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puddles is a duck making new friends and dealing with normal things that growing up just dishes out on a daily basis!

Submitted: October 17, 2016

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Submitted: October 17, 2016



The sun was just peeking over the fence line when Puddles came waddling

out the door. Puddles had bright yellow feathers, an extra long beak and

big web feet. They were not just big feet but feet that made all his pals look

like they were walking on sticks. Paddles was a cute little duck that was

always friendly.


Puddles was not as fast as all of his friends. Pepper was his best friend, a

little black cocker spaniel. When Puddles first moved to Slippery Gorge,

Pepper was the first one to say hi. It almost scared him to death because

Pepper came running up and knocked him over. He did not mean to, but he

was just wanting to say, “Hello”! Puddles did not know what to think.


Pepper had knocked him down and then just stood over him with his

tongue hanging out. He could remember looking up and all he could see

was mouth and his tongue hanging out and yes, Pepper slobbered all over



Then, as if someone had started tickling them, they just both started

laughing. They laughed and laughed until their sides hurt. It was not long

before they were the best of buddies even though Puddles was so much

different from Pepper.


Today was a very special day for both Puddles and Pepper. They had been

invited to play the game of soccer with a group after school They were

meeting on the playground and Puddles was so excited. Puddles got up

extra early and was waiting for Pepper to walk to school.


As Puddles sat waiting for Pepper, he wondered why the day was going so

slow. It never went this slow when he and Pepper played after school. They

would be playing tag and it would not be long before he could hear his

Momma calling, “Puddles! Puddles! It’s time to come in, eat, take a bath

and get ready for bed.”


“Puddles! Puddles!” Pepper came running up the sidewalk yelling Puddles’

name over and over again. Pepper could hardly control himself but he

figured it was okay. “After all,” he would say, “I’m a cocker and that’s just

the way we are!” Puddles ran to meet him and off to school they went.


Puddles thought school would never end. All he could think about as he sat

in Miss Stretch’s class was playing soccer and making new friends.


“Puddles!” said Miss Stretch. “Puddles!” Suddenly Puddles realized Miss

Stretch was looking right at him. Miss Stretch was practically looking him in

the eye. She could do this because of her long neck. No one could get

away with anything in her class. Miss Stretch was a tall slender giraffe with

a long neck and very long legs.


“Puddles!” Miss Stretch said. “Are you planning on staying here till



Puddles looked around and realized that the bell had already rung and the

room was empty, except for him and Miss Stretch. “No ma’am!” Puddles

said. Miss Stretch was sitting in her chair but her face was right in front of



“Puddles, what on earth are you thinking about that would cause you to

miss the bell ringing?” Miss Stretch asked.


“Me and Pepper were invited to play soccer with the guys after school

today!” Puddles said.


“That’s ‘Pepper and I’ Puddles”, said Miss Stretch.


“Oh, were you invited too?” asked Puddles. “Well, let’s hurry or we’ll be

late! See you on the field!” and Puddles hurried out the door as fast as he

could. Miss Stretch just smiled as she followed him briefly with her long

neck. As she watched him, she thought that maybe it would be a good idea

for her to go watch them play soccer for a while.


Puddles headed straight for the playground. He could see a group already

getting together in the distance. As he got closer, he could see Pepper.

Pepper sure looked small next to some of the others!


“Hi! I’m Bull.” Bull was a great big bulldog that looked like he had been hit in

the face with the soccer ball one too many times. “You must be Paddles.

Come on and I’ll introduce you to the team.”


Puddles waddled behind Bull onto the field. He looked around and it

seemed like everyone was staring at him. There was Grunt the pig and a

fox name Wiley. Tricksy was a monkey that was always playing jokes on

everyone. His best friend was Smiley, a hyena that laughed at everything

Tricksy did. Tricksy was always in trouble at school. Bull introduced him to

everyone along with his pal, Pepper. Then Bull said, “Okay, let’s play some



The ball was so fast that Puddles just waddled around without ever getting

his foot on it. Pepper, on the other hand, seemed to be doing real well.

Paddles was starting to feel like maybe soccer wasn’t the game for him. No

matter how hard he tried, he just could not keep up.


Miss Stretch had arrived and was watching the game with her long neck

stretched over the field. Suddenly, Tricksy kicked the ball so high, Miss

Stretch had to duck to keep from getting hit. Smiley just rolled on the

ground laughing. Miss Stretch decided it might be wise to watch with her

head and neck on the side of the field as opposed to looking at it from



Puddles finally just quit trying to get the ball. He was so unhappy, he

walked over to the side to sit down and watch while tears just rolled down

his beak. Pepper saw him and ran over to see what was wrong.


“Hey Puddles!” Pepper said. “Why aren’t you playing with us?”


Paddles had cried so much, he was standing in a puddle of tears. “Ah, I just

can’t play. Everyone is so fast and I’m so slow!” Paddles said. “You go

ahead and have fun.”


Bull noticed both Pepper and Puddles on the sideline and called for a water

break. Bull knew that Puddles was slow and figured that he was probably

feeling out of place.


“Hey Puddles! We sure need your help out here.”


Puddles didn't even bother to look up and just nodded and said, “Thanks

Bull, but you’re just being nice. I haven’t even kicked the ball once!”


“Oh, but we do need you!” said Bull. “We need a good goalie and with your

feet, long beak and wings, I bet you are just what we need.” Miss Stretch

wasn’t too far away and could hear them talking.


Puddles looked up at Bull as if he was trying to see if Bull was serious.

Then suddenly he heard a low voice behind him.


“You play goalie and I’ll play in front of you.”


“Who are you?” Puddles asked.


“I’m Wart!” Wart was a big bullfrog. “I got here late, but I’m ready to jump in

and play and we can work together.” Puddles looked at him wondering how

either of them could be any help. Finally, he decided he would try being

goalie, especially since Bull asked him to do it.


“Put this goalie shirt on and do your best!” Bull said. Puddles did not know

that the goalie had a special shirt. He put it on and it made him feel like he

was someone important.


It wasn’t long before the first shot came at Puddles and he put up his wings

and feet, more to keep from getting hit than anything else, but to his

surprise, he stopped the ball. Then a shot went to his left which he knew he

could not get.


Out of nowhere, Wart seemed to jump up and hit the ball with his head.

They both looked at each other and Wart smiled. “I may not look like much,

but I can jump better than anyone on on the field. If we work together, we

can be a great team!”


Together, they blocked shot after shot. Before long, Puddles was quacking

and strutting and just couldn’t wait till the ball was shot again while Wart

would jump and make very deep sounds that Puddles had never heard before.


When the game was over, the whole team came up to Puddles and they

were patting him on the back and saying how glad they were to have him

on the team and they wanted to make him the official team goalie.


Puddles smiled and said, “It was fun but I could not have done it without Wart!”

Paddles was in duck heaven while Wart sat next to him just beaming!


It was starting to get late and time to go home. Miss Stretch was so proud

of all of them and walked away with her head held extra high, even for her!!

Puddles and Pepper began walking together and talking about how much

fun they had both had.


“Puddles! Pepper!” They turned around to see who was calling them. It was Bull yelling for

them to, “Wait up!”


“Do you guys mind if I walk with you?” Bull asked.


“Not at all!” said Pepper. “Thanks for letting us come and play with you

today. We really had a great time.”


“Thanks for coming. Miss Stretch was even watching us play!” Bull said.

“Did you see her almost get hit by the ball? I think Tricksy did that just to

make Smiley laugh.” All three of them laughed at the thought of this.


“Bull,” said Puddles. “Can I ask you a question?” Without waiting for an

answer, Puddles looked at Bull and said, “I really had fun, but at first I could

not keep up at all. Why were you so nice to me in finding someplace for me

to play?”


“Oh, that’s easy!” said Bull with a great big smile. “Look at me! Everyone

used to think I looked mean and rough and they did not want me to play

with them. I probably look like I’ve been hit by one too many soccer balls to

you, right?”


Puddles’ feathers puffed up in embarrassment while his beak turned a

shade of red because he had thought exactly that when he first met Bull.


“Hey, it’s no big deal!” said Bull. “We all have things about us that others

don’t like, but I do my best and I play fair. I’m a pretty good soccer player

but I just wanted them to accept me.”


“How did you finally get accepted by them?” asked Puddles.


Bull looked at Puddles and answered, “That’s another story and I’ll tell you

about it sometime. Now they like me for who I am and so, I think I should

accept you for who you are, big feet and all!”


Puddles smiled. Puddles made lot of friends that day and learned a pretty

good lesson at the same time. As they walked home laughing and talking

about the game and school, Puddles just knew that Bull was going to be

another special friend like Pepper.


“Yep!” he thought. “Not a bad day!”



© Copyright 2018 Christopher Stephens. All rights reserved.

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