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Day 2



Today Percy tells a story.

The road to Tuckertown cut a twisting path through a thick forest. I sat very straight in the passenger seat with my seat belt safely fastened. Suddenly the van slowed, and the driver said, "We're here; there's Tuckertown Drive."

Tuckertown was to be my new home. I had been living at the Metropolitan Zoo, but when I began to lose a lot of weight and get weak the doctor said I had Zoo Fever and would have to find a new place to live. He told me, "If you stay at the zoo, you will die."

So he sent me to Tuckertown, which he said was a home for distressed animals. That's a place where sick or hurt animals can get healthy again.

We drove down a steep hill into a hidden valley. I was shivering with excitement and filled with questions. Would I be the only Penguin? What other animals would be here? Would I like it?

And then I saw the greenest grass and the brightest flowers I had ever seen. It looked like a beautiful park with a big swimming pool and five tiny houses right in the middle.

We stopped at the gate with a gigantic sign above that said: "TUCKERTOWN." A cheerful lady came out from behind the gate and walked up to the van. Opening the door on my side she said, "Welcome to Tuckertown, Percy. I am Mrs. Wilson. I am so glad you got here safely."

"Thank you, Mrs. Wilson. I'm happy to meet you," I said putting out my flipper to shake her hand. She unfastened my seat belt and lowered me to the ground. "Come with me. We have some animals that are anxious to meet you. They've been waiting patiently ever since we heard you were coming."

I followed Mrs. Wilson through the gate to the swimming pool where several animals were waiting. In the group were two seals, a fox and a large turtle. "This is Percy, everyone. Let's form a line to meet him."

"These are our twin seals," Mrs. Wilson continued. "Their names are Flip and Flop. We can't tell them apart without their colored collars. Flip's is red; Flop's is blue."

"Glad to meet you," Flop said. "We heard you like to swim."

"Yeah," said Flip, "Your house is next to the pool and you can swim all you want."

I began to feel more at home and said, "That's great! I love to swim."

Next I met Tilly the turtle. She seemed shy and spoke softly, "We hope you like your new home. My house is next to yours, and I will show you around as soon as you are ready."

"That's nice of you. Thank you, Tilly."

Last in line was Missy Fox. She wasn't friendly like the others. She said, "You are the skinniest penguin I ever saw. Is there something wrong with you?"

"The zoo doctor said I have Zoo Fever."

Missy jumped back and cried, "Zoo Fever! That sounds serious. Is it catchy? Can you die from it? I'm going to stay away from you. I don't want to get sick."

The other animals began to move away from me. Missy had scared them.

I didn't want them to be afraid so I said, "As far as I know only animals that live in a zoo can catch Zoo Fever. The doctor sent me here for rest. He gave me pills to help my appetite."

Missy kept on being nasty. "Did the rest of you hear that? Percy is taking pills! Drugs aren't allowed in Tuckertown. Percy can't stay here if he's on drugs."

Mrs. Wilson stepped in. "What's gotten into you, Missy? Didn't we all agree that drugs given to us by Doctors are okay? It's the drugs that don't come from a doctor that we don't want in Tuckertown. Percy, can you help us? What did they teach you about drugs at the zoo?"

"At the zoo we had to be careful because we had many visitors coming to see us, and some of them used illegal drugs. We called it substance abuse. Before I got sick, I worked with the zoo manager to help prevent drug abuse."

"That's wonderful, Percy. Would you help me the same way here in Tuckertown?"

"I would love to, Mrs. Wilson," I said. everyone seemed happy with my answer except Missy. She looked at me like she hated me. I wondered why she acted so strangely. It was as if she didn't want the others to like me.

I spent the rest of the day getting settled into my new house. Then I ate a light supper and went to bed early. Late that night, I awoke from a sound sleep.

"Psst, Percy," I heard a voice calling me in the dark.

"Who is it? I can't see you."

" Look down here." There, hugging the floor, almost invisible, was Tilly. "Please excuse the late hour, but I had to come in secret."

"Secret? Are you hiding from someone?"

"Yes, from Missy. She's so smart that she can make the rest of us do whatever she wants. Now she has drugs for sale."

"Drugs! Does Mrs. Wilson know?"

"Missy said if we told, she'd get us. She has gang friends who know what to do with squealers. We want to

be strong and have the courage to say no, but we're too afraid. Can you help us?" 

I remembered something we did at the zoo. "I think this will work, Tilly, and you can help."

The next morning when Missy came out of her house she came face to face with a sign hooked to her gate. In large red letters it read: "DRUGS ARE GARBAGE!"

She looked up and saw another sign on the fence: "DRUGS ARE NOT FOR ME!"

She followed the fence around the corner and found two more: "DRUGS AREN'T COOL" and "HAPPY PEOPLE DON'T USE DRUGS."

Missy was furious. "I bet that Percy is behind this. I'll just cut them all down before anyone sees them." But it was too late.

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"Good morning, Missy," said Mrs. Wilson. "Tilly told me about your signs and I hurried over to see them. Where did you get such a good idea?"

Missy thought quickly. "I, uh, knew you were worried about drugs and thought that signs might help."

"Thank you, Missy. I want everyone to read your signs over and over. We will leave them up until everyone knows them by heart."

After Mrs. Wilson went away Missy sat in her yard getting madder and madder. Everywhere she looked her view was blocked by a sign that said no to drugs. "I'm surrounded," she fussed. "I hate those signs."

Later that day when I saw Missy she said, "You think you are so smart but you'd better be careful. I know a few tricks too."

"Thanks for the warning, Missy," I told her. "I'll be ready."

But I was more worried than I let on. She is a fox with a whole bag of tricks.



1. Why was Missy nasty to Percy?

2. Why did Tilly come to Percy at night?

3. How did Missy stop the others from telling Mrs. Wilson about her drugs?

4. How did the signs help everyone?

5. When does it take courage to say no?

6. If someone gave you a pill, what would you do?



Draw a picture of you playing with Percy and give it to him.

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