Alright, yes! 
I am a glass of orange juice. 
Rather, the orange juice itself. 
The glass is merely for containment. 
Though perhaps it’s something of a fashion statement. 

But yes, 
that’s right, 
one hundred percent, 
pure Florida orange juice. 
from a concentrate. 

Even so, 
I beg you, 
refrain from consuming me. 

Yes, your eyes indeed deceive you. These appendages, the clothing, the face? Simply a disguise. You haven’t a clue as to what it’s like: Every morning—people staring at me—a thirsty gleam in their eyes; and then, every evening, terrified to go to bed; fearing that ever-recurring nightmare where huge unwashed hands grab at me and spill me all over the kitchen floor—so that a big dog named Butch can lick me up.

I was perfectly happy housed in a peel. 

It’s dangerous propaganda, I tell you, all this talk about the benefits of fluids. You end up with no identity. You’re just… 
no longer individual, no longer an orange, spherical and plump. Instead, you’re unnaturally caged in a plastic or cardboard container, pasteurized, even frozen! Try being pasteurized; see how much you like it! 

What did I do to deserve this fate? Nothing, I tell you. Nothing! All I did was hang around, catch the rays. Alright, on occasion, I’d tease the tangerines, but they’re real good sports, those tangerines. They never took anything personally. 

With some of these other fruits, though, it’s a different story entirely. If you ever get to know a banana, I mean sit down and try to have a serious conversation with one, you’ll understand why they’re called, “bananas.” They’re all the same, those bananas. 

It’s all so very hard to accept, but I try to focus on the future. Is it not too late to become a blend? A zesty pine-orange-kiwi, perhaps? 

I may’ve lost most of my pulp, but I’ll tell you, as I’ve told everyone, “This is what I am. This is what I’m made of. I’m a glass of orange juice.” The response? More often than not, folks’ll smile and say, “Oh, you’re so sweet!” And then they’ll walk away. They’ll tell me I’m sweet without even sampling me. I suppose I should be grateful. 

The only way I’ll embrace my fate is if I go it alone. I won’t sell out to Minute Maid, Tropicana, or Sunkist. 

I try not to think about my peel. That’s all behind me now. If there’s one thing I’ve learned: Don’t take your peel for granted. Never take your peel for granted. It’s all downhill after you’re peeled. 

4 April 2005 

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