The Prune-Whip Tree,
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.