Story Go Round 05/17/2003, round 1, #4

Amberican Dream

"And Amber waves at grains..."

Waving like she means it, little Mary Ann sings out the garbled words with equal conviction.

"Sing louder" cries the teacher.

The tinny piano with missing keys started up again. Drawing one foot sheepishly on the floor, she waited for the other kids to join in. But hers was the only voice that penetrated, and the others were merely moving their lips.

"No," said Miss Greeley, "don't drag your feet. Do the polka, skip, anything but drag."

"Why do we hafta sing the 'King of the Purple Mountain' song anyway?"

Unsure whether she could explain the monarchy accession transition problem, the teacher merely answered "Because Princess Amber likes it" In unison all the kids heads turned to the gold framed portrait on the wall - Mary Ann most of all. She was the only one who believed in the legend about the princess's being born from a tomato at new moon. The other kids snickered a lot at her naivete, especially when she asked:

"But what about the fruity planes?"

"The new pure fruit ethanol jet fuel has revolutionized the nation, reducing our dependence on lesser nations..." came the approved answer, from several small mouths.

The portrait gleamed beneficently. In the electronic wiring that linked up all their tiny brains with little metal caps, a new signal started.

"Amber's world, oh Amber land,..." Ah, how she would like to be there in the waving fields of grain.

Mary Ann woke up to the cold wetness of drool on a textbook. There's something unmistakable about a late-night cram session on American History. The kind of dreams that nobody forgets, and the foreboding of the test yet to come.

Amber=purple|Alan=blue|Terry=orange|Habeeb=grey|Kevin=green|Alan's Mom=brown