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May 14, 2013
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(Contains: violence/gore)
The plan was fairly simple. It would not have gone awry had the old man from across the street not decided to bring her a bushel of oranges from the tree in his back yard. As it was the old man from across the street had decided to bring her a bushel of oranges and was now standing openmouthed in her doorway, the bushel of oranges fallen to the floor.

Shit.

She was sure he had seen everything, or at least enough, and (not for the first time) cursed the familiarity between neighbors that had led to his decision not to knock. Although even if he had knocked she could not have managed to hide the body in time.

One of the oranges rolled into the blood. She set down the knife, wiped her hands on her jeans and stooped down to stop another from sharing the same fate. She tossed it back and forth between her sweaty palms and wondered if she would have to kill the old man too. No. No, she had only ever wanted to kill him. Perhaps she could still run for it?

As she ruminated the old man slowly unfroze and started digging through his pockets while muttering apologies.

“I’ll have to call it in,” he said, still unsure, like he was asking her permission.

“I know.”

She was silent while he dialed, absentmindedly peeling the orange now. Her parents would be so disappointed. The old man talked shakily and she giggled at the thought of her scaring him – her!

He hung up and addressed her warily, “They’re on their way.”

She nodded.

“Are you going to run?”

“No.”

The old man looked at the body on the floor again. The blood was still pooling and the oranges were dotted through. Pretty.

He looked back at her, “I’ll tell them… I’ll tell them what he did to you.”

“Thank you.”

She peeled an orange slice off and ate it. It was quite good; one of the best she’d ever have. The best. She didn’t think they had oranges in prison.
This short story was inspired by my neighbor bringing over some oranges from his backyard tree. I usually get lovely tasting fruit where I live but these were truly superb. One of the first thoughts that flitted through my head was that this was the best orange I'd ever eat. I quickly realized the absurdity of that statement and thought upon reasons why an orange would be the best one ever eaten.

I do not employ expletives in everyday speech due to my belief that they limit vocabulary, however I do acknowledge that they can have great rhetorical value which I why I used one here. I do believe it works well.

A very big thank you to *BlakeCurran who very kindly edited this and gave me a bit of advice! :hug: thank you so very much Blake! Anyone reading should check out some of his work because he is absolutely fabulous!
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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-05-23
The imagery and dialogue truly captured me in The Best Orange She'd Ever Eat by ~starell, showing more than the author actually wrote, the suggester proclaims. ( Suggested by SingingFlames and Featured by Nichrysalis )
:iconchipchinka:
Chipchinka Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013   Writer
I like how understated this is and how I kept expecting a twist that would actually have cheapened the story and I'm glad there was no twist. I like a good twist, but sometimes a straightforward tale works just as well. Besides, writing isn't always about gimmicks, after all. And so, having said that, I'll say that this was quite poignant. I love the fact that there's a bit of understanding and mutual respect between the characters, and a very adult form of understanding. Something happened, there will be fall-out from that, but in the meantime, there's just a small bit of human connection, human understanding, and the willingness of the old neighbor to "tell them what he did to you." It takes this out of the realm of "right and wrong" or "good and evil" and renders the whole tale deliciously human.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
Maybe the twist was that I kept you expecting a twist but then didn't deliver a twist. Just kidding that is way too complicated! Although I am glad that I could subvert your expectations like that! 

I love diving into the gray area. I really think it is the most interesting. Characters who are just "good" or "evil" can be boring! There is nothing to relate to and there is no depth. I think that the "right and wrong" kind of stories serve to fulfill our fantasies about ourselves while a bit more human characters can serve as a mirror through which we examine our own motivations. 

:hug: Thank you so much for your lovely insightful comment! 
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:iconchipchinka:
Chipchinka Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013   Writer
Sometimes a twist is simply that, subverting an expectation, even if you do it very subtly and in a way that doesn't even seem like a twist.  I'm totally with you in that characters who are "good" or "bad" are boring.  I mean, based on the ways in which we're taught to present art, you know what happens to the all-bad character or the all-good character...you don't have to read the story all the way to the end.  It's already been "telegraphed" to you.  I also love stories that serve more as mirrors; wish fulfillment is almost like porn in some ways: it's ultimately very private; I get that sense whenever I read something by another author that seems to be nothing more than wish fulfillment, it makes me feel like a voyeur, and not in a good way.  With what you wrote, I felt more of a sense of ambiguity, and a little bit of sadness.  That was so much more rewarding.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
I love when you write something and then discover all of the hidden meanings you never knew were there! I think these presumptions about the endings of "good" and "bad" characters is where the emerging fascination of bad winning is coming from. Hm, never thought about wish fulfillment like that! :hug: Glad that you think so! Thank you so very much! 
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:iconchipchinka:
Chipchinka Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013   Writer
You are welcome, and I plan to read a lot more of your work.  I'm interested in what I've read so far.  It's always nice to stumble across a really good artist and to discover all sorts of gems in one gallery or another.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
Just beware there's some rubbish mingled in! 
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:iconchipchinka:
Chipchinka Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013   Writer
Isn't that the case with everything in reality though?
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
very true! 
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:iconbrietta-a-m-f:
brietta-a-m-f Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I think the saddest line in this whole thing is "She didn't think they had oranges in prison."

The greatest aspect of this story is how it lives in the exact moment of what is happening. Other than a sentence or two here and there, our nameless protagonist is only concerned with what is immediately in front of her. And this makes perfect sense in what context we are given.

One of the things that makes this truly gripping is not how you spell out every little gratuitous detail, but how you nearly all of it to us. The background, the protagonist's age, just what our "victim" did to deserve his fate, all of this is left for us to fill in (or to aimlessly wonder about, if our imaginations are too lazy). It lends itself to, if not downright forces reader investment, making sure that there is a connection to what is going on in the pages.

This is a fantastic story and most definitely deserving of its DD. So I shall sign off with a hearty "Congratulations!" and shuffle it off to my favorites.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
It is a bit tragic. :( I am always amused by the fact that I enjoy such happy stories but tend to write them a bit darker. 

Third person limited is a great way to tell stories, however it doesn't really lend itself to extraneous information. Glad you could see the sense! 

I thought of it sort of like being in a movie where the set is ready and the actors are in costume and the props are all there but the only thing missing is the director! 

Thank you so very much for your wonderful compliment! :hug: I greatly appreciate your amazing comment as well! 
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:iconbrietta-a-m-f:
brietta-a-m-f Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're so very welcome, and thank YOU for the llama!
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013
:heart: 
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:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations on the DD! :D I really admire the way you haven't spelt everything out - you allow your readers to do some of the work. And with regard to your one expletive - I agree that it works well ^^ These are powerful words. It's not that you should never use them; it's more a case of using them in the correct context. And the word definitely sums up the situation and the feelings of your central character.

(Btw, I think *BlakeCurran is fabulous too ^^)
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Aw, :hug: Thank you! There have been a few interesting theories so far :D Expletives are powerful things! That is another reason to use them sparingly, if you do so too often they lose their potency and now what will you say?!?! Context is certainly everything!

I know right!?!?!
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:iconkori-hibana:
kori-hibana Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student General Artist
I love this! short, but imaginative and fully captures a scene that I can see in my mind...
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Thank you! I would like to think it has some vivid imagery!
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:iconkanyamidnight:
kanyamidnight Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the odd normalness of the first paragraph, it really catches your attention and complements the very different second paragraph. The lack of anything extra in the story leaves so much up to your imagination, but just enough so that you can infer what probably happened before, to cause her to kill a man, and what happens to her later. This story is an excellent example of how less is more.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Thank you so much! Hm, I am glad you decided to comment on the first paragraph! It has gotten a few mixed reviews! Simplicity can be beautiful. Thank you for recognizing that!

:hug: I really appreciate your thoughtful comment!
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:iconkanyamidnight:
kanyamidnight Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome!
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Student General Artist
Oh wow. I love this story! The mundanity and simultaneous absurdity of this story make it worthy of any recognition it gets. :huggle:
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
I love your review! It is an interesting exposition in contrasts! Thank you so very much! :huggle:
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:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Student General Artist
Thanks! It is true. :hug:
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 27, 2013
:hug:
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Congratulations on your well-deserved DD!!! :iconflyingheartsplz::iconlainloveplz::iconflyingheartsplz: :clap::clap::clap:
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Thank you so very much!!!! :hug:
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:iconthegalleryofeve:
TheGalleryOfEve Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:iconflyingheartsplz::blowkiss::iconflyingheartsplz:
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:icontuesdaynightcompany:
TuesdayNightCompany Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
I liked this story, particularly the latter half.
I got stuck on the opening line, though.
"The plan was fairly simple and would not have gone awry had the old man from across the street not decided to bring her a bushel of oranges from the tree in his back yard."
It was the double "not" that I stumbled on. Wait, what? Wait, the plan wouldn't have gone awry if this hadn't happened. Okay. Tracking.
I think that sentence could be pared down, if not for a simpler read then only to match the pleasantly terse sentence construction in the rest of the story.
Like: "The plan was fairly simple. It would not have gone awry if the old man from across the street hadn't decided to bring her a bushel of oranges from his backyard."
Or, uh, something like that.
:twocents:
I really do like the clear, short sentences of the story. It's like being frozen into inaction and then into mental fragmentation with the protagonist.
Gaw, look at that. I sound so hoity-toity.
Anyway. Story is good.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Thank you for your wonderful, thoughtful comment! :hug: I love it when people give thoughtful critiques! They give such lovely insight! I find that I not only agree with you but agree with you enough to change it (with your permission of course)!

Strangely enough this was one of the exact things I was trying to convey through the short sentences!!! :cookie: Cookies for you!

Educated and insightful, my dear, never hoity-toity. :)

Thank you so very much! :hug:
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:icontuesdaynightcompany:
TuesdayNightCompany Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Pfft. You do not need my permission to change your story however you see fit. Sally forth and edit!
You're most welcome, thank you for the read!
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
:heart:
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:iconchancerox:
chancerox Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i love the almost care free attitude of this. lovely work. :)
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Why thank you very very much! :)
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:icondeathbloom77:
DeathBloom77 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love the fact that you don't use names, making it so anonymous adds so much to the gory effect. Not only that, but the fact that you don't let us know what that man did to her to cause her to kill him let's our imaginations run wild. I can't stop thinking of different scenarios, like an abusive relationship, or rape. An incredible job well done, and simply keep up the good work.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
:hug: thank you so very much for your lovely comment! Hm, I had not thought of that! I like that you did though! I did want to leave some parts up to you so I am glad your imagination is going with it! I am most flattered! Thank you once more! :huggle:
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:iconimaginative-lioness:
imaginative-lioness Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Congratulations for the Daily Deviation :heart:!

This piece is truly remarkable, you have done a wonderful job and definitely deserve a DD for this! :hug:
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Aw, :hug: Thank you darling!

:blush: so happy you feel like that!
I've been meaning to read your newest piece but it will take me a while to get to because I have all of these people to respond to and I keep getting locked out for posting 'spam' but don't worry I'll tell you how fabulous it is in a day or two! :hug:
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:iconpatrikia-bear:
Patrikia-Bear Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wow. I can't decide whether this is darkly funny or deeply tragic.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
Maybe both?
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:iconpatrikia-bear:
Patrikia-Bear Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Indeed. Very well done.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
:heart:
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:iconduncanddante:
DuncanDDante Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
And of course, it's not the woman's fault. She did it because of what he did to her... yay for that little piece of cliché that ruins a perfectly good story.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 23, 2013
It is the woman's fault. Or, it's not, it really is up to you to decide. But the cliche thing about murder is that it usually has a purpose. An act of passion if you will. The man could have committed any number of crimes, or deeds she could construe as crimes, against her. Of course the familiarity of the neighbor with the situation between her and the dead man lends to the assumption that he lived there as well. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is a case of domestic abuse. This is simply a woman killing a man because she felt he deserved to die. What reason do you think she should have for killing him? Why does your interpretation of the story as cliche ruin it for you?

Thank you for your criticism and the hidden compliment as well!
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:iconduncanddante:
DuncanDDante Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
True, but we don't have the accusation made by her, it was the neighbour who introduced it. It's his defense of her, not her attempts at rationalizations. The point of origin is important in a story. Right now, the apparent core of the story is one of revenge, condemned, but understood, which supposes a legitimate reason and leaves very little room for ambiguity or interpretation. (Also other fruit might be a better choice. Peeling oranges is messy and tedious. Not something you would do easily after so much stress. :P)

I do hope the compliment was not that hidden. Other than the above, I really did enjoy the story.
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Your orange peeling point is very valid! I did not even consider the orange peel difficulties, mainly because the oranges I had were very easy to peel, some varieties are! Stress can also do interesting things!

One detail that might negate the domestic abuse theory is the familiarity of the old man. Abusers tend to be very controlling so I do not think that such shenanigans as randomly coming in would be okay with an abuser. One thing I still do not understand is why the scenario of a woman killing a man who was domestically abusing her is so repugnant to you.

It was just mired in sarcastic aggressiveness ;)
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:iconduncanddante:
DuncanDDante Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That is a valid point. Some oranges are indeed easy to peel.

First of all. it doesn't matter whether the domestic abuse was the reason. The problem is with the notion that her actions were only necessitated by the actions of the man(as suggested by the neighbour), relegating the protagonist to the role of an object which is merely responding to the outside forces ie.the man. That is an attitude sexist to both genders, objectifying women and painting men as the universal aggressor.

Second, most of the "common knowledge" regarding domestic violence is a myth, a fabrication a nonsense, which is unfortunately so widespread people just blindly accept it. The scenario of the abused woman is the worst offender and in fact occurs in minority of cases. Even there, where it does actually occur, in vast majority of cases it is reciprocal (as in, they abuse each other) not to mention more often than not, it is initiated by women. Chances are, you are just following the common impression of domestic violence, I can't really hold that against you, but the story nevertheless helps to perpetuate the trope, which is not only demonstrably wrong, but demeaning to both sexes.

Sarcasm I admit to. Agression? Me? Impossible. :P
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
I, as a person, commit actions based on my own will and as a reaction to others. For example my choosing to read is an action but when I load the dishwasher it is a reaction to being told to do so. I know, for myself of course, that I would not decide to murder somebody without first being incited to murder. This is something that I hope is a common human characteristic, and is so imparted on the protagonist. I do not believe it is sexist to have her murder a man because she believed she needed to and others might be sympathetic. A question to be posited is whether any of our actions are our own and not merely reactions. Another is whether or not a response is any less or more valid for being a response.

Have you ever seen the musical Chicago? It might prompt an interesting reaction with you!

I checked out this website [link] for information on female offenders. It is specific to my country though so circumstances may be different where you are.

My knowledge on domestic violence is not "common knowledge."

Meh, maybe I just perceived it that way and if it wasn't intended as such I do apologize.
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:iconduncanddante:
DuncanDDante Featured By Owner May 25, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Leaving aside the issue of free will, yes, everybody does things they choose to do, including murder. The implication is that this woman and by proxy the larger portrayal of women are less violent and a murder woman would commit is justified by its cause or provocation.

Yes, this may be the one in a million chance, but following the innocent woman pushed too far trope is lazy writing in my eyes. Wanna make it ambiguous? Have the woman say it. Then it wouldn't have the neigbour's confirmation and have the reader question her motives.

My views on female perpetrated violence aside, you gotta admit it would make for a much deeper story.

I have not seen Chicago, sorry. I'll wiki it.

The report that says that that women make less than a quarter of victims and which does not take into account violence by proxy?
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:iconstarell:
starell Featured By Owner May 27, 2013
Thank you for interacting with me even though our viewpoints tend to differ! :hug: I guess I just never intended to show that the woman wasn't guilty merely that she had motive. I want the reader to question her motives, I want her to be a sympathetic character. In the end no matter what violence the man committed unto her she committed the ultimate act of violence on him. With a knife! She is neither the evil murderess or the innocent pushed too far. I am sorry that by the neighbor's defense of her she is rendered one dimensional for you.

I will consider your insights in further writing.

Maybe it would. However, what I think you're really looking for is a defense for the man. A chance for him to speak up and say his two bits, or for someone to say them for him. Perhaps you are that voice.

Violence by proxy would not have given me insight into non-proxy murders. There is probably a whole separate report for that.
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(1 Reply)
:iconmadgenius2013:
madgenius2013 Featured By Owner May 23, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I would have to disagree about ruining it. Yes, it is a trope that has been used a lot. I've seen very many stories about women that kill simply because they wanted to.
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:iconduncanddante:
DuncanDDante Featured By Owner May 24, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll say what I told starell.
We don't have the accusation made by her, it was the neighbour who introduced it. It's his defense of her, not her attempts at rationalizations. The point of origin is important in a story.
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