As they rode towards the West in silence, it
wasn’t silent for long. They still had another
5 hours or so of daylight. All of a sudden Julio
asked in a loud voice: "Granma, what do
the Chips eat?" They had been on the road
for hours eating and eating and the Chips had
nothing and more nothing. "I dono, J," said
G. "We will let them out when we stop for
the night and they can crawl around and look
for bugs and stuff before dark. They won’t run
away. We are almost to the toes, feet and ankles
of the Peppermints…. their new home, anyway."
The red dirt path got wider and wider, being
nice and flat all the way. The mountains were
getting closer now, filling the air with the
distinct smell of Peppermint. While the sun began
to go down, the mountains went from a deep rosy
pink to red, with white swirly candy cane stripes
running around and around and up and down them;
fine, thin stripes and wide stripes. They did
look a bit slippery, slick and shiny, the closer
you got to them, just like Marshie 459 had said.
Granma & Julio rode on, and on, and on down
the red dirt path. Sometimes they hummed songs
to themselves. G thought she heard a seagull
overhead. Then she said, "That was a nice
thing to do for Marsha 101, Julio." "Yeah," he
said, "now I got a big hole in my undershirt."
After the Marshmallow Wastes, there was nothing
of particular interest to attract their attention
and only once did they meet a beaver on the road
with a napsack. He looked kinda like he was running
away, in the direction of BurrBear’s place at
FlamFlow. He seemed in a rather big hurry and
only did a small curtsey as he passed without
so much as a word.
Hey, maybe he came through the Peppermint Mountains. "Hey
you, hey you!" G yelled after him, but he
kept right on trotting along. O well.
The land was a rich green on each side of the
road, with the red dirt running wide down the
middle, like a ribbon. This was nice and soft
on the horses feet. Ditches were on either side
of the road with water in them, so they stopped
for awhile. After slurping a mango, sittin’ on
the bank of the ditch, G told J to let the Chips
out for a little while to run around in the grass.
J was busy catching a frog and put it in his
other shirt pocket. He was still carrying around
the Chip in his left pocket, the one that had
gotten banana-squished and was alive again! She
was sleeping so he let her be while he let the
other Chips out of the baskets. They were happy
to get out and stretch.
"What on earth are you gonna do with a yellow
polka-dotted frog?" asked G. "Well, maybe
when we find a way back to our world, I will keep
him in my pocket, and he can go too." said J.
Muff was splashing in the fresh water trying
to catch something. J saw schools of small red
and white striped fish in the ditches. Maybe
a tasty little morsel for da Muff.
"We should of asked the Marshies if they had
anything to carry water in; how dumb of us." said
G. "Man, yeah, how dumb!" said J. "Wonder
if this fishy water is any good for drinking?" J
gave an inquiring look up at G and she said, "Go
ahead, try it. Doesn’t seem to be hurting the Muff
any and she has had her face buried in it most
of the time." said G. So Julio bent over and
scooped water with his hands, almost losing the
Chip and the frog in the process. His pockets had
buttons at the top, so he buttoned them. There,
that would help keep them in. He stuck a wet leaf
in with the frog just for comfort. The water was
clear and tasted good, so G drank some too. "Mober!
Pepper! Come get a drink!" yelled out G, and
they both came trotting over to the ditch.