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Nugget and the Boat

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I wrote a children’s story for fun. Enjoy!

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Little Nugget stood shivering in the water. The boys in the other lanes looked perched with eagerness – ready to swim. But Nugget wasn’t so eager. Today they had to swim backstroke. He hated backstroke the most.

He was a short for his age and of stocky build. It was as though the same amount of boy had been poured into a smaller mould. Poking him was like poking rock. He was THAT dense. It was terrible for swimming. He just sank like a stone. That’s why they called him nugget.

The only thing that Nugget liked about swimming was that in between laps he would play with his little, yellow boat. He liked to push it against the waves and pretend that it was lost in a great, stormy ocean.
The swimming instructor was pacing up and down the pool, inspecting each boy as he passed. When he came to Nugget he began to shout.

‘I told you not to bring that silly toy!’ he said.

‘But it helps me swim,’ Nugget replied.

‘Nonsense,’ shouted the instructor. ‘It hasn’t helped yet!’

All the other boys laughed. Nugget felt terrible.

‘This time I don’t want to hear you swim,’ the instructor said. ‘I don’t want to hear those grunting noises you make. You always make grunting noises!’

‘I get water up my nose,’ Nugget replied.

‘Nonsense! I do not allow grunting little nuggets in my pool. If I hear you grunt once, I’ll take away your toy. Understand?’

‘Yes,’ Nugget replied.

‘Alright then,’ the instructor said. ‘Now everyone get ready to swim and wait for the whistle.’

And when the whistle blew, the boys pushed off from the wall with a flurry of fists and feet. Nugget swam as hard he could, but soon felt himself sinking below the surface. The water splashed about his mouth and into his nose. He couldn’t breathe. When he gasped for air, it caught in his throat and instead made a little, grunting sound.

‘Captain overboard,’ he heard from somewhere, but couldn’t tell where.

The waves felt like they were getting higher and higher around him. The water had turned a dark, inky black. From nowhere came a howling wind, a piercing gale. He could see his little boat behind him. The waves tossed it back and forward like the little toy it was. But it was closer than he thought it should be, and it looked like it was getting closer!

‘Captain overboard,’ he heard again. This time it was louder. It was coming from the boat! He looked again and it was closer than before. Little figures ran up and down the deck hurriedly.

Nugget couldn’t stand it. The waves were monstrous now. Everything had gone dark. He felt so tired.

‘Cap’n ahoy,’ someone shouted. ‘Someone throw him a rope.’

Something splashed next to him and he grabbed onto to for dear life. Slowly he was pulled toward the boat. But the boat was huge! Rough bearded men peered at him over the stern. He was lifted to the deck but he fell to his knees. The men crowded around.

‘Give him space, give him space,’ a man said. He extended a hand and helped Nugget to his feet.

‘First mate Barley reporting Cap’n’

‘Captain?’ Nugget asked.

‘You took quite a spill,’ Barley said. ‘Worst sea faring weather I’ve ever seen. Not to mention the giant squid that came at us. I thought we’d lost you for good when it hit you. It’s gone now, but I fear it’ll be back before we make land.’

‘I was swimming backstroke,’ Nugget explained.

‘You were swimming for your life!’ Barely said. ‘Me, I would have swum freestyle. But no one knows the ocean like you do. Now, we need a plan. My advice is for us to push forward against the storm. No point giving up now.’

‘But what if the squid comes back?’ Nugget asked.

‘Then you’ll just have to kill it,’ Barely replied. ‘I see you lost your cutlass. Here, take mine.’

‘But I don’t know how to kill a giant squid,’ Nugget said.

‘Ah Cap’n,’ Barely said. He knelt down beside Nugget and placed a hand on his shoulder. ‘I aint seen a finer swordsman than you. Aint known a finer Cap’n neither. You’ll slay the beast if anyone can. She’s your ship and we’re your crew. We’ll go forward if you order it and we’ll make it to land I’m sure of it.’

‘Then let’s do it,’ Nugget ordered.

‘A har!’ the crew shouted and the dispersed about the deck, tending to rigging and pulling at the sails. The boat heaved against the storm, but they pushed forward nonetheless. Every now and again Barley shot Nugget a wink that gave him hope.

Just then there was an almighty crash. A huge tentacle had risen out of the water and snapped a mast. The sound of wood and rigging collapsing to the deck was deafening.

‘Squid!’ shouted the crewman and they dashed about in panic. The head of the beast could be seen at the bow. Tentacles were flying everywhere. A great, yellow eye scrutinised the vessel.

‘Now’s your chance,’ shouted Barley.

Nugget nodded and rushed to the bow of the ship. He swung his cutlass at the great eye but his reach was too short. He climbed to the tip of the prow, but still could not reach. There was nothing for it. He would have to meet the beast in the water. He let go the prow and fell into the water.

The beast was just in front of him. He thrust the sword into its belly and heard a thunderous cry of pain. The tentacles rose up in the air all at once and then disappeared beneath the waves. The beast was gone.

‘You did it,’ shouted Barley from the boat. ‘Now swim for land. Our mast is broken, but you can still make it. Swim now before you lose your strength. We’ll catch up when we can.’

Nugget smiled and waved goodbye. He swam as hard as he could against the waves. It wasn’t long before he felt the wall of the swimming pool against his palm. He looked around. The great ocean was gone, the waves had returned to their normal size. His little yellow boat bobbed in the water beside him. He was the first to reach the other side. The other boys gasped when they saw what he had accomplished.

‘So, it seems you know how to swim after all,’ the instructor said. ‘And you didn’t even grunt!’

Nugget didn’t say anything. He was feeling too pleased.

‘But what was all this nonsense you were shouting. Ahoy this, and matey that. You sounded like a pirate. I won’t have any nuggetty little pirates in my pool.’

‘No sir,’ Nugget replied. But he no longer cared what the instructor said.

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One Comment

  1. Revelation 23 wrote:

    Nice! Post more if you have ‘em.

    Posted on 21-Aug-09 at 1:55 am | Permalink

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