They called me Rusty. In fact, they’d called me Rusty for so long that I’d forgotten what my real name was. Besides that, any other name would not have felt right, anyway. You see, I am – was – a scuba diver. Nowadays I like to think of myself as more of a guardian than anything else. Since my suit is made of metal, I did compare myself to a knight in shining armour for a while, but that felt a little bit presumptuous. Whereas ‘guardian’ still carried a certain authority without coming across as too self-important – almost as if someone else gave me the title and I was reluctantly using it to describe my job. What is your job? I hear you ask. Excellent question, and one I’m more than happy to explain to you, and we’ll get to that. First, however, I need to give you a bit of background into my surroundings.
I live in a fish tank. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Ha ha, Rusty. Excellent joke, Rusty. Tell us where you really live, Rusty. But, it’s the truth. Besides, what reason would I have to lie to you? I mean, if I break your trust, then you aren’t going to listen to my story at all. So, yes, the truth is, that I live in a fish tank. There are five fish in the tank: Two cichlids, two guppies and a catfish named Earl. Earl wasn’t always a catfish. Just like me, he has an interesting past and maybe one you’ll get to hear it. But, for now, just know that Earl used to be a real pet cat. My real pet cat. We lived together in a big city apartment, and I drove trucks for a living. Huh. Think about that. From a truck driver with a pet cat to the guardian of the most highly sought after treasure chest ever to have existed.
Why did the fish choose me to be the guardian of the treasure chest? Because I’d helped save their lives on several occasions, I guess. I couldn’t really be sure. I’d thought about it – just as I’d thought about a lot of things while sitting in this fish tank guarding the treasure chest. I mean, I’ve got a lot of spare time as you can tell. That’s the other thing. The name ‘guardian’ tends to make people think I have a far more interesting story to tell when compared to being a knight, so it’s possible that the pressure has gotten to me and I’ve added one or two embellishments to this story along the way. But, the fact remains that I was a hero to the fish even in my humble truck-driving days. Sure, all I did was shoo Earl’s paws away from the fish tank once or twice, but, to the fish I’d already put in the fish tank, that simple gesture was enough for them to bestow the title of hero onto me, and for me to agree to help protect their precious treasure chest when they needed it most.
That was so many years ago now, and the fish never did tell me exactly what, or who, it was that I was protecting the treasure from. All I can figure is that I must be doing a fantastic job because no one has ever come to steal the treasure chest, plus, they let me bring Earl with me (I made sure that he maintained some dignity by being turned into a catfish, rather than just a tiny, swimmable cat which was their first suggestion). Anyway, I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than listen to me rabbit on about how I’m some magical guardian who used to be a truck driver but who now protects the most talked about treasure chest in the history of the world while my fish friends swim around the tank in peace and my pet catfish sleeps beside me. You’ve probably got to do something exciting like brushing your teeth or eating your lunch, so I’ll let you go.
Make sure you check in if you are ever interested in hearing about my adventures in the fish tank, though. Just don’t even think about going anywhere near my treasure chest.
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
Illustrations by Alisha Towers: FACEBOOK
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