The Harvest

Mr Trotter looked at his fruit trees and vegetable patch with sadness. It had been a wet summer and the plant roots were water-logged and he had shrivelled mouldy fruit and vegetables to show for his efforts.

Mr Green his forever nosey neighbour popped his head over the fence to give his opinion on the state of things.

“Bad luck Trotter, you should have got that greenhouse put in. My babies are doing well despite the wretched weather.”

Mr Trotter looked at Mr Green’s smug grin and felt himself shrivel up inside. Mr Green’s marrows were set to win the coveted ‘Most impressive fruit and vegetable’ competition again this October. How his neighbour grew them to that size, he had no idea. Flavour didn’t seem to matter anymore in the competition. Large sized alien fruit and vegetables genetically modified out of all proportion seemed to be the order of the day.

As Mr Trotter sat on his patio, brooding over the problem, something in the back of his mind dislodged itself and made its way to the front. When Mr Trotter was a boy he remembered taking a journey, a long journey across the Atlantic away from his horrible aunts in Dover, all the way to New York. On the journey he had for company a spider, a centipede, an earthworm, a ladybird, a silkworm, a glow-worm and a grass hopper. The most extraordinary thing was that they had travelled across the ocean not in an ordinary vessel, but a giant peach. All that was left of that peach now was a forgotten ivy covered stone in Central Park.

He vaguely remembered that he had met a stranger after he had made a wish to escape the aunts and the stranger had offered him a solution in the form of some glowing green crocodile tongues that the stranger had held out in his hand for him to take. Unfortunately the crocodile tongues had fallen on the ground at the peach tree that never produced fruit. Not long afterwards a peach had started to grow to enormous proportions along with its inhabitants.

He had said ‘Good bye’ to those friends many, many years back, while he was still a boy. He had outlived them all and eventually made his way back to England and bought a small house in this village and lived here so many years till he had grown bald and plump and forgotten he even had an adventure when he was a boy. Childhood is a long time ago when you get to James Trotters age. Over the years his mind had stopped dwelling on that time in his life and become occupied with day-to-day mundane living and fitting into the village where no one had heard of his fame.

James Trotter sat on his patio swing chair and wondered why the memory had surfaced after all that time buried away. Was there something related to the present conundrum that he needed to connect with his past?

He tried making a wish to grow the biggest fruit and vegetables in the country. When he opened his eyes after counting to a hundred, the stranger wasn’t there.

James Trotter went to bed that evening still thinking through his puzzle. In the middle of the night he woke up having made up his mind. He dialled an international number and also made some local calls. Twenty four hours later, a delivery truck stopped outside his house.

The local construction company digger had already dug a pit that took up most of Mr Trotter’s yard. The content of the delivery truck was tipped into the pit and it was covered by the dug up earth.

Mr Green looked over the fence in astonishment. Mr Trotter’s other neighbours surrounded the remaining fences gossiping and raising eyebrows. But James Trotter ignored them. He had a plan and he knew what he was doing.

As the Meteorological Office had predicted, it rained that evening and the following day and the day after that. James peered out of his window into his garden and kept repeating his wish like a mantra.

On the fourth day the rain stopped and James went out. There in the middle of his garden was a definite shoot of green. A week later the shoot was a fully formed tree that reached up to his waist. Two weeks later there was a fruit.

James Trotter felt a confidence that he hadn’t felt in a long time.

Mr Green was green with envy, his cherished marrows and tomatoes looked puny next to James prize-winning, house-sized giant peach.

© Tania Dias