2012 Totem Head Story Contest Finalist:"As the Nut Rises" By Jihyeon (Janel) Lee, California.
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2012 Contest Finalist

As the Nut Rises
Written By:   Jihyeon (Janel) Lee, California.

So there I was, sweating in deep concentration. It was my duty to deliver this item. I stared at it, grasped it tightly in my hand, and tried to squeeze its power to prepare myself for the journey. It was none other than beautiful, perfect, and delectable peanut butter, preserved in a glistening plastic jar. Boss will definitely be happy when he sees this, I thought. I took a deep breath then looked up. As I had expected, everyone was staring at me.

"That’s right!" I cried. "It is the last jar of peanut butter! Ever!" As I grinned, the public looked upon me with confusion. Mouths were gaping, and drool was forming.

"Impossible," an old woman whispered. "The disease wiped out peanuts years ago."

I pointed to the store sign behind me with a defiant finger and read aloud the beautiful words. "Antiques: Expired Foods and Beyond!"

The crowd gasped. It had been three years since an epidemic wiped out all peanuts, or supposedly all peanuts. Scientists speculated horrible repercussions of genetic engineering had inhibited peanut growth altogether, but others whispered that someone had purposely created a germ that would eat away at the peanut plants of the world and destroy the nut forever. However, there were those who were hopeful for the return of the nut. I was part of an organization called P.E.A., which stood for "Peanut Extraction Alliance." Our goal was to find the final traces of peanuts and develop a way to revive them. After years of toil, today was the day we had hit the jackpot: a jar of peanut butter.

I began to back away slowly from the crowd that was forming. Eyes of shock slowly turned to eyes of desire, and more and more people fought to get a glimpse of the jar in my hands. Suddenly, everything went quiet.

The old woman from before approached me with saddened eyes. "Excuse me, Miss, as you can see, I don’t have that much time left in my life. Don’t you think I deserve that jar more than you do?" I stepped back again. The lady’s sad expression turned dark. "Give. Me. That. JAR!" The whole crowd became frenzied, and the mass of people began to run straight towards me.

I screamed and ran a few steps backward, stumbling and falling on the pavement. A small boy was the first one to me. He grabbed the jar and pulled. The jar slipped out of my fingers, but I leapt up from my fall and swiped it again. The boy began to cry, and his mother quickly scooped him up in her arms and gnashed her teeth at me. I had no time to turn, so I fell to the ground and began to roll. I had no idea where I was going. I was on black pavement now, and I heard the beeping of cars and shouts to get out of the way. It suddenly went dark, and I saw the bottom of a car pass right above me. Think fast, I thought to myself. If you’re thinking right now, you won’t be able to think about what to do. Wait, stop thinking!

I just began rolling again as I heard voices from the crowd getting closer. I gasped as wheels whizzed by my face, missing my nose by an inch. The crowd was getting closer. I heard a battle cry from the old woman. With one quick breath, I rolled one more time and reached up when a car passed right above me again, this time holding onto the bottom.

"Where’d the girl go?" The crowd groaned in frustration as I traveled farther away. Phew.

My arms were shaking with exhaustion; I was just about ready to let go. I carefully turned my head to the side and saw green. Grass. The car was stopping, and I hoped there was a red light. I let go and crawled onto the grass, panting.

"Hey, is that peanut butter?" the driver of the car asked me. His eyes grew wide, and he started to get out of his car.

"Go! It’s a green light!" a driver behind him yelled.

"She has peanut butter," the first driver responded. "Help me get her, and we can share!"

The second driver gasped and unbuckled his seat belt. I gulped. The first driver approached me. "Where do you think you’re going?" he jeered. I dodged to the left, dodged to the right, and spurted into the road. The first driver tripped. The second driver was just getting started. He grabbed at my jar, and as I pulled my hand away from his reach, the peanut butter slipped from my grasp and rolled onto the road. We both made a dash for it. It was a green light now. I jumped over the hood of a car as it passed, focused on the jar. The second driver attempted the same move but fell short, being blocked off. As I smirked at him, he jumped and grasped the jar right before I picked it up from the ground.

"Ha!" he laughed. However, as he was laughing, other drivers and passengers had noticed the peanut butter. They tumbled out of their seats and ran toward the man. He cried out as he was buried by the eager people, and only his arm and the jar were seen before he finally let go. I pounced into the air and grabbed the jar. From that point, I just ran. It would be a few minutes before the mob realized there was no peanut in its proximity and that was all the time I needed to get to the P.E.A. headquarters. It was a tree house in the boss’ backyard. The neighborhood was a few streets off, and I sprinted to close the distance. I finally entered the neighborhood and stopped to catch my breath. Bad move. All the dogs in the neighborhood began barking at the smell. Birds were landing on the trees around me. Rats appeared from the sewers, sniffing. I ran off again, the whole animal kingdom right on my heels. 2314 Cocoa Lane. 3179 Walnut Way. I was almost there. When I saw "4141 Nutcracker Place," I jumped the fence that surrounded the house and dashed into the backyard. I barely had the strength to climb up the ladder to the tree house, but with the last strength of my arms, I began the climb. At that moment, a dog leapt up and bit my shoe. I yelped and called up to the boss. "Boss! I have it! The peanut butter!"

A face peeked down from above. "Good work, captain! Now throw it up like a good P.E.A. agent."

The dog bit harder, and I winced. A flock of birds were beginning to peck at my shirt. "Boss, please! Help me up first!"

"Just pass up the peanut butter first!" His hand was outstretched, eyes focused on nothing but the jar.

"Boss!" I begged. He didn’t do anything and just reached for the jar. Gritting my teeth as a rat climbed up my leg, I threw the jar up. "Boss, now help me!"

"What? Are you kidding me? I don’t need you anymore," he cackled.

"Boss, what are you talking about?"

"Captain, do you know who released that virus that killed all the peanuts?" He stared at me with an icy glare. "Me! I did it!"

All I could say was, "Boss…why?"

"I’m allergic to peanuts. I felt so left out with all of your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanuts at baseball games, and peanut brittle. I hated peanuts! I hated them all!"

My arm was getting weaker, and I was panting heavily as I felt myself being surrounded by the animals.

"This last jar of peanut butter is mine, and I will finally destroy peanuts forever! Thank you, Captain. I really appreciated the help."

He put on a pair of gloves and opened the jar, ready to dump it out the window.

"No," I whispered. I let go of the ladder, and the rats and the dogs ran up my back and shoulders to get to the tree house. As I fell to the ground, I saw the birds flapping peanut butter everywhere, the rats chewing it and covering their paws, and the dogs lapping it up. The boss shrieked as peanut butter flew everywhere.

"Captain! Help me!" was his final cry. After recovering a bit from my fall, I limped to the front of the house and knocked. The boss’ mom answered.

"Hi, Mrs. Cornwell. I just wanted to let you know that your son is suffering from an allergic reaction in the backyard. Have a nice day." As the woman gasped and ran to the tree house, I turned my back on the person I once called my boss. However, I was not done. I knew there was one more jar of creamy luscious goodness in that antique store for expired foods and beyond.

Link to Free Writing Contest for Kids

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