We are proud to announce one of our 6th grades students submitted a short story in a contest and won Honorable Mention out of almost 200 entries!
Below is the submission and short story to enjoy!
Reid‌ ‌Nicholson‌ ‌
6th‌ ‌Grade‌ ‌
March‌ ‌24,‌ ‌2020‌ ‌
It‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌bright‌ ‌and‌ ‌sunny‌ ‌day‌ ‌in‌ ‌Naserraket,‌ ‌an‌ ‌underwater‌ ‌country‌ ‌undergoing‌ ‌a‌ ‌
housing‌ ‌crisis.‌ ‌An‌ ‌8-year-old,‌ ‌10‌ ‌inch‌ ‌carp‌ ‌named‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌Jr.‌ ‌lived‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌outskirts‌ ‌of‌ ‌Ool,‌ ‌
the‌ ‌country’s‌ ‌capital.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌lived‌ ‌with‌ ‌his‌ ‌mother,‌ ‌Rose,‌ ‌and‌ ‌his‌ ‌father,‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌Sr.‌ ‌Today‌ ‌
was‌ ‌a‌ ‌Wednesday,‌ ‌the‌ ‌day‌ ‌of‌ ‌his‌ ‌big‌ ‌field‌ ‌trip‌ ‌to‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌Plasteekah,‌ ‌the‌ ‌largest‌ ‌plastic‌ ‌
mountain‌ ‌known‌ ‌to‌ ‌fishkind.‌ ‌ ‌
“Philip!‌ ‌Philip,‌ ‌sweety.‌ ‌It’s‌ ‌Wednesday,‌ ‌the‌ ‌day‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌field‌ ‌trip‌ ‌to‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌
Plasteekah.”‌ ‌The‌ ‌moment‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌heard‌ ‌this,‌ ‌he‌ ‌swam‌ ‌out‌ ‌of‌ ‌bed‌ ‌and‌ ‌got‌ ‌dressed‌ ‌
immediately,‌ ‌ate‌ ‌his‌ ‌breakfast,‌ ‌and‌ ‌rocketed‌ ‌out‌ ‌the‌ ‌door‌ ‌before‌ ‌his‌ ‌mom‌ ‌could‌ ‌say‌ ‌
goodbye.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌stop‌ ‌swimming‌ ‌until‌ ‌he‌ ‌got‌ ‌to‌ ‌his‌ ‌best‌ ‌friend‌ ‌Jim’s‌ ‌house.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌
rang‌ ‌the‌ ‌doorbell‌ ‌and‌ ‌about‌ ‌3.1415926535897932681‌ ‌seconds‌ ‌later,‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌came‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌
door.‌ ‌They‌ ‌had‌ ‌a‌ ‌nice‌ ‌walk,‌ ‌and‌ ‌luckily‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌bump‌ ‌into‌ ‌that‌ ‌mean‌ ‌bully,‌ ‌Frank.‌ ‌
 ‌They‌ ‌made‌ ‌it‌ ‌to‌ ‌school‌ ‌and‌ ‌thought‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌safe,‌ ‌but‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌wrong!‌ ‌
Suddenly,‌ ‌Frank‌ ‌swam‌ ‌out‌ ‌from‌ ‌behind‌ ‌the‌ ‌trash‌ ‌bins‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌back‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌school‌ ‌and‌ ‌took‌ ‌
all‌ ‌the‌ ‌money‌ ‌they‌ ‌had,‌ ‌17‌ ‌sand‌ ‌dollars!‌ ‌He‌ ‌was‌ ‌about‌ ‌to‌ ‌dump‌ ‌them‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌trash‌ ‌cans‌ ‌
when‌ ‌luckily‌ ‌he‌ ‌saw‌ ‌the‌ ‌new‌ ‌rich‌ ‌student,‌ ‌George,‌ ‌and‌ ‌took‌ ‌about‌ ‌300‌ ‌sand‌ ‌dollars‌ ‌
from‌ ‌him!‌ ‌ ‌
Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌like‌ ‌their‌ ‌school,‌ ‌to‌ ‌an‌ ‌extent.‌ ‌Some‌ ‌fish‌ ‌say‌ ‌that‌ ‌they‌ ‌go‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌
best‌ ‌school‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌district,‌ ‌Smith‌ ‌School.‌ ‌Fish‌ ‌are‌ ‌always‌ ‌talking‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌teachers‌ ‌and‌ ‌
the‌ ‌curriculum,‌ ‌but‌ ‌the‌ ‌way‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌sees‌ ‌it,‌ ‌the‌ ‌whole‌ ‌idea‌ ‌of‌ ‌common‌ ‌core‌ ‌is‌ ‌ridiculous.‌ ‌ ‌
When‌ ‌they‌ ‌got‌ ‌to‌ ‌class,‌ ‌their‌ ‌teacher,‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Bob,‌ ‌a‌ ‌38-year-old‌ ‌grouper,‌ ‌had‌ ‌
fallen…‌ ‌again.‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Bob‌ ‌was‌ ‌very‌ ‌clumsy,‌ ‌always‌ ‌finding‌ ‌something‌ ‌new‌ ‌to‌ ‌trip‌ ‌on;‌ ‌a‌
‌ desk,‌ ‌his‌ ‌mom’s‌ ‌128,000,000‌ ‌sand‌ ‌dollar‌ ‌grand‌ ‌piano,‌ ‌his‌ ‌fins!‌ ‌So‌ ‌it‌ ‌was‌ ‌no‌ ‌surprise‌ ‌to‌ ‌
see‌ ‌him‌ ‌stuck‌ ‌in‌ ‌Jim’s‌ ‌desk.‌ ‌Most‌ ‌fish‌ ‌would‌ ‌be‌ ‌worried,‌ ‌but‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌had‌ ‌seen‌ ‌him‌ ‌do‌ ‌it‌ ‌
every‌ ‌day‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌year‌ ‌so‌ ‌far.‌ ‌After‌ ‌they‌ ‌helped‌ ‌him‌ ‌out,‌ ‌he‌ ‌got‌ ‌the‌ ‌children‌ ‌loaded‌ ‌onto‌ ‌
the‌ ‌schoolbus‌ ‌and‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌on‌ ‌their‌ ‌way.‌ ‌ ‌
When‌ ‌they‌ ‌got‌ ‌to‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌Plasteekah,‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Bob‌ ‌told‌ ‌them‌ ‌all‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌tales‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌
mountain‌ ‌and‌ ‌how‌ ‌it‌ ‌keeps‌ ‌getting‌ ‌bigger.‌ ‌He‌ ‌said‌ ‌“We‌ ‌are‌ ‌experiencing‌ ‌some‌ ‌
problems‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌mountain,‌ ‌the‌ ‌biggest‌ ‌one‌ ‌being‌ ‌that‌ ‌if‌ ‌it‌ ‌gets‌ ‌too‌ ‌tall‌ ‌we‌ ‌are‌ ‌worried‌ ‌it‌ ‌
might‌ ‌go‌ ‌past‌ ‌the‌ ‌top‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌ocean‌ ‌and‌ ‌pollute‌ ‌the‌ ‌human‌ ‌world.‌ ‌We‌ ‌do‌ ‌not‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌
responsible‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌pollution‌ ‌of‌ ‌half‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌world.”‌ ‌Some‌ ‌kids‌ ‌were‌ ‌not‌ ‌paying‌ ‌attention,‌ ‌
but‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌was.‌ ‌He‌ ‌was‌ ‌in‌ ‌awe‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌mountain‌ ‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌stories‌ ‌surrounding‌ ‌it.‌ ‌“It’s‌ ‌
like‌ ‌a‌ ‌giant‌ ‌history‌ ‌book.‌ ‌It‌ ‌could‌ ‌tell‌ ‌us‌ ‌so‌ ‌much,”‌ ‌he‌ ‌thought.‌ ‌When‌ ‌he‌ ‌gets‌ ‌older‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌
wants‌ ‌to‌ ‌work‌ ‌at‌ ‌a‌ ‌history‌ ‌museum‌ ‌spending‌ ‌everyday‌ ‌teaching‌ ‌kids‌ ‌about‌ ‌what‌ ‌
happened‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌past.‌ ‌He‌ ‌thought‌ ‌that‌ ‌looking‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌past‌ ‌could‌ ‌help‌ ‌us‌ ‌with‌ ‌our‌ ‌
problems‌ ‌today.‌ ‌It‌ ‌could‌ ‌show‌ ‌us‌ ‌the‌ ‌good‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌bad;‌ ‌the‌ ‌mistakes‌ ‌of‌ ‌our‌ ‌ancestors‌ ‌
could‌ ‌help‌ ‌us‌ ‌not‌ ‌make‌ ‌those‌ ‌mistakes‌ ‌today.‌ ‌
 ‌Suddenly,‌ ‌his‌ ‌thoughts‌ ‌were‌ ‌interrupted‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌sound‌ ‌of‌ ‌fish‌ ‌screaming,‌ ‌the‌ ‌
worst‌ ‌sound‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌world‌ ‌in‌ ‌his‌ ‌opinion.‌ ‌He‌ ‌looked‌ ‌around‌ ‌and‌ ‌saw‌ ‌Joe,‌ ‌the‌ ‌biggest,‌ ‌
most‌ ‌dangerous‌ ‌tiger‌ ‌shark‌ ‌in‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌Naserraket!‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌swam‌ ‌away‌ ‌as‌ ‌fast‌ ‌as‌ ‌
they‌ ‌could,‌ ‌but‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌being‌ ‌pursued‌ ‌by‌ ‌Joe!‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌was‌ ‌gaining‌ ‌on‌ ‌them‌ ‌and‌ ‌about‌ ‌to‌ ‌
catch‌ ‌them‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌slipped‌ ‌inside‌ ‌the‌ ‌ColloSEAum‌ ‌through‌ ‌a‌ ‌back‌ ‌door.‌ ‌After‌ ‌
slipping‌ ‌through‌ ‌the‌ ‌back‌ ‌door‌ ‌they‌ ‌saw‌ ‌Sir‌ ‌Frandelanger,‌ ‌the‌ ‌award‌ ‌winning‌ ‌shark‌ ‌
fighter.‌ ‌He‌ ‌was‌ ‌trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌smoke‌ ‌a‌ ‌dirty‌ ‌black‌ ‌cigar,‌ ‌but‌ ‌he‌ ‌could‌ ‌not‌ ‌light‌ ‌it‌ ‌because‌ ‌he‌ ‌
was‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌ocean.‌ ‌He‌ ‌kept‌ ‌trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌light‌ ‌it‌ ‌anyway.‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌was‌ ‌excited,‌ ‌he‌ ‌loved‌ ‌to‌ ‌go‌ ‌to‌ ‌
the‌ ‌ColloSEAum‌ ‌and‌ ‌watch‌ ‌Sir‌ ‌Frandelanger‌ ‌fight‌ ‌off‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌dangerous‌ ‌
sharks‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌ocean.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌opposite.‌ ‌He‌ ‌hated‌ ‌the‌ ‌ColloSEAum.‌ ‌He‌ ‌thought‌ ‌it‌ ‌
was‌ ‌disgusting‌ ‌and‌ ‌boring.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌asked‌ ‌him‌ ‌meekly,‌ ‌“um…‌ ‌Sir,‌ ‌um…‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌wondering‌ ‌if‌ ‌
you‌ ‌could‌ ‌help‌ ‌us,‌ ‌um…‌ ‌fight‌ ‌Joe?”‌ ‌Sir‌ ‌Frandelanger‌ ‌replied,‌ ‌“ARE‌ ‌YOU‌ ‌CRAZY,‌ ‌NO!‌ ‌
NO!‌ ‌NO!‌ ‌I‌ ‌WILL‌ ‌NEVER‌ ‌HELP‌ ‌A‌ ‌PEASANT!‌ ‌Actually,‌ ‌you‌ ‌know‌ ‌what?‌ ‌I‌ ‌will‌ ‌help‌ ‌you.”‌ ‌
Then‌ ‌he‌ ‌screamed‌ ‌“GUARDS!‌ ‌SOME‌ ‌KIDS‌ ‌SNUCK‌ ‌BACK‌ ‌HERE‌ ‌AND‌ ‌ARE‌ ‌TRYING‌ ‌
then‌ ‌whispered,‌ ‌“You’re‌ ‌welcome”‌ ‌and‌ ‌left.‌ ‌After‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌escorted‌ ‌out,‌ ‌they‌ ‌looked‌ ‌for‌ ‌
any‌ ‌sign‌ ‌of‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌and,‌ ‌thankfully,‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌find‌ ‌him.‌ ‌They‌ ‌were‌ ‌glad‌ ‌but‌ ‌then‌ ‌realized‌ ‌one‌ ‌
tiny,‌ ‌seemingly‌ ‌insignificant‌ ‌detail…‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌lost.‌ ‌They‌ ‌discussed‌ ‌how‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌back‌ ‌to‌ ‌
school,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌said,‌ ‌“Well‌ ‌when‌ ‌we‌ ‌go‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌ColloSEAum‌ ‌we‌ ‌always‌ ‌take‌ ‌the‌ ‌Gulf‌ ‌
Stream‌ ‌so‌ ‌we‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌worry‌ ‌about‌ ‌parking.‌ ‌It‌ ‌should‌ ‌be‌ ‌right‌ ‌over…‌ ‌there!‌ ‌Got‌ ‌it!”‌ ‌
Jim‌ ‌pointed‌ ‌to‌ ‌Gulf‌ ‌Stream‌ ‌Station‌ ‌369.‌ ‌ ‌
When‌ ‌they‌ ‌made‌ ‌it‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌station,‌ ‌the‌ ‌ticket‌ ‌master‌ ‌said‌ ‌“That‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌17‌ ‌sand‌ ‌
dollars‌ ‌please.”‌ ‌17‌ ‌sand‌ ‌dollars,‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌amount‌ ‌Frank‌ ‌took‌ ‌from‌ ‌them‌ ‌this‌ ‌morning.‌ ‌
They‌ ‌were‌ ‌deeply‌ ‌saddened‌ ‌by‌ ‌this,‌ ‌as‌ ‌they‌ ‌now‌ ‌had‌ ‌no‌ ‌method‌ ‌of‌ ‌getting‌ ‌home.‌ ‌To‌ ‌
add‌ ‌to‌ ‌their‌ ‌misery,‌ ‌they‌ ‌suddenly‌ ‌spotted‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌again!‌ ‌They‌ ‌had‌ ‌to‌ ‌flee‌ ‌quickly.‌ ‌They‌ ‌
thought‌ ‌they‌ ‌were‌ ‌getting‌ ‌away‌ ‌and‌ ‌swam‌ ‌right‌ ‌into‌ ‌Fishlips,‌ ‌a‌ ‌singer‌ ‌who‌ ‌has‌ ‌way‌ ‌too‌ ‌
much‌ ‌plastic‌ ‌surgery.‌ ‌Then‌ ‌she‌ ‌saw‌ ‌Joe.‌ ‌Fishlips‌ ‌did‌ ‌the‌ ‌only‌ ‌sensible‌ ‌thing‌ ‌a‌ ‌singer‌ ‌
with‌ ‌a‌ ‌very‌ ‌high‌ ‌pitched‌ ‌voice‌ ‌would‌ ‌do…‌ ‌she‌ ‌screamed‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌top‌ ‌of‌ ‌her‌ ‌lungs‌ ‌and‌ ‌
nearly‌ ‌broke‌ ‌Philip’s‌ ‌eardrums.‌ ‌Then‌ ‌Fishlips‌ ‌hid‌ ‌and‌ ‌probably‌ ‌saved‌ ‌her‌ ‌own‌ ‌life.‌ ‌ ‌
When‌ ‌this‌ ‌happened,‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌thought‌ ‌of‌ ‌something.‌ ‌How‌ ‌come‌ ‌they‌ ‌kept‌ ‌running‌ ‌into‌ ‌
famous‌ ‌fish‌ ‌that‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌even‌ ‌think‌ ‌about‌ ‌helping‌ ‌them?‌ ‌Fishlips’‌ ‌second‌ ‌album‌ ‌was‌ ‌all‌ ‌
about‌ ‌helping‌ ‌fish,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Sir‌ ‌Frandelanger‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌master‌ ‌at‌ ‌killing‌ ‌sharks…‌ ‌or‌ ‌was‌ ‌he?‌ ‌
Philip‌ ‌began‌ ‌to‌ ‌wonder‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌credibility‌ ‌of‌ ‌all‌ ‌these‌ ‌fish.‌ ‌Maybe‌ ‌Sir‌ ‌Frandelanger‌ ‌
does‌ ‌not‌ ‌actually‌ ‌kill‌ ‌the‌ ‌sharks,‌ ‌maybe‌ ‌it‌ ‌is‌ ‌all‌ ‌just‌ ‌acting?‌ ‌
Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌continued‌ ‌swimming‌ ‌away,‌ ‌getting‌ ‌more‌ ‌and‌ ‌more‌ ‌exhausted.‌ ‌
They‌ ‌needed‌ ‌help.‌ ‌They‌ ‌could‌ ‌not‌ ‌swim‌ ‌from‌ ‌him‌ ‌forever.‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌was‌ ‌catching‌ ‌up‌ ‌to‌ ‌them‌ ‌
when‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌got‌ ‌an‌ ‌idea!‌ ‌He‌ ‌would‌ ‌somehow‌ ‌get‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌to‌ ‌crash‌ ‌into‌ ‌something.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌
started‌ ‌to‌ ‌swim‌ ‌towards‌ ‌a‌ ‌haystack,‌ ‌but‌ ‌he‌ ‌cut‌ ‌himself‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌needle‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌haystack.‌ ‌He‌ ‌
started‌ ‌bleeding‌ ‌and‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌went‌ ‌crazy!‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌panicked‌ ‌and‌ ‌they‌ ‌swam‌ ‌towards‌ ‌
an‌ ‌old,‌ ‌run-down,‌ ‌unoccupied‌ ‌neighborhood,‌ ‌perfect‌ ‌for‌ ‌crashing‌ ‌into‌ ‌things.‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌finally‌ ‌
crashed‌ ‌into‌ ‌an‌ ‌old‌ ‌apartment‌ ‌building,‌ ‌and‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌went‌ ‌spiraling‌ ‌backwards‌ ‌
into…‌ ‌the‌ ‌Gulf‌ ‌Stream!‌ ‌What‌ ‌luck!‌ ‌
~‌ ‌~‌ ‌~‌ ‌
About‌ ‌an‌ ‌hour‌ ‌later,‌ ‌they‌ ‌saw‌ ‌their‌ ‌school‌ ‌about‌ ‌to‌ ‌leave‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌Plasteekah.‌ ‌
Then‌ ‌something‌ ‌else‌ ‌terrible‌ ‌happened.‌ ‌Over‌ ‌his‌ ‌cries‌ ‌of‌ ‌relief‌ ‌at‌ ‌seeing‌ ‌that‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌
Jim‌ ‌were‌ ‌ok,‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Bob‌ ‌tripped‌ ‌and‌ ‌fell‌ ‌into‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌Plasteekah!‌ ‌The‌ ‌largest‌ ‌plastic‌ ‌
mountain‌ ‌in‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌ocean‌ ‌came‌ ‌tumbling‌ ‌down.‌ ‌Luckily,‌ ‌no‌ ‌one‌ ‌got‌ ‌hurt,‌ ‌except‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌
Mush,‌ ‌a‌ ‌turtle‌ ‌who‌ ‌got‌ ‌trapped‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌plastic‌ ‌that‌ ‌fell‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌mountain.‌ ‌There‌ ‌was‌ ‌
plastic‌ ‌all‌ ‌over‌ ‌him,‌ ‌and‌ ‌he‌ ‌was‌ ‌hurt‌ ‌very‌ ‌badly.‌ ‌
Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌his‌ ‌class‌ ‌went‌ ‌to‌ ‌his‌ ‌house‌ ‌and‌ ‌did‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌first‌ ‌aid‌ ‌and‌ ‌helped‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌
Mush‌ ‌until‌ ‌he‌ ‌felt‌ ‌better.‌ ‌He‌ ‌said‌ ‌“I‌ ‌am‌ ‌touched‌ ‌by‌ ‌the‌ ‌generosity‌ ‌and‌ ‌kindness‌ ‌shown‌ ‌‌ ‌
by‌ ‌you‌ ‌children.‌ ‌I‌ ‌intend‌ ‌to‌ ‌show‌ ‌others‌ ‌the‌ ‌kindness‌ ‌you‌ ‌showed‌ ‌me.‌ ‌I‌ ‌hope‌ ‌they‌ ‌pay‌ ‌it‌ ‌
forward,‌ ‌so‌ ‌pretty‌ ‌soon‌ ‌the‌ ‌whole‌ ‌aquatic‌ ‌kingdom‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌treating‌ ‌each‌ ‌other‌ ‌nicely.”‌ ‌
After‌ ‌he‌ ‌said‌ ‌this,‌ ‌the‌ ‌children‌ ‌applauded‌ ‌and‌ ‌applauded‌ ‌until‌ ‌their‌ ‌fins‌ ‌hurt,‌ ‌and‌ ‌then‌ ‌
they‌ ‌promised‌ ‌to‌ ‌pay‌ ‌it‌ ‌forward‌ ‌the‌ ‌best‌ ‌they‌ ‌could.‌ ‌After‌ ‌they‌ ‌helped‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Mush,‌ ‌they‌ ‌
went‌ ‌back‌ ‌to‌ ‌school,‌ ‌packed‌ ‌up,‌ ‌and‌ ‌went‌ ‌home.‌ ‌
When‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌got‌ ‌home‌ ‌his‌ ‌mother‌ ‌said,‌ ‌“Well,‌ ‌that‌ ‌was‌ ‌quite‌ ‌the‌ ‌adventure‌ ‌you‌ ‌
had‌ ‌today,‌ ‌and‌ ‌because‌ ‌of‌ ‌everything‌ ‌you‌ ‌went‌ ‌through,‌ ‌I‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌surprise‌ ‌for‌ ‌you.”‌ ‌She‌ ‌
brought‌ ‌out‌ ‌a‌ ‌package‌ ‌and‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌opened‌ ‌it.‌ ‌He‌ ‌was‌ ‌delighted‌ ‌at‌ ‌what‌ ‌he‌ ‌saw‌ ‌inside.‌ ‌
“We‌ ‌are‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Blue‌ ‌House!”‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌said.‌ ‌The‌ ‌Blue‌ ‌House‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌capital‌ ‌of‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌
Naserraket.‌ ‌“Your‌ ‌father‌ ‌said‌ ‌he‌ ‌has‌ ‌work‌ ‌and‌ ‌can’t‌ ‌come,‌ ‌so‌ ‌I‌ ‌thought‌ ‌you‌ ‌would‌ ‌like‌ ‌to‌ ‌
take‌ ‌Jim”,‌ ‌his‌ ‌mother‌ ‌replied.‌ ‌“Yes,‌ ‌of‌ ‌course!‌ ‌I’ll‌ ‌call‌ ‌him‌ ‌right‌ ‌away!”‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌proclaimed.‌ ‌
After‌ ‌he‌ ‌called‌ ‌Jim,‌ ‌he‌ ‌got‌ ‌ready‌ ‌for‌ ‌the‌ ‌long‌ ‌drive‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Blue‌ ‌House.‌ ‌
~‌ ‌~‌ ‌~‌ ‌ ‌
The‌ ‌next‌ ‌day,‌ ‌they‌ ‌drove‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Blue‌ ‌House.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌was‌ ‌having‌ ‌a‌ ‌marvelous‌ ‌time,‌ ‌
but‌ ‌there‌ ‌was‌ ‌something‌ ‌still‌ ‌troubling‌ ‌him.‌ ‌What‌ ‌are‌ ‌they‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌do‌ ‌about‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌
Plasteekah,‌ ‌and‌ ‌what‌ ‌about‌ ‌the‌ ‌housing‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌that‌ ‌he‌ ‌had‌ ‌overheard‌ ‌his‌ ‌parents‌ ‌talking‌ ‌
about‌ ‌when‌ ‌they‌ ‌thought‌ ‌he‌ ‌was‌ ‌in‌ ‌bed?‌ ‌He‌ ‌thought‌ ‌about‌ ‌all‌ ‌the‌ ‌plastic‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌
mountain,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌rundown‌ ‌neighborhood‌ ‌where‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌crashed.‌ ‌He‌ ‌thought‌ ‌about‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌
Mush’s‌ ‌words,‌ ‌and‌ ‌he‌ ‌thought‌ ‌about‌ ‌his‌ ‌history‌ ‌class.‌ ‌Then‌ ‌it‌ ‌happened!‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌had‌ ‌an‌ ‌
idea‌ ‌that‌ ‌was‌ ‌not‌ ‌completely‌ ‌useless‌ ‌or‌ ‌terrible.‌ ‌At‌ ‌that‌ ‌moment,‌ ‌he‌ ‌saw‌ ‌King‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌of‌ ‌
Naserraket‌ ‌discussing‌ ‌the‌ ‌housing‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌problem‌ ‌with‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌Plasteekah.‌ ‌The‌ ‌
king‌ ‌noticed‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌congratulated‌ ‌him‌ ‌on‌ ‌helping‌ ‌out‌ ‌with‌ ‌Joe.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌was‌ ‌startled!‌ ‌‌ ‌
He‌ ‌had‌ ‌never‌ ‌been‌ ‌spoken‌ ‌to‌ ‌by‌ ‌a‌ ‌leader‌ ‌of‌ ‌a‌ ‌country‌ ‌before.‌ ‌King‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌said,‌ ‌“Thanks‌ ‌
to‌ ‌you‌ ‌and‌ ‌your‌ ‌friend,‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌Joe‌ ‌in‌ ‌custody.”‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌stated‌ ‌that‌ ‌he‌ ‌might‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌
solution‌ ‌for‌ ‌his‌ ‌other‌ ‌2‌ ‌problems‌ ‌as‌ ‌well.‌ ‌He‌ ‌whispered‌ ‌his‌ ‌plan‌ ‌in‌ ‌King‌ ‌Martin’s‌ ‌ear‌ ‌and‌ ‌
he‌ ‌loved‌ ‌it.‌ ‌There‌ ‌was‌ ‌only‌ ‌one‌ ‌problem.‌ ‌They‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌money.‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌was‌ ‌sad‌ ‌
his‌ ‌idea‌ ‌would‌ ‌not‌ ‌work‌ ‌if‌ ‌they‌ ‌did‌ ‌not‌ ‌have‌ ‌the‌ ‌funds‌ ‌to‌ ‌implement‌ ‌it.‌ ‌Then‌ ‌he‌ ‌
remembered‌ ‌his‌ ‌mean‌ ‌old‌ ‌neighbor‌ ‌Ms.‌ ‌Strut,‌ ‌and‌ ‌what‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Mush‌ ‌said.‌ ‌He‌ ‌had‌ ‌an‌ ‌idea‌ ‌
of‌ ‌how‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌the‌ ‌money‌ ‌they‌ ‌needed.‌ ‌He‌ ‌told‌ ‌his‌ ‌idea‌ ‌to‌ ‌King‌ ‌Martin,‌ ‌and‌ ‌the‌ ‌King‌ ‌said‌ ‌
it‌ ‌might‌ ‌work.‌ ‌
~‌ ‌~‌ ‌~‌ ‌
The‌ ‌next‌ ‌day‌ ‌Philip’s‌ ‌mom‌ ‌and‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌were‌ ‌confused‌ ‌over‌ ‌why‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌said‌ ‌they‌ ‌had‌ ‌
to‌ ‌meet‌ ‌King‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌at‌ ‌Strut‌ ‌Studios.‌ ‌Strut‌ ‌Studios‌ ‌is‌ ‌the‌ ‌place‌ ‌where‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Jackson‌ ‌Strut,‌ ‌
the‌ ‌kind‌ ‌and‌ ‌generous‌ ‌son‌ ‌of‌ ‌Ms.‌ ‌Strut,‌ ‌works.‌ ‌Then‌ ‌it‌ ‌hit‌ ‌them,‌ ‌he‌ ‌was‌ ‌the‌ ‌person‌ ‌who‌ ‌
would‌ ‌help‌ ‌pay‌ ‌for‌ ‌this‌ ‌brilliant‌ ‌plan‌ ‌that‌ ‌only‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌and‌ ‌King‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌knew‌ ‌the‌ ‌exact‌ ‌
details‌ ‌of.‌ ‌When‌ ‌they‌ ‌got‌ ‌inside,‌ ‌King‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌was‌ ‌already‌ ‌in‌ ‌an‌ ‌office‌ ‌talking‌ ‌to‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Strut.‌ ‌
That‌ ‌was‌ ‌when‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌revealed‌ ‌the‌ ‌details‌ ‌of‌ ‌his‌ ‌plan‌ ‌to‌ ‌Jim‌ ‌and‌ ‌his‌ ‌mom.‌ ‌He‌ ‌said‌ ‌
“Okay,‌ ‌so‌ ‌my‌ ‌plan‌ ‌is‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌the‌ ‌plastic‌ ‌from‌ ‌Mount‌ ‌Plasteekah‌ ‌and‌ ‌use‌ ‌it‌ ‌to‌ ‌make‌ ‌
cheap‌ ‌houses‌ ‌for‌ ‌fish‌ ‌to‌ ‌live‌ ‌in‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌rundown‌ ‌neighborhood‌ ‌where‌ ‌we‌ ‌trapped‌ ‌Joe.‌ ‌
The‌ ‌problem‌ ‌is,‌ ‌with‌ ‌so‌ ‌many‌ ‌houses,‌ ‌it‌ ‌would‌ ‌be‌ ‌very‌ ‌expensive‌ ‌to‌ ‌make,‌ ‌so‌ ‌here‌ ‌we‌ ‌
are‌ ‌asking‌ ‌for‌ ‌a‌ ‌donation.‌ ‌In‌ ‌turn,‌ ‌we‌ ‌will‌ ‌let‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Strut‌ ‌name‌ ‌the‌ ‌area‌ ‌whatever‌ ‌he‌ ‌
wants.”‌ ‌They‌ ‌all‌ ‌thought‌ ‌this‌ ‌was‌ ‌a‌ ‌marvelous‌ ‌idea,‌ ‌and‌ ‌as‌ ‌he‌ ‌finished‌ ‌his‌ ‌explanation,‌ ‌
King‌ ‌Martin‌ ‌and‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Strut‌ ‌came‌ ‌out‌ ‌and‌ ‌said‌ ‌that‌ ‌he‌ ‌had‌ ‌agreed‌ ‌to‌ ‌fund‌ ‌the‌ ‌project.‌ ‌
When‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌asked‌ ‌what‌ ‌he‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌name‌ ‌it,‌ ‌Mr.‌ ‌Strut‌ ‌said,‌ ‌“Strut‌ ‌City.‌ ‌”‌ ‌‌ ‌
~‌ ‌~‌ ‌~‌ ‌
That‌ ‌night,‌ ‌before‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌Sr.‌ ‌had‌ ‌come‌ ‌home,‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌was‌ ‌starving‌ ‌and‌ ‌ready‌ ‌to‌ ‌
relax‌ ‌after‌ ‌the‌ ‌long‌ ‌and‌ ‌tiring‌ ‌weekend.‌ ‌He‌ ‌asked,‌ ‌“Hey‌ ‌mom,‌ ‌what’s‌ ‌for‌ ‌dinner?”‌ ‌She‌ ‌
replied,‌ ‌“Shrimp!”‌ ‌Philip‌ ‌groaned,‌ ‌he‌ ‌hates‌ ‌shrimp.‌ ‌
~‌ ‌La‌ ‌Fin‌ ‌~‌ ‌
Pronunciation‌ ‌Guide‌ ‌
●Naserraket-‌ ‌(nas-air-ah-khet)‌ ‌The‌ ‌underwater‌ ‌country‌ ‌in‌ ‌which‌ ‌this‌ ‌story‌ ‌takes‌ ‌
place‌ ‌
●Ool-‌ ‌(oo-l)‌ ‌A‌ ‌pool‌ ‌with‌ ‌no‌ ‌“p”‌ ‌in‌ ‌it.‌ ‌The‌ ‌capital‌ ‌of‌ ‌Naserraket‌ ‌
●Plasteekah-‌ ‌(pl-ah-st-ee-kah)‌ ‌a‌ ‌mountain‌ ‌made‌ ‌of‌ ‌Fiji‌ ‌and‌ ‌Coke‌ ‌bottles‌ ‌
●ColloSEAum-‌ ‌(call-oh-SEA-um)‌ ‌the‌ ‌aquatic‌ ‌version‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Roman‌ ‌colosseum‌ ‌
●Frandelanger-‌ ‌(fr-an-dull-an-ger*)‌ ‌a‌ ‌fish’s‌ ‌last‌ ‌name‌ ‌
*Fran‌ ‌dull‌ ‌anger**‌ ‌
**Fran‌ ‌does‌ ‌not‌ ‌dull‌ ‌anger,‌ ‌like‌ ‌ever‌ ‌