Jeremy and the Magic Lobster

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Jeremy lived out on Coney Island with his mother, father, and sister Cleo. He'd inhaled the smell of the ocean since the day he was born, and there was nothing in the world he liked better than to go for a walk on the beach.

Rain or shine, Jeremy hit the beach every day. He watched ships in the distance, listened to the waves, buoy-bells and foghorns, felt the sand and water on his feet and dreamed about sailing. Beach walks always made him hungry, and what Jeremy liked to eat was fish. In fact, anything that came out of the sea was just fine.

One day, after a particularly excellent walk, during the course of which he'd seen a three-masted schooner go by and a horseshoe crab wandering around at the shoreline, Jeremy went home and was delighted to see that his mother had bought lobsters for dinner. They were on the kitchen counter, still alive, wriggling their legs and antennae. Jeremy inspected them. He was seriously hungry and wanted to reserve the biggest one for himself. One of the lobsters was quite a bit bigger than the others. Its shell was almost black. Jeremy picked it up and looked into its beady little lobster eyes.

"Hey boss!" the lobster whispered. "Get me out of this jam and I will definitely make it worth your while."

Jeremy, startled, nearly dropped the lobster.

"Keep your cool, kid. That fat lady over there might be watching us."

"Hey, that's my mother," Jeremy said.

"Oops, sorry. Listen boss...you look smart. Think of something, fast. Get me outta here!"

Jeremy thought fast. He petted the lobster like it was a cat and carried it over to his mother at the stove.

"Mama, this is the most amazingly beautiful lobster I've ever seen. Would it be all right if I kept him as a pet and had a sardine sandwich for dinner instead?"

Jeremy's mother shot him a strange look. "But Jeremy, you love lobster. I got them especially for you."

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"Please, mama."

"Well, if that's what you really want, I guess it's all right."

"Thanks, mom." Jeremy hustled the lobster out of the kitchen and up to his room.

"Whew," the lobster said, "that was mighty close. The water in that dirty pot was almost boiling. Boss, you sure are one sharp character, and this is your lucky day, because...I am a magic lobster."

"Really?"

"That's right. And you've got some wishes coming."

"I do?"

"Sure, but I'll need a few things first. Like some water - salt water - in a clear tank, so I can see out. And please, please get these rubber bands off my claws."

Jeremy rummaged around the house until he found a decent-sized clear plastic tub. He filled it with water and sea salt and put the lobster in.

"Brrr. Hey, this water's cold, kid. Go get me some warm water, fast!"

"You sure are fussy," Jeremy said. "I thought you lobsters didn't like hot water."

"Did I say hot? Warm, kid. Think vacation in Florida."

Jeremy fetched warm water. Then he had to sit through dinner eating a sardine sandwich while everyone else devoured lobsters with home-made mayonnaise.

Before going to bed that night, Jeremy leaned over the plastic tank on his table. The lobster seemed to be taking a little snooze.

"Hey!" Jeremy said. "I've thought up a wish. How does this work?"

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