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The Night of the Living Grocery Food

About Ayushmaan Mukherjee

Ayushmaan is a Fourth Grader and part of the Gifted and Talented program in the Bridgewater school district of New Jersey in the United States. He takes keen interest in maths and has won several awards in multiple contests across the country. He is very inquisitive and an avid reader of almost all topics under the sun. During his leisure he likes to play chess and works on creative projects using recycled materials. Lately, he has been developing a passion for writing.

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During the day, the grocery store of Bridgewater, a town in New Jersey, US, is serene and people are buying delicious food, as they should be. But at night, when the store is closed, the food comes alive! Also, the grocery store is dull, covered in white paint, crammed in together like little teeth with the other houses but that’s another story. Anyway, the food has parties and meetings, as does humans.

A few days after some new people, including Joe, were hired to work at the grocery store, some neighbouring residents complained that they heard loud music and conversations coming from the grocery store and that they couldn’t sleep because of it. The manager scoffed. “Nonsense! We have security and whoever wants to get in has to get past them!” But when even the security confirmed loud music was indeed playing, the manager put his new clerk Joe, tall, red haired, and freckled, on the job. Joe was told that if he succeeded in successfully shutting down the noise, he would be promoted to a higher rank.

The next night Joe waited in the grocery store. Suddenly he heard loud music coming from the break room! It was Michael Jackson’s music. Joe’s fingers trembled with fear but he grabbed a broom, rushed towards the door like a hungry horse that saw food and slammed it open anyway. An apple came to welcome him, but before it could, BONK! Joe hit it with a broom on the face. All the food was terrified.

Joe realized that the food was doing no harm. But he was still surprised that it was food coming to life every night. Soon, Joe sat down with a medical kit to help the apple heal from its bruises. “Why do you hang out in a room with only a table, a single light-bulb, and a vending machine?” he asked the food.

The food said “We use what we have.”

Joe knew he had to protect the food from the manager. In fact, he didn’t know what the manager could possibly do about it. The next morning he told the manager, he didn’t find a thing out of place the night before. The manager actually believed him!

The next day though, more people complained about the music and talking. The manager was very angry. You know how cartoon animators have steam shooting out of people’s ears to signal that they’re angry? Well there might have been steam shooting out of the manager’s ears too. He accused Joe of lying, and threatened that he would be fired on the spot. His voice was hoarse, as if he was trying to yell with a sore throat. He then sent SWAT to the break room with an instruction that the uncooked food be roasted in the microwave oven. Orders were followed immediately. Eventually the oven had to cool down and while SWAT was fixing it, most of the remaining food escaped and went outside, behind the grocery store. This was viewed as a great injustice by the surviving food because if the manager had just told them to be quieter, they would have.

The very next day Joe was fired.

But still, Joe had two friends at the grocery store, Alex and Ayushmaan. He told them to organize a strike. No one attended to the grocery store jobs that day. Finally, after a month, the manager resigned, frustrated. Everyone came back to resume work and made the grocery store bigger, and less dull and boring. They elected Joe as their new manager. But best of all, the food lived in harmony with the people. Joe told them not to be loud, though.

The annoying Orange and Pear started a YouTube channel that specialized in video games; Joe subscribed to it.

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