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You're so poor that one day Carlos ran off with your skateboard, and your dad yelled, "Hey! Come back with the family car!!"







Big Like Balloons

By Ox Felton-Grint and Shpazzy MacDonald

                 Polly Penhouse was a poor little rich girl. She got bad grades and so her parents gave her two options, to go to summer school (which only losers did and she was anything but a loser, or so she thought), or go to the ranch, which Uncle Papi and Aunti Francesca owned in Mexico. It was a ranch of armadillos and evil vultures. Her help in tending the animals was to help build her character, or so her parents thought. They soon decided to send Polly off on a big green bus to the Taco Pil-ow.

            When she arrived, she was dismayed to discover the “ranch” was nothing more than a desolate wasteland swarming with vultures, a small sand pit, and a rickety sign that read “Tako Gadden.” Polly also observed a small shack that was seven feet long and six feet wide, but as she looked up, to her amazement the shack stood eleven stories high and tilted in a rather unsettling way. There was cactus and sand for as far as the eye could see. “This is going to be like the most uncool vacation ever.” Polly thought as she smacked her gum in frustration. She was even more amazed to when she saw twenty or more people stampeding out of the shack. “How can more than two people fit inside that little shack?” She thought to herself.

            As she looked across their beaming faces she observed that they were all unusually ugly even for ranchers, “Which means no cute guys, like Sterling, my dreamy boyfriend.” Polly was abruptly brought back to reality when a vulture stooped down and snatched her sunglasses.

            “That’s my best pair of juliets!” She screamed at the vulture.

Polly scowled at the motley crew. “What are you guys looking at?” She demanded of them, but before she could give them anymore more attitude, Uncle Papi brought out a crumbled piece of paper and read the contents, which read,

“G-good m-m-morning, it… is… n-n-nice to see your bright and s-s-smiling face; we are honored to have sister Roberta’s chile stay in our humble a-a-abode. Now Simon says go work in the garden.” Uncle Papi pointed to the sandpit.

            “You call that a garden?!” Polly asked with all the attitude that she could muster (which was quite a lot).  Aunti Fran replied with a grin,

“Dat’s no ordinary garden, my chile. Dat is a taco garden! We work day and night, sun to moon planting tacos, watching them grow big like balloon! They have not yet, but now dat Roberta’s chile is here we know dat these will grow to a most biggest ballon we have ever seen!”

 Aunti Fran clapped her hands in glee, and pretty soon the whole crowd started slow clapping with her. Then an ugly boy (who she later discovers is her cousin Juan) started break dancing on the sand.

    “G-g-glad Pol is here, but now time to work.” Uncle Papi stammered from another piece of paper he had retrieved from his pocket. The crowd cheered and started to happily chant: “Work, work, it’s time to work, time to grow some tacos!!” Polly just rolled her eyes and sullenly followed the ecstatic crowd to work in the “garden.”

     The sun was blazing hot, but the Mexicans seemed to revel in it. “Is this where you get all of your kicks, guys?” Polly grumbled.

Juan replied, “The best is yet to come, Senorita.” And indeed it was for at that very moment Uncle Papi read aloud from another piece of paper “Friends and family, I have the good fortune to say to you, it is time for the watering ceremony, where senoritas from five years to fifteen years go to fetch the water to plant our crops so they grow big like balloons.”

Aunti Fran led the people in another slow clap. Gammy Gonzolous whispered to Polly  “This is your lucky day, honey bunch!” as she pushed her into the ring of girls who were proudly grabbing pails while singing in scratchy voices,

 “I will go to fetch the water, to make the tacos big and strong. I will go to fetch the water, until I’m old like Gammy Gon.”

“What’s all of the commo?” Polly demanded. She finally caught on that she was to walk fifty miles to a town called “Ezzie” to retrieve water, and walk all the way back way back and pour the water on the “crops” so they grow big like balloons. After many pushes from Gammy Gon, Polly reluctantly trudged off to “fetch the water.” By the second mile Polly was staggering and gasping for water. She found herself fainting onto scorching sand. How long she was there, she could not say, but after sometime she was rudely awaken by high squeaky voices saying “Oh my goodness is that Polly Penhouse?”

Polly exclaimed, “Oh no! Not the Quaker Friends!!”

The leader of the pack, who’s name was Mary Margaret, squealed “What do you mean, Polly? We’re your friends! We’re here for you, dearie. What are you doing out in the middle of nowhere, Polly?”

“That’s irrelevant! What are you guys doing here?” Polly demanded.

“We’re here on a mission trip to minister to the unhappy armadillos and pagan vultures. We’re here to serve. Can we help you, Polly?”

“Well, if you wanna make yourselves useful, take me to the nearest well, you see… I’m ministering to this less fortunate ranch family… they’re going through a drought right now and they want uh… water… cause they’re thirsty… yeah that’s right, thirsty!” Polly fibbed.

“Oh my goodness,” another Quaker squealed, “we must help them, for it is the Quaker way!”

Before Polly could say “w00t” the Quaker Friends broke into a song,

“We are Quakers, we are Quakers. Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!! We help and sing, and are as sweet as can be, for we are the Quaker Friends! We are as plain peeled potatoes, but please don’t throw at us tomatoes. Our friendship never ends ‘cause we’re your Quaker Friends! Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!! We live where you live, like a good neighbor the Quaker Friends are there!”

“No singing!! Just take me to the well, okay guys? I repeat, no singing!!”

So the party piled into the bus, and drove to the well. The Quaker friends filled their bonnets or caps with water, and Polly filled her sombrero, which she “borrowed” from Uncle Papi. The crew headed back to the ranch. When they finally arrived at their destination, the rest of the senoritas that had gone to fetch the water were dumping water on the “garden.” The Quaker Friends marched out of the bus in single file. Polly quickly instructed them to pour the contents of their bonnets and caps onto the sandpit. When the ranchers finally grasped what the Quaker Friends were doing, they started to clap joyously.

 “This calls for a feast!” Gammy Gon exclaimed.

The senoritas scrambled into the shack and came out carrying big bowls of beans on their heads, but before the feasting could begin, a huge host of vultures swarmed around the Quaker Friends.

“Ahhhh!!  The Quaker-eating, pagan vultures are attacking!” The Quaker Friends screamed while running around frantically.

“In the bus!!” Mary Margaret shouted above all the commo.

The bus full of Quakers was off like a rocket.

“Whew.” Polly sighed with relief, but before she could say anything else, Gammy Gon decided to open her big trap,

“Who were those Quaker Amigos who gave us all the H2O?”

“You don’t even know what H2O is!” Juan accused.

“Sshh! It sounds cool!” Gammy Gon hissed.

“Oh those people?” Polly fibbed, “I’ve never seen them before in my life! I just, uh… met them on the street. They were giving away free water, so I decided to get some.”

Polly decided to switch the conversation away from the Quaker Friends, so she asked Uncle Papi,

“It’s really uh, hot today isn’t it, Unk?”

Uncle Papi looked about blankly and then searched his pockets for the appropriate piece of paper, once he found one he stammered,

“I wa… will answer that que… question tomorrow.”

Polly shrugged and went inside the shack. Once inside, Polly was surprised to see senoritas of all ages hastily preparing tacos.

“Oh good! Pol is here to help make tacos!” Juan’s sister, Juana squealed in delight.

 “Oh man!” Polly grumbled as she was pushed into the “taco factory” and was forced to make some elaborate tacos. “Oh, I’m so hungry! When do we get to eat these tacos?”

“Ha ha! Pol is being funny! Silly Pol, we no eat these tacos, we plant them!” Juana giggled and pretty soon all the senoritas were laughing like hyenas, till Polly started to lose it.

“I can’t take it anymore! You guys are losers!!!” Polly shouted as she stole some tacos and ran outside to see what the “senors” were doing. “Oh no, I’m even being to think like them!” Polly thought in distaste.

Hours later it was time to retire. As Polly was walking to her “room” she saw Uncle Papi thoughtfully scribbling down words on scraps of paper.

“Dude!” Polly addressed Juan as he was swaggering towards the shack. “What’s Uncle Papi doin’?”

“He’s writing down things to say tomorrow.”

“You mean he can’t say anything without writing it down first?” Polly asked in disbelief.

Juan answered, “Well of course!  He’s a very thoughtful person, if he didn’t write it down first he might say something stupid and that would never do!”

Polly just rolled her eyes and marched upstairs to see where she would be sleeping. When she had climbed up to the eleventh story she discovered that she was to sleep on the book shelf, to save room for the other senoritas.

“Oh great! What else could go wrong?” Polly demanded irritably.

Just then the room began to sway like a hammock in the breeze. Polly started to freak out.

“Juan, Papi, Gammy Gon!! Help! Somebody save me!!!”

A laugh was heard coming up the stairs, and soon Juana appeared.

“Silly Pol, it always rocks like this, but do not worry it hasn’t fallen down in months!”

Polly screamed again and buried her head in her pillow. She woke up the next day to squeals of joy. She jumped off the book shelf and ran down the stairs, hoping to see Sterling, but instead found big balloon-sized tacos in the sandpit.

“Gammy Gon was right! The tacos grow big like balloon when Roberta’s chile comes.” Aunti Fran squealed in glee.

Right then, Polly had one of her “great” ideas. She jumped onto the taco balloon, cut the roots and sailed to America. She was about to shout some ugly words to Juana and the rest of the ranchers, but she stopped herself. Maybe she had built some character after all…

Meanwhile Aunti Fran was giving a speech (Uncle Papi would have, but he was not properly prepared),

“My people, now dat dee tacos are flying away with Roberta’s chile, it is time to plant the fried ice cream!”

The End