The Prune-Whip Tree,

Pasatiempo - - Holiday Writing Contest -

for the prune-whip tree, be­cause the shop­keep was just smil­ing, while the tree was star­ing any­where but in her eyes. The rea­son is, she had told him to put on the sweater-vest, but frankly the tree hated sweater-vests. Just to hu­mor the poor woman, the tree stretched the sweater-vest over its huge head. The sweater-vest was un­com­fort­able and smelled like new chil­dren’s books.

The tree qui­etly thanked the woman and ran through the door into the snow. It was pour­ing out­side, and the snow was even worse, be­cause ev­ery flake could talk. Two snowflakes, fall­ing at the same fre­quency, were ar­gu­ing very loudly. “Gertrude, I’m telling you, we’ll be fine.” “No, Elmo, we’re not! I’m preg­nant with Eleanor and — ” “It’s not gonna be a girl, and I ain’t nam­ing no son of mine Eleanor! His name’s gonna be Helmquist.” “What­ever, any­ways, she —” “He!” “HE isn’t gonna be able to take be­ing made into a snow­ball!” “Yes, he will. It’s not all that bad. When I was a kid, I ...” Their con­ver­sa­tion was muf­fled, as they had fallen to the ground and had been cov­ered by an­other layer of snowflakes. “Well, I do hope that fe­tus ends up all right. I hope it’s a boy though ... Helmquist is a bet­ter name ...”

The tree mum­bled to it­self. It went to rest on a bench in the park and woke up the next morn­ing (De­cem­ber 7th, Cot­ton Candy Day!) to the sounds of chil­dren sing­ing. That must be the Cot­ton Time chil­dren’s hymn, the tree thought to it­self. It be­gan to sing along with the chil­dren. “Oh, joy to the bagel, the cot­ton food is here, the pompous pumpy idiosyn­crasy, the cot­ton candy egg! Lael, Lael, happy day — yay! The cot­ton type of such and such, neen, neen! Eat it now, the squishy gooey at­tack! Ne­heh eh eheh!” The chil­dren and the tree con­tin­ued sing­ing.

All of a sud­den, the chil­dren held hands, hum­ming, cir­cling around the tree. The wooden crea­ture be­gan to cry tears of joy, be­cause it was no longer alone. Ev­ery­one was happy, ex­cept the snowflakes, still grow­ing: “Y’know what, Elmo? You try be­ing preg­nant, and then you can name it!” “What­ever ...” Sky­lar Be­navidez is 12 and a stu­dent at the Academy for Technology and the Clas­sics.

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