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 take the tomato back to the shop.

Back To The Shop We Go

You retrace your steps, back to the site of the shop. However, when you get to the street where "Fiona's Fruite Ande Vege" was a matter of minutes ago, you're somewhat shocked to discover instead an abandoned hatters, all cobweb-covered and musty.

Perplexed, you sink to the ground and look to the sky for an answer. However, unless the answer you were after was "Drink Rupert's Root Bitter", the sky - and the light aircraft towing a banner across it - aren't terrible forthcoming.

You get to your feet and once more head towards work, now later than ever. A step and a half along your journey you spot the actual location of the shop at which you bought the tomato, realise your geographical mistake, kick yourself (which you instantly regret) and limp over to the door.

The old lady is still inside and seems to have forgotten quite who you are. You introduce yourself and explain your predicament.

"Ah, yes," she coos, "we've had a few complaints about some of our produce being haunted. You need a fruit exorcist."

"A fruit exorcist?" you reply. It's not a job you've ever heard of. You tell her as much, and she smiles innocently.

"I'm a fruit exorcist," she says, "in my spare time. I charge 500 an hour. I don't take Switch or Delta."

You decide to haggle.

Haggling Fruit Exorcism for Dummies

You haggle.

You end up outside on the street, for some reason.

You decide to go back home.

Where The Heart Is

You go home. It's a long walk, and you get back at 4pm just as kids' TV is starting.

Bouncing across your screen comes Rooney the big orange dinosaur, repeating "1 plus 2 is 3" for a good five minutes before changing to "You're my best friend, thanks for coming to play" and, 5 minutes later, "Remember to buy my lunchboxes and colouring books".

You change the channel. What appear to be lunchboxes and colouring books with eyes fly about the screen shooting at each other and generally smacking each other into oblivion as crouds of cartoon children stand gawping impossibly below.

Hell, if they were the lunchboxes and colouring books Rooney was talking about you'd buy some, you think. The phone rings. It's your mother.

"Hello, darling," she says. "Anything interesting happen? Is it a good time for me to drive down and visit?"

You decide to apologise, tell her about the tomato incident and get back to watching TV.

Mummy is the root of all evil

"Mom", you start.

But she interrupts. She always interrupts. You never get a chance to explain, even when it's important, like now. This makes you very frustrated and angry.

Out of the corner of your eye you notice a sudden movement. Above the table, daintily avoiding the stack of empty pizza boxes, the tomato is hovering. How did it get here? Was it summoned by your increasing rage? Is it here to stop you from doing something bad or to enable you? What is it trying to tell you?

As you listen with half an ear to your mother's recital of the dreary details of her dull life, it all becomes clear to you. You have to kill her. That is why the tomato came into your life at this particular point -- to help you take the next necessary step.

You go into the kitchen and get your sharpest knife.

You decide to drink a bottle of vodka to drown your anger.


You slice with the knife in the air a few times, testing its sharpness. Yes, it seems sharp enough. How you found that out by swinging it around is beyond me, but you found it out nevertheless. But just as you're heading for the door, you notice something standing on a shelf.

It's a bottle.

Of vodka.

Clear vodka.

Clear, plain vodka.

The knife slips from your hand and sticks with a TWANG to the floor. You straightly turn around, start limping against the bottle, saliva dropping down your mouth. Why you suddenly became so obsessed with vodka you don't know, and you don't know why you're limping, why you can't think clearly, why you forgot all about your mother or what 42 is the answer to when you reach for the bottle. Even the tomato is sealed away somewhere outside your senses.

You grab the bottle.

You bottle it open.

You gulp it all down.

You start flying into a dreamy state...

" elephants flying...huge fruits with sunglasses dancing all around the world...tomatoes with - TOMATOES!?"

You suddenly wake up from your dreams with a startled look on your face. Several hours has passed since you fell asleep. Your mom has probably forgot about you again. You sigh with relief. You never needed to kill her.

You get up from your lying position on the floor, and look around for the tomato.

Only to find that it was pierced by the knife you dropped.

You decide to try the mouth-to-tomato-saving technique.


Bracing yourself, you bring your lips to the tomato and blow.

and blow.

and blow.....



You do this for a good thirty minutes before noticing a red figure hovering above you. It's the haunted tomato. You just wasted a good 5 weeks of your life blowing into an inanimate object. "Er...." you say, slightly blushing. you lift the regular tomato from the floor...
and realize that the knife is gone. It's now in the tomato's hand-er, vine-thingy.

With only seconds to spare, you conteplate how to react.

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