Phoebe Morgan, a local middle school student and regular visitor to the writing lab, wrote a collection of stories titled Starzen’s Booty and Other Stories, which was published in book form this fall by 826 Valencia. She also drew all of the pictures included in the book.
The other day I came home from school and saw a crazy guy with a long shaggy beard. He was at my door and said, “Ahoy there, young lass. I’m your long lost uncle.”
“Huh?” I answered in confusion.
All of a sudden my mom walked in and said, “Szevena, this is my brother Starzen. He was lost at sea for ten or twenty years.”
A few hours later while we were eating dinner, my uncle asked me a question. “Szevena, would you like to come help dig up my lost booty?”
Now, knowing him a little better, I thought he seemed crazy but pretty harmless, so I said, “Yes, of course. That would be super fun.” I asked my mom, “Can I go, mom?”
“I’ll think about it.”
“Please let her go!” said my uncle.
My mother said, “Fine, but only if I get to go with you.”
“There’s just not enough room in the boat for ya,” my uncle said.
“Please, mom! Please! Can I go?”
My mother gave a long sigh and then said, “Fine, but be back by eight or I swear I’ll call the police and report a lost child. You hear me, Starzen?”
I got my coat and boots on and walked out to the dock down the street from our house, where his boat was tied up. While we were walking to the dock, my uncle told me, “ Wait, we forgot to lard our beards.”
“What do you mean? That sounds disgusting,” I told him, “What’s the point of that?”
“The point of that is if our ship sinks, we’ll be kept afloat by our beards, because of that miraculous lard,” he told me.
“Uncle,” I said, “may I remind you that I don’t have a beard to lard.”
“Then you can help me lard mine.”
“Okay, but don’t you think that’s kind of gross?”
“Of course not. I use it every day. I even squish lard between my toes when I’m bored,” he said, straightening up proudly.s
“Fine, I’ll help you then,” I said.
My uncle took out a white jar marked ‘LARD’ in red print. He popped open the jar, and a cloud of pink stench came out of it, and the stench stank like you would imagine unsweetened Oreos would smell. “Grab a handful and spread,” my uncle said. He grabbed a handful of clunky, greasy lard and squashed it around. “Not another one of dem!” He bounced an eyeball he had found in the lard onto the sidewalk.
“What kind of eyeball do you think that was?” I asked.
“Definitely possum,” he replied.
When we were done, my uncle’s beard was completely white with lard. We got to the dock, and I thought we were going to find a big pirate ship with a cannon and everything, but to my surprise it was a small stinky paddleboat shaped like a swan.
“Ain’t she a beaut. Bought her in ’82,” my uncle said. I stepped into the small stinky paddleboat as it creaked.
After two boring hours paddling, I asked my uncle, “Where’s this island anyway.”
“Near the Caribbean.”
“Near the Caribbean?” I asked. I couldn’t believe he said this. “That’ll take months to sail to!”
“Ah, you can wait some puny little months; I’ve ridden this baby for twenty years,” my uncle replied. After three whole hours later, I asked my uncle what the time was, and he replied “11 o’clock, on the dot.”
“Oh, man my mom must be worried out of her wits,” I cried. We waited a couple more hours and by now I had fallen asleep.
When I woke up, what do you know, but I was under water. “That stupid, old boat I knew it would sink,” I thought to myself. I tried to call for my uncle but “blub, blub” was all that came out. Gasping for air, I went to the top.
“Ahoy, thar niecy,” cried a voice from beyond. I swam to the right where I thought I heard the voice coming from. Suddenly, I saw my uncle riding on the back of a swimming elephant!
“Where did you get an elephant?” I cried.
“Well, I landed in Thailand, and I asked for a boat, but they didn’t have any, so dey gave me one a dem crazy swimmin elephants!” He wailed. So I safely got aboard the elephant, and we said: “Home.” And now I have a pet elephant.
Written by Phoebe, age 12