*The following was written in 2005, when I was a freshman in high school. We were to write a backstory for a fictional character. One of my favorite movies was, and is, “Finding Nemo”, so here’s what I came up with. Pixar, I’ll sit by the phone waiting for your call. I’m especially good at writing whale dialogue.*
Dory: How a Little Fish Found the Right Water
Dory was swimming aimlessly, something she did often. She did back flips, somersaults and loop-de-loops, humming a little ditty to herself. Dory wasn’t trying to go anywhere, she wasn’t trying to do anything. Dory was just being herself, enjoying the moment. Then again, Dory, couldn’t remember if she had anywhere to go. She looked up and a white boat floated by above her. It was so pretty in the reef, with lots of other colorful fish and plants Dory had never seen. Dory liked this water, and she knew something about water. She had been splished and sploshed from tank to sewer to ocean. And now, Dory was happy where she was.
Dory was born in a pet store, Pet Palace, by name, in Sydney, Australia. She had never had a good memory—thoughts and words and memories floated in, only to drift away as soon as they had come. Her parents, Elmo and Feather, and her many siblings were the same way—short term memory loss had run in the family for several generations. Dory’s best friend in her tank was Gurgle, a purple and yellow fish who was petrified of germs. Dory never had any worries, and always looked on the positive side of life—even when she couldn’t remember which side that was.
Only a few weeks after she was born, Dory was sold to a little girl named Nora, who wanted a fish for her seventh birthday. Dory’s new home, was a small, quiet tank on the windowsill of Nora’s room. Dory was very lonely, as the only other occupants of the tank were three snails who preferred talking to each other instead of Dory. She couldn’t remember where her family was, or even if she had a family.
Not long after Dory came to live with Nora, Nora’s mother cleaned the tank. She placed Dory and the three snails in separate plastic bags, and leaving them in the bathroom sink, viciously attacked the tank. Nora’s four year old brother Mickey wandered into the bathroom and saw Dory in her bag. He thought she looked rather sad, and scooping the bag up in his hands, he trotted to the toilet, upended the bag, and flushed.
Dory found herself in a whirling vortex. She had no idea what had happened to her, but it was more fun than she’d had in a long time.
“WHEEEEEEEE!” she yelled as she tumbled through a series of pipes. This news game was more interesting than her tank in Nora’s room, where she had nothing to do, and no one to talk to.
All too soon, the wild ride ended when Dory popped out of the top of a pipe. She was in a dark, salty tank with hundreds of other very large fish. Dory looked up, but she couldn’t see the top of the tank. She looked around, but she didn’t see the sides. She swam over to a grumpy-looking fish and asked, “What kind of tank is this?”
The grumpy fish snorted. “You’re not in the tank anymore. This here is the ocean.”
“Wow! The ocean!” Dory looked around eagerly. She’d heard stories about the ocean, but this dark, smelly place did not resemble that colorful, magical world.
“Where is this place, then?” Dory inquired.
“This is the Sydney Sewer,” the grumpy fish answered.
“How do I get out of the sewer if I don’t want to stay?” Dory wondered.
“See that pipe? Swim straight down it that way. That should get you out of the sewer. After that, you’ll have to get directions from someone else.” The grumpy fish swam off before Dory could even say thank you.
Dory stared at the pipe in the direction the fish had pointed. Then she resolutely began to swim. And swim and swim and swim. She just kept swimming. She had never swum so far before. Several times, she thought she was lost, and couldn’t remember why she was following a pipe. Finally, she saw the pipe’s end. She noticed there were not as many fish around, and the water was clearer. Dory didn’t pause to wonder why. As soon as she stopped swimming, she fell fast asleep.
A loud noise that sounded like a foghorn startled her awake. Dazed and sleepy, Dory discovered she was facing a broad flat surface encrusted with barnacles. When she reached out to touch it, it moved, and she jumped backwards.
“WHOOOO-ARE-YOUOOOOOOO?” bellowed the mother humpback.
“Uh, well, I’m Dory, I come from…let’s see…um, well, I don’t remember,” Dory answered.
The whale nodded. “WHY-ARE=YOUUUUU-HERE, IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR POD?” the mother humpback asked.
“I, um, fell asleep, but you weren’t here then, and I think I’m lost.” Dory smiled at the whale. “But if you want me to leave, well then, I’ll be going.”
“WAIT HERE, LITTLE FISH,” the whale answered, and swam off a little way to where several other whales were waiting. They all seemed to be discussing the situation, but Dory couldn’t understand what they were saying because Dory didn’t speak Whale.
A few minutes later, the whale returned to where Dory was waiting.
“WE HAVE DECIDED TOOOO TAKE YOUOOOO TOOOO WHERE FISH OF YOUR OWN KIND AND SIZE LIVE,” said the whale. “THERE YOU WILL BE WELCOME.”
Dory traveled with the whales for several days. She rode in the mouth of Serene, the whale she had originally met. Dory played with all the other young whales in the pod, and learned how to speak Whale. She even tried krill, but found she preferred her normal diet.
Every whale in the pod was sad when they had reached their destination and it was time for Dory to go. Serene was especially sad, as she had grown to like the company of the little fish with the short memory. She gave Dory a one-flipper hug, and said, “ANYTIME YOUOOOO WISH TO LEAVE THE SAFETY OF THIS REEF, KNOWOOO THAT YOUOOOO ARE WELCOME WITH US.”
Dory hugged her back. “That is one thing I’ll be sure to remember.” She waved as the whales swam off, and turned to look at her new home.
The reef was so beautiful, with lots of different plants and fish Dory had never seen before. And it was so colorful. Dory fell in love with the reef at once. She could hardly wait to start exploring.
But for now, Dory was happy, because she was finally in water where she felt at home. She sang a little ditty to herself, while she did cartwheels and somersaults and loop-de-loops. She looked up, and a white boat floated by above. Dory was just being herself, enjoying the moment of finally feeling she had found a place for herself. But Dory didn’t know the adventures that awaited her, and how close they were. Suddenly, a harried little clownfish swam up to her, and asked rather agitatedly, “Have you seen a boat?”
Dory grinned at him. “Sure, I’ve seen a boat! It passed by not too long ago….”