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Blue Pumpkins

This story was written for a girl who always colors things the wrong color. The quotation marks were taken out to eliminate the coding.

You can’t color a pumpkin blue!

Rrrrrumble, rrrrrumble. The early fall storm announced its arrival, and the sky grew dark. Tasha stood with her hands on her hips, looking down at her sister on the floor. Pumpkins are orange. Latiya lay on her stomach with her crayons. This is my homework. Ms. Johnson said we could color this farm page any way we wanted to.

That doesn’t mean blue pumpkins, said Tasha. She shook her head.

Stop squabbling, girls, Mother called from the kitchen. Supper’s almost ready.

Humph. Tasha looked out at the storm.

I wish the colors would all change, said Latiya.

CRACK! BOOM! Lightning flashed and thunder shook the house. The lights flickered and went out.

It’s like midnight. Latiya squinted her eyes.

At least now you can’t color blue pumpkins, said Tasha.

Are you girls all right? Mother came in with a flashlight. The power should be back on soon. Come on, supper is ready. We’ll eat by candlelight.

Everything looks funny, said Latiya as she walked towards the kitchen.

It’s dark! said Tasha, shaking her head.

Girls, be nice.

Latiya sat at the table. Two candles filled the room with a faint violet light. She looked at them and rubbed her eyes.

The candle flame is purple.

Of course, said her sister. What color do you think it should be?

Yellow. It’s supposed to be yellow.

All right, you two, stop arguing about colors. Your supper is getting cold, said Mother.

Latiya looked at her plate. It had been pale green for breakfast but now it was pink. What was going on?

The broccoli is red! The hot dog is green, and the potato chips are purple! Latiya didn’t believe her eyes.

Just like every other time you have eaten them, said Tasha. Mom, get her to quit all this color stuff.

Latiya, just eat your supper. The house lights blinked and came on. Good, the power is back. Now see, everything looks just as it should.

Latiya had a lump in her throat. She didn’t know if she could eat a green hotdog. She closed her eyes, wrinkled her nose, and took a bite. It tastes the same. The same as what? said Mother.

The same as the last hotdog I ate, she said trying a potato chip. It tasted the same, too.

The storm left as quickly as it had come. By the time the plates were in the dishwasher, the evening sun was only a sliver on the horizon. Latiya looked out the window, and her mouth dropped open. The sun was purple, and the sky was pale orange. The clouds on the horizon were different shades of yellow and green. The grass and trees were red. Her mother’s prize roses had green flowers and red leaves. All the colors have changed, she said. Wow”

Before bed Latiya looked at everything. Her clothes, toys, and books were all changed. The bananas on the kitchen counter were violet, and the cheese in the refrigerator was blue.

My wish has come true, she thought. But why am I the only one who sees the changes?

The next morning the colors were still different. This is great. Latiya smiled.

Ding dong. The front bell rang. Latiya looked out the window and then opened the door.

Morning, Ms. Monroe. There was a baby carrier on her arm.

Good morning, Latiya. I’ve come to show your mother my new baby. I can only stay for a minute.

Latiya’s mother came from the kitchen. Denesha, come in. Let’s see the newest Monroe.

Tasha joined them in the living room.

What’s his name? asked Latiya.

His name? Tasha shook her head. The baby has a blue blanket, a blue sweater, a blue hat and booties. It’s a girl. You know that baby girl babies wear blue.

Her name is Keisha, said Ms. Monroe.

She’s beautiful, said Latiya’s mother.

Latiya stood quietly as the three talked about the baby. I get it, she thought. With the color change, boy babies wear pink. That’s funny. She laughed out loud as she opened the door for the visitors to leave.

Okay, get in the car, you two. We’re going to the mall. Tasha sat in the front and Latiya in the back. She watched all the changes along the way, filling her eyes with the colors. As her mother approached a busy intersection, she looked out the front.

STOP! Latiya ducked and covered her head with her arms.

Latiya! You nearly scared me to death. What’s wrong? Her mother’s voice was shaky, and Tasha stared at her.

Latiya looked up. Mom, the light was red. You were supposed to stop. Her heart pounded in her chest. Another car could have hit us.

Latiya, red is go and green is stop. You know that, said Mother. It’s time for supper.

Tasha shook Latiya’s shoulder. Wake up. It’s time to eat. You went to sleep while the lights were out.

Latiya opened her eyes and lifted her head from the floor. There was her coloring page in front of her.

She jumped up and raced to the window. The yellow sun was slipping behind the horizon in the blue sky. Mother’s red roses were wet from the rain. I was dreaming.

We’re having hotdogs, your favorite. Come on.

Latiya’s supper never looked so good.

Monday morning Ms. Johnson put all the coloring pages on the wall. The pumpkins were orange and the barns were red.

You all did a terrific job, she said. “John, your speckled hens are great. Melissa, you didn’t go outside the lines even once.” She commented on everyone’s picture. Then she came to Latiya’s.

Class, look at Latiya’s picture. Her pumpkins are blue and her barn is yellow. What a wonderful imagination.

Latiya smiled and thought how she loved hearing Ms. Johnson read books about curious monkeys and talking pigs.

I’m going to write stories, she said to herself and smiled, and she knew just what her first story would be.