The Weatherman

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Off the coast of Yakutat, on the Hubbard Glacier in Alaska, a young, green boy sits on a chunk of melting ice. It’s January, and there is barely any snow. The green boy’s spacesuit is dirty and wrapped in plastic. The hot sun has started to melt the plastic bubble around his head.

“I need help,” he says, but no one can hear him.

One day, he sees a fisherman on a boat with a young girl. The green boy raises his hands, signalling them for help.

“Daddy, look! It’s a green person. Daddy!” says Zoe.

Peter looks carefully with his binoculars, takes a step back in shock, and drops his fishing pole.

“Oh, my God! That’s not possible. That’s—”

“Let’s go help him, Daddy!” says Zoe.

Peter starts the engine. “No, Zoe, we have to leave now. We have to leave.”

“But we always help people. Look, he’s trapped. We can’t leave him, Daddy,” Zoe cries.

The green boy motions them to approach the ice.

“No, no, impossible. He’s not real.” Peter starts to steer away. Zoe fights him. “Zoe, we have to go. This is dangerous. He is not real; he can’t be.”

Zoe wipes her tears. “Please, Daddy. Please. He looks like he is in pain.” She watches the green boy disappear into the distance.

The night is warm and keeps Zoe awake. She stares at the sticker stars in her bedroom. She slowly gets up and walks into her parents’ room; they’re both asleep. She tiptoes to her father’s drawer and steals the keys for his fishing boat. She grabs her coat from the hallway, takes her father’s lighter, opens the door, and runs outside in the thin snow. It’s dark and quiet. She misses seeing polar bears from afar. Zoe walks to the marina and finds her father’s fishing boat. She checks to see if anyone is around. Zoe remembers how her father started taking her fishing when she was only two years old. Now that she is seven, she knows how to drive the boat, but her father never lets her.

Zoe starts the engine and steers back to the fishing spot that her father always takes her to. The moon lights her way. The sea is calm, and the boat cruises smoothly through the waves. Soon she arrives at the icy spot and sees the green boy. He looks asleep. Zoe lowers the boat’s speed and starts making her way to the green boy. As she is about to throw the anchor, the green boy lifts his sleepy head and bangs it on the glass. Startled, Zoe yells, but no one can hear her. Suddenly, the green boy slides down the ice chunk and falls into the cold water.

“Please don’t hurt me; I’ll leave.” Zoe presses the button to lift the anchor.

The green boy floating on his suit stretches his arm and reaches for the anchor.

“No, no, please,” says Zoe.

The green boy holds on to the anchor and lifts himself into the boat. Zoe’s face is filling with tears as she backs away from him, hitting her back at the edge of the boat. Suddenly, the green boy’s spacesuit lights up, and four colourful buttons appear – a yellow, a silver, a blue, and a brown.

Zoe stares at the shining buttons in shock. “What is this?”

“I need help,” the green boy says.

“Who are you? Why are you green?” Zoe asks.

“I need help,” the green boy says again.

“What do you need help with? Who are you?”

“I need help,” the green boy repeats.

“Do you understand me? Can you say anything else?” Zoe asks.

“I need help.”

Zoe looks around, wondering what to do. “Can I touch your suit?” she asks.

“I need help.”

“Okay, okay. Let me see. Zoe approaches the green boy hesitatingly.

She presses the yellow button on his suit. Suddenly, night becomes day, and the sun comes out, burning Zoe’s face and melting the glacier.

“Oh no, oh, no! How can I make it stop?” asks Zoe, but the green boys says nothing. His eyes are closed, and he looks like he’s sleeping again. “Wake up, please. What’s happening?”

Zoe presses the blue button, and the sun disappears; the sky fills with clouds, starting a thunderstorm.

“Oh, so the buttons control the weather,” Zoe says and presses the brown one. The rain stops, and strong winds make her blonde, curly hair fly in all directions. “I know why you’re here. To save the glacier to bring more snow.” Zoe presses the silver button, and heavy snow starts falling, replacing the strong winds.

Suddenly, all the buttons turn black, and Zoe hears the green boy say, “You saved the Weatherman. Now save the planet too.”

Before Zoe can respond, the green boy disappears, and a book lands in her hand. Zoe stares at it; it’s a travel guide. She turns on the lighter and starts to skim through the pages. Each page is a picture of a country with information on the resources that people can use to make it more environmentally friendly. On the front page, there’s a poem:

 

I’m the Weatherman.

I bring all the seasons.

I protect the environment for a million reasons!

I control the sun.

Be part of my plan.

Recycle a plastic can.

Plant a tree.

Help a bee.

Protect the sea.

I’m the Weatherman.

I bring all the seasons.

I protect the environment for a million reasons!

Zoe steers away and parks the boat safely. She returns home, tucks herself in bed and falls asleep. The next morning, she wakes up and finds her father lighting a fire in the fireplace. Outside, big snowflakes have covered Yakutat like a soft white blanket. She cuddles on the couch with her mom.

“Mommy when I grow up, I want to be an envreiomental scientist.” Her mother smiles. Zoe gives her the book. “Do you think I can save the planet?”

Her mother looks at the book, “I think you can do anything you want.”

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- Total nr. of readings: 474 Copyright © The author [2020] All Rights Reserved. This story may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the author except for personal use.

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