A Peas believe me situation

Posted: February 24, 2011 in #fridayflash, Diaries of a Childminder's Child, Short stories

The colours in the greengrocers were like a giant cartoon rainbow; bold, vibrant and shiny. Red apples weren’t just red, there were a million different shades of reds, pinks and deep maroons and all lined up in shallow cardboard crates, on shelves three or four trays high. It was like she had stepped into a three-dimensional prism. She was learning about those at school.

Lucy, her sister Jasmine and the two sisters, Jenni and Rosie who their mum child minded regularly, visited the grocers once a week during the school holidays. Lucy’s mum felt it was important to show the girls the uniqueness of a grocers and how much more variety and culture was packed into such a small shop. She probably knew in years to come these little shops, would be extinct, battling against the monster supermarket chains.

Everything smelt fresh; looked bright; and just filled the space around them with an assortment to tickle all of their senses. The girls each had a list of two or three items, which mum had asked them to get. Lucy had to collect six green apples, three big handfuls of peas in their pods and help jasmine count out bananas with 8 on the bunch.

“Jasmine, can you hold my bag of peas, whilst I reach up for the bananas for you?”
Jasmine nodded and took the clear plastic bag holding the luminous green pods. “Lucy, these aren’t peas,” she said looking puzzled and slightly alarmed, as she prodded the bag.
“Yes they are,” Lucy smiled and opened the bag. She pulled out a pod and squeezed it gently. Like a family of tiny creatures, the peas stood side by side, as if they were holding hands. “See this is where peas live and grow.”
Jasmine smiled as if she had been given the biggest secret in the world, “Wow!!!” she smiled, gently poking at the peas and taking a few and put them onto the palm of her hand. She lifted them up to the light and brought her hand as close to her face as possible. She started to giggle. “Its magic!” She held them to her nose and sniffed. “They smell like gardens,” she explained. She took another big sniff, but this time one of the peas shot straight up her nose, like a piece of lint being sucked up instantly by the vacuum nozzle.. She yelped, dropping the rest of the peas onto the floor. “It bit me!”
Lucy laughed, turning around from the bunches of yellow bananas. “It bit you?”
Jasmine mumbled as she rubbed her nose with all her might. “Maybe its because we split up the family pod?”
“Maybe.” Lucy took Jasmine’s hand and they went to find mum with their items for the basket.

At the cash register, the lady in front of them paid for her cooking apples and plums. The girls giggled as she talked to the green grocer, because she seemed to talk from the pallet of her mouth. Mum gave them a stern look, which indicated trouble if they didn’t stop, so they all looked in opposite directions.
Each girl handed over their items to be weighed as mum called them off of her list.
“Bananas,” mum said
“ME!” Jasmine jumped in the air, but as she spoke it sounded like she was talking through her nose.
Mum glared at her, “Jasmine, it’s not nice to make fun of people.”
“I’m not mummy,” Jasmine said rubbing her nose again, to stop it sounding like the ladies had done, but without success. “Its ‘cos of the pea,” she said, still very nasal.
Lucy and the other girls began to giggle again.

Jenni, who was the same age as Lucy, pinched the top of her nose and talked through it in baby language to Jasmine. Her sister Rosie then copied.

“Its not funny!” Jasmine said, even more congested now that she was becoming frustrated.

“Lucy, can you take your sister outside please and wait for me by the front door. shes making the others behave silly. If she wants to make fun of people, then she can do it out of my sight.”

Lucy took Jasmine’s hand and lead her through the front door. They both stood with their backs against the shops window until mum and the ‘minded’ girls came out.

“Have you finished being silly Jasimne?” mum asked.

“Mum,” still nasal and this time tearful, “I’m not being silly, the pea…”

“Jasmine I dont want to talk to you whilst you’re putting on that silly voice. Its not nice! Now hold Lucy’s hand as we cross over the road please.”

They all began walking home, Jenni and Rosie both holding hand’s with Lucy’s mum, whilst Lucy and Jasmine walked home together. It wasn’t often Lucy and Jasmine got on with each other without sibling rivalry, but when they had sibling rivalry with their part-time sisters, the two worked well as a team.

“Jasmine’s still talking like it!” Jenni said to Lucy’s mum for the tenth time since they got home.

Jasmine was quiet after that. Jenni and Rosie continued to make fun everytime she talked, so it felt to Lucy that she had just given up.

As they sat at the table to eat their sausages mash potato and gravy, mum came around with the saucepan of fresh peas in their pods.
“Who wants some?” she smiled hovvering over their plates.

All the girls raised their hands and said their pleases and thank yous. Except Jasmine.

“I dont want any thank you mum” she said quietly in the hope that her lower tone might deviate from the nasal speech.

Jenni and Rosie began laughing at her again and copying her sentence through pretend blocked noses. Lucy could see her sister getting very angry and frustrated.

“THE PEA,” Jasmine said loudly, but slowly, “BIT ME ON THE NOSE!!!” and with that she put her finger up the unblocked nostril and blew with all her might. Sure enough, the pea came shooting out, bounced off the edge of her plate and landed elegantly in Jenni’s mashed potato.

  1. laradunning says:

    The age of the girls was captivated in the dialogue and their interactions with each other. Funny I had a similar situation happen to me. I shoved two tiny bells up my nose at xmas time and was afraid to tell anyone I couldn’t get them out. Every time I breathed they jingled.

  2. Ramsey Lyons says:

    I think this is an adorable slice-of-life look through the eyes of a child. You seem to write your characters very well. I felt sorry for the little girl when no one would believe she had a pea lodged up her nose, but I was giggling at the same time.

  3. pegjet says:

    Adorable premise. I felt for Jasmine, but kept wondering why Lucy never tried to explain the situation for her, since she witnessed it.

    (I think you meant “smelled” instead of “smelt” in the third paragraph.)

  4. Vandamir says:

    It’s nice to see these characters again. Poor Jasmine! You captured the scene beautifully as well as the tone of the girl’s teasing.

  5. adampb says:

    Really enjoyed this little slice of life. It’s great seeing these glimpses of family life well portrayed. Good comic piece.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  6. FARfetched says:

    I was wondering why Jasmine didn’t blow that pea out sooner — she was waiting for the right moment! Great slice-of-life there.

  7. Matt Merritt says:

    Yeah, you’d think Lucy could help a girl out! Cripes!

    Enjoyed it. Nice dialogue, and a sweet tone to the whole thing.

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