by Espero and Lornda
Oscar the Otter
Oscar the Otter's eyes opened wide when he gazed upon the garden. What in the world could it be? He stood on his hind quarters, sniffing the air, and thought, These are giant green heads all in a row.They didn't seem to be moving but Oscar poked one to make sure. A noise in the distance startled him, and he backed up into a shrub, falling over into the soft dirt. He wiggled his nose, brushed off his whiskers, and looked around to make sure no one had seen him. Crouching low to the ground, he stepped closer to one of the green heads. He sniffed it but there was no smell so he took his little paw and jabbed it again, expecting something to come jumping out of the middle; but nothing happened. Without giving his next move a thought, he opened his mouth and snatched a bite. Woo Hoo! Oscar rolled on the ground with glee, took another taste, and then stuffed his pouches with the new found treat. As he chewed with his mouth open, the leaves crunched and he knew at this moment, he was going to keep the new treat a secret from his friends.
Once again he heard the noise, an unfamiliar sound, so he dove in the water and hid behind a rush of reeds, peeking out. Turning his head from side to side, he concentrated on the noise, and he heard the sound of gurgling water and laughter. He crept closer on his stomach and watched these odd creatures having fun, I wonder, he thought. Edging forward through the reeds, Oscar decided to investigate further.
What in the world, how could this be, there were two of them splashing in the water, he almost wanted to join them but he was afraid. He wanted to meet them and have fun, and maybe they knew more about the green heads, so he put his fears behind him and crawled out into the open.
"Oh, look," pointed a cute girl in a blue and white striped bathing suit, "it's a little otter, he's watching us." She skipped over to him and said, "Hi, I'm Eva."
Oscar wanted to bolt but instead he crouched down and hid his eyes with a paw; then ever so slowly, peeked out between them, took a step, and touched Eva on the leg.
She giggled and asked, "What's your name?"
He blinked his big eyes at her, purred, and said, "Oscar, I like to play in the water too."
"I'm so happy you like it too . . . hey, follow me to the big, water slide."
Oscar trotted behind her, then stopped and stretched his long neck, looking up, up, up, to the top of the slide, oh my!!! They both climbed the stairs as fast as they could, and by the time he got to the top, his tiny legs felt like jellyfish.
"Come on Oscar, don't be afraid, we'll go down together, you will love it, it's fun." Eva disappeared down the slide, and he dove right in behind her, face first on his stomach. Oscar was having a ball; soon there was a continuous stream of children on the slide; laughing and shouting could be heard for quite a distance. After another fancy landing, he shook the water off his brown fur, and wanted to find Eva to let her know he was hungry.
Still wanting to keep his secret, Oscar pulled Eva aside and said, "I've found something really yummy to eat."
She rubbed her stomach and said, "Oh good . . . I'm so hungry."
Excited, Oscar bounded ahead and stood on his haunches pointing to the bed of lettuce, "Don't know what it is, but I liked it a lot. I love the way the big leaves crunch in my mouth, but I do wonder if it has a name."
"That's called lettuce, silly; I guess you've never had it before, Oscar, you are so funny!"
He crinkled his nose and said, "Lettuce . . . what a weird name for these green heads."
"Oscar, let's play hide and seek, you close your eyes and count to one hundred, I'll hide and you have to find me."
Before he could even close his eyes and start counting at one, she ran down the garden path towards the lake. As he was counting in his head, he wondered where she would hide.
Oscar yelled out 100, sniffed the air, and bolted for the garden path. Nose to the ground he scurried here and there, but no Eva; then he stopped as he heard a faint call. The sound of the voice was coming from behind the cattails, so he ran off in that direction. Oh no, it was Eva and she was thrashing in the water and calling out for help; he jumped in the water and pushed a tree branch toward her as fast as he could. She grabbed on to it, kicking her legs, as Oscar floated on his back, pushing the branch with his back feet to shore.
"Oscar, you saved me, I'm so glad we are friends! I slipped on the green stuff on a boulder . . . oh, look at me, I'm soaking wet again . . . I better get back to the water park before my mom and dad start to worry."
"I'll come along with you, maybe stop and have another bite of lettuce before I paddle back home, have to keep up my energy you know. I hope no one else finds the patch because I want that lettuce all to myself." They rounded the bend to the lettuce patch and Oscar emitted a groan when he saw who was there.
His whiskers twitched as he saw his brother and sisters munching on the green heads and said, "What are you guys doing here?"
"We heard all the noise and came over to see what was going on and we found these yummy green heads."
Oscar glared at his sister and said, "But . . . BUT . . . it was my secret eating place . . . by the way, it's called lettuce!"
Story inspired by this video: