I paint strawberries for a living.  Ones that aren’t red enough to sell in shops.  I get paid two pence for every twenty strawberries.  Next year, if it’s as hot as this year, I’m going to paint blades of grass.  Parks everywhere get to look a bit yellow after a few weeks of no rain.  That will be a nice little earner.

I used to have an apprentice, Bobby.  I tried to teach him the great art of strawberry painting but he just yawned and said “I’ve got to go home and have my tea.”  He was only four.

I haven’t always painted strawberries.  I had to climb my way up.  I started as a match arranger.  Some people think that matches just fall naturally into the right position in their boxes.  Now let me tell you, that just isn’t true.  Every match has to be carefully laid with its head at one end and paralell with the sides of the box.  That is a highly skilled job.  Before that I fixed holes in tables.  Sometimes tables get holes in them.  When they do I fix them.

Yesterday, just after finishing my seventy fifth strawberry (it needed quite a bit of ree-painting, that one.  Not only was it very unripe it must have been in close contact with something radioactive.  It was glowing.  I soon painted it over) anyway, I had just finished repainting that strawberry when Mrs. Cornwall appeared.  Mrs. Cornwall is the nicest woman in the world.  She always drops in now and again for a chat and a cup of tea.

“Hello Mrs. Cornwall,” I said, “have you just dropped in for a nice chat and a cup of tea?”

“Never mind all that,” she said, “is this anything to do with you?”

She held out an apple.  It was gold, and glowing, a bit like my strawberry.

“Funny,” I said, “that looks just like the strawberry I just finished.”

“It seems to be happening all over the place.  Fruit and vegetables have started to glow.”

We decided to go and investigate.  I put on my big wool jumper and we set off.  What an adventure.


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