Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)
- TITLE: Flying Fish
By Lois Farrow
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Pranee didn’t see the irony of wearing her orange dress. She boarded the plane at Bangkok and took her time trying to squeeze her bulk into the narrow seat between two business men, carefully arranging the folds of her colourful dress to cover her knees. From across the aisle Amanda watched with curiosity.
“I thought Thai women were small,” Amanda whispered to her mother. “That lady is short, but she’s very fat!”
“She must be pregnant,” whispered her mother. “See, you can tell by her shape. She can’t be full term though, even though she looks it, or they wouldn’t allow her to fly.”
It was a ten hour flight to Melbourne in Australia, and time passed slowly. Amanda watched the movie Finding Nemo, played video games, and eventually dozed. Memories of their holiday in Thailand hovered in her half waking mind. She couldn’t wait to get back to school and tell her friends all about it. She became aware of a pervading smell, but couldn’t quite place it. She noticed the business men had moved seats, and the Thai woman had the 3-seat row to herself. Was that where the smell was coming from?
Pranee was uncomfortable, but daren’t move. She knew the back of her dress was wet, but didn’t dare stand to go to the toilets. She covered herself with the airline blanket and whenever an attendant came by she appeared to be asleep, to avoid answering questions. She dreaded the moment when she would have to stand and leave the plane.
Right on schedule the plane landed and soon the passengers were disembarking. Pranee waited until all the other passengers had left, then stood gingerly and wrapped her shawl around herself in a vain attempt to hide the wet patches from the eyes of the flight attendants. She followed the other passengers through the long walk ways at Melbourne airport, picked up her small suitcase from the luggage carousel, and made her way towards customs. She was trying to look inconspicuous, but her bright orange dress was enough to make her stand out, even before she felt the water seeping between her legs. Soon Pranee knew she was standing in a soggy puddle. A watching staff member hurried over to help.
“No, no,” she was saying, “leave me alone.” But before the startled eyes of the waiting passengers a deluge of water and a torrent of tropical fish cascaded over the carpet. Mostly orange, some black and white, and others blue and green; fish of all colours floundered and flapped in frightened disarray. Amanda and her mother were nearby, and they bent to help retrieve them. Someone came with a big plastic container, and Pranee was led away, leaving a trail of water behind her.
Next day Amanda and her mother saw with astonishment the newspaper item. A Thai woman was accused of smuggling 51 live tropical fish into Australia. She had hidden them in plastic bags tied to her body.
“We flew with the flying fish!” exclaimed Amanda. “Now I have another story to tell my friends!”
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