Webisode I-Fuzzy Pickles

The sleek gray dolphin swam toward the glass, and Sue aimed her camera at it.

"Smile," she said.

As if it understood, the dolphin's mouth parted into a wide grin.

Cherie rolled her eyes. "What a show-off."

Sue nodded toward the aquarium window. "Stand next to him, I'll take a picture of you both. If it turns out, we can send it to Larissa and maybe she'll post it on the CAGIS website."

Cherie moved in close and crossed her eyes.

"Perfect," Sue said, snapping the shot.

"Hey!" Cheri protested as the flash went off. "I was just goofing around."

"Oh, really?" Sue teased. "You looked pretty normal to me."

"Very funny." Cherie made a face. "Take a proper picture." Then she ran her fingers through her springy black curls and struck a pose.

Unable to resist teasing her friend further, Sue peered over the top of her camera and jibed, "Are you sure you don't want to stick straws up your nose first?"

Cherie's eyes narrowed into a glare, and Sue took a step back. "Just kidding." Then she raised her camera again and looked through the viewfinder. "On three, say fuzzy pickles. One, two, three...

"Fuzzy pickles." Cherie grinned at the camera. Her good humour restored once more, she turned sideways and puckered up as if she was giving the dolphin a kiss.

"Good one," Sue said, catching that shot too.

Then the girls waved at the dolphin and wandered off to the next exhibit.

"What's with all the pictures anyway?" Cherie asked. "You must've used up two rolls of film in this place. I didn't know you were interested in sea life."

Sue shook her head. "I'm not - not really. The animals just make great subjects for my photographs. And this isn't my second roll of film. It's my third."

Cheri shut her eyes and shook her head. "This can only mean one thing - you've changed hobbies again. Tai Chi is out and photography is in. Now you're going to be Jacques Cousteau."

Sue stuck her tongue out and made a face. "Maybe I am. Maybe I'm not." Then she turned her camera on a crowd of people milling in front of one of the displays.

Cherie's sarcasm didn't really bother her. Sue was used to being kidded by her CAGIS friends. So she had a lot of interests. What was the matter with that?

A voice over the loud speaker interrupted her thoughts. "A man's gold watch has been lost in the aquarium. If anyone has found it, please bring it to the information booth in the main foyer."

"Yikes!" Cheri yelped, glancing at her own watch.

Sue lowered her camera. "What's the matter?"

"We're late! We were supposed to meet the others at the shellfish exhibit ten minutes ago."

"Where have you two been?" Cecilia scowled at them when they finally made their appearance. "I was just getting ready to have security page you. Not that it matters now. We've probably missed our bus."

Sue glanced around. "Where are Cindy and Shenya?

"Outside," Cecilia called over her shoulder as she bolted for the exit. "They're trying to convince the bus driver to wait. So hurry up. We don't have time to - "

But Cecilia's sentence was cut short as she slammed hard into a man crossing her path. Caught off balance, she reached out to break her fall, knocking the man's sunglasses off his face in the process.

"Oh, gosh! I'm sorry," she apologized, retrieving the glasses that had fallen to the floor. "I wasn't looking where I was going."

"Don't worry about it," the man said, staring past her. And then he smiled. "Neither was I."

Cecilia held the glasses out to him, but the man made no move to take them.

"Your glasses?" she prompted him.

But instead of reaching for them, the man held out his open hand.

That's when Sue noticed the white cane. She tried to catch Cecilia's attention. He's blind, she mouthed.

"I have never been so embarrassed in my entire life," the older girl groaned as the three girls left the man and hurried on their way.

"Why?" Sue asked. "Because you nearly decked the guy? Or because he was blind?"

Cecilia yanked on one of Sue's blonde ponytails. "Both, smartie."

A disturbance in the foyer forced the trio to stop again. A man and a woman -- obviously agitated -- were blocking the exit, jabbering and waving their arms at a security guard who was trying unsuccessfully to calm them down.

Of course, I'm sure I had it when I came in," the woman huffed, "and, no, I did not misplace it! I'm telling you -- someone stole my purse! I put it down for two seconds, and when I went to pick it up again, it was gone. I had over $300 in that purse!"

"Don't just stand there!" the man shouted at the security guard. "Block off the exit! Conduct a search!"

"I'm afraid I can't do that, sir," the security guard mumbled apologetically, shuffling the man and woman to the side.

"Well, you better do something! If you have no authority, call the police!" The man's face was so close to the security guard's that their noses were almost touching.

Sue raised her camera, but barely had time to bring the argument into focus before Cecilia was dragging her out the door.

She was instantly blinded by sunlight. Shielding her eyes with one hand, Sue squinted toward the curb. Shenya and Cindy were standing at the bus stop.

Unfortunately, the bus wasn't.

Sue and Cherie exchanged guilty grimaces. Cecilia glowered at them for a second and then, with an exasperated sigh, turned to Cindy.

"When's the next bus?"

Cindy studied the bus schedule before replying. "Half an hour."

"Well, that's just great," Cecilia grumbled.

"Actually, it's not that bad," Shenya countered optimistically.

"How do you figure that?" Cecilia scowled.

"Well, for one thing, we don't have to be anywhere. And for another thing, the sun is shining and there's a bench right over there for us to sit on. We'll have a nice, relaxing wait. The time will zip by before we know it," she beamed.

"I know what would really make the time fly," Sue said, pointing down the block. "We could check out some of those stores."

"No way!" Cecilia said flatly, marching toward the bench. "Knowing you, you'll forget all about the time again, and we'll miss the next bus too."

Sue thought Cecilia was being a bit harsh, but since she was already in the dog house, she decided not to argue the point. Instead she squeezed onto the bench with the others and turned her attention to the people walking by. Considering that everyone she saw had two legs, it was amazing how differently they all moved -- skipping, bouncing, shuffling, gliding, scurrying, clomping, limping ... It seemed there were as many ways of walking as there were people.

Sue wondered if people's walks sounded different too. Well, there was one way to find out. She shut her eyes and listened hard.

Click, click, click. There was no doubt what that was - a woman's high heels. The soft padding of the next set of feet told Sue the person was wearing running shoes, but she sneaked a quick peek just to be sure. Then she shut her eyes once more and concentrated on listening. Clap, slap, clap, slap. Definitely thongs or backless sandals.

Sue smiled to herself. She was pretty good at this. She listened for the next footsteps. Squeak, pause, squeak, pause. She frowned. This one was a bit more tricky. It was either a very slow walker or a person with one squeaky shoe. But what were the other sounds with it - that rapid tap,tap, tap and that trotting rat-a-tat?

Unable to figure it out, Sue opened her eyes just as the blind man from the aquarium walked past with his seeing-eye dog. No wonder she hadn't been able to guess. The cane, the shoes, the dog's claws - there were just too many sounds.Click here! for an experiment to try.

The man made his way to the corner and stopped. That puzzled Sue. She could see that the light was red, but the man wouldn't be able to. So how had he known to stop? The answer came to her even before she finished thinking the question. The dog must have signaled the man to stop. After all, that's what seeing-eye dogs were for, wasn't it?

Then the light changed to green, and a bird began to chirp. Traffic swung into motion once more, and the man and dog started across the intersection.

Sue knew the chirping told the man it was safe to walk, but what she couldn't figure out was how he knew which way to go. If he stepped off the wrong side of the curb, he'd be walking right into the path of oncoming cars!

Sue made a mental note to find out how chirping traffic lights worked. And just so she wouldn't forget, she snapped a picture of the man's retreating back.

Suddenly another sound - a wailing siren - drowned out the traffic signal. Sue swung her head around just as a police cruiser screeched to a halt at the bus stop in front of her. Then two uniformed officers slammed out of the car and rushed into the aquarium.

Next month - Webisode 2 ... Something Fishy at the Aquarium

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