Mandarin Orange and the Bakery Surprise

IMGOne warm evening in the Fruit Grove, as Apple Bat and Pear Bat sang songs from the lower branches of the apple tree and Batnana painted a portrait of Lemon and Lime, Mandarin Orange was nowhere to be found. That’s because he was over on the far side of the island, getting a sack of flour for his latest baking effort. He still wasn’t sure what it would be, but he was determined to try something new what would surprise and astound his friends! The flour was the last ingredient he thought he would need.

Not being the fittest of the FruitBats, hauling a sack of flour half his size across the island was quite an effort. The mill, which was nestled on a stream that came down out of the higher part of the island as it rushed to the sea, took wheat from a small farm nearby. There were no humans on the island, but the mill was left over from when their had been, and the creatures of Willowyk were unusually industrious. The millers were a pair of potbelly pigs, and they were happy to trade their flour to Mandarin Bat for a nice pile of cinnamon rolls.

The flour was poured into a muslin sack, and Mandarin was off, his wings beating fast, his toes gripping the top of the sack. It wasn’t long before he was huffing and puffing and wishing he’d brought Strawberry or Watermelon with him to help. He knew in the end it would be worth it though, this would be his masterpiece!

The moon was high in the sky by the time he plopped onto the ground. For a minute, he just used the flour sack as a beanbag chair and snuggled on top for a quick nap. When he awoke, the dawn was creeping into the dark sky. With haste, he located one of the glass jars he had found on the beach in Crescent Cove and dumped the flour in, sealing it with the cork so no moisture would soak into his baking supply. Looking at his glassware collection, he saw he finally had gathered everything he would need to bake something grand, huge, and impressive!

The Search for BlackBerry Bat Part 1

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For several weeks the FruitBats stayed in their grove and played together under the protective leaves of their trees, bushes and vines. Watermelon led them in many games. Kiwi invented fun gadgets. Grape learned from other animals about the island. Mandarin created tasty treats. Pear and Apple sang songs. Batnana made art. Strawberry always lended a hand with building and Blueberry was sure to help if anyone got hurt. Lemon and Lime gathered the whole Bushel together to host fun parties whenever they found an excuse.

One late afternoon (for that is morning to a bat) Watermelon woke up and swooped out of his hollow watermelon house. Everyone was getting up, but Grape Bat, sitting in his favorite clump of grape vine leaves, looked awfully contemplative for having just awoke. Watermelon decided to go over and find out what’s up.

“Sure is early for thinkin’ so hard,” he said, landing on a leaf and having to scramble up to where his tiny toes could grab the vine. Grape didn’t appear to hear him, so Watermelon poked his ear. “Hello?”

Finally paying attention, Grape wiggled his ear. “Oh, hi, I’ve been thinking!”

“I can tell,” Watermelon replied, “But about what?”

“Well,” Grape looked out across the fruit grove, “About all of us.”

Watermelon tilted his head like a confused puppy.

“You see,” Grape explained, “When the shooting star spread it’s magic over the grove, every fruit plant grew one fruit that became a bat.”

“So we’ve come to learn, yup.”

“So, logically, there should be a BlackBerry Bat!”

Watermelon looked to where Grape was staring, and sure enough, on the edge of the cliff that overlooked the bay, there grew a blackberry bush.

Grape leapt into the air and started flapping his way toward the bush, so Watermelon came along. The other bats, now alert and following their conversation, began to stretch their wings and join them.

“Maybe the magic just missed it,” Lemon suggested shyly as they all gathered in front of the bush.  It’s dark, plump berries looked juicy in the low afternoon sun.

“But what if it didn’t? What if BlackBerry is out there somewhere all alone?” Blueberry chimed in. “That would just be awful!”

“Yes, I don’t think we should take the risk. If there is a BlackBerry Bat out there, then they should be a part of the Bushel!” Watermelon declared.

“Flippidy-piboppidy-wop,” Batnana said as she did a loop-de-loop and landed smack in the blackberry bush with her wings open for a hug. A second later she fell out, hopping around with her eyes crossed in pain. “Owowowowow!” Sticker thorns were all over her. Blueberry and Strawberry came to the rescue: Strawberry holding her still while Blueberry gently and expertly plucked the thorns form Batnana’s belly. Strawberry told them that Batnana was agreeing they needed to find their lost Bushelmate.

“Well that’s one exciting way to start an adventure,” Mandarin Orange Bat said as he joined the circle of on-lookers. “Haven’t even left the grove yet and we have our first accident. I’ve heard of a prickly pear, but a prickly banana is new to me!”

“What adventure?” Apple asked, checking Pear Bat for thorns. The Bushel turned expectantly toward Watermelon.

“We,” he said, lifting one wing into the air dramatically, “are going to find BlackBerry Bat!

“We are?” Grape asked, looking a little worried. “Oh my.”