The Morning Finn Goldberg Turned Into A Goldfish

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Finn Goldberg was a regular nine-year-old boy. He liked to watch cartoons in the morning, he handed his homework in on time (usually), and his favourite thing to do in the whole world was play football in the park with his friends. When he looked in the mirror as he brushed his teeth one night before he went to bed, he saw that his hair was blond and fluffy and his skin was pale and freckled, just like it had been every other day of his life so far.

The one peculiar thing about Finn, however, was that the only thing he ate was fish. Fish fingers, fish nuggets, fish burgers. Absolutely anything- as long as it was made of fish.

Nobody could remember how this strange situation had started, only that it had, and now Finn absolutely could not, under any circumstances, never in his life, eat anything that wasn’t fish.

One seemingly normal Friday morning, after a night of exciting dreams about winning the World Cup, Finn woke to the sound of his alarm going off, which he slammed the snooze button of just as he usually did. But something didn’t feel right.

His skin felt rough and scaly, and he felt incredibly thirsty like he could really use a big glass of water. Or a nice long bath. His hair felt dry too, with none of its usual fluff.

Do you know what else? Finn thought to himself as he pushed off his duvet and got out of bed. I don’t even feel like playing footie today. I think I’d much rather go for a swim.

As he made his way to the bathroom, Finn also noticed he wasn’t walking the way he normally did. He was more… wobbling. Like he wasn’t used to walking on solid ground, or he had never had legs before now.

And when he looked in the bathroom mirror, he got the biggest shock of his entire life.

“Arghhh!” he yelled.

The image staring back at Finn was not the one he recognised from when he had been brushing his teeth the previous night. His blond hair had changed to strawberry blond, and his skin was the colour of a tangerine. There were strange lines starting to appear on the sides of his neck, and as he turned on the tap to wet his toothbrush, he had the overwhelming urge to stick his head under the faucet.

“Are you alright, Finny?” Mum asked when he wobbled his way into the kitchen for breakfast. He sat down at the table while Mum prepared it for him.

She hadn’t seemed to notice anything strange about Finn’s appearance, so he assumed he must have imagined it. The lighting in the bathroom must have been broken. There was no way he could have changed appearances like that so suddenly… right?

“I’m fine,” he replied uncertainly.

When Mum placed his breakfast down on the table in front of him, Finn immediately knew something else was wrong. His stomach flipped and turned unpleasantly, which it had never done before. Even the smell, which he usually loved, was making him feel really sick.

“Mum, I can’t eat this,” Finn said.

“What do you mean?” she asked curiously. “You love fish-on-toast. It’s your favourite!”

Finn shook his head. “I just can’t eat it. It’s like… if I were to eat one of my friends. It’s awful.”

His stomach began to feel worse as he pondered what this all might mean. He had never felt like this about eating fish before. What was happening to him?

Finn really began to panic now. “Mum, I think there’s something wrong with me. Why don’t I want to eat fish anymore?”

Mum chucked, in that I-know-better-than-you way that mums always do. “I’ve been telling you for ages that if you don’t stop eating fish you’ll start to turn into one. It looks like it’s finally starting to happen,”

Finn was absolutely terrified. “Mum!” he wailed. “I don’t want to be a fish! I want to be a boy!”

“Perhaps you’re turning into a goldfish,” she suggested unhelpfully. “You are looking a little orange this morning,”

Finn began to wail even louder.

“You know what you have to do if you want to stop the transformation from happening, don’t you?” Mum asked.

Finn stopped crying and shook his head.

“You have to eat something that isn’t fish,” she revealed. “That’s the only way to break the spell,”

Finn was really scared. He hadn’t eaten anything other than fish for longer than he could even remember. But he didn’t want to be turned into a goldfish forever, so he knew what he had to do.

“Mum, please, you’ve got to help me. Get me something non-fishy to eat, quickly!”

And so Mum began to frantically rummage around the kitchen cupboards. It was hard to find something in the house that didn’t contain fish, but she eventually pulled a long-forgotten box of cereal from the depths of the cupboards and passed it to Finn.

He didn’t even bother to reach for a bowl and spoon or some milk. He simply reached into the box, grabbed a big handful of cornflakes, and shoved them into his mouth, then kept munching until he had scoffed the whole box.

“Goodness me!” Mum exclaimed.

Finn could sense the magic inside him reversing. His arms tingled and the lines on his neck stopped itching. His insides stopped its flipping like it was thanking him for eating something different, not at all like he expected to feel if he ever ate something that wasn’t fish.

“How do you feel?” Mum asked.

“Actually…” Finn began. “I think I liked cereal more than fish. Could I have some more again tomorrow?”

“Of course,” Mum said. “Now you better hurry up and get in the shower, or else you’ll be late for school.”

Finn bolted upstairs so fast he didn’t notice the strange objects poking out from the bin. There was a box of temporary strawberry-blonde hair dye, and an empty bottle of wash-off fake tan.

Mum smiled to herself as she began gathering up all the fishy food in the house and putting it in the bin, covering her secret purchases so Finn would never know what she did. After all, her plan had worked.

Mum was an absolute genius.

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