The flat screen city

versiune audio: Autor: Cristina

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At the end of the Flat Screen City, right next to the forest, in a yellow house with red dots and a green roof, lived Amelia with her parents. Their house was the only one that looked that way in the whole city. That was probably why it was placed at the edge of the city.

Amelia was five years old, with dark, wavy hair and big, violet eyes. She loved to run and jump and sing all kinds of happy songs. Her best friend was a clumsy cat named Roni. Her favorite fruit was…guess what? Apples. That was the strangest thing of all, because in all of Flat Screen City there was no other kid who liked apples. And, even more, there was no other kid who would play the way Amelia did: jumping and running around outside and singing and dancing and laughing out aloud. All the other kids played on their tablets, and when they got bored with them, they simply watched TV.

Maybe now you understand why Amelia’s best friend was a cat and not another little girl or boy. She simply couldn’t find any other children to play with as they all lived indoors, too busy on their tablets to go out to meet anybody or make new friends.

Oh, I totally forgot to tell you that Flat Screen City only had grey houses with brown roofs, no yards or gardens. All except one: the yellow house with red dots and a green roof on the edge of the city.

Now that you have the general idea of the situation, let me tell you about a special, sunny summer’s day when Amelia was in her garden playing with Roni. Remember how I told you that Roni was really clumsy? She always managed to get into mischief, and on this particular day she climbed up the apple tree in their garden, having decided on a particular course of action in regards to Ms Robin, who was high on top of the tree singing her delightful morning chorus.

Seeing Roni high above, Amelia shouted to him to come down this instant as she wanted a playmate to chase the ball, which was a favourite game she often played with Roni.

But the Roni was less interested in chasing a ball this morning and pretended she didn’t hear. She was sprawled out across a branch in the warm sun, having missed her chance to enjoy Ms Robin’s chorus close up.

Amelia thought to herself for a while: “What to do, what to do? If I shake the tree, perhaps she will come down? There simply must be a way.” She had read somewhere that cats always landed on their feet and can jump from a tremendous height, so she knew if she could shake Roni free she would not come to any harm.

So Amelia started shaking the tree with all her might. As the tree became to rock and sway back and forth, Roni became scared and decided it would be much safer on the ground, so with little effort and barely a raised eyebrow she leapt nimbly to the base of the tree, darting for cover as the apples rained down around them.

“Look what you did Roni!” Amelia cried out, feeling agitated at the sight of all the rosy red apples lying on the ground around her. “Because of you, all these apples are now going to go to waste. I can’t possibly eat them all, even if they are my absolute favorite fruit. What are we going to do with them?”


It was at that exact moment an idea appeared. “I know,” Amelia called out excitedly. “We’ll go to go to the city and give them to all the other children. They don’t have gardens, or apple trees. I bet they will love these delicious, red apples!”

Amelia had no idea that the other children did not eat apples…

She ran to the house and told her mom her great idea. Her Mum, however, knew the other child in the city didn’t eat apples, but didn’t want to spoil Amelia’s enthusiasm. So she just smiled and went outside to help Amelia fill her basket of apples, smiled, gave her a kiss on the cheek and told her to be home in time for supper.

So off Amelia went, basket in hand, ready to deliver her fresh apples to the children across the city. But everywhere they went, at every door, she came across a pale child who simply smiled shyly and said in a timid voice, “No thank you” before closing the door and returning to the tablet which awaited impatiently.

Amelia was very upset. She was so upset in fact she almost returned home to give her mum the basket of apples to bake a huge apple pie. She decided however to try one last door. She knocked and a few moments later a pale little boy appeared. He was Amelia’s age with reddened eyes from playing too much on a tablet.

“I brought you a little gift,” said Amelia full of hope.


But the boy simply shook his head and turned to go back inside.


“But they are so sweet and juicy…” Amelia continued with tears in her eyes. She just couldn’t understand why none of the other children liked apples.

“But what are those?” Asked the little boy, looking into the basket.

“What do you mean what are these?” Amelia wondered. “They are apples!”

The little boy was watching her with confusion. It was then Amelia finally understood why no other child in Flat Screen City liked apples: it was because they had never tried one before!

Amelia left the basket on the boy’s doorstep and ran home. She had an idea! “I know how I can help all the children in Flat Screen City.”

When she arrived at the yellow house with red dots and a green roof, she raced inside and grabbed her tablet – yes, she had a tablet too, but was still free of its hypnotic glare that had enslaved the children of the town. Yes, she played on it from time to time, but never when it was sunny outside and she could be free to run and play with Roni.

She sent a message to all the children in Flat Screen City.

The message read:




All the children received the message. They didn’t want to leave their tablets, but the word ‘surprise’ had done the trick. They were very curious to discover what they would find waiting for them at the house with dots, whose existence was unknown to them until now.

The next day, when they arrived, they were very surprised to see Amelia had a real yard with a real garden with big trees and grass greener than what they had ever seen in their games. Not to mention the beautiful smell. For the first time they experienced the perfume of real flowers, touched a leaf…AND a cat!

Yes, I’m talking about Roni, who that day became the happiest cat on Earth! Never before had she been caressed by so many children.

After playing and seeing everybody flushed with joy, Amelia offered each child an apple. She asked them to taste it, saying it was her favorite fruit in all the world.

All of the children bit into their apple, and I don’t have to tell you how much they loved them.

After another hour of games and play, Amelia’s mother brought out a huge apple pie, offering a slice to every child. Even Roni got a slice. No, don’t be surprised! There are indeed cats who eat apple pie. Roni is living proof of this!

From that day on, everything changed in Flat Screen City. All the children now wanted to play with their new friends outside, so the parents all had to build yards and gardens. The tablets ended up in the drawers, almost forgotten except on rainy days. In fact, they didn’t have time for their tablets now because there was always someone knocking at their door asking them to come outside to play.

A couple of years later, all the houses in the city had yards, apple trees, green grass, coloured roofs and walls with dots.  Even the name of the city changed; it was no longer called Flat Screen City, but became known as the City of Apples and can you guess who the mayor is?

Oh, I’ll let you guess!

I’ll only tell you this: she had a lots of friends and a cat named Roni!


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