Stand behind yer sheriff Circulation: 136,210,130 Issue: 282 | 9th day of Running, Y9
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A Mysterious Fishing Trip

by mzkimmi


I woke up, stretched out my wings and breathed in the scent of the fresh air. It was a beautiful sunny summer day, a wonderful day to be a newly painted Plushie Buzz! I could hear some Pteris singing; that must have been what woke me. I hopped out of my bed, wondering what glorious adventures today would bring, as promised by Kimmi, my owner. How I love the weekend!

     “Ari, I hope you’re awake!” I heard my owner call from the next room. “It’s almost time to go!” I eagerly flew into the room, where my owner sat with my brothers, Dryul and Rike. Well, this was a bit of a surprise; I had hoped we’d be going alone! We made an odd looking bunch, Dryul the Tyrannian Krawk, Rike the Grey Ixi, and me.

     “What’s all this?” I asked, somewhat pensively. Around the room were some packets of what appeared to be tiny fish. There were sunscreen, a blanket, a picnic basket, hats, and – oh no. There were fishing poles!

     My worst fears confirmed, my owner stated the obvious. “We’re going on a fishing trip!”

     Now I’m sure I don’t need to point this out, and you can probably tell where this is going already. I’m not particularly fond of fishing! I don’t think it’s difficult to understand why a newly painted girl like me might be a little disheartened by the idea of a fishing trip. Do you know how hard it is to get the smell of fish out of clothes? Can you imagine how much I’m going to have to scrub to get that smell out of myself?

     My owner must have noticed the crestfallen expression on my face, because she smiled gently and said, “Come now, Ari, the boys will enjoy the fishing! This time, you and I can relax, enjoy some sun and have a nice picnic. You’ll thank me for this one day in the near future.”

     “Somehow I doubt that,” I thought. Not having a great deal of choice in the matter, I reluctantly tagged along behind Rike and Dryul, who were chatting excitedly about what they might catch. They would be excited, I suppose; they haven’t had a chance to fish much! Although my owner promised a relaxing afternoon of sunbaking, I knew that her promise would be broken. You see, I’m the oldest of the three of us, and I’ve been fishing ever since I was born. This means that my skill level, as much as I detest fishing, is far higher than that of my brothers.

     My mood started to pick up as we got to the lake. The sun was pouring down on my wings, and the heat felt good on my back. I could hear Grumblebug’s grumbling, Mozito’s humming, and Veespa’s buzzing excitedly. I saw some friends and waved happily, as we headed toward the usual spot. We plonked ourselves down by some snapdragons and sunflowers. I leaned over to pick one of the beautiful Rowzes, and was immediately lightly scolded by my owner.

     She pointed to a sign, and I stared at her blankly. She started to explain to me that I wasn’t to pick the wildflowers. I had just wanted one! Sometimes I think she forgets that I can’t read that well – that’s Rike’s department. I was disappointed – she must have been able to tell, because she hugged me, glanced around quickly, and plucked the flower from the tree. Swiftly, she opened her book, placed the flower between the middle pages and closed it again.

     “It will dry this way, Ari, and you’ll forever be able to keep it,” she whispered.

     I smiled happily. She always knew what to say to make me feel better about things. The day was looking up. Dryul and Rike’s excitement was almost catching, enough to make me want to join them. Almost, but not quite! I stretched out across our blanket, enjoying some sun and relaxation. I watched my brothers setting up their fishing rods, and throwing out their lines. Time after time, they’d throw out a line, and reel in some junk. I’ve lost count of how many rotten old right boots and seaweed plants they have caught lately.

     “Now remember,” my owner warned us all. “Do not consume anything you catch, unless you ask me first.”

     My brothers nodded in excitement, and I glanced curiously at my owner. I opened my mouth to speak, but she shot me that “don’t question me” look that I knew so well. I nodded and began unpacking the backpacks we had brought along. The boys headed down to the lake side and tossed in their lines. Randomly, I wondered why this place was called Kiko Lake. There were no more Kikos than any other pets here!

     “Ari!” Dryul called, teasing me and tearing me from my train of thought. “We’re catching fish! We’re doing the work of the boys, and catching dinner while you lie there and get some sun!” I was halfway between smirking and seething. Just as I was almost tempted to get up there and show them how it was done, I heard my owner’s voice.

     “Cut it out, you two,” our owner scolded with amusement.

     The heat of the sun made me drowsy, and I soon forgot my pride and my brothers' silly taunts, and drifted off to sleep. I woke around two hours later, to the boys packing up. There were cubefish, blandfish, rockfish, and squid of all descriptions! My brothers looked pleased; however, my owner did not. She was baiting a line, with a look of determination on her face. Uh oh, I knew what was coming next.

     “Ari, dear. Would you be a darling and fish for a little while? Your brothers and I are just going to go and grab some dinner.”

     I hate fishing. “I’m a vegetarian!” I cried to her back as she walked in the other direction. I wondered what it was that we’d been fishing for all these months. My owner never seemed pleased with anything that was caught, although we supplied meals a plenty. “Well, I guess this gives me the chance to show up the boys.” I sighed.

     It had started to get dark, but I continued on fishing. I had caught a lot of fish, and I was feeling pretty thirsty by now. Where was everyone? “It feels like I’ve been here for hours!” I thought to myself. I sifted through the things I had caught, wondering what some of it was. There were a few bottles that I’d never seen before. One of them must be some kind of drink, surely? Anything that’s in a sealed bottle must be alright.

     I tilted one up to the fading light. The liquid inside appeared to swirl. How mysterious! Feeling rather curious (I love a good mystery!), I peered around me once more, but I could hear nothing. “What’s the harm?” I thought carelessly, completely forgetting my owner’s warnings about the consumption of anything from the lake without her prior permission. Opening the bottle and smelling the liquid. It was sweet in smell, and the bubbling was intriguing. Without further ado, I tilted my head back and drank the entire bottle.

     Suddenly, there was a blinding flash of white light, as though someone had taken my picture. I whirled around; expecting to see my owner, but no one was there. I felt a little strange, though I wasn’t quite sure why. I leaned over to pick up my fishing rod, my thirst now satisfied.

     I stared at my arm in shock. In fact, it wasn’t an arm at all, but a fin. A fin! What had happened to me? I fumbled about trying to locate a mirror in my owner's backpack. Somehow managing to turn it to face me, I gaped in shock. A Jetsam stared back at me. Not just any Jetsam –a Plushie Jetsam. I was a Plushie Jetsam? What on earth was in that drink! What would my owner think? She always told me never to eat or drink anything I caught without her permission. There was no way I could hide this! What was I going to do? How was I going to explain this?

     “Ari!” I heard my owner’s voice calling. “Ari, where are you? Dinner is here! What have you caught? Ari?” I saw my owner glancing around. Her eyes rested on me. “Who are you? What are you doing by our things?” she demanded, staring at me.

     “I, I um,” I stammered, trying to think how to explain.

     “Where is Ari? Do you know her? Have you seen her?” my owner demanded, looking confused and worried.

     A voice that I barely recognised as my own said “I don’t know her” and I whirled around, doing my best to escape on my new fins and fumbling away from my bewildered brothers and owner. I hid behind some trees. I heard my family looking for me, as they wandered in the opposite direction.

     What was I to do? How could I get back to my former self? As the sounds of my family searching faded, I made my way back to the pile of things I’d caught. I sifted through them, noticing an identical bottle to the first one, sitting in amongst some fish. “What could be worse?” I thought. Perhaps this would restore me to my former self. I tried to cross my fingers – and almost laughed at myself when I glanced down at my fin. I was hopeful, nonetheless.

     I opened the bottle, shaking slightly. Once again I consumed the entire contents of the bottle. There was another blinding flash, and I heard my family gasp and turn to run back towards the blanket.

     I looked down. Purple? I had purple-pink paws! Well, this was better than being a scary Jetsam, for sure. But now I’d have to explain, for sure. I had no idea how I was going to get back to my former self. My owner stopped short at the blanket and stared at the empty bottle I was holding.

     “You-” she stammered, staring at me.

     “It’s me, Ari,” I cried. “I’m so sorry!”

     The look on her face was one I’ll never forget. “Ari!” she exclaimed, beaming at me. “You caught a Mysterious Swirly Potion! And look at you; you’re a gorgeous Plushie Cybunny! This is exactly what I wanted for you!” she finished, grabbing me and hugging me tight.

     I stared at myself in the mirror, and a slow grin crossed my face. I have to admit, I don’t mind this new me. This was really quite the outcome! Finally, I knew why my owner had been dragging me through fishing all these months.

     “Oh thank you, thank you!” I exclaimed, beaming. My brothers stared at me in shock. I poked my tongue out “Yeah! And what did you two catch!” I laughed.

     Never again will I complain about a day of fishing. Nor will I go against my owner's wishes! No matter how fantastic the outcome was for everyone, I’ll never forget those moments when I had no idea what had happened to me.

     Leaving the lake after a long and exhausting day, we headed home together, arm in arm.

The End

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