Making a splash are just some of my characters:
Sizzle the sea lion, Turzzle the turtle, Huzzle the humpback whale, Anzzle the angelfish, Wrazzle the hump head wrasse, and the star ‘feetmovers’ – Tess and Fin!
Lesley Beth’s ‘Swishy Friends’ Stories!
Magic, mystery and some real underwater facts ebb and flow through my ‘Swishy Friends’ stories. ‘Learning-fantasy’ tales about friendship, facing fear, new experiences and the hazards of living in our beautiful oceans invite us to imagine, empathize, inquire and question.There are the ‘watermover’ characters and ‘feetmovers’ – including a kind, environmentally-aware family!
Check out my ugly fish story – one in a series of 22!
For interested producers, there’s even the possibility of an animated, ‘music-infused’ movie, book /TV series and interactive books!
By Lesley Beth
Frogzzle was convinced he was the ugliest fish in Sea Star Sea, so he camouflaged himself by changing the color of his bumpy coat to match his surroundings.
He was a frogfish – so named because of his large, frog-like mouth and stubby, pectoral fins that he used to ‘walk’. On top of his snout was an illcium that looked like a feetmover’s ‘fishing rod’ – complete with a lure he wiggled to attract his prey.
Frogzzle’s uniqueness did nothing for his confidence. To avoid awkward stares, he remained a total recluse – positive that no one would ever hang out with him! Years ago, he’d given up trying to make friends.
It was a dull day, and Frogzzle blended in easily amongst the red coral rocks and pink sponges that covered the coral block where he rested. He had a definite case of ‘the blues’. Even a school of cheerful angelfish gliding gracefully in and out of the gentle current did nothing to lift his mood.
He let out a bubbly groan, “I wish I had friends. If only I could have that wish!”
The engine of feetmover’s boat disturbed Frogzzle’s daydreaming. For some unknown reason, Frogzzle became suddenly alert as it came to rest on the surface. Two feetmovers splashed into the clear water. Frogzzle’s eyes rolled slowly to follow them as they swam to position a barely visible net near the seabed..
Only once before had Frogzzle seen feetmovers carrying strange things. They had slowly and cautiously approached watermovers. That time, he felt unthreatened and hadn’t panicked. But this time, fear bubbled up inside him when these feetmovers glided back to their boat.
Froggzle was right to be uneasy! Within minutes, the unsuspecting angelfish he’d admired became entangled in a deadly trap left by those mean feetmovers! They struggled. Terror filled their eyes when they realized escape was impossible.
Frogzzle’s anxiety grew. He wanted to help these delicate watermovers, but what could he do? He could barely ‘walk’ clumsily on the seabed.
In spite of his shyness, he decided he had to do something! Maybe he could get help by alerting a dolphin that he’d often seen swimming by.
Desperately he scanned the sea. Fortunately, Frogzzle didn’t have to wait long. As soon as he spotted the graceful dolphin, he moved from the protection of his rocky hideout, so his awkward motion on the white seabed would attract his attention.
Dozzle swam down to get a closer look at the amazing watermover that didn’t swim! He was not expecting Frogzzle’s plea, “Can you help? Some angelfish are caught in a net set by cruel feetmovers.”
When Dozzle observed the pitiful scene, he snapped into action, “I’ll find my friend. I heard her family’s boat arrive. If she’s here, she’ll be able to free the angelfish.”
As Dozzle powered off, Frogzzle moved closer to comfort the angelfish in their misery, “Don’t worry, help is coming.”
While trying to appear confident, a fearful thought sent a shiver through Frogzzle’s body, “What if the feetmovers come back for their helpless prey before Dozzle returns?”
He was relieved when a few minutes later, Dozzle appeared with a very strange ‘watermover’. She was half feetmover and half watermover, and she could move through the water like a skymover!
He didn’t have time for questions, because within seconds, his worst fear came true. Out of the corner of one of his bulging eyes, he saw the poachers dive!
Time was running out. Frogzzle made a brave decision. He ‘galloped’ across the stark sand on his motley-colored, stubby fins into the divers’ view.
Diverted by the football-sized creature scurrying their way with a personalized, baited ‘fishing line’, the greedy poachers became excited. They raced to capture the rare specimen that would fetch them a spectacular price. Slow-moving Frogzzle was easy to net!
So focused on Frogzzle were the evil poachers, that they didn’t see Swishy Girl with Dozzle who was at that very moment releasing the angelfish.
Looking out from the safety of Frogzzle’s coral block, the grateful but concerned angelfish asked, “Where’s the brave watermover that saved our lives?”
They all realized Frogzzle’s courageous action meant now he was in perilous danger!
Dozzle was angry, “Those miserable poachers have Frogzzle and they’re taking him to their boat!”
“You look after the angelfish!” Swishy Girl called as she zoomed after the divers! Dozzle and the angelfish watched in wonder at the speed she traveled.
Encased in netting, Frogzzle felt helpless. He was at the mercy of the poachers, but he could see Swishy Girl coming!
Swishy Girl circled his captors so fast, she created a vortex of twirling water. Engulfed and propelled in an upward spiral, the terrified poachers automatically dropped poor Frogzzle who drifted down towards the welcoming seabed. Frogzzle was shaken but still mesmerized by the scene above him.
Swishy Girl increased her speed, so the horrified feetmovers were launched like rockets through the sea’s surface into the air. They landed headfirst on the deck of their boat!
Even through the turbulent water, it was hilarious! Dazed and shaking in fear, they heard one poacher start the engine, “Let’s get out of here!”
The other one screamed angrily, “If I ever get my hands on that fish-girl, she’ll be sorry!”
Swishy Girl turned her attention to Frogzzle lying on his side, still imprisoned and slightly bruised. She glided down and gently extracted him from the net – taking care not to injure his fragile illicum, “Brave Frogzzle, you’ve had enough adventure for one day!”
Swishy Girl carried Frogzzle to his hideout where the thankful angelfish were waiting, “We’ve never met, but you were fearless and brave today and we are forever grateful. We will find you every time we pass by – even if you’re camouflaged! ”
Frogzzle smiled shyly.
Even Swishy Girl was full of admiration, “None of us have your unique talents! You’re the most amazing, incredible fish I’ve ever seen!”
Dozzle added, “But more importantly, you have a brave and caring heart!”
Beaming a wide, toothy smile, Frogzzle allowed himself to feel a little proud. As his new friends swam away, he felt the happiest he’d ever been.
But best of all, he’d never be lonely again!
© Lesley Beth 2003-13 All Rights Reserved
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