Cruise ships, blue whales and Tino

Friday, October 24, 2008
The journey begins with a cruise ship. Everybody was excited and having fun. There were 1000 people aboard the ship, couples and mostly families on vacation. It was all joyous until an iceberg came into the view. They were closing in on the ice berg and the captain was getting scared, but two massive blue whales named Mac and Bloo got out of the water and said, "We'll help you get away from the iceberg!"

The captain replied with, "Hooray! We're saved!"

"Not so fast", said Bloo. "You will have to answer some integer questions for us."

"Bring it on!" said Tino. Tino was in the cruise ship with his mom and dad. He's in grade 8 and a
student from Sargent Park so this was a piece of cake.

Mac asked, " What is (+11)+(-6)?"

Tino smirked and said, "The answer is +5."

"You got lucky kid!" the whale glared.

"How about (-8)+(+8)+(+2)?" the second whale challenged.

"He's kind of good." said Mac.

"No way! We just got to stump him, that's all!" whispered Bloo.

While the whales were chit chatting, Tino thought and drew out his number line.

"The answer is +2 ", Tino began,

"Dang! He got another one!" Mac was getting frustrated.

"Calm down! Let's make this one harder." said Bloo.

"(-6)+(-3)", Bloo asked. "And you have to use number tiles too!" said Mac.

Tino laughed and got the answer right away.

"He's smart." Mac said while nodding his head.

"Oh stop that non-sense!" said Bloo.

"What if you owe 17 and have 9?" Mac asked.

Tino thought back to what he had learned in school, "Pretend that integers are money..."

"OK, fine. This kid is smart." said Bloo. "I told you so." said Mac.

"Us whales always keep our promises", Mac and Bloo said together. "So we'll help you get away from the ice berg."

Everybody in the cruise ship celebrated while the two whales attached themselves onto the ship and started swimming away from the iceberg. Tino took center stage getting high fives and "thank you"s. Once again the cruise was gentle, safe and fun until . . . the whole ship started rocking about and the parents were screaming their heads off, children were crying and OH NO THE BAND IS STILL PLAYING!

"What's wrong!?" Tino asked Mac and Bloo.

"SHARKS!" both of the whales panicked.

The cruise ship calmed for a bit, but yes, the whales were right. There in front of them were four beady eyed, sharp toothed sharks. Like most sharks in the blue vast seas, they looked mean and almost like they wanted something. Mac and Bloo tried to swim away but the other two sharks block their way. Now there were two sharks in front and behind of them.

"Now listen here kiddies", said the biggest shark, whom we shall call him Tooth.

"You're trespassing through our land!"

Bloo hesitated but eventually said, "We're sorry but this is the only way to get these people back home."

One of the sharks behind them named Saber laughed.

"You really think we give pity!" All the other sharks started to laugh too.

"We'll tell you what", Tooth spoke again. "We will only let you pass if you complete our challenge."

Mac, Bloo and Tino looked at each in the eyes and said, "Bring it on!"

"Our first challenge is . . . " began Beat who was a shark in the front. "(-70) - (-35)?"

This time it was a subtraction question. Mac and Bloo were stumped, but good thing Tino was there. He had learned this in class so he was pretty pro. The only thing he had to do was add the opposite. Meaning (-70) + (+35).

"WRONG!" said Saber.

While the four sharks, Tooth, Saber, Beat and Bob snickered, Tino saw that they were clearly wrong. He explained to Mac and Bloo what their mistake was.

"No, your wrong!" Mac spoke up. "You subtracted 70 from 35 but don't you know that subtracting is a myth!"

"Yeah! Subtraction is a myth!" said Bloo who was backing up Mac.

" . . . " was all the sharks can say. "How did they know that!" said Bob surprised.

"They're either lying or cheating!" said Beat while Saber was nodding his head.

"I have another question anyway!" Tooth boasted. "This time it's harder and I have the real answer!"

"Well on with it!" Mac was getting inpatient along with Tino.

"(+15) + (-13) - (+2) - (-7)" asked Tooth.

This time Mac and Bloo helped Tino as he was scribbling along his notebook for the answer.

What Mac, Bloo and Tino did was put the opposites of (+2) and (-7) because they both had a subtraction sign in front of them. When they did that, it changed the question to (+15) + (-13) + (-2) + (+7) otherwise, it turned it into an addition question. Than they put all the positives together and all the negatives together. By doing this they got the answer +17.

"... Whoa", said Tooth shocked. " ... they're right..."

"Of course we are!" said Bloo with pride.

"Fine, fine. Swim along then." Saber said. "Yeah, no point in challenges if your going to get them all right." said Beat.

"No fun!'' Bob exclaimed as he was swimming away.

Another day, another mission accomplished was what Tino was thinking. He wasn't the only hero, Mac and Bloo were too. For the second time, everybody on the Cruise ship "hoorayed" and partied in celebration as they continued in their journey. As for Mac and Bloo, they were back into swimming, but never forgot the feeling of being thanked and counted on as friends instead of villains.

Just like all happy stories, there is a happy ending.

THE END.

*The names Tino, Mac and Bloo come from the shows Weekenders and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.