“We felt our house being pulled downwards. ‘What is this?’ I called. Richie thought it was a storm. I didn’t think so. We were being pulled downwards. During storms, we were swung side to side. ‘We’re being picked,’ said old, wise Grandpapa.”
My name is Grace. I am a miniature girl who lives in a strawberry. I live in a strawberry town with my mom, my dad, my Grandpapa, and my older brother Richie. He calls me Gracie. I don’t like it. He says we both have to have names that end in -ie. I don’t think so. Our strawberry bush is in Portland, Maine. I have a best friend named Rose. She lives in the strawberry next door. One day, something happened. You could call it exciting, but I thought it was a bit scary at first. We felt our house being pulled downwards.
“What is this?” I called.
Richie thought it was a storm. I didn’t think so. We were being pulled downwards. During storms, we were swung side to side.
“We’re being picked,” said old, wise Grandpapa.
Then he went to his room to meditate. I looked out the window. Instead of seeing the usual leaves and part of Rose’s house, I saw the inside of a tan wicker basket. We had been picked! If I looked out of the very top of the window, I could see disappearing strawberry bushes. I would never see them again. On the other side, I could see a house! A real, human house! All strawberry girls and boys had learned what human houses looked like. Our house was moved around some more. Now we were in a see-through crate. Well, I don’t know if you would have been, but I was pretty freaked out. Imagine if your house had been picked off the ground and moved to a different place!
“Richie, what are we going to do?!” I asked.
“We’re going to stay calm,” he said. “We’ll find a way not to get eaten.”
He said it like it’s something that happens every day.
“All right,” I said.
As annoying as he is, Richie is usually right.
The new crate was moved onto a truck. The truck started to move. Richie and I called a family meeting.
“We have to find a way to get out of here,” I said.
Grandpapa said, “When I got captured, I built a contraption that made my strawberry blow up.”
“Let’s do that!” said Richie.
Of course. Richie likes anything that blows up.
“All right,” my mom said.
“But how, Grandpapa, how?” I asked.
“Oh, you’ll be surprised what supplies are in the store,” replied Grandpapa, mysteriously.
The truck stopped.
“Oh, what now?” my dad complained.
Well, that was weird. My dad never complains. Well, I guess he just did. Our box got picked up and set down again in a colder place. We were outside. More crates and boxes filled with strawberries got piled on top of us. It grew dark. All night we were left out in the cold. This place was a lot colder than our home in Maine. In the morning, we were put into a large store room. Around us we saw lots of different foods. Cans, boxes, tins, and packets were filled with fruits, crackers, cheeses, and sausages. We were put onto a cart with other fruits. Then we were put in the way back of a shelf.
“Good,” said Grandpapa.
“Why is being at the back of the shelf good?” I asked. “It’s dark, and we have to walk farther to get to the front, so we can get supplies!”
“It is good because we will have longer to work out our plan,” said Grandpapa. “No one is going to reach all the way into the back of the shelf just to get strawberries.”
“So what’s the exploding plan?” asked Richie, excitedly.
“Well,” said Grandpapa. “We’ll need something to make some sort of catapult.”
“Cool!” said Richie.
“I’m sorry, my dear Richie,” said Grandpapa. “But it won’t really actually blow up. It will be a lot like that though.”
Richie nodded, sadly.
“So Gracie,” he said.
I growled at the name.
“You wanna go out together and find ourselves some spoons or other things we could use for catapults?”
I nodded, but my mom said, “Wait! You guys can’t just go out there by yourselves! It’s too dangerous!”
“Oh yes they can,” said Grandpapa and my dad together.
“We’ll be careful,” said Richie, earnestly.
“Oh, all right,” my mom said.
Richie and I climbed out of our door, which was slanted sideways, and then went through a hole in the box.
We made our way to the front of the shelf.
“Look!” said Richie, when we got there. “We’re organic!”
We jumped down from the shelf, which was quite easy. Then we started to walk around. I stayed close to Richie. I was maybe, sort of, kind of, possibly, just a little, tiny bit scared. I didn’t want to get stepped on.
This is what we brought back to our strawberry:
Two plastic bags
At least fifteen pieces of dried and rotten food
Half of and the top of a spoon (what we were looking for so yay!)
Lots of dust (we didn’t actually pick up that much of it because my dad’s allergic)
A few pieces of non-rotten food
We took all the stuff back to our strawberry. But it took a long time. First, we had to find where all the strawberry cartons were. That took a while because Richie kept thinking that we should go to where the rice was. I finally directed him in the right direction. Then, we had to get up to the strawberries. It turns out, going down is a lot easier than going up. We ended up climbing on blueberries, which were right below the strawberries. Then, we had to walk all the way to the back of the shelf. When we got to the right carton, we had to find our strawberry. That wasn’t too hard, because it was the only one with a door and windows. We climbed in through the slanted door and showed our family the things we had found.
“Great!” exclaimed Grandpapa, with the energy of someone much younger.
We started to build. We used some string from our house to tie the spoons to the legs of our table. We decided to use the food as the things we were going to launch. We worked for about one or two days. As we worked, I noticed that it was getting lighter.
“Why is it getting so much lighter?” I asked.
“Strawberry boxes are being pulled from the shelf,” said my mom. “It won’t be long before we’re taken.”
She was right. That afternoon, we were pulled from the shelves. It was perfect timing! We had just finished!
“Quick, get the launchers!” I called to Richie.
We loaded every single one of them onto the spoon top. We heard a beeping noise. We were being scanned! We put our plan into action.
The box ripped open.
The human lady screamed and called, “Store manager! My strawberry box has exploded!”
I tried not to laugh, as did the rest of my family.
“Now run!” yelled my dad.
As we were running, I thought of something. Why hadn’t we just run away in the first place?
I asked Grandpapa that and he said,”You are a smart little girl, you know that Grace.”
Richie heard us talking and asked, “But why?”
Grandpapa just smiled.
Finally, he said, “I don’t think that would have been as exciting, do you?”
“So we could have done that, and you knew it all along, but you didn’t say it?” asked Richie.
Grandpapa nodded. I laughed.
“So where are we going?” I questioned.
“Oh, you’ll see,” said my dad, mysteriously.
He was in the lead, and he seemed to know where he was going. Once we got into the country, we slowed to a walk. We came to some sort of orchard.
“Welcome to the pear orchard!” said my dad, triumphantly.
We shimmied our way up the tree, using little bumps and lumps in the tree to use as grips. When we got fairly high up, my dad cut a hole into a pear for the door and cut smaller holes for windows. Then, he hollowed out the inside. He wouldn’t let anyone use his hollower, which was what he used for hollowing. My mom took the pear bits and threw them down the tree. When it was all ready, we climbed in. There wasn’t any furniture, but there soon would be.
That night, I fell asleep on the soft, fruity ground, thinking about my adventure and all that might happen next.
Six months had come and gone since we had moved in. The pear house was looking a lot like our strawberry house except for one thing — the color. No one really minded though, and life was just as good. One day though, we were pulled downwards.
“We’re being picked!!!”