Maybe I had eaten a little too much tonight. I carried on, explaining what I had been told, what I read and how I had got the fruit. The discomfort I started to feel was unbearable. I excused myself and went the Ladies. As I entered, the first thing that struck me, in the mirror, was my face. It looked swollen. Like I had an allergy or something. But more than that, my stomach was swollen too. What on earth was happening? What had I eaten to get this reaction?

I rushed out and grabbed my handbag, apologising to my friends, stating an emergency at home to get out of there with no chance of being looked at too much, or questioned.

Reaching home, it wasn’t just my waistband that was digging into me, but it felt like the seatbelt was trying to cut me in two! I was expanding. And not just getting a little podgy, but it seemed fat cells were multiplying at an alarming rate around my body! HELP!

And then, something else pinged into my memory…

Just one bite will change your life
But be sure not to tell
The more you share, the more likely
That you are to swell

It had been a warning, hadn’t it? A message telling me not to tell anyone, or else I would get fat again!

I rushed to my laptop to find that website again. Surely there would be something on it to explain what had been happening to me.

But nothing came up.

I checked my history, and there was nothing there. Apparently the domain was available to buy, but no website, no poem, no pictures, no nothing. What was happening?

It was around 9.30pm and the only person I felt I could call was my old aunt. Maybe she could help me. After all, she was the one to tell me about this miracle weight loss secret.

She laughed.

“That’s why you don’t go messing with these things child. I really didn’t think you would go and actually try it! I thought you had more sense, but no. And no, I have no other advice. I told you I didn’t like to mess with these voodoo, tribal things.” And she put the phone down!

I looked down at this expanse of jelly that had reappeared across my belly, and broke down.

Meanwhile, in the outback, the Great Boab appeared to shrink, just a little bit…

Ritu 2016

Well, if you are reading this, I can only assume you managed to finish the piece! Please, let me know what you thought!

81 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. crosscountrylifeblog
    Aug 09, 2017 @ 01:51:16

    Very well written, thanks, I enjoyed!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. charlypriest
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 21:50:22

    Congratulations Ritu, I don’t have right now to read the whole story, but i put it in “save”, so you are not gonna get away from me reading you, You should be more than proud by the way

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  3. Unbound Roots
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 21:15:04

    Very entertaining! Thanks for a fun read, Ritu. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  4. watchingthedaisies
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 17:23:34

    A brilliant story Ritu. If only it were true…

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  5. Don Royster
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 15:15:13

    Had me on the edge of my seat. Reminded me of Macbeth’s three witches and what they were stirring in that pot.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  6. anhistorianabouttown
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 13:50:00

    Ritu, you have such a way with words!! What an amazing story- I didn’t see the Willy Wonka moment coming 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  7. angelanoelauthor
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 13:14:54

    We can all relate to quick fix dieting and a tree that eats you. . . and then gives it back if you open your mouth to tell the secret!! I didn’t expect that, how fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  8. Em Linthorpe
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 09:44:50

    I really enjoyed this Ritu, it’s wonderful! It has the air of a Roald Dahl tale 💙

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  9. blondieaka
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 08:30:03

    Be careful what you wish for..spooky..Love how you incorporated the poem it all fitted together really nicely…another string to your bow..spooky stories 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  10. foodzesty
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 07:59:53

    What a lovely story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. missybijou
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 07:20:33

    This is so imaginative! I love it! A modern day mama fairy tale. Good work!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  12. ellenbest24
    Aug 03, 2017 @ 07:18:01

    A crazy idea that could e the centre of a bigger story… great fun for throwbackThursday

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. Trackback: Friday Fiction with Ronovan Writes Prompt #8 Entries: THE LINKS | ronovanwrites
  14. Ronovan
    Jan 15, 2016 @ 01:02:14

    Other than some basic edits, proofreading things, a good read and writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. mbarkersimpson
    Jan 11, 2016 @ 03:07:51

    I loved the twist, the delightful poetry, and the humour of this piece. It’s a fabulous use of the prompts. And…’there was no more ‘waist’ on me… because there was no more ‘waste’ in our house – that is genius! What a great line 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. Marje @ Kyrosmagica
    Jan 10, 2016 @ 10:06:16

    Very imaginative Ritu, loved this story. Trees are fascinating, great source of ideas for creativity, and this one in particular well it’s certainly one to avoid at all costs!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. R. Todd
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 19:06:05

    That’s the problem with miracle cures, you tend to skim the fine print. Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. Hugh's Views and News
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 16:56:54

    Ooo, this is just as creepy as my Lipstick story, Ritu. I loved the way you wrote it. It would make a fabulous episode for Dr,Who.
    You should certainly write more like this. I’m sure Ronovan is going to love it. It’s great to see you on the creepy story bandwagon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  19. Eric Klingenberg
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 14:37:39

    I really liked it, it would be great if it was true. I though you ended it at the right place. If I was going to criticize anything I would of had a bit more telling, for example when telling the friend about the bread tree have the actual conversation as the friends got it out of you. Most readers would guess what was going to happen and be routing for the heroine not to tell.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  20. vanbytheriver
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 13:31:22

    That was a great story, Ritu. And the line “The more you share, the more likely that you are to swell” really inspired me to think of all the weight loss messages that we are bombarded with at the time of New Year resolutions. Maybe, all those lovely successful “losers of weight” need to pipe down a bit, or suffer the consequences. Fingers crossed. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  21. Tessa
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 12:32:38

    It is very good, but similar to the story “Thinner” by King under a pen name. I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 09, 2016 @ 12:44:40

      Thank you Tessa! I am not actually a King fan, so haven’t read his books, but I am flattered at the references that have been made as I know he is a good writer!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  22. Geetha B
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 11:28:03

    This is really good and I agree on the Stephen King reference. I think you could actually make a very good horror novel out of this, if you are into horror stories that is.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jan 09, 2016 @ 12:43:06

      Thanks Geeta! No, I am not really a horror/mystery writer, but this just seemed to write itself once I started!
      It’s funny though as on I’ve of these quizzes and analysis sites, my writing was likened to Steven King then too!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

      • Geetha B
        Jan 09, 2016 @ 13:06:27

        Maybe there is something you should explore there 🙂 Sometimes we can write completely out of the character we are in real life

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 09, 2016 @ 14:02:41

        That definitely bears thinking about…!
        I coined my own phrase to describe my preferred writing genre, which is Chick-pea Curry Lit! Kinda check lim romance and humour with an Indian masala twist to it! If you fancy it, check out my Wedded Stress extracts… It’s a WIP at the moment but I posted the first 7 chapters…. You can find in on my side bar or in the top menu… I’d love to hear what you think Geeta, you’re a great writer!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geetha B
        Jan 09, 2016 @ 14:13:04

        Thank you so much Ritu for your compliment and yes I’d love to check it out. I will do so in the coming weeks as I am catching up on a lot of writing (chapters of my collected short stories) and reading as well as taking care of the kids, not forgetting my work matters 😀
        I really like your reading so will be sure to look them up quite soon 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ritu
        Jan 09, 2016 @ 14:51:57

        No worries Geeta, take your time. I am fully aware of the pressures of being wife, mum, daughter-in-law, daughter, and working woman all rolled into one, and blogger on top!
        Thank you !

        Liked by 1 person

      • Geetha B
        Jan 09, 2016 @ 15:00:56

        Welcome and thanks 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Erika Kind
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 10:58:37

    Hey, great idea for a story, sis! And so fantastically written with the poem and all. Really great! I hope you get your wedding story done soon because your writings are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  24. Blunderdad
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 04:00:03

    Lisa said Stephen King, I was thinking it would have been a great Twilight Zone episode.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

  25. syl65
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 03:02:22

    Once I started, I couldn’t stop! Old auntie knows best…great story, Ritu! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  26. lisamariagardiner
    Jan 09, 2016 @ 01:48:04

    I really enjoyed this 😊 it reminded me of a Stephen King novel – very clever!

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply

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