“I hate cleaning.”
Immi ambled around the throne room, sweeping every corner and wiping down the surfaces with the red cloth.
“Why do we need to clean so often?” He grumbled to himself, “Oj!”
Immi looked up at the clock on the wall, then at the cleaning rota on the wall. His shift was over! Immi did a victory dance around the room before checking to make sure nobody had seen him.
Immi placed the broom in a corner for the next person who needed to clean. Gedda skipped into the throne room, her usual cheerful self, carrying a pile of letters.
“You’re happy today.” Immi remarked.
“Well, it’s a lovely sunny day!” Gedda cooed, “Wouldn’t you be?”
“Gedda mín, we live in Iceland, is it really that sunny?”
“Well, I’m just feeling bright!” Gedda giggled as she hopped over to Immi.
“There’s a letter for you!” Gedda chirped, handing him the envelope.
Immi opened the letter and read it carefully.
Dear Immanúel Aðalsteinn,
I’m coming to visit your little fruit basket. By the time you’ve received this letter, I should nearly be here, so it is too late to stop me… hehehe… I look forward to seeing you and meeting all your little friends!
??? (It’s a surprise!)
“Ó nei!” Immi gulped.
“What’s wrong?” Gedda asked.
“I’m getting a visit from… from family!” Immi answered, shuddering.
“Who is it?”
“I don’t know, that’s what I’m worried about! What if it’s one of the mean ones?”
Gedda gently patted Immi on the shoulder to comfort him.
“It’s okay, Immi, I won’t let anyone be mean to you!” Gedda promised, stroking his arm.
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.
“Halló!” A voice shouted through the door.
Immi couldn’t make out exactly who it was, but it was definitely one of his male relatives. He prepared to hide behind the throne as his relative’s footsteps got closer and closer.
“HALLÓÓÓÓÓÓ!” The pineapple sang as he barged into the throne room, “Immanúel Aðalsteinn Ananaaaaaaaas!”
“Ó nei!” Immi whispered, ducking behind the throne, pulling Gedda down with him and gesturing for her to be quiet.
“Immi Alli! Come out, come out wherever you are!”
“Immi, I think you should-.” Gedda began to whisper.
“Shhh!” Immi responded, clasping his hand over her mouth, “Stay quiet until we know who it is!”
Immi held his breath in fear as their pineapple visitor popped his head around the throne to look at them.
“Found you!” The pineapple chuckled.
Immi breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that the visitor was not one of his short-tempered uncles, nor some obscure relative looking to steal from him, but his cousin Pétur. Pétur held out his hand, which Immi took as Pétur pulled him up from behind the throne. Gedda also stood up and stood behind Immi, smiling warmly yet somewhat cautiously as she wasn’t sure how Pétur would react to her being a vegetable.
Pétur Ananas was by far one of the biggest fruits anyone had ever seen, with bushy eyebrows and an infectious smile. He wore a shiny gold shirt with brown braces and brown trousers. His cape was large and impressive, and his pineapple crown was shiny and tall.
“Hiya cousin!” Pétur said cheerfully in English with a noticeable Icelandic accent.
“Halló, Pétur.” Immi greeted, “Velkomin í Ávaxtakörfuna.”
“Sorry cousin,” Pétur replied, a smile spread across his face, “I don’t speak Icelandic.”
Immi stared at Pétur in disbelief.
“Pétur, you’re Icelandic.” Immi responded in English.
“Nuh-uh!” Pétur replied, “I’m an American now!”
“Then explain your accent.”
“Explain YOUR accent!”
“Because I’m Icelandic and you’re making me speak English.”
“Well I don’t speak Icelandic!”
“Yes you do!”
“No I don’t!”
“Girls, girls, you’re both pretty!” Gedda playfully interjected.
Pete stared at Gedda, looking her up and down. Gedda wasn’t sure if he was looking at her in disgust or just bewilderment.
“Kerry Carrot!” Pétur exclaimed, “What are you doing here?”
Gedda laughed, “Oh nei, my name is Gedda! It’s a pleasure to meet you!”
“Kerry, stop playing around! I know it’s you!” Pétur insisted, “There can’t be ANOTHER carrot in a fruit basket!”
“You’d be surprised.” Immi muttered.
“Well, I guess it must be a trend!” Gedda declared.
“You’re sure you’re not Kerry Carrot in disguise?”
“I’m sure!” Gedda exclaimed, “My name is Gedda Gulrót and I live right here in this Fruit Basket!”
There was a short pause.
“Well, Gedda Gulrót, aren’t you going to ask me how I am?” Pétur demanded.
“Don’t do it.” Immi warned.
“Come on, it’s basic manners!” Pétur exclaimed.
Immi glared at Gedda, “I’m serious, don’t you dare!”
“How… are you?” Gedda asked reluctantly, looking at Immi and gesturing an apology.
A wide smile spread across Pétur’s face. He began to giggle, quietly at first but gradually getting louder until he was fully laughing. After a few moments, he stopped and shot a smug glance at Immi, who responded by rolling his eyes.
“I’M G-G-G-G-GETTIN’ BI!” Pétur exclaimed before starting to dance around the room, singing loudly.
“Please make him stop.” Immi whispered.
“I’m bi bi bi until the day I die!”
Immi sighed, “Immanúel Pétur Ananas…”
Pétur suddenly stopped and just stared at Immi, revulsion in his eyes.
“Ugh, Immanúel Pétur Ananas!” Pétur exclaimed in disgust, “What is this, 2012? My name is Pineapple Peter Nathaniel, not… Immanúel Pétur Ananas!”
“I’m not calling you Pineapple Peter Nathaniel!” Immi declared, “And why is Pineapple before your name, anyway?”
“Because Pineapple Pete flows better!” Pétur responded, “You just don’t understand, man!”
Pétur stormed into the corner and slumped down, facing the wall and sulking with his arms crossed.
“Besides,” he snapped, “You get to be Immi, not Immanúel Aðalsteinn or…or ALLI!”
“Wait, you’re both named Immanúel?” Gedda inquired.
“Já.” Immi sighed, “All the men in our family are named Immanúel.”
“And he’s Immanúel Aðalsteinn.” Pétur giggled.
“Shut up!” Immi snarled, “At least my middle name isn’t something boring like… PÉTUR!”
Pétur leapt up and stormed over to Immi, getting into his face. Immi stared back at him, unfazed.
“Pete.” Pétur growled, “Not Pétur. Pete. P-E-T-E!”
“Rólegur!” Gedda exclaimed, leaping between them.
Immi and Pétur both stared at Gedda in silence.
“Now,” Gedda said, looking at Immi, “If you get to be Immi instead of Alli, then isn’t it fair that Pete gets to be… well, Pete?”
“I guess so.” Immi muttered.
“And Pete,” Gedda continued, “Immi wants to be known as Immi, and he should have his wishes respected, especially in his own home.”
“I guess that’s fair.” Pete mumbled.
“Good!” Gedda giggled, jumping up and down slightly, “Now that we’ve sorted that, why don’t we give you a tour of the fruit basket, Pete?”
“That sounds like fun!” Pete replied, grinning at Gedda.
“Great! Follow me!”
With that, Gedda skipped off towards the next room. Immi and Pete trailed behind her, struggling to keep up.
“Hey,” Pete whispered to Immi as they walked, “Are we sure that’s not Kerry Carrot?”
Gedda showed Pete around the basket, recounting the history of the basket and every individual room in intricate detail, with the occasional input from Immi. Gedda seemed to know more about the basket than many of the others who had lived there for much longer than she had.
“And this is the play room!” Gedda happily proclaimed as Pete and Immi slowly followed her into the play room, where the other residents of the basket were gathered.
“Gerðu svo vel.” Immi mumbled, gesturing half-heartedly.
“Halló!” Rauða said, power-walking over to Pete and shaking his hand enthusiastically, “My name is Rauða Eplið! Welcome to the fruit basket!”
“ANOTHER red apple?” Pete gasped, grasping his hand.
“I already know a Red Apple, but you look nothing like her!”
Rauða looked at Immi, bewildered and confused.
“This is my cousin Pé- I mean Pete!” Immi explained, “He lives in a fruit basket in America.”
Each resident of the fruit basket introduced themselves to Pete and welcomed him. Pete remembered Eva from their teenage years, but he hadn’t met the others before.
“Your Fruit Basket is exactly the same as mine!” Pete proclaimed, wandering slowly around the fruit basket and staring at each individual fruit.
“What do you mean?” Rauða asked.
“Well, you’ve got a pineapple, a red apple, two bananas, two pear children, a strawberry, an orange, and a carrot!” Pete exclaimed, “Just like mine!”
Suddenly a vile smell spread throughout the fruit basket, causing everyone to cough. Mæja dashed behind the slide and emerged a second later holding clothing pegs, which she distributed amongst the fruits.
“Ugh, did someone fart?” Pete grunted in disgust, his voice incredibly nasal from the clothing peg on his nose.
“Nei, it’s just the rotting hole.” Gedda replied, “We closed it a while ago, but sometimes some gas escapes.”
“Well, what are you going to do about it?” Pete demanded.
“It’ll be gone in a minute!” Mæja piped up, waving her arms in front of her face to try and waft away the smell.
“We need to do something about that rotting hole!” Eva declared, rapidly fanning herself with her powdering tool, “Rotting hole smoke gives me a horrible rash!”
Eva leapt into action, grabbing a bottle of perfume from her mirror. She dashed around the room as fast as was possible in heels, spraying the perfume everywhere. When she was done she slammed down the bottle and looked around the fruit basket, proud of her work. The others reluctantly removed the pegs from their noses, trying not to inhale the perfume and coughing loudly as they inevitably failed.
“Takk fyrir, Eva mín.” Immi spluttered.
“Ohhhhh! It’s empty!” Eva whined, inspecting the bottle, “I’ve wasted so much expensive perfume trying to get rid of that awful rotting smell!”
Pete caught a whiff of the rotting hole stench once more.
“You even have a rotting hole! Stop copying me!” Pete demanded.
“I’m not!” Immi snapped.
“Stop annoying me!”
“Your face is annoying!”
“RÓ-LE-GUR!” Gedda begged.
“Aw, cmon, it’s just some fun cousin banter!” Pete insisted, ruffling the leaves on Immi’s head, “Isn’t that right, cousin?”
“Já, that’s right!” Immi replied through gritted teeth, forcefully booping Pete’s nose.
Eva rolled her eyes and laughed, “Oh, you two never quit!”
“Why is he here?” Græni interjected, pointing at Pete, “Does he live here now?”
Guffi glared at Græni and gestured for him to shut up.
“Come to think of it, you never did tell us why you were visiting!” Gedda pointed out.
“You want to know?” Pete asked, smiling.
“Yeah!” Gedda beamed.
“You want to know?” Pete repeated.
“Yes!” Everyone replied.
Pete grinned and walked over to the pile of blocks. He took a block off the pile and stood on it, trying to balance. Pete stood proud and tall, and cleared his throat before joyfully announcing,
“I, Pineapple Peter Nathaniel, am getting married!”
Immi stood there, staring at Pete with his jaw practically on the floor while the other fruits cheered and clapped. Pete basked in the attention, bowing and thanking the audience profusely.
“Pete, you never even told me you were dating anyone!” Immi exclaimed.
“Well, you see, Immi,” Pete explained as he stepped off the block and made his way back towards Immi, “We only got together a few days ago!”
“A few days?!”
“Now, now, don’t you worry your little head,” Pete assured, “We’ve known each other far longer than that!”
“How long, exactly?”
“I don’t know, man! You can’t put a timestamp on love!”
Immi rolled his eyes, which he predicted was going to happen a lot over the course of Pete’s visit.
“How long have you and Eva been together then, Mr Timestamp?” Pete challenged.
“It’ll be one year in two weeks!” Immi bragged, grinning smugly and strolling over to Eva to kiss her hand, causing her to blush.
“Hmph!” Pete grunted.
“When can we meet your fiancée?” Mæja asked, trying to break the tension.
“Oh-ho-ho, my dear strawberry, you’ll be meeting him very soon!” Pete chuckled.
“H...him?” Mæja whispered to Guffi, “Can he do that?”
“Of course he can do that!” Guffi whispered back.
Mæja breathed a sigh of relief and smiled.
“In fact, he should be arriving any minute now! You’re all going to love him!” Pete gushed, “He’s so handsome, and funny, and athletic!”
There was a knock at the door. Pete rushed to the door and slowly opened it while practically bursting with joy. Pete opened the door to reveal a tall banana, half-peeled like Guffi with a large black moustache. He had gold epaulettes on his shoulders and was carrying a gold sceptre. The banana instinctively saluted as Pete made his announcement.
“Fruits and vegetables, I present my wonderful fiancé… Banana Bob!”
Banana Bob. Guffi remembered that name all too well. They had been in the Banana Army together when they were younger, and had always been rivals. Now, his arch nemesis was here, in his Fruit Basket? Guffi clutched his sceptre as Bob made his entrance, ready for the inevitable confrontation between them.
Bob waved at the small crowd, looking around at them and smiling until he noticed the very angry banana looking right at him. Bob’s eyes narrowed as he realised who it was.
“ÞÚ!” Guffi and Bob shouted in unison, pointing and glaring at each other, seething with rage.
“Do you know him, Bobby?” Pete asked.
“That is my arch rrrrrrival, Guffi Banani!” Bob growled, “What is he doing here?”
“I live here!” Guffi snarled, “Hvað ert þú að gera hér?”
Guffi immediately stormed up to Bob and grabbed him by the shoulders, getting very close to his face.
“SHOW ME YOUR PASSPORT!” He screamed.
“Rólegur, rólegur!” Gedda exclaimed as she ran up to Guffi and Bob, pulling them apart with the help of Pete.
Pete held Bob back as Guffi and Bob continued to shoot death stares at each other. The others stared at them in disbelief.
“Now, will you two behave like adults and tell me why you are so angry at each other?” Gedda asked calmly, as if she were a teacher scolding two young children.
The bananas immediately began talking over each other in a wild rush to explain their version of events, leaving Gedda unable to make out more than a few words of what they were saying.
“Well, you see, Guffi...”
“...always trying to show off…”
“...thinks he’s better than…”
“...read my diary…”
“...trrrrripped me over…”
“...with a bucket of…”
“...called me a…”
“...jealous of my moustache...”
“...wouldn’t help me when…”
“...threw a constipated raccoon at…”
“JÁ OK!” Gedda exasperatedly shouted, “It’s obvious you two just need to be away from each other right now!”
“Sounds good to me!” Guffi snapped.
“I’ve been staying apart from him for the last ten years!” Bob declared, “And I’ll happily keep that up, and I can assure you that once this visit is over, I will never set foot in this Fruit Basket again!”
Guffi and Bob stormed off in opposite directions and out of the play room, leaving the others bewildered and trying to figure out what just happened. Pete slumped down on the floor, pouting.
“Ohhh!” he whined, “This was supposed to be my big announcement!”
Immi sat down next to him, awkwardly patting him on the shoulder.
“There, there, Pete.” Immi mumbled, “It’s okay…”
“No!” Pete exclaimed angrily, “It’s not okay! Your little banana friend ruined the big moment!”
Pete threw himself to the ground dramatically, holding his hand over his forehead as if he were fainting and letting out a cry of despair. The other fruits looked at each other nervously, but Mæja couldn’t help but find it amusing.
“Definitely an Ananas.” Mæja whispered to Eva, giggling.
“All I wanted was to be the centre of attention once, Immanúel Aðalsteinn, and you couldn’t even let me have that!” Pete wailed.
Immi gasped, “I had nothing to do with this!”
“You could have stopped that banana from causing a scene!”
Immi scoffed, “I don’t control him, Pétur, and his name is Guffi Banani, not that banana!”
Pete sulked in silence for a few seconds before standing up and marching towards the door that Bob had walked out of. He stopped briefly, and turned to glare at Immi.
“I’m going to fix this!” Pete announced, “And you’re going to help me!”
Pete stormed out of the room and slammed the door. Everyone looked at Immi, awaiting a response. Immi shrugged and after a moment of silence slumped onto his back, sighing loudly in frustration and looking up at the ceiling.
Later that day, Immi was relaxing on the throne, leaning back with his legs draped over the left armrest and his back resting on a large pillow. He sighed contentedly, closed his eyes and began to drift off to sleep.
Pete burst into the room, causing Immi to jolt awake and tumble onto the floor. Immi sat up, staring at Pete angrily and clutching his arm.
“Alli, I need your help!” Pete declared, slightly out of breath.
“Why would I want to help you?” Immi retorted, “What have you ever done to help me?”
“Because we’re faaaaamily!” Pete whined, “Family have to stick together!”
“Please?!” Pete begged, “We have to make Bob and Guffi be friends!”
Immi rolled his eyes.
“You know that’s never going to happen.” Immi snarked, slowly standing up.
“Did you ever think you’d be friends with a carrot and a strawberry?” Pete argued.
Immi sighed, “Well, no, but…”
Immi looked at Pete for a moment and saw the desperation in his eyes. Pete was one of the better cousins, after all, and he had made a point about Mæja and Gedda. Still, Immi wasn’t sure that he was the best person to be asking about this.
“Wouldn’t you be better off asking Gedda? Or Mæja?” Immi asked, “What about Kerry?”
“Mæja and Gedda don’t know Bobby at all, and Kerry’s not here!” Pete replied, “And you know Guffi way better than they do.”
“That’s true…” Immi conceded.
“You know Guffi really well!” Pete pointed out, “Almost too well. Are you sure you’re not dating?”
Immi put a hand to his chest as his mouth fell open in shock.
“Okay, okay!” Pete exclaimed, throwing his hands up in a surrendering gesture.
Immi promptly calmed down.
“Didn’t realise you’d get so offended…” Pete mumbled.
“Guffi’s a great guy, but it’s not like that!” Immi said defensively, “Besides, you know I’m with Eva.”
“Okayyyyy…” Pete smugly replied.
“And furthermore, Guffi has this weird... thing going on with our cousin Hinrik!” Immi continued.
“Plus he never asked me out…” Immi muttered under his breath.
“Aha! I knew it!” Pete proclaimed, “I’m not the only one gettin’ bi!”
“IMMANÚEL AÐALSTEINN ANANAS IS G-G-G-G-GETTIN’ BI!”
Immi ran up to Pete and clamped his hand over Pete’s mouth.
“Shhhh!” Immi exclaimed, “Do you want the whole fruit realm to hear you?”
Pete ripped Immi’s hand off his mouth, “Cmon, it was only a joke!”
“Well, you’re wrong anyway,” Immi snapped, “I’m actually PANsexual.”
“A panapple?” Pete giggled.
“Never heard that one before!” Immi replied, turning his back and rolling his eyes.
Pete ran around to face Immi, grabbing him by the shoulders.
“Look, we have to figure this out!” Pete begged, “When I marry Bobby, and if Guffi marries Hinrik…”
“...Then we’ll all be family!” Pete declared.
Immi stared at Pete, raising one eyebrow.
“You’d be the best cousin ever!” Pete pleaded.
“...Okay, I’ll help.” Immi said reluctantly, “But! You have to be nice to me all the time, and you can’t write any more mean poetry about me, and you can’t tell anyone about the whole panapple thing!”
“But my poems are a classic! Roses are red, honey is…”
There was a moment of silence before Pete leapt up in the air, clapping and bouncing in delight before stopping out of embarrassment.
“Are you… okay?” Immi asked, mildly terrified.
“I’ve just had an amazing idea!” Pete announced.
“We shall have… a picnic!” Pete proclaimed.
“That won’t work.” Immi scoffed.
“Sure it will!” Pete said, “And it’ll be so much fun!”
“Maybe for you.” Immi snarked, rolling his eyes.
“Cmon!” Pete pleaded.
Immi laughed and sat back down on the throne. He took his notebook and pen from his pocket and began to write down his own ideas. Pete stood and thought for a moment. How could he convince Immi that a picnic was exactly what Guffi and Bob needed?
Pete snuck up to Immi, and began to gently poke Immi’s arm.
“P-P-P-P-P-PICNIC!” He said in a high pitched voice.
Immi stared at Pete in disbelief.
“P-P-P-P-P-PICNIC!” Pete repeated, this time jabbing Immi in the arm.
“Ow!” Immi yelped, clutching his arm and swatting at Pete.
Immi grabbed Pete’s hand.
“Don’t do that a-gain” Immi snarled.
“Come on!” Pete begged, “You can bring a couple more friends!”
“You can bring Eva!”
Immi sighed and slumped back in the chair, thinking for a moment.
“Okay, fine!” Immi conceded, “But if this goes wrong it’s your fault! Promise?”
“Promise!” Pete replied, “Awkward cousin hug?”
Pete grabbed Immi’s hand and pulled him off the throne, and spun him into a big hug. Immi stood there awkwardly, frozen for a moment until he decided to hug Pete back.
“Okay, that’s enough now!” Immi declared after a few seconds, gently pushing Pete off.
“So who are we inviting?” Pete asked.
Immi thought for a second, “Us and the two bananas, obviously, and Eva.”
“Let’s invite Kerry!” Pete gleefully suggested.
“You mean Gedda?”
“Do you know where Gedda and Eva are?”
“I think I saw them in the play room?”
Immi and Pete headed off to look for their orange friends, who were indeed sat in the play room as Pete had said. Eva was adding some decorations to her mirror while Gedda counted how many times she went down the slide.
“Eight!” Gedda chirped as she climbed up the slide once more, “Aaaaand… NINE!”
“We need your help!” Pete said desperately.
“What’s wrong?” Gedda asked, sitting at the bottom of the slide.
“We’re going on a picnic.” Immi deadpanned.
“How lovely!” Eva beamed, turning round to look at them.
“We’re trying to make Guffi and Bob be friends!” Pete explained, “To do that, we’re going to invite them on a picnic.”
“How is a picnic going to solve their problems with each other?” Gedda quizzed.
“It won’t.” Immi mumbled, causing Pete to gasp and gently shove him.
“Don’t listen to him!” Pete snapped, “It will work, but we need you two there to keep the peace!”
“Can’t you two keep the peace?” Gedda asked.
Eva suddenly burst out laughing. She quickly stopped after noticing that Pete was glaring at her, and went back to her decorating.
“Look, you’re probably the most level-headed person in this basket, so we need you there.” Immi appealed, “And Eva, you don’t take any nonsense from anyone, and I need you there to stop me totally losing it.”
“Please, please come with us!” Pete beseeched.
Gedda and Eva looked at each other, contemplating their response. This could be the most effective plan ever, or it could be a total disaster. Did they really want to deal with the fallout? Still, Eva wanted to help Immi, and Gedda would take any opportunity to encourage friendship and brotherhood.
“Okay, I’ll help you!” Gedda grinned.
“I suppose I can help too.” Eva affirmed.
Pete let out a large cheer and started to dance around the room, picking up a broom and playing it like a guitar as Gedda looked on, almost crying with laughter. Immi went over to Eva and pulled her into a hug.
“It’ll go fine, Immi minn.” Eva whispered gently to Immi, giving him a gentle kiss on the cheek. Immi looked at Eva and smiled.
“Hey lovebirds, let’s start packing!” Pete yelled joyfully.
Pete leapt up onto a block and stood proudly, smiling widely. Gedda looked at him, still recovering from all the giggling. Immi and Eva also looked on, still in each other’s arms. Pete cleared his throat as he made his declaration.
“We’re going on a picnic!”