1.12 Finding Friends (ALOW)

Jenara jogged across her lawn toward the street. There were always neighbors out and about. Someone would share her veggie burgers. She was certain.

Sure enough as she rounded the house, she spotted Don Lothario running along the sidewalk.

“Don!” she called out. “Hey Don!”

The man was in his own little world, listening to whatever melodies and harmonies streamed through his headphones. Jenara tried waving, but by that point, he was already past her view.

“Oh well,” she sighed.

Jenara started down the street, whistling a happy little tune, something she heard on the television program she watched yesterday. The sun hadn’t fully risen yet, a sort-of fuzzy unripe peach in the morning sky, but cast a lovely rosy-orange glow all around. She spotted Sandra Roth crossing the street, and started to call after her, but the girl kept her head slumped and ignored Jenara.

I wonder what her deal is. She seems pretty goth and depressed all the time, Jenara observed.

“Oh, Vito!” she exclaimed, seeing the green-skinned man continue down the sidewalk behind her. “How have you been, my friend?”

“We’re not friends,” he replied, gruffly.

“Oh but I thought we could be,” she said cheerily. “It’s such a beautiful morning. I made some veggie bur…”

“Butt out, pep squad,” he growled. “And stay away from my wife. She’s already happy enough without your influence.”

With that, Vito Terrano turned and stomped down the road, leaving a confused, and somewhat sad Jenara. Why don’t people like me? she wondered, with dismay. Was she too bubbly and bright and cheery? But wasn’t that the way to make friends?

Jenara remembered a word of advice from her aunt, Ana Nova. Once Jenara came home from school with skinned knees and a bruised ego. Her “friends” had made fun of her in front of the boy she liked, and Jenara had been so crushed she wasn’t paying attention and rode her bicycle into a bush. The girls from school laughed and didn’t help her. They called her stupid and said only a loser would crash into a bush on their bike. She had been so humiliated. She cried and said she never wanted to go to school again, and it was the end of the world. Her auntie had set her on the counter, and gave her a spoonful of her favorite dark cherry ice cream.

Did you know that if you cut a tulip, it will continue to grow up to an inch in a vase?” Ana Nova had said. 

Jenara recalled giving her aunt a puzzled look.

“Sometimes people will say things that are cruel and they cut you to your core,” Ana Nova continued. “But like the cut on a tulip stem, it doesn’t mean the end of life. You can grow stronger and taller from adversity. You know this word, right?”

Jenara bobbed her head, the spoon dangling from her mouth.

“There are people in the world who do cruel things, but don’t ever stop being the lovely red tulip, my sweet sun blossom,” Ana Nova kissed Jenara’s hair. “You will find growth in the healing.” 

With newfound purpose, Jenara decided to walk further down the road and visit the park. Perhaps she would find friends there, and someone to share her veggie burgers.

Sure enough she met Gar. He wasn’t in his PlantSim form, and she thought he looked handsome in his jean jacket, neatly pressed khakis, and baseball cap. He was even wearing her favorite color shirt.

“What do you say about professional cows?” he asked.

“Um?” she frowned, thinking hard.

“They are outstanding in their field!” he joked.

Jenara covered her stomach as she laughed. “Oh that’s cheesy. Wait… I have one… why do cows have hooves instead of feet?” She grinned broadly. “Because they lactose.”

Gar doubled over, laughing hysterically. “You’re funny, Jenara Yearling.”

“Do you like veggie burgers?” she blurted out, and then blushed, feeling uncomfortable about her over-enthusiasm. “I mean… I made some… back at my house… they’re just sitting there… all alone…and I could some help eating them. I know they’re not exactly a traditional breakfast…”

“Oh I like veggie burgers,” Gar bobbed his head.

“Good,” Jenara grinned. “You wanna come?” she nodded in the direction of her house, and Gar fell into step. “Say, Gar?”

“Yes?”

“Would you like to be my friend?”

Gar took off his cap and placed his arm over his chest. “It would be my honor, Jenara.”


It is my goal to start updating this story on Wednesdays around midnight MST.  

Previous Chapter: 1.11 Veggie Burgers

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1.7 Stumped (ALOW)

As promised, a stump appeared in Jenara’s yard the same day. She wondered about the safety of such a thing right out in the open, but Jasmine Holiday, the PlantSim-Sim liaison assured her that once the pods were placed in their holes, they were sealed in place and no one could mess with them. Even so, she made a note to pick up fencing at the hardware store, and maybe even a heat lamp. She didn’t want the little podling to get cold, especially if she found more friends.

As if on cue, Jenara noticed another green-skinned PlantSim man wandering down her street. She approached, feeling enthusiastic about my new mission.

“Hi, I’m Jenara, what’s your name?” she waved.

“Vito. Not interested,” he replied gruffly, and attempted to keep walking.

“What do you mean not interested?” Jenara frowned. “You don’t like friends.”

“I don’t need ’em,” he replied. “And I don’t want to buy what you’re selling, girlie,” he snipped.

“What? I’m not selling anything!” Jenara protested.

“Are you sure? The last guy tried to sell me an anti-fungal cream. Can you believe that?” the man said annoyed. “As a PlantSim, we embrace all of life, even fungi. And I’d be happy to have fungi cohabitate with me. We’re all about symbiosis. An anti-fungal cream is an insult.”

“I see,” Jenara remarked.

“And the guy before that tried to sell me a subscription to the Money Market Lane Journal,” the man threw his hands up in the air. “Think about how many trees were killed just to make the paper for that ridiculous newspaper!”

“I never thought of that,” Jenara replied, making a mental note to cancel any paper magazine and newspaper subscriptions.

“Those were my friends,” he said dramatically. “My comrades… killed! So you people could read your news when you could just as easily read it online and save the planet!”

“I promise I’m not trying to sell you anything, and I’m not trying to kill your comrades…” Jenara explained. At least not deliberately, she thought worriedly. “And I’m just trying to get to know PlantSims in town for the conference. I met Tara earlier.”

“Tara? My wife!? What? Have you seen her?”

“Tara’s your wife?”

“Yes, she went out wandering and we were supposed to go jogging together, and I haven’t been able to find her,” he exclaimed worriedly.

“Oh, well, she went that way…” Jenara pointed. “…a few hours ago, after she gave me a pod.”

“What? Wait… she gave you a podling?” the man’s eyes grew wide and then narrowed. “I can’t believe it. We said we’d plant our podlings together. Why would she do it without me?”

He pounded his fist into his hand.

“I have a stump in my yard,” Jenara pointed back. “I’d be happy to keep your pod safe too.”

“Look, girlie, I don’t know you and frankly I don’t trust Sims. I don’t trust anyone. And God knows what you’d do with it. This whole podling babysitting initiative is stupid and a waste of time. We can take care of our own, and you can take care of yours. We don’t need to be comingling. We don’t need this. We don’t need this at all.”

He had now raised his voice to the point of yelling. Jenara took a step back in surprise.

“I’m sorry if I upset you…” she stammered.

He pushed past her, and stomped into her yard. “Is this your house?” he asked angrily.

She nodded.

“I suppose this will have to do since we have to keep ours together,” he reached into his pocket, pulling out a red podling and slamming it into a space next to his wife’s podling. “Are you happy now, girlie?”

“It’s Jenara,” she replied, feeling uncomfortable.

“I don’t care what your name is. Just take care of my wife’s and my podlings or I’ll sue you for everything you’ve got right down to that sweet little track suit right off your back,” he snapped.

Jenara flushed as she watched the PlantSim man stomp away. She could’ve sworn she saw steam blowing out his ears. She felt hurt as she had always thought of herself as a caring, nonprejudicial person, but he treated her as if she didn’t have a clue. And she was stumped as to how she made him so angry.


I titled this chapter “Stumped” which is pretty lighthearted given the heavy underlying topic. Please know my intent is not to make fun of PlantSims or anyone for that matter. Prejudice (racism, classism, sexism, ableism) is alive and well in the world, sadly. I don’t really want to dip into a heavy discussion here, but I like the ability of the Sims to talk about real world issues in a nontraditional way. I’ve already set up tensions between the supernaturals and traditional Sims and aliens in my other Sims stories because it is such a multifaceted topic close to my heart, and it’s so important that we talk about things and open our eyes, ears, and hearts to the things around us. I also hope that if anything, we can start gentle, healthy, constructive dialogues about our differences in hopes of making our world a better, more caring place. 🙂

Previous Chapter: 1.6 Plant Life 

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