BANANAS

For the first of out FairTrade Flash Fiction Festival challenges the product is BANANAS.

Bananas are one of the staples in the weekly shop and form the backbone of FairTrade produce.  Want to know more? 

BANANA PRODUCT SNAPSHOT 

VIEWING

Video Bananas in the Dominican Republic

READING

Behind the price tag

And in case you’re still stumped by what flash fiction is… it’s pretty much just a piece of fiction less than 1000 words.  Here is an offsite definition but we’ll be happy to read pretty much anything as long as it’s about FairTrade (and today, about FairTrade Bananas!)

It’s simple. You just compose your short masterpiece and copy/paste it into the comments box below. (Or if you’re really brave you can compose it live in the comments box!)

I won’t be contributing every day, but to get the festival started, here’s my flash fiction on Bananas… Gie’s a hand.  In the way of throwing you all down a challenge… get writing.

Gie’s a hand.

I don’t even like bananas.

Why?

Because if it wasn’t for bananas I’d have stood a chance of winning Wimbledon.

You what?

Yeah, all those tennis players eat bananas don’t they? Gives them the winning edge. And so, I realised, it wasn’t even worth me putting in the effort because unless I was prepared to eat bananas all the time I’d never win.

Hmm.

How come tennis players eat bananas when they have six fingers to a hand?

What are you talking about?

Bananas.  You say buy a bunch of bananas but you should say buy a hand of bananas and a hand of bananas is six. There’s six on a hand. Like fingers. You’d think that would hamper a sportsman wouldn’t you, having six fingers?

I think you’re being a bit ridiculous now.

Well, why not. If you can’t be ridiculous in fiction, where can you? It’s a rant, after all.

A rant?

Yes.

Oh, I thought it was meant to be flash fiction. Short and to the point.

What’s that when it’s at home? Is it like Flash Gordon? Is it only for superheroes?

No. Flash fiction is for everyone. Like bananas.

What? Bananas again?

Well, yes, even though you don’t like bananas I bet you still buy them every week.  They are a staple in the weekly shop for most people aren’t they?

Yes. That’s another thing I hate about bananas. Whether you like them or not, you just have to buy them. It’s enough to make me join the shop local campaign.

What?

Well we can’t grow bananas in this country can we? So if we only bought local produce we wouldn’t have to eat bananas.

And then we’d never have a chance of a British person winning Wimbledon.

Uh, like we do now?

Oh, come on, that’s hardly fair. Murray will do it one day.

If he eats enough bananas maybe.

And okay. So we have to buy bananas. But which bananas do you buy?

What do you mean?

Well, all that FairTrade thing. I mean, a banana’s a banana’s a banana. Isn’t it? Do those FairTrade ones have special match winning qualities? I doubt it. Do they have extra slippy skins for comedy effect? I don’t think so. So why in the world would you buy FairTrade bananas instead of… well… ordinary ones.

FairTrade bananas are ordinary. Quite normal. It’s not so much about the banana.

They all share the same boat after all.

Yes, they probably do.

The difference isn’t in the transport and it’s not in the quality of the goods so why buy FairTrade?

The difference is in the lives of the people growing the bananas.

Oh. Okay. What. They get to drive around in smart cars because of the stupidly high price charged for their product?

You’re talking about the producer premium?

Yeah. We’ve already established bananas are not a premium product. They are a staple product. A necessity.

Get real. No banana farmer is driving around in a smart car. You’ve got to take the food production chain into consideration.

Okay. So convince me. In less than three hundred words because the flash fiction word count is clicking.

If we give a hand to a small banana producer through FairTrade it means that he will get a living wage and a guaranteed sale in a volatile market so that he can send his kids to school and have enough for the basics in life. I mean the basics. It means that your banana won’t taste of exploitation.

Maybe that’s why I don’t like them.

Maybe. If you buy bananas from the large plantations where workers have few rights and get paid below the poverty line wages then you can’t expect to enjoy the eating experience really, can you?

But what about the price objection?

What price objection?

I object to paying more than I absolutely have to for my bananas. When I don’t even like them and I can’t even win Wimbledon. Ever.

I think you’ll find that there’s not much difference in price on a regular basis. If you shop around you might get them for the same price. Except for the ‘discounted’ ones which the supermarkets wave in your face from time to time. Why do they do that? Not to help the workers. To help the people making the profit. And remember, we don’t like them. We are on the side of the workers aren’t we? We are the workers after all.

This all seems a bit simplistic though doesn’t it?

What do you expect in a thousand words or less, when we wasted so much time talking rubbish at the beginning?

The good news is though, now I have pricked your conscience, maybe you’ll go and find out something more about bananas. Something more important than the taste. Find out how you can give a hand to a banana grower and help him give you a hand of bananas. And all live happy ever after. In real life, not just in fiction. Bananas are big business you know and they are the backbone of FairTrade. So finding out the banana backstory is a really good place to start.

Cally Phillips 

If you want to read more about FairTrade Fiction you can buy FairTrade Fiction Volume 1 as an ebook for Kindle or Epub or as a paperback just click the appropriate highlight. (The ebook is at the specially reduced price of 99p for the Festival and the paperback is cost price at £2.99)

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