A Bedtime Story

“Misty!” Cathy called. “I need you to read me a bedtime story!”

As soon as she heard this, 13-year-old Misty came racing up the stairs.

“What kind of story do you want to hear, sis?” Misty breathlessly responded after she dashed to Cathy’s room.

“I wanna hear a story about a tiger!” Cathy screamed.

“Ok, ok,” Misty said. “Once upon a time, there was a tiger named Splash. Splash wasn’t an ordinary tiger. He had a big imagination, so he decided that he wanted to write a story. He got the idea from watching people write and draw all day at the zoo.

“The next morning, Splash woke up, jumped up and down on the other tigers, and told them all about his wanting to write a story. They all just laughed and said stuff like, ‘You can’t write a story; you’re just a puny tiger, Splash!’ This was true – Splash was just a baby tiger with a dream, but Splash didn’t get discouraged. Instead he decided to work harder.

“At snack time, Splash usually did what he liked the most in the world, and that was splashing in the water. That was also how he got his name, Splash. All of the other tigers were eating and bragging about how long they could stay on their hind legs. Splash had something more important to do with his time. More important than splashing in the water. He decided to start his first book. He needed pencil and paper first, so when the people started coming, he stole their pencils, drawings and their paper when they weren’t looking.

“At noon, after Splash got everything he needed, he wanted to think about what his book was gonna be about. When he started to jot down some notes, he realized something awful — he can’t write! Splash spent the rest of the sobbing and listening to the others laugh and play.

“The next week, Splash saw someone walking up to the shelter. It was a little girl wearing braids and holding a small teddy bear. She went and asked the guy, Phil, who fed the tigers, ‘Are the tigers for sale?’

“She had a sweet little voice, but Phil laughed and dismissed her. Splash whined to let her know that he cared.

“The next few weeks, she kept on coming and she kept Splash company. Of course, the other tigers laughed all day. It turned out that she and her family owned a zoo. It almost seemed like she could understand Splash and all the other animals in the zoo. She was so supportive of the animals and Splash loved her. He wanted to go to her zoo with more friendly tigers and live with her forever. After a while, he knew her name: Dorothy.

“One day, Dorothy didn’t come. Splash and the animals who actually cared became worried. They didn’t have their usual spark. They didn’t eat for two days and grew very weak.

“They didn’t see Dorothy for the rest of the year and they spent it crying. It was hard for them, not seeing Dorothy and all. They didn’t get why she suddenly left. They thought they would never see each other again.

“In a year, Dorothy came and Splash was mad. She didn’t come with the braids she used to wear. She came with jeans, long hair, and a shirt. She looked so different. She was talking to her friends. She acted like she didn’t know any of the animals there; it was hard to watch.

“The other Tigers made fun of Splash, they said, ‘We knew she was never gonna remember you, never!’

“At midnight, Splash rolled onto something. It was something special; Splash could feel it in his small tiger bones. It was numbers, 2001, N Clark St, Chicago IL.

“Splash felt it meant something and he wanted to go there. Wait; there was something else on the address.

“It said, ‘To: Splash, From: Dorothy; I am sorry that I left and didn’t say hi today. I left because my parents divorced and I was forced to live with my dad in Indiana. That address is for my zoo. I will talk to you tomorrow, bye!’

“Splash felt like singing, but he fell asleep right away. All that reading must have made him tired. He was snoring all night. Now the other animals couldn’t sleep!

“The next morning, Dorothy came back. She walked right up to Phil and said, ‘I’ll give you 1,000 bucks for this whole zoo.’

“‘Lots o’ money!’ he thought with a sly grin, ‘We’ll take it.’ he responded, ‘Bwah-ha ha! We will use the money for the zoo!’

“After he had realized that he just sold the zoo so he couldn’t use the money, he yelled, ‘YOU TRICKED ME!!!’ Splash was worried, so he ran out of the zoo and went to Dorothy’s zoo. When he got there the sign read ‘2001, Lincoln Park Zoo.’ Splash ran in and went to the other animals. The tigers seemed nice, the giraffes were magnificent, the lobsters were nicer than he expected, and the kangaroos were awesome.

“Dorothy came after a while and said, ‘Splash! I got the zoo and they are going to rebuild it here! I am so happy you came because I brought the whole crew.’ She showed Splash every single animal from the zoo except the tigers.

“‘I know what you’re thinking,’ Dorothy continued. ‘Where are the tigers? They are in a special place for ‘Horrible Tigers.’

“Splash liked this idea. He nodded his head.

“‘Well, let’s get this party started!’ Dorothy said.

“They partied all night and played Splash’s favorite musi — ”

“ZZZZZZZZZ!” Cathy was asleep. Misty slowly tucked her into bed and went to her room.

“MOM! I need you to tell me a bedtime story!”