The Banana Dealer

Posted by Alex on Thursday, September 18, 2014

“That’s correct, sir. I sold bananas for a living.” He bowed his head as he spoke.

“And were you always fair to your customers?” The patriarchal gatekeeper adjusted his headset, moving the microphone closer to his mouth.

The man shuffled his feet and glanced sideways but did not respond.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to answer all my questions before I can allow you to proceed.”

“Well,” he began, “I…”

“Well, you?”

“Well, I tried to.”

The gatekeeper referred to his tablet. “That would tend to contradict the information I have here. Would you care to reconsider or expand upon that answer?” He swiped a finger across the screen then stared at the banana dealer.

“No,” the dealer shook his bowed head, “I confess that I wasn’t always fair. I sometimes charged much more than the market rate and sold poor quality bananas at a premium. But I had a family to support. Times were hard.”

“So, you were not always fair?”

“No, not always. I tried to make up for it though. I gave better prices to my poorer clients.”

“Yes,” the gatekeeper consulted his tablet, “I see that. Though the cheaper bananas were seldom of good quality.”

The dealer looked up. “How can you know that?”

The old man gestured to his tablet. “It’s all here. My employer keeps comprehensive records.”


“Yes, oh. Well, perhaps we should move on. It says here that you once stole another dealer’s consignment of bananas. Do you have anything to say in your defence?”

“It’s true. I stole from a competitor but only after she caused my stock of bananas to spoil. It was wrong to steal and I should have turned the other cheek but, well, you know.” He nodded towards the gatekeeper’s tablet.

“Yes, I know: times were hard. Which seems to be your justification for everything.”

“If I had been able to, I’d have changed how I did things.”

“Really? How so?”

“By putting money aside for hard times and falling back on savings to buy a new consignment rather than stealing. I would have invested more in quality control. Given bananas away to the poor.”

The gatekeeper held up a hand. “Stop, please. I think I’ve heard enough.”

He looked at the tablet again. Read for a moment. Swiped forward a few pages. Read some more. Then looked up at the banana dealer. “Excuse me.”

Stepping to one side the gatekeeper spoke into his headset then listened for a moment.

“Yes, I see.” He turned back to the dealer. “I’m afraid my employer has some doubts about your remorsefulness. Would you follow me, please. Yes, that’s right, down these stairs.”