Author : William Tracy

“A Ham is coming!”

The news spread like wildfire. Even the adults were swept up in the excitement.

“A Ham is coming!”

The Ham came from the east in a truck. I had never seen a truck move before!

The adults eagerly asked the Ham for the news. I didn’t understand everything he said, but the Ham said that up north they had steam trains working again. The Ham and the adults talked for a long time, then they lead the Ham to where they had the sick people.

With the adults gone, we crowded around the truck. All the trucks I had seen before were rusted and broken. We used to play in them and pretend to drive to faraway lands.

But we didn’t get to play in this one. We peered through the windows and looked at the strange tools and machines inside.

The Ham came back. He looked worried. He went to a metal box in the back of the truck. He took a little piece off of it. It was connected to the rest with a little wire that was curled like a pig’s tail. He talked into the little piece, and it crackled and talked back in a strange voice.

Then the put the piece back and told the adults that a chopper was coming. This made me scared. I thought they were going to chop up the sick people into little pieces!

“I thought they didn’t have enough fuel to run choppers anymore,” Mister Barnsworth told the Ham.

“Only enough to make a run in an emergency, and this is an emergency,” the Ham answered.

After a long time, someone pointed to the sky in the south. I could see a tiny speck. As it got closer, I could hear a rumble that grew into a loud, fast, rattling drum beat. The chopper was a metal egg with a tail, with little tiny legs curled up underneath, and spinning wings on top!

The chopper landed in the middle of the town square. A wind blew out from it, blasting dust every which way. The adults crowded around the chopper, and pushed us away. Suddenly, there was shouting, and some of the women started to scream.

We climbed up the trees around the square so we could see. The people in the chopper were handing out boxes, and the adults were grabbing the boxes as fast as they could.

“What does it say on the boxes?” little Jessie asked.

I read a label out as the chopper man handed it to Mrs. Fisher. “It says ‘penicillin’.” Mrs. Fisher cried and hugged the box like it was her baby.

Then the adults brought out some of the sick people. After they carefully lifted the sick people into the chopper, the chopper floated into the sky and flew back the way it came.

The adults tried to give the Ham food and money. He wouldn’t take anything. “This is just what I do.” Then, he got into his truck.

He drove west. The sun was going down, and it set the sky on fire. His truck turned into a black dot that grew smaller and smaller until it disappeared.

I want to be a Ham when I grow up.

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