This is the story of three men, each blinded by their own wants. I've always been interested in the concept of time travel and its potential impacts, and it was a lot of fun devising this little story. Without further ado, here is The Pineapple That Destroyed The Earth
On the 12th of April 2023, a single pineapple was bought from a branch of Tesco in Manchester.
This proves to be very important.
It was bought by a Mr. Alan S Jenkins, aged forty-two, a father of three, and an amateur researcher into temporal anomalies. More specifically, Alan Jenkins owned a time machine. It sat in his shed, a shimmering portal kept churning and undulating by all manner of strange machinery. He’d built it himself, part by painstaking part.
Alan Jenkins ran what he liked to call a “Mega Scam” with his time machine, and had admittedly seen some success. He’d find some common object; say a spoon, a plastic tub, or even a broken mobile phone, and take it to a far-flung location in the distant past, where said object would be considered highly unique. He would then sell it to the highest bidder. He wouldn’t take money, but gold, and lots of it.
He’d sold an empty yogurt pot to Elizabeth the first, given Winston Churchill a broken Xbox, and palmed a used q-tip off on William the conqueror. Historical figures couldn’t get enough of these ‘rare and exotic’ treasures. But by far his greatest success was in the sale of pineapples.
During the Stuart era, pineapples were considered so rare and exotic that they were worth their weight in gold. Far from being a delicacy, the rich kept them as fancy props, monuments to their decadence and excess. Considering Alan could obtain a pineapple for the low low price of seventy-three pence in his home era, this business strategy was naturally very appealing. During Alan’s brief stint as a travelling pineapple salesman in the year 1676, he came across one Sir Roland Peele, and the two soon struck up a deal.
Alan would provide Sir Roland with a fresh pineapple every couple of months, so that he could show it off at all of his fancy parties, and in return Alan would be most handsomely rewarded. Gold, rubies, sapphires, all manner of fine treasure Alan could sell for a pretty penny in his home era. This deal proved highly beneficial for both parties and continued on for several years. However, this all unravelled when something went horribly wrong.
On the 1st of September 1681, the planet Earth came to an end.
Alan was not a stupid man. After all, he did build a time machine. But for all the knowledge he had in temporal engineering and shrewd business skills, he lacked in microbiology, epidemiology, and most importantly: common decency. You see, hidden deep inside the pineapples was a small colony of bacteria, Listeria Monocytogenes. This bacteria causes listeria, an often-deadly disease.
Since the pineapples were strictly for display only, nobody actually ate them, thus remaining disease-free. This was a pretty good thing too, as these were the medical dark ages where even a toothache could be fatal. There was just no treating listeria.
However, on the morning of the 27th of August 1681, someone ate the pineapple. It was Bartholomew ‘Barto’ Barret that did the deed. He was a servant of Sir Roland’s and was known to be far from the brightest spark. He was a warty little toad of a man; short, cobbish, and rough around the edges.
On that fateful morning, Barto was cleaning up after one of Sir Roland’s lavish parties, and he spied the pineapple from across the room. He crept up to the fruit, sitting in pride of place on the mantle, a thought beginning to form in his mind.
He knew how expensive it was, costing more than he earned in a year, and he knew what trouble he’d be in if he damaged it. He didn’t care. He was not one for consequences. Picking up the fruit in one hand, he gave it a deep sniff. It was sweet. He bet it would taste delicious.
He bit into it, coarse rind and all, only to spit it out a moment later. Yes, it was sweet, but a twinge of bitterness caught him unawares. Plus, it had been sat on the mantle for some time and was obviously past its prime. He knocked the pineapple onto the floor, where it landed with a dull splat. He’d have to blame this on one of last night’s dinner guests.
All was well, until it wasn’t.
Soon, Barto fell ill. First came chills, then came aches, and finally, violent and uncontrolled diarrhoea. Barto was knocking on death’s door like an impatient salesman might knock on the door of a gullible old lady. In the early hours of September 1st, Bartholomew Barret passed away.
He would not father twenty-two children by twenty-two different women, he would not drink a yard of ale in six seconds flat, and he would not be fatally stabbed in an alleyway whilst trying to purchase lewd woodcuts of naked milkmaids. Ordinarily, this would not be a problem. Layabouts live and die, and the world goes on. But this was no ordinary layabout. Barto Barret was, or rather would’ve been, a direct male-line ancestor of Alan S. Jenkins. With no Barto, there was no Alan. With no Alan, there was no time machine. With no time machine, there was no pineapple.
The timelines unravelled with the undulant roar of a thousand collapsing suns.
The universe has a way of protecting herself, purging any cancers that may plague her vast and varied dimensions. She had to cauterise the Earth.
A great resounding rumble was heard from the ancient days of the Eoarchean Eon to the deep dark frosts of a future under a white dwarf sun. The Earth was obliterated, each and every atom torn apart and dissipated into nothing.
It was more than no more, it had never even been.
And in an ethereal realm beyond the reach of even the universe, swimming aimlessly through the never-was and could’ve been, sat the hollow ghost of a man who didn’t exist.
At last, he had realised his mistake.