Read Me A Story...

Good Morning!

Huh! Stupid alarm clock! Your dreams of sailing down a river of jam on a giant panda are interrupted - as usual - by the braying voice of "Mickey Mickson and his Funky Breakfast Shindig" on Radio 6. As you repeatedly try and fail to smack the top of your clock radio you glance at the red numbers below. It's 7:30. Since you don't have to be out of the house until 8:00, you decide to go back to sleep. With one final swipe you happen to land your fist on the snooze button, roll over and fall asleep again instantly.

You wake up again at noon.

Running for the bus, you pass a shop you'd never noticed before. The sign - which looks surprisingly weathered - reads "Fiona's Fruite Ande Vege" and a withered old lady sits inside knitting.

More than a little curious (not to mention pretty sure you've fired by now anyway) you go inside. The lady smiles sweetly and leaves you to browse her stock.

After finding no sweets, computer games or motorbikes in the shop you decide to leave... but your conscience gets the better of you and, rather than leaving empty handed, you buy the cheapest thing you can find. A tomato, for your lunch... or failing that, to throw at your boss when he gives you the bad news.

As you walk down the street you playfully throw the tomato from hand to hand, for the next half-mile or so at least. It's only when startled by a cat running out in front of you that you accidentally throw the tomato up into the air and fall backwards onto your rear, to the badly-hidden chuckles of the few people to whom you were visible.

The tomato, however, rather than slamming onto the ground and going "squesh" - that's "squesh" - instead drifts slowly towards the pavement and hovers, about a foot from the dirt, as if to make sure that you're alright. As you change from glancing to staring at the floating fruit it suddenly falls the final few inches onto the ground and lies there motionless. Not quite sure whether you just saw what you think you saw, you contemplate your next move.

You decide to forget about it and go to work.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off To Work We Go

You keep a tight hold on the tomato all the way to work - not so tight as to crush it, of course, but tight enough to stop it dropping towards the floor again, and all that it may entail. However, as much as you try to dismiss what happened, you can't help feeling that, every so often, the tomato seems to be dragging your hand more than you're hand is carrying the tomato. Again, you try to push it to the back of your mind

Amazed that you haven't been sacked, only given another formal warning, you put the tomato in your desk drawer and get on with the day's paperwork. Working in an office isn't a great job, you reflect, but it gets you out of the house... which, similarly, isn't a great house, but it gets you out of work, especially on those days when the roof falls in and pins you to the kitchen floor. The pub often gets you out of both, and consequently wins hands down

You hear a thud from your drawer. Then a second. Then... more of a squelch. You take a peek inside and see squashed tomato all around the inside of the drawer. Seeds are scattered liberally among the elastic bands and paperclips. Sections of skin lie draped over the holepunch and the electric pencil sharpener which you still haven't managed to smuggle home. And, at the back of the drawer, in the darkness, the stapler seems to be dancing a small jig.

Your heart, which had been getting louder and louder seemingly in your throat, skips a beat... a pause just long enough for you to hear a quiet ghostly voice singing "Finally, I'm out of that tomato... I've got a new place to live, doo-dah, doo-dah..."

You decide to padlock the drawer shut and skip the country.

Viva La....... Paris

You padlock your drawer shut and rush for Waterloo Station, you intend to take the EuroStar striaght to Paris. However on searching your pockets and consequently your purse (it was a gift from your mother she always wanted a daughter) you discover you have only 50. Remembering that the last time you looked at your acount you was at -5000 you decide that you will just get to France and then make your way top Paris by hitchhiking the rest of the way.

You buy your ticket and just catch the train as you feel relief flooding your body. But just then you look out the window as you do you see the stapler running towards the train. Unfortunately for you at least it is not squashed by the train and it manages to jump on board...

You decide to jump off the train shouting "tricked you".

Boi-oing!

You wait patiently for the stapler to shuffle its way through to your carriage and then, in the last few seconds before the train plunges into the channel tunnel, you fling the window open and dive through. "Ha ha! Trickedyoutrickedyoutrickedyou!" you sing as you fall to the ground with a slight crumping noise. You lie in the field, surrounded by a dozen cows none of which is quite sure what you're up to, and watch the rest of the train vanish into the darkness.

After catching your breath, you pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start the long walk back to London along the railway track. Ah, to hell with that, you think, and start the much shorter walk back to that pub you saw through the train window 3 minutes ago. Your run your left arm briskly as you walk, wishing that your coat sleeve hadn't snagged on the door handle as you made your leap for freedom.

"Whiskey please, landlord," you say to Gregor the barman in Ye Olde Gnarlede Oake Karaoke Lounge. "Pint."

"What happened to you?" he asks as he serves you. "You look like you've jumped from a train into a field of cows! In fact... nope, I don't think I even want to know. But it's getting late, and I don't reckon - especially after that pint there - that you should be trying to make your way anywhere. Not on a night like this."

"A night like this?" you reply, expecting him to launch into his own stories of possessed salad and office accessories, coming to life at about this time every 5 years, and tormenting local villagers. Perhaps it would be a tale of a possessed cucumber trapping him inside his cellar for a month, or a demonic bottle of white-out that kept him awake with its endless splishy shakey noises until he got the local vicar to sprinkle it with holy white spirit.

"It's foggy," he clarifies. You go and sit at a table in the corner, and notice a leaflet explaining that the pub is also a bed and breakfast. Peering through the window, it does indeed seem to be a little misty... and although the mist does look more than a little like Thomson's Quality Snow-In-A-Can, your pint is now half gone and it only takes a few minutes for you to be back at the bar booking yourself a room for the night. The landlord doesn't need to know you spent your last 50 on a train ticket, you summise. You can do some washing up to settle the balance first thing in the morning, or perhaps give him some good advice, or failing that just ruddy scarper.

You decide to ask the landlord what he knows about haunted tomatoes.

The vegetable conspiracies

"By the way," you ask the landlord, "You wouldn't happen to know anything about haunted tomatoes?"

"Aye," he replies, "They're the worst kind. I've seen many haunted vegetables, but none worse than the tomato. Why do you ask?"

"I'm surprised you know," you tell him. "I didn't think that many people ever came into contact with haunted vegetables."

"Have you been living under a rock mate?" he asks, "Don't you ever watch the news? About a week ago reports come flooding in from the news that vegetables were begining to rise up against us. It seems that GM spays have been giving them vastly superior intelligence and they are now planning to destroy us humans and take over the world. The local greengrocers was attacked and that's where I usually obtain my ingredients for my Vegetable surprise'. I heard that they particularly hate vegetarians."

"So why are tomatoes so bad?"

"Rumour has it that they can control other objects. You did destroy it while you had the chance didn't you?"

"Uh...no"

"You fool! Quickly! Go out there and catch it now before we are all doomed!"

Nobody's written what happens next. How about another random story?