In fairy tales, everyone’s wish comes true. Jack gets the goose that lays the golden egg. Cinderella finds Prince Charming. Pinocchio becomes a real boy. My happily ever after is much simpler. I want a pet goldfish. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. But my parents do. For the past year they have been putting me off every time I beg them for a pet.
“I’m allergic to cats and dogs,” says Mom. There’s no way we could keep a furry animal in the house.”
“Well, what about a fish?” I ask.
“I don’t know if you’re responsible enough to take care of a goldfish, Sophie,” says Dad. “You might drop the bowl and get water all over the place.”
For a ten-year-old I am very responsible. If you forget about the time my brother, Cole, and I had a water fight with the sprinkler in the garage, or when I tied Cole up to a tree to keep him from tagging along with me and my friend Chloe, I’m a model child. I get good grades in school. I’m nice to my friends. And I help out in the house when Mom and Dad ask me to.
Today, I’m making my dream come true! I’m going to convince Dad to let me get a pet goldfish. I march toward the kitchen in my pink and white polka-dot pajamas and lime green fuzzy slippers. After glancing in the hallway mirror, I push down my two, thick black braids, which stick out on each side of my head like handlebars. “Good morning,” I say to my mother, who is busy in the kitchen making my favorite breakfast of bacon, eggs, grits and homemade pancakes.
Since Dad is not up to hear me beg for a fish again, I make my way to the family room to watch a recording of a television show I taped during the school week. Cole rushes into the room before me and grabs the remote control from the end table before I can reach it. “Get back!” I yell. He turns on “Video Rangers”, his favorite TV show. Then he puts the remote control under a pillow, sits on it and passes gas. “Eeeewww! Give me that remote, Cole!” I shriek. “You knew I was getting ready to use it.”
“Moooom! I was here first, and now she wants to change the channel,” he whines.
“Turn the television off, and you two go get the newspaper and pull the garbage can up to the garage,” says Mom, shaking her head and pouring more pancake batter into the skillet. “All this arguing is going to make me burn breakfast.”
I clench my fists to keep from wringing Cole’s neck. “Did you tell Mom about the contest?” he loudly yells over blips and bleeps. He is playing a Video Rangers cartridge on his Nintendo DS game now that the television is off.
“What contest?” asks Dad, entering the kitchen.
“Oh, it’s nothing really,” I say. “Just something Mrs. Green was talking about at school on Friday . . .”
“It’s the big spelling bee, and they want all the kids in the third grade and up to be in it,” pipes up Cole. “Mrs. Green said she hopes Sophie signs up, since she’s such a great speller.”
“That sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you, Sophie,” Mom says. “You are really good at spelling.”
“Sign up first thing Monday morning,” says Dad. “Maybe we can start you studying this weekend. Did they give you a list of spelling words?”
“I need to check my backpack, Dad. It’s out in the garage,” I say, trying to change the subject. “Come on, Cole, Mom told us to get the paper.”
“Why can’t you go out to the driveway by yourself?” he complains. “We’re not even through eating.”
“Go help your sister,” Mom commands.
We head out the garage door to the driveway. “You are such a tattletale,” I say, nudging Cole once we are out of earshot. “Why’d you have to tell Mom and Dad about the spelling bee?” He elbows me back.Then we both stop in our tracks.Three hairy pigs are running around our front yard.