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Ping is yelling for help, and all he gets in response is his own echo. He is in distress because he is stuck in a tree. Looking back on it, he decides that climbing a 30-foot tall tree seventeen blocks from his house without telling anyone or bringing his phone was probably not such a good plan. There’s nothing he can do about it now, though. The fact that the tree isn’t next to any houses doesn’t help much, either. And it’s getting late.
The tree is fresh and green; it is very large, lush, and clean. The branches are coated with wax. The lowest branches are slim and breakable. They continue for fifteen feet until there is the first thick branch and the rest of the tree contains thick branches. At least, the tree was that way this morning.
A couple of days earlier, Ping was at home surfing the Internet. He was in his room. It was very quiet in his house until he heard a WHOOSH!! His whole house was shaking, or so he thought. He asked his brother Pong if he heard anything, but he said he didn’t and that Ping must’ve been imagining it; he was going to ask his parents if they heard anything, but he then remembered they were on a cruise.
The next day at school he asked his friends Table and Tennis if they had heard anything, but they didn’t hear a WHOOSH either. Table thought he heard something crash down somewhere; Tennis said he saw a fallen tree in the woods twenty blocks from his house. Ping thought that a meteor must’ve crashed down and that maybe he could sell it on eBay.
First, he needed to find it. The woods seventeen blocks from his house went down a hill, and it became very dense at the bottom of the hill. He rode his bike to the woods to find the fallen tree and saw the end of it, but he couldn’t see what hit it because the woods were too dense. The ground was too sloped, so he couldn’t go through the woods without sliding down it. He then spotted the thirty-foot tree described four paragraphs ago and devised what was a brilliant idea at the time. He could climb the tree to see if a meteor hit the other tree.
He tugged on the thin branches at the bottom to try to get up the tree, but after a few seconds they broke off from the trunk into his hands so he had to get to the first thick branch quickly. He finally got to it after climbing fifteen feet and breaking all of the small branches. Normally, Ping would have anticipated a predicament here, but he was thinking about the things he could buy with the money he would make from selling the meteor. He climbed up the thick branches, scraping his hands and arms, until he finally got to the top of the tree. He then looked over to where the tree had fallen. Or at least where he thought the tree had fallen. It was hard to tell because, with the woods being so dense, he couldn’t see a fallen tree. All that was to the south of him were leaves and branches. There wasn’t a hole where the tree had fallen.
This was not good for Ping, and it meant that the meteor he was prepared to sell wasn’t as large as he thought it would be. He wondered how it could’ve knocked down a tree, but he kept his hopes up. He next plan was to climb a shorter tree that was closer to the meteor. He started making his way down the tree, but as soon as he put his foot on the next branch it broke. It fell and hit the branch below it, which, with the mass of the other branch on top of it, also snapped. This horrible pattern continued until all of the branches on the tree, except the one Ping was on, were broken.
And now you come to the situation that Ping is in now. Meanwhile, Pong has not yet noticed his brother’s disappearance. He is content listening to his iPod and watching TV.
Ping decides to try to hug the tree and wiggle down it, but he knows this will probably not end well. He is wearing shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. He moves over to the trunk of the tree and hugs it with his arms and legs. He thinks the Earth Club at school would be proud. He tries to shimmy his way down the tree, but he isn’t clinging to it tightly enough. He ends up sliding down the trunk while scraping his arms and calves. This makes him loosen his grip even more, and seven feet from the ground he lets go. He hits the ground with a thud.
His limbs are missing skin and bleeding profusely, so he wipes the blood from his arms on his shirt, which creates an upside-down V that looks like an arrow. Unfortunately, Ping is wearing his “I’m with stupid” shirt, which makes this situation even more humiliating. The blood on his legs turns his socks pink. He finally stands up, and his arms and legs throb.
He waddles his way over to his bike and gingerly gets on it to ride home. His arms and legs are burning and stinging. He pedals for what seems like an eternity until he finally gets to his driveway. He walks into his house and searches for his brother, who is still in his room, and he asks Pong to help him mop up his blood. Pong looks at him quizzically, and Ping tells him the whole story. Pong says if there really is a meteor he wants a cut of the profits.
Ping gets cleaned up, and his arms and legs are all wrapped up in gauze. He decides to tell his friends the next day that he was saving a pile of burning orphans that were holding puppies.
2 WEEKS LATER
Ping decides to see what knocked down the tree in the woods. He pays his neighbor $7 to go find out. He tells him that it is worth sliding down the hill instead of climbing a tree. His neighbor reports that there isn’t anything there but the tree; he says it just fell over because it was old and dried out. Ping’s hope of purchasing a Mercedes dies. His neighbor wants to be paid more. Ping refuses. He asks his neighbor if he heard a WHOOSH two weeks ago, and he said he had. He went out into his yard, and it turned out it was a plane that was flying too low. Ping becomes angry and scares his neighbor, who then goes home. Ping decides that the next time he goes on an adventure he will tell people where he’s going and he will be more prepared. He tells his brother what actually transpired, and Pong laughs.