Adam sighed. The whole world was turned upside down and now, here he was, taking orders from a fish. He didn’t like the idea of returning to the manta but he liked even less the idea of being found out as a faker by Pinch and the Urchin Army.
“OK,” Adam finally said. “I’m going back up there.”
“Gooood luuuuck,” said the starfish who, up until this point, had remained silent. Adam was about to say thanks but Spot cut him off in an unusually bitter tone.
“Shh. Don’t talk to that thing. Have you been speaking to it?” And then to Lettles, “Get out of here. You’re going to give us away. Go do your job.”
Adam reminded himself to ask Spot why he was so mean to the starfish. Lettles, however, paid Spot no mind. It simply turned around and ambled back into the kelp.
“NOW GO!” Spot yelled to Adam.
Adam shot up into the water that bordered the forest edge. There were plenty of fish swimming about so he was able to make his way from one group to the other in a zig-zag line up to the manta. None of the urchins paid any attention to him at all. Adam had sneaked off, and back onto, the manta under Admiral Pinch’s command without any trouble whatsoever!
An Admiral Explanation
Back on the bench, Adam positioned himself so that it looked like he’d been sleeping the whole time Admiral Pinch was off the manta. He was lying down, hands under his head, when Pinch returned to check up on him. The sound of shrill, urchin barking “woke” Adam and he sat up.
“A-ha! The sleepy water-man wakes,” Pinch said. “Isn’t there a children’s tale about that?”
Today marks, give or take a bit, the halfway mark in this experiment. To those reading and commenting and sending e-mails about the story, thank you! If you are one of those folks enjoying the tale thus far, I’d love for you to share it with your friends and family. If you’re not that into it, that’s OK too. I get it! Thanks, as always, for your eyeballs and time.