"Get out there and bring us back a good one," Ferenc had said, handing him grandpa's best stalk-pick. "Glad it's not me," his brother added.
Now János was halfway up a vine ribbed like a vast stalk of celery thicker than a dozen elm trunks. In the distance, vine mites the size of cattle cleaned their host. The ground was lost deep in the clouds below. Grandpa's pick seemed a small thing to trust with his life, old and rusty as it was, so he used safety lines, even though they slowed him down.
"Miracles, fresh miracles." His mother had rubbed her hands with gleeful greed. "It cost me a lot to get you this job -- don't mess it up."
János climbed higher, until the first god nodules were visible around him. They were pouty sacs with a little nipple at the free end. This particular vine had