Adam heard a splash behind him. His attention picked up but he was too weak to lift his head. He kept his eyes closed and listened. A few seconds later, he felt a steady stream of water squirt him right on the forehead.
Adam’s eyes jerked open and he saw a black and bright blue striped fish, its head half out of the water, with its lips puckered up and ready to spit another stream of water at him. When the fish saw Adam’s eyes open its mouth dropped and water spilled out. “It’s alive!” cried the fish before disappearing under the surface. Stunned, Adam let go of the box and slid under the surface. The water revived him but he was still very weak. He bobbed back up, groping for the box. When he finally settled back with the box underneath him he paddled in a quick circle, looking for the fish who’d spit at him. Nothing. I must have been dreaming. No sooner did he think this than the striped fish’s head sprang up out of the water, talking a mile a minute.
“I -,” Adam began.
“Hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmm?”
“I…I don’t…know…there was a wave and my family…,” Adam stammered. His thoughts moved slowly, he was so thirsty and tired. The fish swam around Adam in a quick circle.
“But why are you up here?” the fish wanted to know.
“Where else was I supposed to go?”
The fish looked at the ocean surface. “Below,” he said, as though the answer were completely obvious.
“Below? I …I don’t understand.”
The fish quickly dunked his head under the water and brought it back up again.
“Below, below, beeeeelooooow. I mean you’ve got to breathe, right?”
Adam laid his head down on the box. “Right? Right? You’ve got to breathe. What kind of water-man are you anyway?”
“I’m not a water-man.”
The fish’s eyes widened and he disappeared under the water.