F rannie swam from room to room in her house eating a packet of surf snacks. She was supposed to be doing her chores; cleaning her room and doing the dishes, but she couldn't stop thinking about what her dad had said about the bus.
"Why do I have to take the bus?" she thought. "Why can't Dad take me to school every day?"
She started her chores to take her mind off the bus. After she finished, she began to work on homework. She was supposed to write down things about her family to share with the class.
"Maybe I'll write how they don't like me and make me take the bus to school," she thought. She worked on her homework until dinner time. The family sat down at the table to a meal of brine burritos and sea salad.
"Brine burritos again?" complained Freddie, "Yuck!""Don't complain, or you won't have any plankton ice-cream," Frannie's mother said. "Yeah, don't complain, you don't have to take the bus to day care," Frannie said.
"Frannie," her father began, "your mother and I have talked about this, and we feel that it is better for everyone, if you take the bus.""You mean better for you," Frannie said. "You just don't want to take me."
"You shouldn't talk that way. You know that I love spending time with you. Your school is just in the
opposite direction from my office, and I need to be at work earlier than when your school starts. Also, your mom and I feel like you are getting old enough where you can handle the responsibility of riding the bus.""Really? So that's why you want me to ride the bus?" Frannie asked.
"Yes, really. We think you can handle it, and riding to school with classmates can be fun," her
mother said. "Okay, I'll ride the bus," Frannie said smiling. "Sounds good," her father said.
Frannie went to bed that night feeling good about having to ride the bus. She was a little scared about not having anyone to sit next to, but she thought everything would work out. She fell asleep dreaming of the ride to school with a smile on her face.
The next morning Frannie got up out of bed and got ready for school. She went downstairs to breakfast and had a bowl of frosted fish flakes. Her mother said goodbye and Frannie walked out to go wait for the bus. When the bus pulled up, she was amazed. The driver, a red lobster, said hello to everyone as they entered.
As Frannie swam onto the bus, her excitement faded. She didn't see anyone she knew. The bus was full of older kids. She picked an empty seat near the back of the bus, and sat alone. When the bus came to the next stop, Frannie was
surprised to see her friend Carter enter the bus.
"Carter!" Frannie called. "Come sit here!" Carter went and sat next to Frannie. "Hey Frannie-Fran," Carter said. "When did you start riding the sardine can?"
"It's my first time," she answered.
"That's cool," he said. "
Tommy and Suzy ride it too. They'll be here after the next stop."
Sure enough, Tommy and Suzy joined Frannie and Carter, and the friends talked for most of the ride to school.
"Hey guys, you want to play catch with this
oyster pearl I found?" Carter asked.
"Yeah!" replied his three friends.
They started playing a game of toss while they rode. It was going pretty well until Frannie threw the pearl to Tommy, but she missed and threw it over his head. She hit a third-grader in the face. Frannie was about to apologize, but as soon as she saw the fish she hit, she got scared. The other fish was a large brown blowfish, and as soon as she saw Frannie, she puffed out her body to its full round size.
"Who's the wise guy ?" said the blowfish.
"I'm sorry," said Frannie. "I didn't mean to hit you."
"Sorry doesn't cut it. Meet me behind the gym after school." The blowfish growled.
"What for?" Frannie was scared.
"Because we're going to fight, dummy."
"Oh no!" thought Frannie. "What do I do?"
Next week: "Frannie and the Blowfish"