Mark Washburn

The secret heartbreak of Chiquita's betrayal

I feel so foolish.

It’s an old, old story – boring older man, vibrant younger woman. It was chilly Cincinnati, of all places, where I first saw her.

She flirted me up, I fell hard and here I am now, heartbroken and alone.

She was a stunning Latina, whose every wiggle was to a hypnotic samba beat. She said she wanted to move from the cold Midwest and was thinking about Boca. I talked her into Charlotte. I even helped her move. I even gave her money.

I should have noticed the warning signs from the beginning, but I was smitten. Appalachian Trail smitten.

She needed a place to live, but she insisted it be somewhere quiet, somewhere private, a place there would never be crowds. So I got her a loft at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Then strange things began to happen around town. A government agency built a secret lane along Interstate 485 and then rented a bunch of barrels to block it off from frustrated motorists so it could be turned into a toll lane someday. They built it with tax money and plotted to rent it out. Who does that?

Then another government agency put up benches to block entrances to Romare Bearden Park. Because the portals weren’t handicap accessible, they said, they needed to be closed to all. How weird is that?

Then the vortex moved to the business world. Our local Family Dollar chain was targeted for takeover by Dollar General, followed by Dollar Tree, followed by Dollar Rent-A-Car, Bottom Dollar, Almighty Dollar, Dollar Bill, Bill Dollar and General Family Tree.

I only began to put it all together one night when she left with a basket of fruit. Said she had to visit a sick friend. Suspicious, I checked her phone. She’d been flirting behind my back with some Irish guy named Fyffes.

What happened next was a shocker. When she got home, the fruit was smeared all over her head and she was covered with motor oil. She’d been in a nasty fight. It all fit into place.

Chiquita Banana was a trained assassin.

I never meant to hurt you, she said. But you’re just so innocent.

How long had it been going on, I asked. How long had you been planning to leave me?

From the very start, she said. Sorry, but if you want, I’ll give you back some of the money you spent on me.

Then she vanished, but not to be with the Irishman. She had fooled us both. She chose a Brazilian.

I tried to woo a German named Mercedes, but she cut me right off. You’re nice and all that, she said, but I’m looking for something a little more international. Last I heard she was the belle of Atlanta.

I learned my lesson. Next time I’ll be more discriminating, I’ll look for someone with better business prospects, I’ll not act so giddy. I won’t get swept away; I’ll be more deliberate.

Friends say I need to get over my sorrow and get back out there. I need to search for somebody new. I’m wiser now. I think I know now what I want.

There’s this little voice inside me. It keeps whispering, “Amateur sports complex.”