Under the cupboard, he found it–Fannie Flooie’s flying fruit.
There was no warning label, nothing at all. Just a jar, some fruit, and a date: 9/7/51. It tasted like warm raspberry jam going down. He was in the yard in a flash under the warm June sun.
Billy stood, motionless, breathless.
At first there was nothing but a cold, gnawing fear. Perhaps the warnings his Uncle Clarence had given him were true. Then a tingling, in his feet, bubbling up to his belly, like an uncorked bottle of soda. He fizzed, belched once, and flew.
Just like his cousin had promised. Into the cold blue air. Over the leaves of his favorite climbing tree which he ran his fingers through. He reached for the sun, and it reached back for him. Using his arms like an Olympic swimmer, he pulled himself through the air, higher and higher. The world was a street map below, then a state map, then a globe. He swam through the clouds, blowing smoke rings, backstroked over the Rockies, dogpaddled over the Gulf of Mexico.
But soon his arms grew tired, and with a belch that tasted like strawberry pie, his feet were once again on the soft, green grass of Norman, Oklahoma.
He looked up at the sky, knees weak, legs trembling. Would he ever see the world from above again? As long as there was fruit, he grinned a great raspberry grin.
But the fruit, once uncanned, forever uncanny, had its own secrets. Uncle Clarence was right. Aunt Fannie smiled as she screwed the lid on tight tight tight. Her teeth flashed blackberry stains.
“Little boys oughtn’t do what they’re told not to,” Uncle Clarence giggled, and spread warm jam over his toast.
Aunt Fannie wrote on the jar: Billyberry, and today’s date. “A very good year,” she patted the lid, and put it under the cupboard with the others.