Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Beach (07/04/05)
TITLE: That Beached Feeling
By Corinne Smelker
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“Hey, Trudy!! Here’s another one!”
“Oh Paul – poor thing. What can we do for these whales?”
Whale? I’m a whale? Sounds interesting. I wonder why I’m here – I certainly didn’t plan on being here. I was just following the family when we veered off. I have to admit it’s not entirely comfortable. This breathing thing is a little hard on the old lungs, and my…what is it…for want of a better word, I think I will call it blowhole, well, it’s not working.
Paul finished his call, “The lifeguards have ranged their boats out on the edge of the harbour, and the local construction companies are bringing in cranes. The plan is to lift each whale and place a thick rope, attached to the boats and pull these guys out.”
“Sounds good. Which one will go first?” Trudy’s normally pretty features puckered with dismay as she surveyed the beach with 15 whales of varying sizes wallowing in the shallows.
“The littlest ones, they are the easiest to shunt around, and probably stand a better chance of survival. The lifeguards have asked us to choose the smallest.”
Trudy and Paul ran frantically from whale to whale, sickened in the knowledge that in choosing one over the other, the ones not picked would probably die on the hot, salty sand.
Hmmm. I think I see Mom over there. Hey Mom! Funny, my voice isn’t working too well. Nothing seems to be working, not my flappy things. . . fins, I think I will call them fins, not my blowhole, not my voice. . . I want to go home! Hey? What’s this? Leave me alone! Stop climbing on me and putting that stuff on my. . . my. . .skin.
“I marked this little one. He seems to be the strongest.” Trudy clambered down and put her chalk piece back in her short’s pocket.
Paul looked down the line, “I agree. And here come the contractors.” They wildly waved their arms so the local men, men who had seen this beach scene several times in their lives, could come and once again try to save the lives of these magnificent creatures.
What are you doing now? What’s that thing you’re putting around me? Mom warned me about humans, and I think you’re humans! She told me the story about that man my great-great-great something or other grandmother swallowed. Caused her such bad indigestion she spat him right out, and he was still whole! I don’t want anything to do with you!
“Okay Ned, hoist him up.”
HEY! STOP! Whales are not made for flying!! That’s the domain of those stupid seagulls, and I ain’t no seagull! Put me back in the water right now! Mom! Wow, look at me everyone, I am flying, this is cool, all I need now are some thingamaggies, ya know, wings.
“Coastguard standing by. When you get him a little deeper, we will take over. Ropes are secured. Over and out.”
Oh, I’m getting that ‘let down’ feeling. I liked flying – I can’t wait to tell Bob the Swordfish what I did, course he probably won’t believe me. But here I am in the water again. Who’s pulling me? Can’t you guys leave me alone for more than a minute? Wait,. . . I can breathe again! My blow hole’s working, and look my fins are paddling water and not that yucky golden gritty stuff.
“All right, one down. Let’s work fast. We might just be able to save the others,” Ned proclaimed to the volunteers who were busily scooping sand away from the remaining beached whales, and keeping them cool with towels and buckets.
Wow! Cool! I can’t wait ‘til Mom gets here, but for now I think I’ll hang back here. I don’t want to get back on that white stuff again any time soon. Here come those humans again, and they’ve got Mom! Mom, Mom over here, here I am! Wait ‘til we tell everyone about this, it’s better than that Jonah story!
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