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The Fuel

In Cameroon

It was a dark and misty night after a long day of rain, when Theodore went with his mother to the carnival. Suddenly, a flubbery fat clown bumped into Theodore, holding a plastic bag with a fish inside.


"I give you one free fish kid," said the strange clown with smelly breath of raw fish and garlic. 


"I didn't ask for one," Theodore told the peculiar clown, as he looked closely into the little plastic bag. Inside the bag was an orange goldfish with yellow fins, and eyes as black as the darkest part of the attic of a haunted house. 


"Feed him live worms, fish food, and flies, and you will see a bright change in your life," whispered the clown. 


Theodore grew nervous and left the clown and called for an early night. "He is just too much for a ten-year-old. But, I do like this fish," said Theodore.


After walking away from the fat clown and safely returning home with his mother, Theodore gently placed his new fish, inside his pond in the backyard. 


"Here yee, here yee, I shall name you, Cameroon!"  declared Theodore, but Cameroon showed his fangs to show his joy for his new home, and Theodore immediately ran inside his house, frightened. 


Feeding frenzies and happy moments made Theodore love Cameroon, his new goldfish, and they became best friends as live worms became a regular diet. Several days turned into weeks, and Theodore never noticed his goldfish was haunted with a love spell to capture Theodore's full attention in life. 


As time went on, Theodore abandoned his daily activities just to be with his goldfish. His pogo stick would be left on the ground because live worms seemed more fun, and swordplay became boring because his swords were made of wood, and Cameroon ate flies.


"You are one hungry goldfish Cameroon, but I like you more than worms, swords, or pogo sticks!"  Theodore told his new best friend.


Cameroon stopped playing with everything, and basketball or jump rope became too common for Theodore.  All day and night, Theodore kept talking to Cameroon in the backyard, as Cameroon swam around the pond and did nothing for response.


One day, Theodore became very lonely and went to the pond to cry, because he realized his only friend was Cameroon. Cameroon flipped like a dolphin, to show how happy he was to see Theodore, every time Theodore comes to his pond.  But today, when Cameroon saw tears in Theodore's eyes, Cameroon became angry and splashed Theodore with some pond water! 


Theodore started to laugh, and suddenly had a bright idea! 


"I should find Cameroon a mate!!" Theodore decided. Theodore thought of returning to the carnival to fetch Cameroon a mate, but the pet store was much closer in distance from Theodore's house. 


"One fish, please," Theodore told the fish lady at the pet store. 


"But, you can have six fishes for a dollar," said the fish lady. 


"Nope, I just want one goldfish, and please give me an orange one!" said Theodore to the fish lady. 


"I hope you can afford more next time," said the fish lady, grumbling.


When Theodore came home, he immediately went to the pond and showed Cameroon his new friend. "I give you a mate!! This one is named "Crunchy!" Theodore said, because he was very happy for Cameroon, and Crunchy swam inside the pond. But, with one bite, Cameroon ate Crunchy whole! 


Theodore cried, "BUT, CRUNCHY WAS YOUR FRIEND!"  Cameroon flipped like a dolphin and splashed some pond water to make Theodore happy. 


"I hope you will become a good little fish inside this pond!" Theodore scolded, but Cameroon kept swimming inside the pond. Theodore was very upset that night, and went to sleep a little more scared and lonelier than the night before.  He feared that his life will become lonely and that his friend for life would only be just one crazy goldfish, Cameroon.


"I wish I had more friends than just one ol' fish," Theodore wept, and wished for a few more kids around his neighborhood to keep him company.


The next morning, grey and cloudy from the cold night, Theodore peeked outside his own kitchen window to see if Cameroon was still inside the pond. Cameroon perched on top of a small rock inside the pond, because Cameroon knew Theodore was looking for him.


"I have to teach Cameroon how to play well with other fishes," Theodore made an oath to himself, because Cameroon was still Theodore's only friend.


That evening, after a hard day of cycling, mud castles, and swordplay, Theodore came back to the pet store, for more fishes to keep Cameroon company. 


"I need two dollars' worth of goldfishes for my pond," Theodore told the grumbling fish lady.  The fish lady was so happy, and even gave a morsel of live worms for the goldfishes to munch inside the large plastic bag.  When Theodore arrived home, he hurried to his pond and released the dozen of goldfishes to let them swim with Cameroon.


Cameroon swam inside the pond, faster than usual, because he was very upset.  Theodore became terrified because he saw how Cameroon swam so fast inside the pond, and he ran inside his house to forget about Cameroon, just for a night. 


"I'll just leave him with his new friends," Theodore thought, before he fell asleep. Before he dozed off, Theodore prayed for another human friend in the neighborhood to save him from Cameroon's hunger for life. "God, if you're listening, I want a new friend, so I won't be so lonely," said Theodore, and then he zonked out like a little baby.


A week after the dreadful night, Theodore peeked inside his own pond.  The whole pond was empty, but Cameroon was swimming near the bottom of the pond, hiding. Cameroon's hunger for other fishes completely skewed Theodore's hopes and dreams of a perfect pond.


"Something looks fishy," Theodore thought with teary eyes, to sympathize for the dozen of goldfishes he thought were safe with Cameroon. Cameroon flipped like a dolphin, splashed some pond water at Theodore and swam happily inside the pond. 

"Cameroon is not a guppy," Theodore told himself, and he noticed something else.  Cameroon grew twice his size, his yellow fins turned bloody red, and his eyes became brown, NOT black. 


"I will have to take you back to the clown, because I don't know who you are, Cameroon! You keep eating your new friends," said Theodore. Theodore was petrified and quickly took a plastic bag and gently placed Cameroon inside the bag, to return Cameroon back to the clown at the carnival.


At the carnival, the clown was still there, handing out stickers to people that said, "DON'T FISH FOR TROUBLE!" 


Theodore gave Cameroon back to the clown and angrily said, "I can't keep him, he is the scariest fish I have ever met! I bought some fishes to be his friend, and he ate all of them!" 


The clown laughed and told Theodore, "I'm sorry, I didn't know you're so scared of goldfishes."  Theodore replied, "I'm not, but this one is very scary!" as Theodore furiously scurried off the carnival. 


The clown lifted the plastic bag to see Cameroon inside, and whispered to Cameroon, "I hope the next person has a bigger pond."  The clown laughed, and placed Cameroon inside a little bowl, to keep him company at the carnival. 


Ever since the tragedy of Cameroon, Theodore cleaned the pond, and stopped crying at night.  He bought another docile fish from the fish lady at the pet store, and that same night, Maya was searching for catnip at the pet store. 


"My cat will eat all of your goldfishes," said Maya, trying to scare Theodore, because he kept staring at the fishes in the aquariums. 


Theodore replied, "I have to make sure you will meet Cameroon at the carnival, I think your cat will fall in love with him." Theodore smiled because Maya has freckles and a polka-dot dress. 


"I could tell from your eyes, that you're in love with something," Maya smiled back.


Theodore never knew his ten years old neighbor, Maya, often searches for catnip at the same pet store he goes to.  Theodore was never lonely anymore, because Maya was a fierce swordsman, and her cat would climb Theodore's trees in his backyard, at least once a week. 


In the mean time, Cameroon was still at the carnival, and the strange clown with stinky breath still has plenty of stickers to attract more customers to his show.  The latest sticker said, "Love your life, and life will love you back."


The End.

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