By Sara Smith and Victory Omole
A Squid was eating enjoying a midnight snack in her aquarium when all of a sudden; “splash!!” A can almost hit her. While looking at where the can came from, she saw an Alligator and a Liger arguing.
“Why did you do that?” the Squid asked, annoyed.
“Do what?” The Alligator asked.
“You threw a can at my house."
“First of all, I didn’t throw it. I kicked it. Second of all, who do you think you are?”
As soon as they were about to brawl, the Liger stepped in.
“Thrash didn’t mean to do that, he’s just frustrated.”
“Well, tell him to get this can out of my house!”
“I won’t do it unless you ask nicely.” Thrash sneered.
“Oh just do it Thrash. Don’t be difficult.” The Liger said.
After Thrash removed the can, The Squid said “Thanks for asking him to do that...”
“Snowflake. My name is Snowflake. Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too. I’m Queen Esmeralda.”
Every night for the next 3 weeks, Snowflake would stop by Esmeralda’s aquarium. On some nights he would be there for half an hour and sometimes he would be there for a whole night. Esmeralda was fun to hang out with. She was observant and her sense of humor was off the charts. He couldn't comprehend why Thrash refused to hang out with her. From their long talks, Esmeralda learned why Snowflake could get out of his cage. Thrash was letting him out. Thrash could leave his pen because the zookeepers didn't place a lid above his house and his tank was short enough that he was able to utilize a log located in his enclosure as a staircase to climb out.
While touring the zoo, he heard Snowflake weeping. Thrash inquired why Snowflake was crying and Snowflake said that he was tired of being locked up in a cage. Thrash empathetically opened Snowflake's cage with the condition that he go back in the morning so the zookeepers don't find out.
One night, Esmeralda started rambling about how she hates being stuck in an aquarium. She wanted to be more independent to observe other sections of the zoo. Feeling sorry for his friend, Snowflake came up with an idea: He would borrow a fish tank from the maintenance facility every night for Esmeralda to live in. He would put the fish tank on his back and take her around the zoo while the guard was not vigilant.
The amount joy Esmeralda was bursting with when she saw every animal in the zoo the following night made all the trouble Snowflake had to perform to retrieve fish tank worth it.
The next night, Esmeralda asked: “Why does Thrash hate me?”
“I think he’s mad at you because the only time you guys met, you almost fought each other. He thinks you are not nice because you weren’t nice to him when you first met.“ Snowflake said.
“He wasn’t nice either...”
“I know, that’s why I’m surprised you don’t hate him like he hates you.”
"Why were you two arguing? What made him kick a can into my aquarium?"
"I want to get out of this zoo, but I don't want to do it alone because I don't want to be outside on my own. I asked Thrash to come with me and he refused. He told me how to escape but he said he wasn't going to escape with me. I got mad and said that his plan was stupid."
“I know how you feel. I wanted to get out of my tank but when I realized that it was impossible for me to, I learned to accept my predicament and be happy with what I have. You should be grateful that you even get to be out of your cage at all.” Esmeralda said.
“Didn't you dream of not just being outside of your aquarium, but outside this zoo?”
“No, I was too busy focusing on getting out of my aquarium. I didn't think about being outside this zoo. In fact, I don't want to. I have the perfect amount of freedom right now. I don’t need more!” Esmeralda said.
“You know what, I don’t want to talk about this.”
Snowflake did not want to stop talking about escaping because he didn't want to escape without having his friends with him. Since his friends declined on his offer, he was despondent. He stopped eating, he was tired all the time, and he was sleeping too much. Esmeralda noticed and she felt terrible about seeing her friend in such a state. She agreed to escape with him because she believed that his spirits will be lifted if they left. Snowflake lifted her spirits by getting her a fish tank. She had to return the favor. They voted to use Thrash's plan: Wait until nightfall; wait until the guard goes to the bathroom; run across the zoo to the maintenance facility; steal a ladder and use it to climb the fence.
Later on in the early morning, Snowflake disclosed his and Esmeralda's scheme to Thrash.
"Okay, well, I'm still not going with you."
“Please. Do it for me" Snowflake begged. If I leave, you won't have any friends here.”
"I can make new friends."
"I believe it, but it's really hard for you to make a good first impression; and that's what most people base their friendships on. Also, I'm not going to be happy out there if you're not with me."
"All you think about is yourself. I bet the only reason Esmeralda decided to come with you is because you guilted her into it."
"No, Esmeralda loves me! Dude, how about this. If you come with us, I'll literally do anything you want for the following year."
“Oh! Okay, fine that will work ha-ha” Thrash said mischievously.
The next night, Snowflake fetched the fish tank from the maintenance facility and laid Esmeralda in it. He went back for the ladder and placed it on the fence in a location the guard was least likely to visit. He ran back to Esmeralda's fish tank, placed the fish tank on his back and waited until the guard went to the bathroom. Once Thrash was over the fence, Snowflake followed along with Esmeralda. The guard noticed. Snowflake realized that someone had to distract the guard so the rest could escape. He threw the fish tank onto Thrash's back and yelled for his friends to run but Thrash refused to leave without him. Snowflake roared at the guard as a scare tactic, but because the guard thought that Snowflake was going to maul him: he shot the Liger dead. Thrash ran away immediately.
After running for a mile or so, Thrash looked around to make sure they were not being followed. He then started walking. He walked all night until he found a pond where they could take a break. After sleeping for half a day, Thrash started walking again; not caring where they were headed as long as it was away from the zoo. Knowing they were stuck with each other, they started to make amends:
“Remember when Snowflake stopped us from fighting” Thrash said.
“Yeah and remember all the jokes he told, man that dude was hilarious!” Esmeralda said.
After a few minutes of silence, Esmeralda said: “I didn’t want to leave the zoo. I just wanted to help Snowflake. But I'm not going to lie. It feels so good to be out here!"
"It really does!!" Thrash asserted.
To be continued.