As the Water Turns Pink

By
When I was younger I always wondered how my imagination worked. My mind would wander into a different subject while sitting in my math class. Doodling across my notes pictures of flying elephants or an ice cream house always seemed to keep me occupied, but I never seemed to notice why.

As the minutes ticked by, feeling like hours that seemed to never end, I began to doze off. It started like it usually did, me waking up in a different world. The air smelled like sweet cotton candy with hints of chocolate dipped strawberries. I woke to the sound of hummingbirds squealing in unison. My hair was a bright purple and I was dressed in a light pink dress. I sat there in amazement and disbelief as a waterfall of pop held a steady beat as it pounded the ground.

As I began to explore the exotic land, I came across a small village constructed of ice cream cones and bubblegum. As I got closer, I saw a group of what seemed to be younger girls. Walking closer the girls began to shuffle away slowly, trying to not make it obvious that they were frightened by me. I ran towards them and they dashed down an alley yelling words in a different language. I walked further down the road to a large, majestic building. Its architecture must have taken many years to construct. It seemed as if every curve in the chocolate had been scraped by a sculptor’s tool to perfection.

I walked up the stairs which seemed to be made of freshly baked marble cake. As I began to enter, the doors of the city hall I noticed a large water fountain rapidly pumping light blue water through the mouth of the mermaid. At a small wooden desk sat at young woman, probably in her twenties, sorting papers that seemed to be important. She noticed me staring at the fountain and said, “It was a gift from the real world to the mayor many years ago. The water is from the trunk blown from a rare elephant’s trunk.”

Still trying to understand how water from an elephant’s trunk turned blue, I sat in an uncomfortably stiff chair. As I tried trying to get things figured out, a short, red faced man burst through the doors of an office.
“I told you for the last time, you better get things figured out now before the ceremony!”
The women stood up at her desk, unaware of what the man was talking about.
“Are you OK Mr. Smith? What seems to be the problem?”
“The offertory was eaten over the weekend.”
“What offertory?” I asked in the silence between.
Mr. Smith quickly turned and noticed me sitting on the chair in the corner.
He asked, “Who are you to me in such a disrespectful tone?”
The secretary waver her hand in my direction. “Well, umm… This is… Excuse me, what’s your name my dear? I don’t think we’ve met before.”
“My name is Jessie, I’m from Wisconsin.”
“Wisconsin? Where might that be?”
“Well in the United States, of course. Where else?”
“Well I’ve never heard of that. Is it far from here?”

I sat there in disbelief. Where am I? I thought. Where could I be? As I sat there a boy my age burst through the doors, throwing his bag on the floor.
“Hey dad, what’s up?” He said.
“Not now son, work is very difficult today. Our sacrifice was eaten by the Walters last weekend and chances are it’s going to be hard to find that much food again.”
“Oh well, sorry dad. Maybe we could have a fundraiser?”
“Son can you go. I have a lot to think about now, and could you possibly take your friend?”
“What friend?”
He looked in my direction, then back at his dad.
“Well then, Josh this is your new friend Bessie. Bessie, this is Josh.”
“My name is actually Jessie…” Was all that came out of my throat.
“I don’t like that tone Tessie, Josh just take her down town to where ever you kids hang out now a days.”
Josh picked up his backpack and gave it to his dad. He nodded his head to me so I would come with him. I followed him down the steps of delicious cake and out to the Twizzler cover streets to a small shop named Nancy’s. No one was there as we sat on the cool vinyl seats. We sat there in awkward silence until we got our drinks.
“So what’s this sacrifice thing your dad was talking about?” Was all I asked.
He gave me a look and began, “Every year when the water begins to turn pink in that fountain in the lobby of city hall, we all go to the volcano, Mount Sucker, and drop in over 300 pounds of candy into the opening to appease the gods.”
“Why do you do that? It sounds so… useless.”
He took a sip and began, “Legend says that back when our town was first started we disturbed the peace of the gods. If the gods retaliated revenge the volcano would exploded melting the city to a burnt pile of chocolate. Ever since then every year when the water turns pink we dump our candy in, in hopes that it will help our relationship between the gods and citizens.”

I sat there trying to understand why they did such an odd ritual.
“Why can’t you guys just move your city?”
He stared out the window for a minute and began, “It’s a tradition here that we stay in one spot. If we moved it would show weakness and we would lose our honor.”
“Well when does the water turn pink?” Was all I asked.
“By the end of the week, on Friday. We have that long to get 300 pounds of candy by then.”
“Well it must not be that hard.”
“Oh trust me, it is.”

We sat there drinking our pops until it got dark, then we left. We didn’t see each other until Thursday night while at a meeting about the ritual. As we sat there, a line began forming across Josh’s forehead. We had only gathered 226 pounds of candy and the ritual was the next day. We all began searching drawers and under beds and in between couch cushions finding only a piece or two every half hour. We were getting nowhere. Hopes were getting low.

The next morning the sun was gray and the water in the fountain was pink. Most of the people were packing up and leaving their homes. Everyone met at the town square. Low mumbles and inaudible words were spreading throughout the crowd. As Mr. Smith took the stand at the front the crowd, small beads of sweat began forming on his forehead.
“My fellow citizens,” he began, “ I would like to tell you whatever the amount of candy we have is still worth something. Stay strong.”

As the scale began to move, so did everyone’s hopes. The scale stopped. The red hand wavering between 290 and 291. As the number came out children began to cry, mothers were frightened, and men soothed their children. All of a sudden from down the street there came a yell.
“Hey wait! Stop everything!” As I looked, the face looked familiar. It was one of the girls who had ran away from me on my first day here.
Panting she said, “I found some candy under my brother’s bed, I don’t know how much there is but I’m sure every bit helps.”

She dumped the bag of candy onto the scale. Everyone waited in a dead silence for the result. The hand bobbing between 299 and 300. The hand stopped on 300 exactly. Everyone cheered. As I walked the streets filled with the happy people, I heard a loud annoying sound I didn’t know where it was coming from. I looked around hoping someone else heard it too. All of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. My head went up and I was sitting at my desk in the music room.
“Well it looks like someone was a little tired in music class,” said my best friend Tara. I laughed picked up my books and rushed to my next class. At least I had one happy ending today.





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This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Ash14 said...
May 11, 2011 at 10:33 am
Great story.  I accidentally marked two stars.  I was using my iPhone.  It should have been five!
 
Tim R. replied...
May 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm
Imaginative.
 
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