Before we start, I would like to make it painfully obvious that I do not own Harvest Moon. I have, in fact, all but designed a HM game of my own…but probably won't send it in to Natsume for fear of them laughing at me. Anyway, this story is Book Three in the MTM series. Cameo appearances by Cliff, Jack from AWL, Lumina, Celia and possible others should keep you entertained, when Karen's antics are not! Please review. I adore--absolutely thrive on reviews. Make me happy and leave a note for me! Thanks!

--Starry

Gag Me with a Corncob

CHAPTER ONE: Goodbye, Big Macs

My parents have the worst ideas in the history of the world. They were the ones who came up with the genius plan to move to Mineral Town. I had absolutely nothing to do with it. In fact, I didn't even know about it until three days before we left! You would think that they would have the sense to tell their only daughter that they had decided to drag her away from everything she knew and loved. But no, that must have 'slipped' their minds.

Fourteen is an age that is not friendly to change. Fourteen is an age where you are happy, energetic, not worried about pimples or weight and still flexible enough to be captain of your school's cheerleading team. At least, that's what my fourteen was like. I don't know about you. My year was going perfectly. That might be why I threw a fit the first day my Dad introduced he and Mom's little scheme.

"We're WHAT?" I yelled, nearly dropping my purple and white pompons.

"I've been offered a new job in this little town called Mineral Town! Won't it be cool for me to own my very own store?" He asked, nervous that I wasn't taking the news well—which I wasn't.

"No, that's not 'cool'. What's wrong with ShoppingKart Groceries?"

"Nothing's wrong with ShoppingKart, it's just that owning my own store would be an experience. Plus the country air will be good for you." He tried to explain. I stopped him.

"I'm not going. I'll move in with Melissa."

"Oh, no you will not, young lady!" My Mom had entered the conversation. I knew I was doomed now, if she was in on it. Even if Dad was on my side, Mom would put a stop to that quickly. No one on earth could argue like she could, including Dad. I burst into tears and ran up the stairs, throwing my pompons on the floor and slamming my bedroom door as hard as I could. After sniffling miserably for half an hour, I called my best friend Melissa. She screamed into the phone when I told her.

"You're WHAT?" She sounded like she was eating pretzels. "How could your parents do this to you?" I rolled my eyes.

"Maybe it's just one of their little obsessions. Maybe it'll pass in three days." Melissa coughed into the phone.

"I sure hope so. What would I do without you, Karen? What'll the squad do? We need you and your flexibility, girl! Cry, beg, whine, throw a tantrum, do something! Get your parents to stay!"

-----

It was good advice…but it didn't work. Dad looked guilty whenever I looked at him, but Mom never wavered. She did sympathize with the situation, but apparently not enough to change her mind and let me keep my life. No, three days later I was crying on my cheerleading squad's shoulders, promising to call them daily. They all had chipped in five bucks and had purchased for me a white shirt and a purple vest.

"We got them in the school colors…so you can remember us always. Wear them and think of the memories." The coach was holding back her tears, which was something you didn't see everyday. Ms. Cavemn was notorious for her loveless existence. I turned away quickly and jogged over to where my parents were standing. After shooting them a look of misery, I picked up my traveling suitcase and started to walk towards the dock where our ferry waited.

The boat that took us to Mineral Town was junky. The seats were sticky, the crewmen were surly and every time I put my hands on the railings I got about three splinters in them. I occupied myself by peeling the green paint off of the deck with my foot and watching the other passengers.

There was a large man with a pink shirt sleeping in one of the rows, there was a sweet-looking couple holding hands behind him, there was a girl absentmindedly writing something in a notebook and there was a boy about my age, leaning on the railings. I wondered if he was getting splinters in his arms. I moseyed over to him and just stood there, lips pursed.

"Hey." I finally spoke up. He looked at me, surprised. His hair was dark brown and long, falling into his eyes. His clothes looked well worn.

"Hey." He returned, his ears red. I threw a loose piece of wood into the rolling waves.

"Where are you headed?" I asked him.

"…" He didn't respond right away. "Hibiscus Port. You?" I scowled at the water.

"Some stupid place called Mineral Town."

"You don't sound happy about it." He tilted his head.

"I'm not. I just got dragged away from all my friends, not to mention the Big Macs that I love. I mean, what is there to eat on an island? Parrot meat? No, thank you. My parents didn't even tell me that we were moving until three days ago. I am not a happy camper." The boy opened his eyes wider.

"My parents travel a lot. Just my parents, my little sister and I." He gestured to the girl sitting writing in the book. She noticed his gesture, stood up and ran over to us. She had medium length auburn hair, blue jeans, a white shirt and a yellow necktie. The boy pushed her towards me. "This is Lu…and your name is…?" I smiled slightly.

"Karen. The name's Karen."

"Okay. Karen, Lu. Lu, Karen." Lu stepped on his toe and he squeaked loudly.

"My name is not Lu, Bunny." She turned and marched off, ignoring his protests. I turned to him and smirked.

"Your name is Bunny?" He frowned and glared at his sister.

"No. It's actually Clifford. Err…Lu just calls me that. Ignore her." He became quiet again. This lasted for another half hour, until the mainland had come into sight. When I saw it, I sighed gustily. He noticed and looked closely at the approaching beach. "Cheer up. It doesn't look that bad. Now you should have seen Cholla Plateau! That was a dumpy looking place!" The corners of my mouth turned up ever so slightly.

"It looks like I'd better go collect my bags." He nodded. I continued. "If you ever come this way again, look me up. I'll be glad to talk to you. Lu, too." He nodded again.

"Mineral Town. I'll be sure to remember that." I turned and walked to my parents, who were cooing like morons over the 'quaint' beach. My bags were in my hands when I waved a final goodbye to Clifford and stepped out onto the sand.

A whole crowd of people was gathered to watch us come into the town. There was a tubby short man dressed in red, a buff guy who looked to be in his twenties, a woman with lots of pink hair standing beside a blonde man, a pretty woman with long black braids and many others. They looked friendly, at least. That was something. There were also kids, girls and a few boys who looked around 12-14. Maybe I would have someone to talk to, after all. One of the girls must have been the daughter of the pink-tressed lady from before; her head was also sprouting a crop of bubblegum colored waves.

The sun was strong when I started walking through the crowd, followed by my parents. Summer was just ending and autumn was just beginning. The kids' eyes followed me as I walked, giving me a feeling of uncomfortable-ness. Didn't these people have any manners? Didn't they know that it was rude to stare? I furrowed my brow and continued onwards. The chubby red-clad man was leading us up the streets, towards the top of the town. He finally stopped in front of a building. The windows had paper stuffed in them, keeping light out. The man stopped and introduced himself as Thomas. He also handed my Dad the key to the store, tipped his hat and stood back as my father began to unlock the door.

The room was dark when the door opened, but when Dad flipped the light on… I groaned.

"What a crappy little tomb! I feel like I'm going to smother in here!"