Eight hours into my shift at the orange grove and my mind is starting to melt under the Florida sun. My hands are covered in orange zest and it’s under my fingernails, pushing my nerves to their breaking point. Javi, my young picking partner stares at me while I give my spiel: “Oranges are pointless! We aren’t pirates anymore, scurvy has been eradicated. There’s nowhere to store all this vitamin C! Hasn’t anybody heard of “Airborne”? It’s easy. Drop it in some water, wait a few seconds, and boom. It’s all you need in a small drink, no zest, no mess. I know it’s not ideal to get your vitamins from non-natural food sources but that’s capitalism for you! Did you know oranges and capitalism go hand in hand? Every time they skin an orange a six-year-old immigrant cries, hands cut and scarred from hacking away at the orange trees all day. Their parents use dirty rags to patch their cuts. They know nothing of the colorful band-aids found on aisle twenty-two. The government wants you to believe that Ol’ Farmer Brown is providing you with all your citrus needs, but it’s all a façade. He’s paying day laborers pennies to make your orange juice. Even better, he’s turning a profit and the government turns a blind eye. All for them to drink overpriced, artificially sweetened sludge that does absolutely nothing for your well-being.”
Javi questioned me, “Well, what are you gonna do about it?”
I continued: “I’m going to make agriculture great again! Tomorrow I’m going to hop the fence to the White House and storm the Oval Office. The Presidents orange head is going to be in my hands, dust flying everywhere while his toupee hits the floor. I’m gonna show him that Mexico sends their best. I know I said I would never touch an orange but this time it’s personal.”
Javi laughed. Without another word we went back to picking.