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The Strawberry Thief


Amy Heath was such a lovely girl. We were both very think and often got mistaken for sisters, but she had everything I ever wanted. Such a charming little girl with sapphire eyes and long curls of platinum. She looked like a princess. Honestly, she acted like it too. She had the best manners I had ever known a child my age to have. She had beautiful, expensive toys as a result.

The two main things I remember about her room were the fun little playhouse near the door, and the gargantuan canopy bed in the corner. I had a twin-sized bed. Amy’s canopy bed was much, much larger than my own in every way. I had to jump to get up on it if I didn’t want to use the ladder. I could roll from one end to the other, but only by rolling about 6 times. When I look back on it now, I realize Amy must have ad a Queen sized bed. Perhaps even king! That bed was gigantic!

Amy and I always had fun together. She loved to play house where she was the mother, and I loved to pretend to be the baby and jump on the bed. (I enjoyed the game strictly for this pleasure.) The only thing I was ever distracted by while bouncing on the bed was when Amy’s mother came in to announce she had fresh strawberries if anyone wanted any.

Strawberries were my favorite food in the whole world that week. The week before it was white rice with butter, the week before that was white bread and butter, but strawberries were always high on my list though.

"Girls," Jeanie announced, "I have some fresh strawberries I'm cutting up if you would like some."

"No thank you, Mother," Amy replied as a proper young lady. "I wouldn't like any just now." Looking back, she reminds me of a 5 year old Dakota Fanning. She was too smart to be a child.

"I want some," I said, in my most unladylike hedonistic manner.

"Well come on in to the dining room, then" Jeanie said to me. I followed like a happy little puppy with a new bone. Had I a tail, it would have done the puppy dog Helicopter motion. "You can have as many as you like."

She sat me in a tall chair without a booster seat and set the biggest bowl of strawberries I had ever seen in front of me. They juicy little berries had all been sliced thinly and sprinkled with sugar. The sugar over the berries had begun to draw out the natural juices, creating a strawberry syrup of sorts in the bottom of the large stoneware bowl. I stabbed the first one with a fork, shoved it into my mouth and began to chew.

My mouth lit up inside like the 4th of July. My taste buds came alive! They were the very best strawberries I'd ever tasted in my entire life! I couldn't believe there were so many!! I ate and ate from the giant bowl, larger than my head.

When my mom showed up to get me, she walked in to quite the sceen. There I sat at the dining room table, belly to the bowl, still eating what was left of the berries. There were about 10 bites left, which to me was about 10 slices in total. The bowl had nearly been licked clean.

"Man-dah!" My mother yelled. "What did you do?!"

My face and hands were sticky from lips to ears and fingers to elbows. Red juice stained my new green shirt my mother had made for me. Worst of all, I didn't realize how many I had eaten and suddenly I was in severe pain. My distended stomach ached and had swolen to the size of a watermellon. I groaned in agony.

I wobbled my bulging belly out of the chair and slid to the ground, groaning louder.

"It's ok, Beth," Jeanie came to my rescue. "It's my fault."

"Did she eat that entire bowl," my mom asked Jeanie. Jeanie nodded. "By HERSELF?" Jeanie nodded again.

"Beth, really, it's ok."

Mom swatted me on the butt. "You greedy, selfish little pig," she fussed at me. I held on to the bottom of my bulging, aching belly. As she swatted me, it wobbled a bit causing me an extreme discomfort the likes of which I had never before known. "Look what you did," she fussed more. I began to cry.

"Beth," Jeanie tried once more, "It's my fault! I told her she could have all she wanted!"

Mom smiled at Jeanie, said thanks for watching me (and feeding me) and grabbed my hand. As we walked out to the car at her pace, I had to run in order to keep up. My mother always had really long legs and could speed walk faster than anyone I knew.

"Oooouuuhhhhh..." I groaned loudly. "My tummy hurts."

Suddenly she couldn't contain it any longer. She laughed so hard tears started streaming down her cheeks and she had to grab at the trunk of the car so she didn't fall over. She howled with laughter until her sides began to cramp. Then she laughed even harder.

"Come on, Manda," she said. "You've got gymnastics in 15 minutes."

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