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George Speaks Up Written By: Greg Wetzel

It was a busy autumn day in the Big Harbour. Ships were coming and going. Barrages loaded with cargo to take to other parts of the harbor. George was moving a ship into it's dock. His bumpers were wet. As he pushed the ship into the dock, his bumpers squeaked as they rubbed against the ship. "That's the funniest noise I've ever heard," laughed the ship. George took a breath, then continued moving the ship.

After he had finished, he went home. On the way he met Pearl. He told her about what had happened. "That's nothing to be upset about," she said, then continued for her dock. George felt more hurt.

That night, as the tugs did story telling time, George couldn't stop thinking about Pearl had said. When it came his turn, he thought for a moment. Would the others understand. "They probably wouldn't" thought George sadly. Then he said. "Today I docked ships, didn't pull barrages." "Why?" asked Hank curiously. "I don't know," replied George. "Someone else must have gotten that job," said Emily calmly.

All night long, George kept thinking about what had happened, and if it would happen again tomorrow. When the next day arrived the Dispatcher gave him the job of moving ships again. Hank was going to help him. The two tugs waited at the entrance. "Nice day isn't it?" asked Hank kindly. "Sort of," replied George nervously. Hank could tell something was up. But before he could ask George the ship arrived. Hank buttoned onto the back to help push. Soon the job was over. George was just leaving when Hank shouted: "Wait!" George stopped. "What is it Hank?" he asked, turning towards him. "I need to talk to you," said Hank. "Follow me." They went to a little cove just outside the harbor. "Is something wrong?" asked Hank kindly. "You don't seem yourself." George was deciding whether or not to tell Hank what had happened. But he knew that Hank wanted to know, so he told him. "We should go to Pearl," said Hank calmly, "and tell her how you feel. And if you like, I can go too." "Please," begged George. Hank didn't need asking twice.

They found Pearl at her dock. She was surprised to see them. "What are you doing here?" she asked. "George would like to tell you something," said Hank proudly. George took a nervous breath, then told Pearl about how he had felt the other day. "George," said Pearl softly, "I'm sorry about yesterday. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. If I do anything similar to yesterday, please let me know." George smiled. He felt much better, and with that, he went cheerfully back to work.

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