Cranberry Picking

Rathees picked a berry and tossed it in his mouth.

The little red berries looked lovely. They were bright, popping to the eye, and they were clearly not poisonous – other people were eating them, he could see. It was a U-pick place, he thought, they couldn’t sell poisonous berries there, could they? Well, probably, but would they? That wouldn’t last long.

As he thought this through, Rathees bit down. His mouth was immediately attacked by the sour, slightly bitter flavour. It wasn’t thoroughly unpleasant, but it wasn’t good, either.

Rathees looked around, seeing people chewing away, tossing handfuls into their mouths and smiling. What is wrong with you people? he thought to himself. This is terrible.

He finished chewing and swallowed. A hand clapped his back.

“Well? How do you like it?” the pudgy, grey-haired man who had directed Rathees to this patch asked.

“Umm. Great!” Rathees tried to feign enthusiasm, hoped he was getting it across.

“I thought so! Have some more!” the man bellowed.

Rathees took a handful, as he had seen others do, and threw them in his mouth. He puckered, but tried to smile through it, giving a thumbs up. The man walked away, and Rathees kept chewing, trying to swallow.


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