Mass Confusion as Apple Picking Excursion Becomes Math Problem

By Nate Odenkirk | STAFF WRITER

MIDVALE, C.A.—Midvale Family Farms in California’s fertile Central Valley turned into an absolute nightmare yesterday as an innocent exchange of fruit spiraled into a math problem. Suzie Lyons, 8, toured the farm with the rest of her class, where they were permitted to freely pick the apples, strawberries, and blackberries. At that point, Suzie had a confirmed six apples, two packs of strawberries, and no blackberries. All hell broke loose when Suzie traded Jeff Stringer, 8, four of her apples for two of Jeff’s blackberries. Jeff then dug himself a deeper hole when he gave one of Suzie’s apples to Patricia Lewis, 8, who he has a crush on. To make matters even worse, Suzie was forced by the teachers to trade three packs of strawberries for four of Kevin Redly’s, 8, apples, as Kevin has low blood sugar and too many apples will cause him to faint. We thought Suzie started with just two packs of strawberries, but it is possible she went back to get more, made an under the table trade with Larry Fine, 8, who picked a dozen boxes of strawberries before he was told to stop, or miscounted somewhere along the line. Jeff Stringer took one box of blackberries from god knows where, saying it was “for his parents,” but we know both of Jeff’s parents died in a gas station fire back in 2013. Sorry, Jeff, can’t fool us that easy.

As far as we’re concerned, this farm is now a math problem

The emergency math alarm was pulled and officers with McGraw-Hill sped up seconds later in black vans. The scene was apparently too much for Kevin, who fainted and had to be airlifted to the local hospital in a McGraw-Hill medical helicopter. They took down the important information, and then confiscated everyone’s fruits and officially condemned the farm. “As far as we’re concerned, this farm is now a math problem, solely owned by the McGraw-Hill friendly conglomerate of textbook manufacturers,” said a spokesperson from the agency. “No one is to step foot within the perimeter until we figure out exactly how many fruits Suzie, Patricia, and Kevin have now, which could take anywhere from 10 to 12 months.” Until then, Suzie—the “patient zero”—Patricia, and Kevin will be kept in a quarantined location in the McGraw-Hill complex and subjected to numerous word problems to jog their memory, and to ensure the math problem doesn’t spread to the general population without a solution.

Progress, however slow, is being made. “We already know the number of parents Jeff has: zero. Like Jeff’s parents, we can put that part of the question to rest.” The McGraw-Hill investigations department took the unusual step of giving Jeff one apple, out of pity. However, the apple will have to be tested for DNA and will not be released until 2023.

Investigators are reminded to show their work for credit, and box their answers. ♦