Debra J. Saunders
Once there was a little offshore oil platform named Davey the Derrick. Davey was shiny, and new, and proud. Oil company executives loved Davey because he extracted barrels of oil every day off the California coast. Little children waved at Davey as their parents drove on the Pacific Coast Highway. They listened raptly as their fathers explained that, without Davey, the family station wagon couldn't run. The governor loved Davey because oil companies paid taxes to California for the oil Davey produced. Mackerel and bass liked to hide from mean predators behind Davey's girders. Clams and mussels thrived as they clung to his legs. Gulls loved Davey because he gave them a place to rest during long flights. Davey's company even put lights all over Davey so that at night he could sparkle and twinkle hello to all his friends on shore. But one day a bad thing happened. A mean oil platform misbehaved and spilled oil on Santa Barbara's beaches. Davey was mad at the bad oil platform. He resolved to be even more careful so that he'd never hurt the birds who rested on his platform or the fish who swam among his girders. Davey thought that people would like him even more because he was a good oil platform, who didn't spill oil. But to his surprise, people decided that if the one platform was bad, all oil platforms were bad. Even when the bad spill was cleaned up, humans were still mad at Davey. Davey was so hurt. Politicians no longer came to get their picture taken with Davey. Workers didn't polish Davey as diligently as before. Some of Davey's steel started to rust. Little children no longer waved at Davey. They scowled in his direction. Davey didn't understand how they could think he was bad. He tried so hard to be good. Why Davey was so lonely he cried tears of tiny crude. The only friends he had were the fishies and the clams and the birds. "You'll always be our friend," Penney the Pigeon told Davey. Still, Davey missed people. He missed little children waving, and he missed adults thanking him for keeping their cars running. At night, his lights would still twinkle, but inside Davey sighed and wondered how people who drive big cars could hate him so much. Then one day, the state of California came up short by billions of dollars. Davey knew that he could help. Davey asked Penney the Pigeon to deliver a message to the governor. "I'm Davey the Derrick, and I can help California," the message began. "For years now, my friends and I have been extracting oil and sending millions of dollars to Sacramento. If you let companies build more platforms, I'll make some new friends and we can all drill more oil and save California." The governor liked the idea. He knew some voters would complain, but he ordered strict environmental protections to reduce the chance of accidents. He decided that it was better to spend money on schools and law enforcement than to say no to more oil drilling. The governor decided to throw a big party to thank Davey for saving California. Little children came and hugged Davey for keeping their schools open. School buses tooted their horns in thanks to Davey's work as they rolled down the highway. And that's how Davey saved California.

Debra J. Saunders


 
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