Listen to Us Potanoes

January 15, 2009
By Cindy Denton, Shelbyville, IL

"Ay, you hear bout the Apple Clan?" Rocco asked.
Silvio turned to look at him.
"What about em?" Silvio answered.
Rocco leaned on closer, looking over his shoulder before he spoke.
"They want us.....," he finished his sentence by drawing his thumb across his throat.
"I see," said Silvio, "you know what to do"
Rocco nodded. Silvio took a long drag on his fat cigar. The smoke billowed out in a gloomy cloud, the smell hung in the air.
"I'll alert the families," he said with pursed lips. He waved his hand at Rocco.
"You are dismissed."
"Okay boss," Rocco told him as he walked away.
Silvio walked away that night with a lot on his mind.
When do we attack? What if we get caught? No, no, no......, he thought, we never get caught.
Still, Silvio couldn't help but think about it. Having a hand descend out of nowhere and uproot you from your life and family. Silvio was a family man and to him family was more important to him than life and "the family business" combined. Silvio continued his walk home along the white, highly polished linoleum floors of Wal-Mart. He turned down the chip aisle and was nearly home. He glanced up at the Lays bags, Ruffles, Pringles, the wheat colored crunchy scoops in family sized bags otherwise known as Tostitos. It made him shudder as he thought of what a horror life could be.
If only Dad and Paulie were here to see me. I am going to take down the biggest enemy to the family business. The Apple Clan is no more!
Silvio's father and brother were on a mission just like his, but back then, their enemy was the Peach Possy. They were one scratch away from saying goodbye to the Peach Possy for good, when out of nowhere a hand swooped down like a hawk and seized his rather plump father, from whom Silvio had inherited his pudgy stature. The hand had no mercy- it dropped him in the cart and he peeled outta there. His skinny, tall, and muddy complexioned brother (Silvio had the same skin problems) was hauled off in a humongous truck with "Ore-Ida" printed on the side. Silvio hadn't seen them since. It hurt him greatly that his family wasn't all in one crate.Now that they were gone, Silvio was the head of the family business. It was only a week after his father and brother had disappeared and the Peach Possy was finished off.
Now the Potano mob doesn't deal like most other mobs. You know how all foods come with a bar code sticker? Well, thats their key. Every morning at Wal Mart, the deli employees run around in chaos scanning everything in sight or in some cases in laser range. Anything expired goes in the trash can.There goes their enemies. All the Potatoes do is scratch off a little here and maybe some over there. That changes the date and bingo-bango they are always out by the next morning. This is how they deal with all the produce who chose not to agree with them. This is what they planned to do at exactly eleven o'clock tonight to the Apple Clan.
Silvio had reached the deli section. He grabbed onto a metal table leg and shimmied up the table top, where all the produce lived in their brightly red and orange painted wooden crates. Silvio walked along the edge, his tiny feet moving quickly. He could sense the produce shrinking away from him in terror. Silvio walked on with a grim smile. Only when Silvio came to the Apple Clan's Crate did he stop walking and look up. All the Apples were glaring at him, even the caramel coated ones. Silvio chuckled and his diabolical smile spread. He waved and said in a low gravely voice
"Hey neighbors. How are we doing on this fine evening?"
A shiny new apple, Jonathan, who just didn't understand the mob yet returned the favor.
"Well, I personally am doing just fine thank you very much. The rest of this bushel is pretty sour if you ask me," he said as he shrugged.
"Well, pal you better get used to it. A lot of produce go sour around this time of year. Some earlier than others," he said glancing around at the apples.
"Oh. That sure is a bummer! I better get going. Hope to see you around!"
"Okay pal see ya around."

Silvio almost felt sorry that he would soon be gone. A frown started to form in the corners of his mouth.
Maybe this time we could spare one produce....he thought. Wait...What am I thinking?
He shook his head and shook out his shoulders like a Golden Retriever after a bath and continued walking. In this business you have no mercy. The produce must behave or be gone. That was the number one rule around here. Always listen to the Potanoes. When you don't, well do I really need to say it?
Silvio came up to his crate. He frowned once more as he saw that they had been put into a crate with a giant fat turkey and pie with Cool Whip on top.
Come on people! he thought, We are mobsters! We aren't the type that eats pie! We're donut produce!
His puny arms some how hoisted his heavy body up the splintery wooden wall. Silvio positioned himself on the edge, preparing to dive in. But of course before he did, everyone looked up and yelled out
"Look, Silvio has returned!"
"What is the latest news good spuddy?"
Silvio jumped in, landing among the other brown potatoes with an almighty thud. The produce once again started cheering, but he held up his hand and the voices immediately silenced. Silvio cleared his throat before he told them what had happened.
"The Apple Clan is laying the groundwork for an attack that is to be launched on us. We scratch tonight," he announced pumping his fist in the air.
The crowd erupted into cheers of exuberance.
"Get your sticks ready, be here at 10:30. But for now, go in peace and enjoy some time with your precious spuddies and spudlings."
Heads bobbed up and down and soon there were little groups all around of potatoes. By far the smallest group was his, with only three produce. Just Silvio, his wife Gabrielle, and his own little spudling Heather.
"Come back safe," whispered Gabrielle kissing him.
"Don't worry, I will," replied Silvio.
Heather couldn't speak, she only hugged him. Her tears stained his silver jacket jacket.
"Hey now," he said gruffly hugging her back and looking down at her with a smile, "you know your daddy. Who is the one that always comes out okay, even when the odds are against him?"
"You," she said between tears.
"Well, why should this time be any different?"
She looked up and smiled. The feeling she was dreading evaporated into thin air. Her dad always knew how to make her feel better. She tucked her red curly hair (she inherited it from none other than Silvio) behind her ear and wiped away the tears.
"Daddy, will the scratching ever stop?" she asked.
I can't tell her yes, she is only a child! But I can't tell her no, for she will lose all hope, he debated in his mind.
"Maybe someday," he told her, hoping that it was true.
She again beamed her smile at him.
"Did I mention that Sweet Potato got some white gold hoops? They are rrrrrreeeeeeaaaaaaallllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyy pretty! I wish I had a pair.....," she said batting her eyelashes.
Silvio headed off to the jewelry section of Wal-Mart with his family.


Silvio met the others at the crate center at 10:30 sharp. They all had their sticks ready. These fearsome sticks were really nothing more than a splinter from the side of the crate. To the produce, they were the most feared things besides the potatoes themselves. Most of the sticks were freshly torn, sporting bright colors.
Well, Silvio thought, at least we are doing something about the paint.
Silvio again climbed up the wall and sat perched on the edge speaking to the crowds.
"Now listen. The whole store is asleep right now so be quiet, they will wake soon enough. Each of you will pick an apple, and once you get close enough, you will scratch off one and only one bar. Do you hear me? Apples are notorious light sleepers, and obviously we don't want to wake them. We scratch and the employees will do the rest. Ready?"
Silvio's answer was a deafening squeak.
"Good job on staying quiet. Now lets go."
One by one, the potatoes lined up outside the crate in an organized fashion. Each potato stood tall and straight as a french fry in the freezer section. Right by their sides were their sticks. They were waiting for their command from Silvio.
He stood at the front of the line straighter than anyone else in his tinfoil suit. He scratched at his tie, loosening it up.
Man tinfoil is itchy!, he thought annoyed.
He lifted his hand in the air, causing every potato around to hold his breath. He sliced the air with his hand and they took off like little girls going after the newest Barbie doll. The families staying behind smiled and waved or started to cry as they marched. Heather's brand new hoops glinted like the tears in her eyes.
Skillfully the attacking potatoes leaped the wall and landed. The scratching began. One apple woke up as Rocco scratched him.
"Wha-Whats going on guys?" he muttered.
Rocco froze, stick unmoving on the apples back.
"A birthday cake for me? How did you know?"
The delusional apple rolled over and continued to mutter and mumble in his sleep. Rocco let out a sigh of relief and decided that it was time to hit the road.. Silvio scratched on the leader-Alfred Apple. He was a skilled scratcher and was finished quickly even for a potato such as himself. He sat on the perch once more and addressed the crowd below.
"Now we wait and sleep peacefully knowing that the Apple Clan is no more!"
There were a few cheers here and there and then they all went to bed with their families, finally safe at home.


The following morning the workers went about their business. A be-speckled red haired boy pulled out the entire crate and said
"Hey Ann, you could use these apples to make some apple turnovers for the breakfast crowd"
A brown haired girl behind the glass counter nodded, stepped out from behind the counter, took them from the boy's hands and replaced them with fresh apples. The new apples nervously peeked over at the potatoes.
Silvio smiled at them and said.
"Number one rule around here? Listen to us Potanoes. Listen or end up like your little buddies over there. Or if your lucky, you'll get to be in a pie."
He waved and lowered himself back into the crate. There was Rocco.
"Ay, boss, the Strawberry Sorority is at it again," he said with a small smile.
"We know what to do"

The author's comments:
I am an average, midwestern, 7th grader. I am on the volleyball team (and am really nervous for our upcoming game!). I enjoy reading, texting, playing volleyball, and cooking anything sweet. The most important things in my life are my friends, church, and family. When I am bored I write. I have written many fictinal pieces (like this one) and even one about mechanical pencils being robots.

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