Annette trailed behind her friends Erin and Georgia as they walked around the fair. Her ears were tingling as she heard shrieks of joy and fear from the Ferris wheel.
They came to a stop in front of a tent filled with cheering spectators. Several were children throwing brightly covered objects at nets suspended from the ceiling. Upon further inspection, Annette realised they were throwing goldfish and guppies at a metal hoop ring. She watched as over and over, they retrieved fish from the large vat of water before hurling it through the air.
She could swear she heard the fish squeal.
Her friends began to bet on the freckled face boy. His fish seemed to fly the highest, climb the fatty. Oh yes, climb. Annette felt her eyes water from her stare of disbelief.
Sure enough, after every kid tossed their guppies, the fish wiggled up the nets towards the golden hoop.
“Go Brady! Keep it up boy!” Said freckle face.
The fish gasped and heaved. “Better be some gourmet bread crumbs in this prize.”
Annette gaped as the gold and white dappled fish barely made it before falling. The crowd howled their disapproval as a tiny girl in spectacles held up her winning guppy.
The boy was furious. Annette watched in horror as he stomped over to the writhing fish and crushed it underneath his sneakers.
“She cheated!” “Guppies are faster!” “Rematch!” “Rematch!”
The leader, a man in a top hat and thick mustache, held his hand up. “I see it’s come to a spit contest.”
Georgia wooped her approval while Erin explained a guppy spitting contest to Erin.
“So all they have to do is spit it the furthest?” She asked, face turning green.Annette gaped.
“Yeah! Winner takes all!”
Annette stepped into the ring. “I’ll do it!”
“Miss please, it is only open to current participants!” The little girl took one look at her opponent and relinquished the guppy.
“Ha! I bet she can’t spit no how. Come on Big Red! You and me!” said freckle face.
“If I win, you let these fish go,” Annette said. She crossed her arms and glared at the leader. His mustache twitched.
The crowd booed. “Fine.” He rolled his eyes.
“You and me Big Red!” said Freckle face. “If I win, I’m going to have filet of guppy!”
Annette couldn’t see how that was possible, so she nodded. Freckle face’s new fish, either a massive goldfish or a baby koi seemed nonplussed.
“Hooray. My life sucks,” it said.
“Challenger goes first!” the leader said.
They faced each other and Annette gulped as she placed the slimely fish on she tongue.
“Dnff faffl meh nuff,” said Annette to Gumpy.
“Reaaaaaaaaaaaddddyyyy?!” called the leader.
Annette took a deep breath.
Gumpy flew about six feet from her, landing in the grass. The leader marked the distance and Annette scooped up her fish and placed him back into a holding tank.
“Reaaaaaaadddyyy?” The leader called to Freckle face.
Freckle face seemed to be having some trouble getting his fish to calm down.
“Come on kid!” “Don’t let a girl beat you!”
He held up his finger and then his goldfish swam down his throat. Or he swallowed.
Unfortunately this did not sit well with Freckle face. His freckles stood out against his green skin like red confetti. And then he vomited all over the leader.
“Weeeeee!” cried the runt koi fish. “We’re free!” He flopped around on the ground until Annette put him in with Gumpy.
The crowd was a mixture of grumbles, boos, and hisses.
Georgia and Erin were so ashamed that their friend had ruined everyone’s good time that they left without her that night.
Annette was forced to walk home with 27 new fishy friends.
“Chin up kid,” said Gumpy. “You did the right thing.”
“But no one likes me anymore.”
“If the right thing was also the popular thing, everybody would be a hero,” Gumpy said.