Last night, my little sister Carmen and I had the house to ourselves. We were eating clementines for supper when we had the idea to make a photo story about an orange… and so we did. It’s a rather odd, amusing, and tragic tale, but I hope you enjoy! :’D
Now, may I present… “Clement’s Journey.”
One evening, not so very long ago, a large bowl of fruit rested on a kitchen counter. Apples, oranges, and bananas slumbered peacefully, dreaming juicy dreams. No nightmares intercepted their sleep… not yet.
But when you’re a piece of fruit, no nightmare compares to the horrifying reality of life. The fruit trembled at the sound of frantic human voices, footsteps pounding, and then the dreaded earthquake as an enormous hand plunged into the bowl and scooped up a clementine on the way to the door.
When the flurry faded and the rumble of a car receded down the lane, a small orange to life with a cry of remorse.
“CLEMMIE! Oh my dear twin, gone forever!” Clement felt orange juice welling up inside him, threatening to spill down his leathery cheeks as he remembered all the wonderful (and not so wonderful) moments he and his sister had shared in their short lives.
He would have gone on blubbering if Mr. Mandarin, his teacher, had not rolled his way up behind Clement and harrumphed impatiently. “Happens to all of us, Clement. Can’t stop it, so what’s the use of dehydrating yourself over it? Best start school before They come back. I said get a MOVE ON, boy!” Clement sniffed hurriedly and sprang off the bowl. Mr. Mandarin followed on his heels (metaphorically speaking, of course, since oranges have no heels).
The rest of Clement’s classmates quickly formed a proper school grid and faced their teacher, yawning from the unusually early hours. Mr. Mandarin assumed his habitual grim scowl.
“Before we begin, I must address a problem I have observed among some of you.” He cleared his throat at Clement. “You do not seem properly grateful for the opportunities you enjoy here. When I was a boy, I lived out in the open, subject to storms and birds and all manner of terrors. If you do not improve your behavior, maybe you would benefit by making the same journey I did – through fierce tropic heat and deep, dark forests; across the Great Sea, facing dangerous wild beasts who live in filthy dens. Does anyone wish to make this journey?”
There was a quivering silence. “Very well. In that case, no more complaining. Please hand in your essays on the benefits of Vitamin C, and we shall continue.”
Clement was ordinarily a decent student, but that day grief for his sister and fright at Mr. Mandarin’s tale rather distracted him from his studies. After class, he made his way beyond his friends to ponder.
That journey Mr. Mandarin spoke of… what if he took it? The dangers his teacher had related could hardly compare with the horrifying drop in population they’d experienced in the past few days. What if he was next to go? There was only one thing to do, Clement decided. He would make the journey and brave storms and birds at its end rather than face murder at the hands of humans. With that, he rolled his way to the edge of the white stone which bounded his world, and peered into the abyss.
At last he worked up enough gumption to jump and fell to the bottom with only a minimal squish of his insides. He thought ruefully of the large bruise looming in his future, but wiped the thought from his mind and smiled. He had ventured where no fruit had before. His journey had begun.
“Let me see, the tropics… I wonder where one could find a tropic,” Clement muttered to himself, wishing he’d paid better attention to Geography. Having no better plan, he began rolling, and rolled for what was surely many miles until he began to feel an increase in the surrounding temperature. He spun hopefully toward the warmth and soon found himself at a mesmerizing display of golden heat. (It must be the sun that heats the tropics, Clement thought with awe.)
He stared for a while until he felt himself dehydrating, and, remembering Mr. Mandarin’s counsel, decided to move on. But not before leaving his mark… After all, what schoolboy could resist? The pen he used nearly singed a hole in his skin, but he thought proudly that it was worth the pain.
Not too long afterward, Clement came upon a deep, dark forest. The floor was littered with uncomfortable pinecones and poky needles, but he bravely forged ahead. He could already feel the bruise forming, so what would a few scratches matter? The forest, though dense, was short, and he soon arrived in the light once more.
He calculated that he must have traveled nearly a league until he came to the Great Sea. Clement gazed at it with awe. Gleaming white cliffs rose around its foaming water stretched out many fruit-lengths ahead of him. He nestled between two strangely-shaped stones, one named “Hot,” and the other, “Cold.” He deduced that he must be on the very border between the tropics and Antarctica.
With a shiver of fear, he plunged himself into the waves and swam as quickly as he could to a soil-colored island. There, he rested for a few moments until it started sinking. The tide is rising! Clement realized in alarm. He dove once more into the waters and didn’t stop until he had reached the opposite shore and scaled its shining heights.
Only then did he allow himself a few moments of rest and relaxation, rubbing himself thoroughly dry with a soft cloth and letting his orange juice circulate itself at its usual pace once more.
Clement reviewed his mental checklist and found he had only one more task: face a dangerous wild beast who lives in a filthy den. This, he felt sure, would be the ultimate test of his bravery, for Clement’s deepest fear was uncleanliness. But that’s what journeys are for, he chided himself, to face one’s fears and make one more grateful for what one finds at the end of the road. Therefore he took a deep sniff and headed for the worst odor he could find. It emanated from what appeared to be a very filthy den indeed. Clement almost gagged.
He was beginning to think he had faced enough fear and that perhaps this wild beast had deserted his home when the den shook and a huge black and white figure loomed over him.
All at once, the world exploded into sound – a door slammed, Clement gave a juice-curdling scream, and the wild beast gave one even more so. Feet pounded nearer and nearer, giving Clement just enough time to de-activate into an ordinary-looking orange before the human was upon him. With a shudder, he heard the voice of the one responsible for his sister’s death: “I JUST cleaned your litterbox, Tommy. What do you– huh? Why is an orange… ” The human looked suspiciously at the beast, then at Clement.
She shrugged. “Oh well, looks clean to me. Guess I’ll have one more snack before I go to bed. Did you find it for me, Tom?” She laughed. With unspeakable horror, Clement felt her fingernails dig into his skin… and he had been so close to the end of his journey! Or maybe this WAS the end of his journey… I’m coming to see you, Clemmie.
The human greatly enjoyed her snack and went happily to bed. And she never did figure out who Clement was.
T H E E N D
HAHAHA, that was so fun to write! Poooor Clement. *shakes head sadly* What a tragic tale, huh? :’D I hope you guys enjoyed reading this out-of-the-ordinary post and that it brought a smile to your day even though it had a sad ending. 😛
What was your favorite part of Clement’s journey? Do you ever play with your food? 😛 Do you think we should make a sequel sometime?
Thanks so much for reading, dears, and have a lovely day!