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Maisie Jessica Ferguson, or MJ to her friends, pulled on her hot pink suede boots and stood up excitedly. She gazed at herself in the mirror and giggled in satisfaction. Her hair was a mass of dark curls, which she’d pulled back with a flower hair-clip and her cute turtle earrings dangled from her earlobes. Patting her hair, she bent down to pick up a couple of runaway bobby clips that had fallen onto the fluffy pink rug, and stuck them back into her hair haphazardly.

‘I have no time for messing with you today, hair.’She looked sternly into the mirror.’I have better things to do!’ A cheeky smile grinned back at her, and she pulled her hot pink cardi over her turtle t shirt , then rearranged the belt on her trendy jeans – the ones that her mother had bought her at the mall just last week, after Maisie had insisted that ‘everyone wore them.’ The jeans had candy colored stripes in pale greens and yellows, and tucked into her boots beautifully.

‘Maisie, hurry up, or you’ll be late! You don’t want to miss the show, do you?’

She grabbed her backpack and sunnies, and glanced around the room of her bedroom. There were turtle posters adorning every wall, and more turtle trinkets were displayed on her bookcase, alongside Marine books and picture books of the Deep.Her backpack tinkled and glinted as she pulled it onto her shoulders and tucked the turtle keying into the side pocket for safekeeping.

At the bottom of the stairs, her mother stood impatiently waiting for her. A set of car keys jangled from her hand, and she frowned at her outfit. The frown lasted for all of a second however, as she gazed at her youngest daughter.

‘They’re outside waiting for you. Enjoy your day, honey.’

Maisie kissed her mother on the cheek, and opened the front door excitedly. A line of children stood on the driveway in front of a large white van. The side door of the van was open and two more children peered out at her, large grins on their faces.They scrambled in to the back of the van and she pulled the sliding door closed. On the side of the van was printed the words ‘Sealife, Mooloolaba. The best marine park in the world!’ alongside an image of a turtle.

‘Safe driving honey,’ her mother called after her from the front door. She had on a khaki uniform and walking boots. Embroided on the lapel were the words ‘Sea Life Marine biologist. ‘Enjoy your first day at work!’

Maisie waved and donned her warder’s cap with the words ‘Sea Life’ emblazoned across it. She threw her back pack onto the seat beside her, and jumped into the driver’s seat of the van.

Suzanne Bowditch, 2016