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    As I tapped my foot while in line with my family, about to board the ship called Bubbles-Cruise, I suddenly noticed its souvenir stand nearby. The ocean-themed stand was only about ten feet away, but it was difficult to distinguish through the thick fog blanketing our surroundings. A blonde middle-aged lady was thoughtfully setting out tie-dyed t-shirts and baseball caps. Squinting my eyes, I noticed the beach-inspired jewelry neatly laid out on their table. A bracelet scattered with seashells the colors of carnival cotton candy immediately captivated me. The luminous glow of the pearl in its middle glowed as bright as the sun’s rays. “Hey, mom,” I announced nonchalantly, “I’m going to check out the stand nearby.” 

     Turning around, my mom just smiled brightly and replied, “Sure, honey. Why don’t you go and buy a souvenir?” Grinning, I scurried over to Bubble-Cruise’s souvenir stand. 


    “This bracelet is gorgeous! ” I exclaimed, putting it on my wrist. “What’s its price?” The blonde-haired lady smiled warmly and said, “ It’s $10, along with all the other jewelery. But today, you get a discount of 20 percent off your total if you spend at least $30. “ Looking around, my glance fell on a pair of clear blue bubble earrings. I grabbed them immediately. I also picked up a keychain embedded with seashells, costing only $8. With a lazy gesture, I grabbed the nearest thing for $2-a box of matches with the Bubbles-Cruise logo on it. “Alright, I’ll buy the bracelet, earrings, matches, and keychain.” I told the lady. She wrapped up the gifts into little white boxes, and handed them to me. After paying for the souvenirs, I carefully tucked them into my jeans. Scuttling over to my parents, who were about to board. I decided that I would show them the souvenirs later. But before I reached them, an idea popped into my brain. Snickering, I slowed down and searched the ground for the perfect rock. Spying a rugged gray one, I snatched it up and stuffed it into my pocket, dashing back over to my parents.


    After boarding the ship, I wandered around, dazed by the high-end restaurants, twinkling chandeliers, and elegant crew members. A vague floral scent wafted through the air, floating into my nose. I could hear the chattering of people and the sweeping sound of feet. This ship is probably what the grand Titanic was like, I thought, as wide-eyed as a deer. It’s amazing! 

     After getting comfortable in my cozy room, which had a cloud-like bed, fluffy pillows and blankets, sofa, nightstand, TV, window and small bathroom, I strolled over to my parents’ room. Walking in, I could see that they were unpacking their suitcase, so I called out, “Hi! Wanna see the souvenirs?” 

     My mom waved and replied, “Sure! What did you buy?” 

     “Hey Liz!” my dad said, a joyful smile spreading across his face. 

     I pulled out the rock, grinning like a fox. “Isn’t it wonderful? It costed $30!” I gazed down at the rock, petting it as if it were a cat. 

     At first, my mom widened her eyes, shaking her head as though water was clogging her ears. Meanwhile, my dad scowled, wrinkles etching into his skin.. I waited 3 seconds before exploding with giggles, as if I was an overblown balloon that burst. Chortling, I placed the rock on their nightstand, and fished out the real souvenirs. I gingerly put on the bracelet, and handed my mom the earrings, my dad the keychain. 

     “Liz! That was so obnoxious!” my mom sighed, shaking her head as my dad chuckled. 

     With a flip of my fiery red hair, I bounded out of their room. Another successful prank--check! I decided to keep the boring matches in my pocket-my parents wouldn’t be supportive of me buying them even though it was just so I could get the discount. 


     Finally returning to the secrecy of my room, I snatched up the binoculars I “borrowed” from my dad and decided to observe the whirlwind of marine life outside my window. Gazing into the ocean, I was stunned by how deep I could see. Ribbons of color in the form of fish slipped around coral, making the water look like a painter’s palette. We were in the Mediterranean Sea, and there was nothing more that I loved to do than learn about aquatic life. Suddenly, I spied a chunky, sharp object jutting out into the bright blue ocean water. After closer inspection, I realized it was a reef! Oh! I thought in delight. We’ll probably pass by it. I wonder how close we’ll get to snap pictures. I could use this rock for my scientific research at home! I pulled out some paper and a pencil, ready to use my favorite subject next to science-math.


     From my first calculations, I could only figure out a few bits and pieces. Okay, I thought, we’re going at 22.8 mph. The rock seems to be nearby, but cruise ships are super slow. Using the formula d=sxt, we’ll arrive in 36 minutes. Scribbling down a few notes, I found the angle we were traveling at. After 5 minutes, I discovered something so drastic that I dropped my pencil-and my jaw. We were going to crash! I rechecked my work 10 times, furrowing my eyebrows, hoping for some mistake, but there was none. The weight of my discovery was terrifying. I had to spit this out to someone while I could! But who could I inform? 


     “Mom! Dad!“ I called out, pounding on their door. To my despair, no one answered. I sprinted out of the basement and onto the deck, where oblivious tourists relaxed on colorful hammocks. They were all uninformed about the danger lurking right under their noses! Suddenly, the glinting reflection of bubble earrings caught my eye.  It was from my mom, reading a book on a midnight blue couch. Next to her, my dad was sleeping on an orange and blue striped hammock. I dashed over, eyes wide open, frowning. “Mom! Dad, wake up! There’s this huge reef and we’re going to crash! I used math to figure it out! “ I blurted out. My parents looked at each other for a moment, then turned back to me-and guffawed. 

     “Oh my, What prank do you have for us now, Liz?” My mom shook her head and went back to reading her book. 

     My dad chuckled. “Ah, I love your sense of humor! But next time, try something more believable. A majestic ship like this? It’s unsinkable. And you, of all people? Using math? Ha! Now go along and relax.” 

     My face burned as I jerked around and stormed back into the basement. How dare they! I thought angrily. Just because I was joking all the other times didn’t mean I would be now! Suddenly, I realized something. I was the boy who cried wolf. How could I expect them to believe me when I pretended I never cared about anything “nerdy”? If I get back to school, I decided, I will let interests in math and science shine-whether I’m popular or not, and I’ll stop doing so many pranks.


     Back in my room, I listed ideas on a piece of paper: 1.) tell the captain 2.) get the attention of everyone on the ship. None of the options were possible. Checking my watch, I noticed it was already 4:26. According to my calculations, the ship would crash by 4:37. Racking my brain, I strode back and forth in my room trying to come up with an idea. I noticed a bulky object sticking out like a sore thumb from my pocket-the matches! That moment, it struck me. What I was about to do was unforgivable and lifesaving at the same time.


    I knew the ship would be leaving exactly on time-it was now or never. I shakily lit a match, dropped it, and watched as the fluffy cloud of my bed start to burn. Tearing out of my room, I screeched at the top of my lungs, “Fire!!! Everyone get out!” From that second forward, it was chaotic; people shoving, wailing, sprinting upstairs. Finally, I was ushered along with everyone into the lifeboats on the ship.  From a safe distance, we watched as the ship was engulfed in flames. The terrorizing fire trampled through the bright white ship.


     The ship was still sliding forward like a car unable to slam on its brakes! With a thunderous crash! Bubbles-Cruise smashed into the jagged wall of the reef. To others, it must’ve looked like the ship rammed into an invisible force, as the reef could only be seen underwater. Seawater began rushing in and the once stunning ship was swallowed by the sea. People gasped in awe, whispering and pointing as they absorbed the scene. The smell of burning steel and smoke enveloped us. I was on one of the rescue boats, fitting 50 people despite its small and lightweight exterior There were so many boats floating in the ocean, bobbing like marshmallows in hot chocolate, it was near impossible to find anyone. Even worse, the fog was clouding everything, including my thoughts. Rising from the salty scent of the ocean was a hint bitterness wafting around and I could practically drink the air. 

     As strong gusts of wind slapped us in the face, a whirring sound sliced through the silence. Glancing up, I spotted a helicopter! Cheering spread through the lifeboats. We were saved. In addition, I had played a part in this averted catastrophe.


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