|Publisher||Alfred A. Knopf|
|Publication date||13 Sep 2005|
|Media type||Print (book)|
Flush is a young adult novel by Carl Hiaasen first published in 2005, and set in Hiaasen's native Florida. It is his second young adult novel, after Hoot. The plot is similar to Hoot but it doesn't have the same cast and is not a continuation.
The story is about a boy (Noah) whose dad (Paine) doesn't always think about what he does before he does it. His dad used to work with a man named Dusty Muleman who said that one day he was going to form a new business. Dusty owns a gambling facility that was parked in Indian Territory and made a deal with the Indians that he could gamble on their waters and pay them a part of the profit. Since his ship, the Coral Queen, never leaves the dock, passengers do not get seasick and continue to gamble and spend money. In order to save money, he dumps his waste from the holding tanks into the ocean at night when nobody is looking. Noah's dad is a person who stands up for the environment and sinks Dusty's boat and is then put in jail. Noah and his sister (Abbey Underwood) decide to try and find a way to stop him.
The story begins with Noah visiting his dad in jail on Fathers' Day. He tries to get his dad to come home but he refuses. Noah then goes on to describe how his parents met and gives a brief summary of his family. His mom (Donna Underwood) is annoyed with his dad for refusing to come home. After this scene, Noah shows Abbey the boats and describes the law regarding boats and where they're from.
Dusty's son, Jasper Jr., picks on Noah frequently and first appears in Chapter Two. In one episode, a man who looked like a pirate rescues Noah and Abbey and is later revealed to be their grandfather (Robert Lee Underwood). Noah and Abbey talk to their dad and he tells them that he also worked with a man called Lice Peeking. He says that he also worked on the boat and he could testify on the fact that Dusty really did dump his waste into the ocean. He wanted Lice to sign a paper saying that Lice saw Dusty "Money Man" Muleman dumping wastes into the lagoon. Noah asks Lice to help them nail Dusty and agrees to check with his father what they will give Lice in return for his help. In a later conversation, they agree on Noah's dad's skiff. Noah also meets Lice's girlfriend, Shelly, who used to be a bartender on the Coral Queen. Before then, a reporter (Miles Umlatt) interviews Noah as his dad will be featured in the next day's headlines. Paine also gives a TV interview on Channel. In attempt to spare his mother from the sight of his jailbird father, Noah makes sure that the TV is not working. However, one of his mom's friends videotapes the show and lends her the video.
After Noah asks his parents' lawyer (Mr Shine) if his parents are getting divorced, he visits Shelly and learns that Lice is missing. It looks like Lice is kidnapped and is unable to testify. Shelly tells them that she will help them stop Dusty's casino scam. She also tells them that she used to work as a bartender on Dusty's Boat. She tells them that one night she stayed late and saw Dusty dumping the waste from the ship. A few days later, he goes to a popular beach and sees a park ranger putting up signs that say the water is contaminated from human waste. Since there are many boats docked in the harbors, it's impossible to see which boat the waste is actually coming from. They then get the idea to color the waste with a very bright dye to help identify the culprit. Then they go into a food store and purchase 34 bottles of Fuchsia dye. They agree that Shelly will take 17 bottles and Noah will take the other 17. Noah hides in an empty rum box and waits until it is picked up and placed on the ship. Shelly leads him to a restroom from which Noah flushes the 17 bottles of dye. Shelly tacks on an "out of order" sign to ensure that no one disturbs him. He will then take his sack full of dye and squeeze it out into the toilets. After that Noah will leave the ship and go home. Since kids are not allowed on the ship he will need to be very careful. The plan has some problems and they barely make it off. A lady demands to use the restroom and Noah is forced to flee. A guard catches him. Then the pirate attacks the guard. Noah swims and says the emergency code word he and Abbey came up with but she couldn't start the boat to get to him. Noah then sees the boat and gets on board. After, they go deeper and then a big storm approaches and he and Abbey drift away into the ocean. They fall asleep, and in the morning they see a tow boat. Their dad is driving, and the same pirate guy is on board the tow boat. Once they get on board the other boat, they find out he is their grandpa who disappeared a long time ago that they thought was dead. They call the coast guard and Dusty gets fined. Noah's dad is mad that he didn't get arrested. After that, Lieutenant Shucker accuses Noah's dad of arson. He says that the reason Noah's dad is wearing casts on his hands is because he burned his fingers. Noah's mom then proves that Paine sought treatment for fractures 16 hours before the ship was set alight and the Underwoods never see the lieutenant again. It is then they find out that Dusty's son Jasper was messing with cigarettes and accidentally set the boat on fire. The story ends with the family witnessing the legendary "green flash" of the Keys.
Noah Underwood, Abbey Underwood, Paine Underwood, Donna Underwood, Lice Peeking, (Charles Peeking) Dusty "Money Man" Muleman, Shelly, Jasper Muleman, Bull, Thom, Rado and Grandpa Bobby Underwood (Robert Lee Underwood)