The adventures of Nemo, the plush fish

Submitted into Contest #211 in response to: Write a story involving a friendship with an adorable animal.... view prompt


Adventure Contemporary East Asian

Nemo was a plush fish with the same figure of the young clownfish in Disney’s cartoon “Finding Nemo”. He was born among other cotton animals in a workshop in Saigon. After only one day staying in the workshop, he was moved to a truck to go to the seaport, where they put his box in a container. After being filled with boxes, the container was loaded on board. Nemo asked other cotton animals where they were and where they were going but no one knew. Nemo only felt a strange taste: the salty taste of the sea. Nevertheless, he didn’t know what the sea was. Nemo tried to listen to sounds outside. He slightly noticed the voice of people calling others boisterously, the murmur of sea waves, and most clearly, the howl of the ship’s whistle. Then, the ship began her voyage. It was a long journey. Nemo felt like the trip were endless. He was anxious to get out of dark, stuffy and boring box. Besides, he didn’t like the feeling of floating in the ship. Finally, after nearly a month on the sea, the ship arrived in New York harbor. A few days later, Nemo appeared on a shelf of Disney store on the Fifth Avenue of New York city. It was exactly the place he wished to be. The store always sparkled with lights and happy music and was glitteringly decorated, but the most pleasure was the appearance of children, a lot of children. Differing from adult creatures Nemo saw in the workshop, quiet and austere, children were usually naughty, noisy and laughing. They even spread their pleasure to adults. Nemo watched children playing, wishing he could run and jump like them. But he was only a plush fish. Every time finding Nemo, children enjoy looking at him, hugging him and fondling his fluffy body, which made him feel very happy. However, once, there was a naughty boy snatching his fin, causing him painful and fretful. The boy even asked his mother to buy him Nemo, so that the plush fish found himself in a cold sweat. He only breathed again when the mother refused the boy as he had already torn another Nemo raggedly right after bringing home last time.

From his position, Nemo could see the world outside through a huge window class. On the outside road, a stream of people walked hastily, but there was a girl stand for a long time before the window. She was playing violin for pedestrians. Some people stopped to listen to her music, then dropped some bucks or pennies in her violin box. Nemo could not hear the sound of her violin but he enjoyed watching her pull the bow along the strings. Her act was flexible this time but firm that time. Her eyes were so passionate that Nemo wished he could play violin.

Nemo felt happy here. He wanted to be like that forever, everyday watching children and the violin girl. But the pleasure is short like a period a butterfly sit on your shoulder. After only three days, he had to leave the Disney store, continuing his adventures. A woman, in her travel to New York, visited the Disney store and bought Nemo as a present for her little daughter. It cost her $12.99 to take him.

He had to come to the bag, and then, the suitcase. This time, he did not even have any friends to talk to. In return, he did not have to stay in the dark as long as last time. Nemo was on an air flight and it only took him two days to be at the destination. He enjoyed flying in an airplane. He was just a little bit scared when the airplane taking off and landing, and sometimes his ear was blocked, but those also were exciting experiences, he thought so. Another interesting thing was that Nemo was back to Vietnam, his hometown, but not Saigon. He was in Hanoi. When the mother came home, her little daughter ran to her.

“Mama, do you bring gifts for me?”, the daughter asked.

“Yes, I bought a lot of gifts for my sweetheart!”, the mother answered.

The daughter eagerly asked her mother to open the suitcase. Having just seen Nemo, she screamed out loud.

“Ah! Nemo! How beautiful! I love you, mum.”

The mother felt really happy as she brought pleasure to her daughter. Meanwhile, Nemo was proud that he was a treasure in the little girl’s eyes. She pampered the plush fish so much, often embracing him in her arms, fondling him as if he were a kitten. Night after night, she hugged Nemo while sleeping. Once the girl brought him to the bathroom to play with. Witnessing that foolish act, the mother asked her:

“Why did you bring it to the bathroom? Who would clean the floor if it were soaked and made the floor wet?”

“But Nemo is a fish. He must’ve wanted to swim in the water”, the daughter answered naively.

“Oh, my foolish girl! It is not a real fish but a cotton animal.”

The girl didn’t change her mind and the mother had to humor the stubborn girl. It was the first time Nemo touched water. His eager quickly turned to be sickness as water soaked into his body. At that moment, he began to understand the woman’s word. He is not a real fish but a plush one. He cannot swim. The little girl soon realized her mistake, too, and got him out of water.

Nemo and the little girl went together through her childhood. But when growing up, the girl did not love him anymore. The plush fish was not chubby like the first day he was born because the girl hugged him too much that he was much flatter. Moreover, the girl had so many new cotton-animal friends that she no longer cared about him. Therefore, Nemo had to stay silently at the corner of the room, counting the days.

One day, there is a charity subscription of old cotton animals for poor children at the girl’s school. She eagerly took the plush fish and some other cotton animals to the subscription and hoped they would bring happiness to poor friends. Consequently, Nemo continued his adventures. However, his position now was different. Sadness filled his heart as people no longer liked him. He was not the proud Nemo on the shelf of gorgeous Disney’s store on the Fifth Avenue, New York. Now he lied in the dirty bag together with other neglected cotton animals. They lamented to each other, talking about their golden age.

Nemo followed the volunteers to an orphanage in the suburb of Hanoi. When they delivered things to the children, a gray-skin child snatched him. Nemo was rather sad since he got used to being hugged by white and clean girls and boys. Every time the boy hugged Nemo, the plush fish had to suffer his bad smell. Anyway, Nemo consoled himself, the boy was not silly or disabled like many kids there. Because the boy’s smell was so bad (but he didn’t realize that), few kids played with him and no one was close to him. Meanwhile, even blind kids had close friend, and silly ones were not smart enough to be sad of lacking close friend. The bad-smelling boy considered Nemo his only close friend. The boy usually talked to him. Nemo listened to the boy’s words and gradually liked him. The boy often mentioned his parents, who – might be get into some kind of accidents- leave him at the hospital. Each time seeing kids with their parents beside, the boy felt sad. He told Nemo that when growing up he were surely going to find his parents. The plush fish felt sorry for the boy. Sometimes, Nemo was sad because all people have parents while he, the plush fish, do not. He reminisced about the mother of his old owner and her warm love for her daughter. He wished he could have a mother like her…

The boy had bright and smart eyes. He studied passionately, especially when the subject was mathematics. He solved all difficult exercises in the advance fifth grade Mathematics book, which was given to him by the volunteers. When studying, the boy put Nemo beside. The fish watch the boy study with extreme concentration. The boy’s eyes were as beautiful as the violin girl’s. Nemo did not understand why the letters in the book attracted the boy that much. The boy was the proud of mothers in the orphanage. But the more intelligent and diligent he was, the more painful was their heart. The boy contracted a deadly disease, AIDS, and the doctor said that his life would soon come to an end. They tried to hide the truth but one day, the boy finally found out. There seemed to be a door suddenly close before his eyes. The bright prospect he drew for himself disappeared. He threw the books which he used to foster to the floor. He had expected that those books would change his life but at the moment the Death were coming closely, they were meaningless. The boy embraced Nemo, his teardrops were rolling and rolling. When the pain subsided, an idea suddenly grew in his mind. He escaped the orphanage with his close friend in his arms. He had to make his biggest dream come true before dead: finding his parents.

The boy walked relentlessly. He had never walked far like this time. The scene around him kept changing upon each footstep: the hills, the fields, then solitary cottages. Nemo was interested in looking at wonderful landscape. It was the first time he integrated himself into the immense nature. In New York, he saw only skyscrapers. They don’t have huge sky there. The boy had been walking for half a day. His feet reached Hanoi urban areas. He intended to look for the hospital where he was born to ask for his parents’ information. The boy asked people how to go to the hospital but no one answer. Moreover, they threw despising looks to him, then turned their backs on him. Some even swear at him. The boy was so ugly and stinky that everybody hated him. Only Nemo cared for him, but he couldn’t do anything for the boy since he was only a plush fish. The boy was both hungry and thirsty. He had had nothing in his stomach for the whole day. Seeing a restaurant, he came to ask for water. Nevertheless, having just seen the boy, the watchman of the restaurant screamed:

“Get out! No begging here.”

“I just asked for a glass of water”, said the boy.

“What? Are you deaf? I said ‘get out’!”

The watchman savagely kicked the boy at his stomach. The boy fell to the ground, with an arm embracing the stomach while another still holding his close friend. Having watched the ugly boy since he came to the street was a pack of shoeshine boys. They were curious as the boy still held the fish while falling. Then, one of them went silently to the boy and grabbed Nemo from his hand. The shoeshine boy eagerly showed off Nemo to his friends. Lying painfully on the ground, the stinky boy startle when his close friend was stolen. He stood up reluctantly, dragged his feet to the shoeshine boys.

“Give him back to me!”, he said.

“Who? This fish?”

“Give him back to me!”

“Why did you act as if this ugly fish were a treasure?”

“He is my friend.”

“Oh! I see! You make friends with this ugly fish because you are ugly, too.”

“Give him back to me!”

The ugly boy screamed loudly and plunge into the shoeshine boys to snatch the plush fish. The shoeshine boys turned to be angry and beat the ugly boy fiercely. After the boy fainted away, they left him with his fish at a corner of the street. Nemo tried to scream out loud, but he could not make any sound. He was just a plush fish. Pedestrians still walked across coldly as if no one realized the existence of the lying boy. In his dream, the boy saw his parents. They led him to a shimmering-light area. Suddenly, he turned back. He heard his close friend calling him. He smiled, waving his hand to say goodbye to Nemo, then followed his parents…

Next morning, a dead boy was discovered. Curious people gathered around talking while the police were doing the report. Someone said the boy had stolen and been beaten to death. Thus, everybody supposed that the boy deserved the death. After the police brought the body of the boy away, curious people went, too. There was only Nemo alone.

In that evening, it rained heavily in Hanoi. There were dazzling lightnings and growling thunders. The street Nemo lying started to be flooded. The tide gradually rose. The plush fish felt that he was melting into water. In the rain, he seemed to hear the sound of a violin. That melodious sound took his soul back to places he had arrived. He saw austere workers in the cotton-animals workshop, he floated to the Disney store and saw naughty children, he saw the violin girl on the Fifth Avenue, he found himself in the room of his old owner who was doing massage for her mother. He smiled and flew to the sky. Over there, his close friend was waiting for him…

August 14, 2023 07:30

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