“Shhh, we have to be quiet!” warned Owen. “Oh he isn’t around,” said Ollie. “Let’s make a run for it,” said Otis. “I’ll race you. I know I’m faster than both of you,” claimed Otis. “No, we can’t do that! He will get us,” whispered Owen. “You know he patrols the dead sea space and he will surely see us before we cross over,” continued Owen. “Oh, you’re just afraidy fish,” poked Ollie. “But, Otis, you know you only win because you take off before we say go!” pointed out Ollie. Just then The Ogre loomed so close to them that it made them flip. I hate hanging upside down. How does he do it? He always knows when we’re here thought Owen.
“I’m beginning to think you boys just like me. This is the third time this week you’ve come to visit me,” growled The Ogre. “No! We don’t like you,” cried out Otis. Oh boy, I wish he would learn to keep his mouth shut thought Owen. “Nah, I’m sure you want to be my best friends,” said The Ogre with a sneer. “No! We just want to race through the eerie jelly goo,” said Otis. “Hmmm, well if you want to look like me then I might just let you do it,” snapped The Ogre. “No! No one wants to look like you,” cried Otis. “You O fish think you’re something special. Well, if you race through the goo you will look like me and then you will be special,” roared The Ogre as he chased them away. The three friends raced for the rocks so they could hide from The Ogre. “I guess we better try again tomorrow,” said Ollie. “No! We need to stop this game. I don’t want to become an Ogre Fish,” cried out Owen. “Oh, Owen, you’re too much of a wimpy fish. I think we need to go back when we see him head for the other side and make a dash for it. He won’t be expecting us to show up again,” said Otis. “I know we could make it if we just take him by surprise,” continued Otis. “I don’t want burns and bumps all over me,” said Owen. “Oh, that was just when the goo first started leaking from its big can home. It won’t hurt us now and it will be so much fun racing through the gel,” said Ollie. “My mom says it will make me look like The Ogre if I swim in it,” declared Owen. “Ok, then you go swim with the girls and Otis and I will sneak over and have fun racing in the gel,” said Ollie as he and Otis took off.
This made Owen very sad for he was afraid for his friends. His grandpa told him that the can house had been dropped from the upper regions many years ago. They all thought the can must be an outcast and not missed since nobody came to claim it. But it hadn’t been too long since the jelly goo started oozing out. He didn’t understand why they would risk the dangers of the jelly goo. He always liked their game of sneaking up to it. He would count to himself to see how long it took The Ogre to spot them. But to actually race through it! No way! He just didn’t know what to do. If he told his mom what they were doing he would be a sissy fish and a tattle fish. No one wanted to be known by those names. But if he didn’t tell his mom and the jelly goo hurt them then everyone would be mad at him for not being a better friend and he would be known as Bad Friend. Everyone would forget his name is Owen and just call him Bad Friend. The first rule of being a good friend is to do everything you can to keep your friends safe. A few minutes later Wisdom Fish swam over and said he had been watching him and could see that he had a BIG PROBLEM.
“I do have a big problem and I don’t know what to do,” moaned Owen. “Should a friend always follow the friend rules? Or can one ignore the rules and still be a good friend?” asked Owen. “That is an interesting question coming from one so young,” remarked Wisdom. “Do you know all the friend rules?” asked Wisdom. “Oh yes, I know all 10 rules by heart,” claimed Owen. “Do you believe in all 10 rules,” asked Wisdom. “Oh yes, I think they are all very important,” said Owen. “Well then, I think you just answered your own question,” said Wisdom. “I did, I did!” exclaimed Owen as he raced off to find his mom.
When Owen reached home he didn’t find his mom in the living room, not in the kitchen, not in her bedroom, not downstairs, and not upstairs. So he continued his search by swimming to the library. He looked inside but his mom wasn’t among any of the books in the bin, nor the upstairs bookshelves, and not even the downstairs bookshelves! Where can she be? Oh no, I can’t find her thought Owen. Just then he looked out the window and saw his mom coming around the corner with sea veggies in her bag. He yelled to his mom to wait for him so he could tell her something very important. Well, here goes thought Owen. I know she will be mad at me, but I’ve got to be a good friend. Owen’s mom listened carefully to everything he had to tell her then told him to spread the word throughout the village.
“Oh son, I hope we aren’t too late,” gasped mom as she raced along with everyone else. It didn’t take long for the village fish to reach the jelly goo. They looked high and low on their side of the goo, but the boys weren’t there. So Mayor Oscar assigned everyone sections of the goo to swim over and around. It wasn’t long before Olive yelled that she spotted one of them. As she got closer she yelled that it was Ollie and he was stuck in the goo. She tugged several times, but the goo wouldn’t let him go. When Olivia and Oceana arrived they all pulled together and were able to pluck Ollie out of the goo. Then Ollie’s mom, who is a nurse fish, came over and inspected Ollie’s tail. She ordered him to go straight to her clinic so he could be treated and cleaned. She explained to everyone that he was a very lucky boy because only his tail got into the goo.
It’s been three months since the boys got into the jelly goo. Ollie is doing fine and only has burns and bumps on his tail. He can still swim and he isn’t mad at Owen. He knows that Owen was being a good friend by thinking of his safety and getting others to help. He doesn’t know what happened to Otis. He said that Otis always races off first so he can win. He was half way to the goo before Ollie even began to race. He said by the time he reached the goo Otis was nowhere to be seen. So we are left with a mystery. What happened to Otis?
Wisdom Fish spotted Owen sitting alone looking very sad so he swam over to see if he could help. “What’s wrong, Owen?” asked Wisdom. “I miss my friend and wish I knew what happened to him,” said Owen. “It makes me very sad to know that I didn’t help him,” continued Owen. “Do you think I will ever see him again?” asked Owen. “I don’t know the answer to that, but I noticed that The Ogre has a young friend staying with him. Perhaps this young friend is Otis,” said Wisdom.
Hmmm, thought Owen, after listening to Wisdom. I think I will find out if it is Otis. Perhaps Ollie will go with me. So Owen said goodbye and off he went to find Ollie. “Of course, I want to go with you,” cried Ollie. “I feel awful that I wasn’t a good friend and kept both Otis and me out of the goo,” said Ollie. “First I have to tell my mom where I’m going,” said Ollie. “I promised that I would let her know if I was leaving the village. That way she would know where to search if I didn’t come home,” explained Ollie. “That’s a good thing to do,” said Owen. After telling Ollie’s mom the boys took off for the jelly goo. They knew that’s where they would find the Ogres. It didn’t take long before they spotted the younger one, but where was the big grouchy one they wondered. They swam a little closer when the big one popped out so close that it made them flip once again. Not again thought Owen as he hung upside down. “Well, I see you’ve decided to be my best friends again,” said The Ogre. Both boys were afraid to say anything since they didn’t want to make him mad. “What’s wrong, does the cat fish have your tongue?” asked The Ogre. “We want to meet your friend,” said Owen. “You want to meet my friend?” laughed the Ogre. “Hey, Otis, these boys want to meet you,” yelled the Ogre. Otis just turned away and hid his face. The boys dashed over to Otis and told him that they will always be his friends. Otis was surprised by this and decided that he would go back to the village to see if his family would accept him.
What a party the village had when Otis returned. Everyone was glad to see him and it didn’t matter that he looked different from them. He told his story about how awful the jelly goo was to swim through. After hearing his story no one in the village wanted anything to do with the jelly goo. Mayor Oscar decided to hold a big meeting and invite all the other villages to come and hear what a terrible thing it is to play in the goo. He hoped that it would stop other curious boys from hurting themselves.
It’s been a very long time since Otis swam in the goo and not one fish has gone close to it since he told his story to all the villages. These three friends proved they knew how to be GREAT FRIENDS.
This story belongs to Janice Rice. All rights reserved.
The author lives in Oregon, USA.
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