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At thirteen years old, Blue is smart, witty, and funny. The Island they are visiting is new and interesting. The natives have warned them about danger on...
At thirteen years old, Blue is smart, witty, and funny. The Island they are visiting is new and interesting. The natives have warned them about danger on the other side, but Blue can't resist the temptation to explore this hazardous place.
She knows Mr. Martin will never agree to go, so she plans on asking her new friend, a cute native boy named Simon, to take her on the journey. What could the danger be, and will Simon agree to go on the forbidden trip?
I was found on a Wednesday. I was in a small boat tied to a dock. I was just a little sprout, maybe eight or nine months old. Nobody knows why I was left there. I could be sad and heart broken about my situation. I could spend nights awake wondering why I was abandoned. But I don't. To be honest, I'm just down right amazed that I didn't fall off the boat and drown! Or have some big jolly fish come along and swallow me whole in just one bite.
On that Wednesday years ago, a man named Samuel L. Martin was wandering about the small town of Eli Rough in a bit of a haze. Mr. Martin, to be sure, is most always lost in a bit of a haze. He's a smart man, but his head's often stuck in the clouds.
"I've caught twenty fish. Hmm?" Mr. Martin mumbled to himself. "Twenty fish will get me twenty dollars. Oh but I think I'll have these two fat ones for lunch. That makes eighteen fish for sale. That means eighteen dollars in my poor empty pocket. That should be enough to get my supplies for the trip. Off I'll go on another grand adventure. Oh! That sun on the water is magnificent!" Mr. Martin exclaimed as he looked out past the dock.
That's when Mr. Martin found me. I was in my little boat,tied to the dock; small eyes peering up at him. It must have given him quite a start!
"What is this? There's an unattended child in a boat!" Mr. Martin hollered. "Unattended! Come here you, I'll pull you in and get you out. Come here you, don't cry or anything, I'll keep you safe as can be until we find out where you belong." Mr. Martin told me as he pulled in my boat.
After successfully reeling me in, dear Mr. Martin left a note on my boat and proceeded to run all around town in search of whoever it was that I belonged to. When he didn't find a single soul who knew who I was, he returned to my boat and camped out on the dock for eight days straight. We waited and waited, but no one ever showed up to claim me.
Poor Mr. Martin was stuck with me. He was stuck with a small child when he had a hard enough time properly caring for himself. He says I clung to him for dear life. He swears I was so dirty that he couldn't even tell what color my hair was. He says I looked brown and green all over, and I took one of his fish and ate it raw like a little bear cub.
After eight days of camping on the dock Mr. Martin gave up hope of my being claimed and assumed all responsibility of me. He may be some what confused at times, but his heart is terribly large, and in the short eight days that he'd known me, he'd grown to love me and was thrilled to have my company.
"On you go!" Mr. Martin said cheerfully. "On the boat you! We are going on a trip! This town is out of work. Got to work you know." Mr. Martin took off his dirty old floppy hat and shoved it on my small head. "We don't want you to catch a chill. We've got no money for medicine." I looked at him with my little blue eyes and smiled a jolly smile. That's when I got my name.
"Oh there blue eyes, smiling like a happy little tiger. A name. You haven't got one. Blue! Blue then - you're Blue - I'm Martin; Mr. Martin." He pushed his callused finger into my tiny little hand and gave it a hardy shake.
"Well Blue, you've lost your family, maybe eaten by a whale. Oh no, I shouldn't say that! Probably on a trip around the world. A long trip is all. I'm responsible for ya now.
"No worries. We'll manage." He grinned down at me, and I grinned up at him. We were now family and glad to have each other.
On that note, we set out into the ocean together. Mr. Martin had left Eli Rough with an unexpected child, and I had gained the name Blue, and a new life filled with adventure.
I am now twelve years old. I'm not one hundred percent sure what my actual date of birth is. Mr. Martin had to guess my age when he found me. He guessed as best he could. My hair is long, shaggy, and blonde when it's clean. My eyes are still the brilliant shade of blue that got me my name. I'm tall for a girl my age, and my feet are a bit large. Still, I've been told that I look very outstanding - perfectly beautiful - when I'm washed up and in clean clothes.
Unfortunately, due to the lifestyle we lead, I spend much of my time looking pretty filthy and smelling of sea salt and fish. I don't really mind it. I'm used to it, and for the most part, I'm quite comfortable.
Today we are in a little shore front town named Cremly Pier. We walk along the beach collecting trinkets, smiling at each other when we find items that might be worth something. So far we have found some rare looking shiny shells that we know will sell quickly and be used as jewelry.
If we're lucky, we'll find a couple strands of mermaid hair. Finding mermaid hair is like hitting the jackpot. It is made of solid gold and is an extremely rare find. It floats in now and again, and if the sunlight strikes it just right, you can spot it in an instant.
I've never actually seen a mermaid. Most humans haven't. They live deep under the ocean and have the ability to make themselves and their entire under water home, turn completely invisible. I hear they are friendly and unbelievably intelligent. They hide from humans to protect themselves from greedy pirates that would think nothing of capturing them and using them for their precious golden locks of hair.
I've never seen a pirate either. They keep their distance from people too. They're out there though, far out in the ocean looking for treasure to steal. They have terrible manners and don't particularly care how they treat others.
"Blue dear!" Mr. Martin calls me. "I've found it! A pearl Blue, and it's one of those important ones! It's a pink pearl child! Going to buy a good supper off this beauty! Get your hair cleaned up and put on that red dress, we're visitin' a restaurant tonight!" Mr. Martin is dancing around like a little kid. I'm so excited that I start dancing too.
This good news absolutely thrills me. I'm sick to death of fish. I'm ready for a cheese burger, or a nearly raw and bloody steak. I hope the restaurant has steak because I can already taste that juicy meat on my tongue. I almost begin to drool just thinking about it!
Mr. Martin picks up a little sand crab and kisses him. That was a major mistake because sand crabs really hate to be kissed. Mr. Sand Crab grabs a hold of my poor Mr. Martin's lip and pinches it as hard as a little crab is able to. He clamps onto that lip with all his might and has no intentions of letting go any time soon.
This is quite a sight! I want to help my dear Mr. Martin, but I start laughing so hard just watching this that I think I might pee my pants! "Mr. Martin! Flick him on his shell or something!" I yell out through my laughter. I shake my head and put my hands on my forehead. I can't believe he kissed that darn crab!
Mr. Martin flicks Mr. Sand Crab and he releases his tight hold. Mr. Martin puts him on the ground and looks over at me. There are small drops of blood flowing from his poor old lip. I take my dirty pink handkerchief out of my pocket and press it on the wounded spot. I look up at him and laughter starts to spill out of his mouth. I start laughing too, and we sit down in the sand and have a good chuckle about the silly crab. Mr. Martin is a good man. I'm glad he belongs to me. He certainly makes life interesting.
Mr. Martin goes into town to sell the pearl and then meets me back at the little shack we are staying in. We start getting ourselves ready for the big meal. I soak my head in a bucket of clean water and whoosh my hair around; working hard to get out all the salt and dirt. It takes three buckets of water, but finally my hair comes clean.
I look at my wet head of hair in the cracked mirror on the dresser in my room. It's a matted blonde mess. It's clean, but curly, and fuzzy, and knotted. It is going to take forever to comb out this giant mess! I wonder about cutting it. I would like to cut it off; be free of its tangled grip on my head.
"Mr. Martin. Can you cut my hair?" I yell down the short hallway towards his room. I hear him get up and he heads towards my room. I cross my fingers and hope for a good answer. He enters my room and I stand there in my robe grinning at him like a nervous nelly.
"Cut it?" He answers sounding a bit confused, like the question is a strange one. "We've never cut it child. Don't know about that. Cut it? Hmm ... I've never cut hair before." Mr. Martin's mouth is twisting all around and I can tell he is thinking hard about my question. I stretch my grin out as big as it can possibly go and look at him with pleading eyes. Finally he straightens out his mouth; ready to give me a solid answer.
"Nope. No cuttin' it. Your hair is the long kind. Looks just right like that. No cuttin' it. It stays how it is. Now get yourself ready. My stomach's hollering at me for a tasty meal." He seems happy with his decision. I, however, am not happy about it. Not happy at all!
"Humph!" I look at my shaggy head again. My hair is long. Too long! It almost reaches my knees when it's combed. I pick up my comb and start yanking away at my blond strands. This is a pain! I wish I didn't have to do it. Mr. Martin is being unreasonable. I had never actually thought about cutting it until now, but now that I have the thought in my brain, I just can't seem to get rid of it. I kick the dresser and it hurts my poor bare toe. I know tonight will be a nice night so I decide to push the haircut out of my brain and think about the steak instead.
I shuffle through my clothes and find my red dress. I put it on. It looks alright. It has buttons straight down the front and small yellow and white daisies around the bottom. We purchased the dress a few months back when we visited Troll Island. Troll Island is where everyone goes to make trades. People from all over the world visit the place, and trade all kinds of things. The trolls keep good order, and make fair trades. You can get a good deal on just about anything.
I take a few steps back so I can view as much of myself as possible in the mirror. My hair is combed, my dress is on, and I even wiped up my boots. I look pretty splendid, and I'm impressed with my reflection. I make a kissy face at the mirror. I am pretty. It's fun to see myself looking so nice. It happens so rarely. I flutter my large blue eyes at the mirror and blow myself a kiss. I wish I had some lipstick. I think I would like wearing lipstick. Maybe red. Yes! I would like to own a stick of red lipstick.
I sit down on my squeaky little bed and wait while Mr. Martin finishes getting himself fixed up for the evening. I bounce up and down a few times and enjoy the squeaky noise it makes. I decide to bounce back onto the bed from a short distance and I hear a big squeak and then a snapping sound. Woops! I broke one of the springs! I decide that I better stop bouncing around and hope that Mr. Martin doesn't see the broken spring.
"Ready, ready?" Mr. Martin asks as he walks into my room.
"Mr. Martin!" I exclaim. "You look absolutely dashing!" His long, black, scraggly beard is shaven off; gone completely! His hair is combed back nicely and his shoes are sparkling clean. His dark brown skin is scrubbed clean, and he even has on his nice coat! Mr. Martin hardly ever looks this presentable. His brown eyes are twinkling and he is trying hard to hide his proud grin.
"Can't eat good food looking like a sea slug." He says. "Even cleaned my nails." He waves his hands out in front of me and I nod in approval. "Let's go kid. Before I die of starvation!" He puts his arm in mine and we walk out the door together.
"Happy birthday Blue!" Mr. Martin says to me. I give him a surprised look.
"It's my birthday? Are you sure? What's the date?" I question.
"It's been awhile. It's a happy kind of day. It's your birthday. Happy birthday to ya!" He responds.
"Thanks!" I laugh. My birthday huh. I know we didn't celebrate my birthday on this date last year, but it's close enough and a nice surprise. Maybe we will even order cake tonight.
The sign on the restaurant says Milly's on it. It has a picture of a lady dancing with a cat in her arms. I like the sign; it's funny and friendly. I wonder if Milly will be here. I would like to meet her. I wonder if she even owns a cat. Maybe the cat will be here too. I like cats; they're mysterious. I love things that have a bit of mystery to them.
We open the door and our ears are slammed by loud happy music. A little band is set up on a small stage and they are playing their instruments with jolly expressions on their faces. A man is singing a song that I can't understand and his voice sounds a bit off. Nonetheless, he looks pretty darn cheerful and seems to be enjoying himself. I like music, and I'm glad that there's a band here, even if it isn't the world's greatest one.
The walls are wooden and old and have paintings of the ocean hung on them. Fishermen surround the bar and families crowd the tables. Everyone seems to be laughing, and they look like they feel right at home. I suddenly feel out of place; but only for a short moment.
"Hello!" A chubby woman with bright pink cheeks says to us. She is smiling the nicest of all smiles and I wonder if she is Milly. "Come now, sit down you two!" She says merrily. "Get yourselves comfortable and I'll grab some menus." She walks away and her bottom bounces around like two lumpy pillows involved in a pillow fight. I like this lady. She looks snuggly, and warm, and down right friendly.
She comes back with two menus and pats my head. I look up at her and notice that her hair is chocolate brown, and curled into large fat curls. It's beautiful! It looks so soft and shiny that I want to touch it. And short. Her hair barely touches her shoulders.
"To drink child? What would you like?" The lady with the lovely hair asks. I feel embarrassed because I know this is the second time she's asked. I was so mesmerized by her beautiful hair that her question hadn't registered the first time around.
"Do you have chocolate milk?" I ask.
"Sure love. Chocolate milk it is! And for you sir?" The lady looks towards Mr. Martin and gives him a very honest grin. I notice that her lipstick is a flashy shade of pink. I like the color; it's good and bright!
"Oh, I think I'd like a nice cup of hot tea. To celebrate. Haven't had tea in ages. Yes, tea is what I'd like to have." Mr. Martin smiles up at the lady.
Mr. Martin hardly ever orders hot tea, even though it's his favorite. He says it's too pricey. I know he must have gotten his moneys worth off of the pearl, or he would have just ordered water like he usually does.
"A celebration?" The jolly lady questions.
"It's my birthday!" I say gleefully.
"My, my! An occasion indeed! How old are you love?" She smiles a warm smile.
"I'm thirteen." I tell her.
"Thirteen. My, my! A young woman you are then! I'll bring you some ice cream after your meal. On the house!" She smiles her warm smile again and it makes me feel happy inside. This lady sure is smiley. I like it; makes me feel smiley too!
Ice cream. Mmmm. I can't wait to taste it. It's been nearly a year since I last had some. What a delight! I watch pillow bottom walk off to get our drinks. What good fortune we are having today. Mr. Martin looks at me across the big round wooden table and grins a wide toothy grin. I smile back at him. It feels good to be sitting here all dressed up celebrating my birthday. I'm so happy that I almost forget about my long shaggy hair. A pair of scissors appears in my mind, but I hurry them away before they get the chance to spoil my good time.
Our drinks arrive and our food order is taken. Mr. Martin orders fish and I make a face. I can't believe he is ordering fish. Isn't he tired of that stuff? I order a steak cooked rare. My mouth is getting excited with anticipation. Mr. Martin and I make small talk while we wait. I also observe the people around us. They all seem to be laughing and joking and having a roaring good time.
Excerpted from The Adventures of Blue by Tara J. Kreiner Copyright © 2009 by Tara J. Kreiner. Excerpted by permission.
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