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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)

TITLE: Twinkle Plums
By Addie Pleasance
11/14/12
~1st Place


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The kingdom of Melonia was built on the sides of a mountain. Some people chose to live on the top of the mountain, where the forests were green and rivers sparkled and splashed. Others preferred the bottom of the mountain, with its splendid sandy beaches and friendly sunshine. The schools and stores, libraries and shops were all located in the middle of the mountain, where Top-dwellers and Bottom-dwellers worked together in peace.

Sangio was a Top-dweller; he enjoyed the piney smell of the trees in his little yard, and at night he could hear the whisper of a nearby river. He worked in Middle Mount, making shoes with his best friend Clarita.

“Good day to you, Clarita,” he said, hanging his cap on a hook. “How did you sleep?”

“Not well,” she said, and Sangio could see that Clarita’s eyes were drooping. “I was bothered by a hummy-bug all night.”

Sangio started to speak, to commiserate with his friend, but she held out a hand, stopping him. “Honestly, Sangio. I know that all you Toppers just love those hummy-bugs, but I don’t understand it at all. Oh, sure, they’re pretty, with those swirly things and those other things that light up—but that humming is enough to drive a person cuckoo! What is the matter with you?”

Sangio swallowed his words. He’d been about to say that he couldn’t stand hummy-bugs, either; he’d never understood the Top’s fascination with them. It irritated him, though, that Clarita assumed he’d love them, just because of where he lived. He had a mind of his own, didn’t he? But instead of comforting his friend, Sangio just shrugged and picked up a piece of leather.

Clarita was out of sorts all day, so instead of suggesting they have their lunch together in the park, Sangio left for his midday break alone, while Clarita was in the supply room.

After his lonely lunch, sorry for having left Clarita without a word, Sangio stopped by a flower shop. He’d get her a few posies, he thought, to brighten up her workspace.

“Helloooo,” he called out into the empty shop. A fellow with fluffy orange hair peeked around the corner.

“Well, hello yourself,” he said. “Flowers for you today?”

Sangio nodded. “I’ve upset my co-worker. Something small for her table, maybe?”

“Very well,” said the fluffy fellow. “Are you a Topper, or a Bottom-dweller?”

“I’m a Topper,” said Sangio, “but I don’t understand why that…” The flower man interrupted him.

“Oh, well then. We have a fresh shipment of sunlilies, very pretty. But you won’t want sunlilies, being a Topper and all. Maybe I should ask about your co-worker, though. She a Topper, too?”

Sangio felt the annoyance of the morning returning, buzzing about his head like a hummy-bug. It was true that many Toppers disliked sunlilies; they shone rather brightly in the morning, while Toppers were still enjoying the morning light filtering through the trees. But Sangio was a fellow who liked to awaken early, and he welcomed the glow from a vase of sunlilies.

For the second time in one day, someone had made an assumption about Sangio. He realized that he disliked it, very much. “Maybe I like sunlilies!” he said. “Maybe I want to give my co-worker hundreds of sunlilies! Maybe she can take some of them home to feed her stupid colony of hummy-bugs!

The flower shop man flushed; his face became a brighter shade than his hair. “B-b-but,” he said, “hummy-bugs don’t eat…”

“I know!” said Sangio. He stormed out of the shop.

On the way back to work, he bought one sunlily from a vendor, tossing a coin at the surprised seller. He found a little jar and put the flower in some water, then set it on Clarita’s work table. She looked at him, squinting suspiciously.

“It’s a sunlily. I figured you’d like it, being from the Bottom and all. But maybe you…maybe you don’t. I guess I’m a terrible Top-dweller, and maybe I should move to the Bottom, where people like the right flowers and hate the right bugs. But I like it at the top, and I…I like it there. It’s where I feel at home.”

Clarita pulled the flower closer and flicked one petal with her finger. It glowed softly for a second, then faded. “I’ve never met a Topper like you, Sangio,” she said. She reached under her table and held out a ripe blue fruit. “I’ve always wondered…how do you feel about twinkle plums?”

[Author’s note: It’s not about the flowers. Or the bugs. Or the twinkle plums.]

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/15/12
This is a grand story. I could easily see it as a children's picture book. What a delightful way to teach your child about prejudices. Plus the conflict and the characters are sophisticated enough that the adult reading the book might also learn something. You did a grand job of nailing the topic in a fresh and descriptive way while still telling an important message. I felt a sense of peace and hope when I finished reading this well-written tale.
Meghan Andersch 11/16/12
I think your story is quite engaging and a great take on the topic. Fun read!
Danielle King 11/18/12
What a truly delightful and novel way of putting your message accross. I love your words; toppers, hummybugs, fluffy fellow and twinkle plums. Especially twinkle plums! I'm sure you've pulled them out of your head, but they are so descriptive. They so fit this enchanting, make believe little world. I'd like to visit. Do you think there'd be any B&B's?
Marie Hearty 11/19/12
I enjoyed your story immensely. You did a great job with the description and it was marvellously cute.

God bless!
Myrna Noyes11/19/12
Oh, this was a lovely, well-written fantasy story with a great message about prejudice, misunderstandings, wrongly labeling people because of where they live, false assumptions, etc.! I loved it! :) Great job!
Bea Edwards 11/19/12
Beautifully descriptive fantasy reminiscent of the kingdom in the theme song from the classic cult movie 'Billie Jack'. No war as in the song however skewed expectations and assumptions by the upper and lower dwellers could have eventually led there.
Superb writing!
Noel Mitaxa 11/20/12
Engaging and disarming work. Well written.
Nancy Bucca11/21/12
This is really awesome. It really is irritating when people make assumptions. So clever too, with those hummy-bugs and twinkle tops! A very fun read.
Francy Judge11/22/12
Congratulations on your well-deserved win! This was so creative and fun to read.
Danielle King 11/22/12
Congratulations! I loved this entry.
Olawale Ogunsola 11/22/12
Congratulations for a job well done.
Dannie Hawley 11/24/12
It is truly rare to find a story that crosses all age lines, but this one does that so well. It could be read by children, young adults and adult readers of all ages. We all need a reminder of this lesson and your story beautifully brings our attention to an important issue. Congrats on your win!
Ellen Carr 11/25/12
Congratulations on your well-deserved win. I'm just catching up (late) on the winners and I really enjoyed yours. It's so creative, well-written and captivating.
Myrna Noyes11/25/12
CONGRATULATIONS on your first place E.C. win!! WAY TO WRITE!! :)
Loren T. Lowery11/26/12
Great job and congratulations on your EC. Your title trips the reader into a wonderful world of fantasy.
Bonnie Bowden 01/09/13
Wonderful message about not judging! Full of hidden truths.