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The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish

The Day I Swapped My Dad for 2 Goldfish

org. written by Neil Gaiman

adapted by CMUD


One day my mom went to the store and left me & my sister home alone with my dad, who was reading the newspaper. See, my dad doesn't
really pay attention when he's reading the newspaper, so my sister
and I went outside to play- her with her Barbies and me with my mud
pies, which would share with my sister by sliding them down the back
of her shirt, when she wasn't looking. She was going to tell on me to
our dad, when my friend Nathan dropped by.

He had the coolest thing I had ever seen- a bowl of water with two golden fish swimming around inside.

“Their names are Goldie and UT”, he said, proudly.

“They are the coolest thing I've ever seen,” I said. “In fact, they are so super cool that I'll swap you for them.”

“What do you have to swap?” asked Nathan, as he followed me up to my room.

I showed him all sorts of stuff- my Transformers, my puzzles, my Legos- even my old stuffed clown named Clownie, who I still sleep with every
single night. Do you know what Nathan did? He just stood there and
shook his head. He didn't even want Clownie!

I had to sit down to Think about this situation. You know there are some people who spend their whole lives, waiting for a truly
magnificent idea and everybody thinks they are geniuses, like Albert
Einstein and Amelia Earhart? And then there are some people who never
even get one Great Idea? I get those kinds of ideas at least once a
week, no, three times a day! All the time. So, when I sat down to
Think about this problem, I thought of the Greatest Thing Ever.

“Nathan, I'll swap you my dad for those two goldfish in their bowl,” I said.

My little sister shook her head, disapprovingly.

“I don't know. It doesn't' seem fair. I've got two goldfish and you've got only one dad.” said Nathan.

“But, Nathan, my dad is ten times bigger than one goldfish. He's worth 20 goldfish. Plus, I'll throw in our red wagon.” I said.

Nathan thought about that and finally said yes.

“You are going to be in such big trouble when Mom gets home.” my little sister said.

“Hush!” I said, as I helped Nathan load my dad, who was still reading the newspaper, in the red wagon. Nathan waved as he toted my dad away and
I happily took my new goldfish in the house and put them on the
dining room table.

Soon my mom came back from shopping.

“Hey mom, come look at these goldfish. Aren't they the coolest thing you've ever seen?” I said, pointing at the bowl on the table.

My sister said, “Mmmmm...”, since I had my hand over her mouth. I didn't want her to tell on me.

My mom glanced at the fish and then at us. I wrapped my other arm around my sister, acting like I was hugging her really tight. “See, mom,
aren't they cool? Look, look at the fish!”

“Where's your father?” she asked.

“Mmmmm,” said my sister muffled under my arms.

“Look at the fish, mom!” I exclaimed, as my sister broke free of my grasp.

“Mom! He...” my sister shouted, pointing at me, “...swapped Dad for those goldfish of Nathan's.” She swung around and pointed at the
goldfish on the table.

“Really?” said my mother. Then she looked at me. “Is this true?”
I hate when she asks direct questions like that. I mean what can you say?

“Well, he wasn't doing anything. Just reading the newspaper and aren't these goldfish the coolest thing ever!?” I cried, desperately, knowing
she was going to make me do something Terrible at any moment. And
then she did.

“Young man, I want you to march right back to Nathan's and swap these fish back. I want your father back home before suppertime.”

Then she looked at my sister, who was triumphantly sticking her tongue out at me.

“And you, young lady, will go with him. I cannot believe you let him swap your father for two goldfish!”

My little sister was not happy. I was not happy. My mom was furious.

I slumped over to the table and picked up the goldfish bowl and headed out the door. My little sister followed me.

We walked to Nathan's house and his mom answerd the door.

“Hello, is Nathan home?” I asked.

“Yes, he is. I'll send him right down.” she said. “By the way, where did you get those goldfish? They were a present from Nathan's Aunty
Violet.”

“Well, we swapped, but now we have to swap back.” I told her.

Nathan came downstairs. “Why are you carrying the goldfish?”

“My mom says we have to swap back.” I told him. “Can I have my dad back?”
“Yes and no.” said Nathan.

“Uh-oh,” said my little sister.

“What do you mean 'Yes and no'?” I asked.

We followed Nathan up to his room. He had more stuff than I did. It was really messy. There he picked up a white electric guitar. “I
swapped Vashti Singh your dad for this guitar.”

“You did what?” I exclaimed. I thought I would jump on him and hit him for trading my dad, but then he said, “Well, he was kind of
boring. All he did was read the newspaper.” And I had to agree.

So, my little sister and I gave Nathan his goldfish and took the guitar. And then we headed down the street to Vashti's house. When we knocked
on the door, Vashti answered with a bunch of her sisters, who were
giggling.

“Hello, Vashti, we need to trade this guitar back for my dad.”

Vashti giggled. Her sisters giggled too. “Just a minute,” she said.

When she came back, she was carrying a super scary gorilla mask.

“That's not my dad.” I said.

“Uh-oh,” said my little sister.

“I know,” said Vashti. “I swapped Blinky your dad for this really good gorilla mask.”

Her sisters giggled and I gave the guitar back for the mask. Then I asked her for directions to Blinky's house. She told me and her sisters
giggled some more.

“That's a long way,” said my sister. And we started off.

On the way, my sister put out the mask. It was really funny and I laughed at her a lot. She looked sad and took it off. Then I put on
the mask and started running around the street, climbing lamp posts
and making monkey noises. My little sister told on me to a police
officer,

“Help! Quick!” she said, “There's a gorilla escaped from the zoo!”

The police officer didn't think it was funny. In fact, he balled both of us out for misbehaving. Stupid gorilla mask. My little sister stuck
her tongue out at me.

Finally, we got to the great big house where Blinkey lives. A butler answered the door. We asked for Blinkey. The butler said, “And whom shall I
say is calling?”

“Me,” I said.

“Me too,” said my little sister.

After a while, Blinkey finally came out to meet us.

“Hey, that's my gorilla mask.” he said.

“Yeah, I'm looking for my dad. Wanna swap?”

“Yes and no.” said Blinkey.

“Uh-oh,” said my little sister.

“What do you mean 'Yes and no'?” I asked.

Blinkey went back inside and then came back, carrying a great big bunny.

“This is Galveston.” Blinkey told us. “I swapped him for your dad. He used to belong to Patti.”

I gave Blinkey the gorilla mask and he gave me the bunny. And then he gave us directions to Patti's house. It was a really, really far way.
His butler felt sorry for us and gave us some cold ginger ale. I
drank mine up. I was really hot. My little sister wrinkled her nose.
I ended up drinking her glass too. She crunched on the ice after the
ginger ale was gone.

Then we started our journey. I've never walked so far in my whole entire life. Finally, finally, finally, we found Patti's house, which looked
just like a windmill. When we knocked on the door, Patti opened it
and exclaimed,

“Galveston!”

Then Patti's dad said, “Galveston!”

And Patti's mum said, “Galveston!”

And Patti's twin brothers said, “Galveston!”

And the Queen of Melanesia, who was visiting that weekend, said “Galveston!”

I said, “Patti, do you have my dad? I'm here to trade Galveston, so I can take my dad home.”

“Oh yeah,” she said. “He's outside.”

My little sister and I followed Patti into the backyard. There was a rabbit hutch. Surrounding the hutch was a chicken wire, which wrapped
around and around, forming tunnels and cozy places. Perfect for a
bunny, but not really for my dad, who sat in the middle, reading his
newspaper and eating a carrot. He had grass all over his pants.

“Thank you for brining Galveston back. Your dad isn't really a very good rabbit,” said Patti.

“Yeah well, he's not a rabbit. He's a dad.” I said, opening the gate. My dad crawled out of the rabbit house and got back in the red wagon. My
little sister & I pulled the wagon all the way and we were only a
little late for dinner.

My mom sent my dad upstairs for a bath. While he was gone, she made me promised never, never to swap my dad for anything else in the world.
Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.

Still, she never said a word about my little sister.

Views: 32

Tags: Neil Gaiman, dads, fathers

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