A sweet story of peril and redemption: Chapter 1
“We are too late,” wept Hexopyranose, the eldest of the Peeps.
The Peep Council sighed as one. “Too late, too late,” they intoned.
“We have missed the boat,” cried Hexopyranose.
“The boat is gone,” agreed the Council.
“We are doomed,” Hexopyranose lifted a trembling wing to her forehead.
“The end of the world,” the Council lamented, and each member began to beat his head against the wall in the ritually prescribed manner.
“But wait!” gasped Hexopyranose. The Council members paused in their bashing.
“No, never mind,” the eldest Peep shook her head. “I had an idea, but I’ve forgotten it.” The Council resumed its self-punishment.
“Now I remember!” Hexopyranose cried, and the Council members looked up gratefully, their heads slightly flattened.
“An idea, an idea!” they cheered nasally.
“We need . . .” the Peep looked around to make sure she had everyone’s full attention and dropped her voice to a dramatic whisper, “A Hero.”
The room fell silent. Many wonderful things had been said of the Peeps – they were widely known to be sweet, soft, and capable of withstanding extreme acid environments, but never had a Hero been hatched from their midst.
Hexopyranose looked around at her Peeple, but no one would meet her beady gaze. She scowled. “All those with more than two syllables in their names, step back!” she ordered. Fucopyranose, Quinovopyranose, Rhamnopyranose, Mannopyranose, Galactopyranose and Pentofuranose sidled into a tight group behind her, leaving Maltose, Dextrose, and Fructose at the front of the room.
Dextrose looked around him frantically. “Where are Ribose and Sucrose?”
“At a conference in Switzerland, I think,” whispered Maltose.
“Silence!” ordered Hexopyranose. She scrutinized the three Peeps closely for a moment, then shrugged. “I suppose you three will have to do.”
With this ringing endorsement, she turned back to the rest of the Council. “I give you . . . our savors! I mean, Saviors!” A weak cheer arose.
“Pardon – excuse – if you don’t mind,” Fructose asked urgently, “but what precisely are we supposed to do?”
“Oh,” Hexopyranose said airily, “just some grocery shopping. We need Eggs.”
Fructose was confused. “Don’t we have eggs?” He gestured to the corner of the room, where eight small eggs were guarded closely by five Peeps.
“Ew.” Hexopyranose wrinkled her beak in disgust, and the rest of the Council, confident now that no Heroism was expected of them, wrinkled their beaks likewise. “Those are just Mini Eggs. They won’t do at all.
“We need,” her eyes took on a fervent glow, “EGGS.”
A low hum went up from the Council, and gradually split into a five-part harmony. The Peeps began to sway from side to side, and as Hexopyranose joined them on the dais she sang:
Amazing taste, how sweet the round,
Thy shell embossed with swirls of brown,
inside, a golden sea.
The Peeps behind her were rocking more energetically now, and clapping their wings as they sang:
We’ll suffer for ten thousand years
on half a hot-crossed bun –
just one morsel of chocolate shell
with cream’s better than none.
By the end of the song, even the three reluctant savors – er, saviors – were clapping and singing along. They hardly noticed when they were gently herded into the Basket, and they were still humming the tune as the great Basket rose easily into the air.
It was not until the last of the music had faded away that Maltose, Dextrose, and Fructose looked at each other.
“Oh, crap,” they said together.