Tales for Awful People

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The Shark’s Mistake
October 19, 2010, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Love | Tags: , ,

Once a young shark swam away from home for the first time, on her way to the sea university on the other side of the great reef. Her mother warned her not to speak to strange creatures, but the young shark laughed privately at this. After all, she was a shark, one of the most fearsome creatures in all the briney deep. What did she have to be afraid of?

She swam past sea weed rocks and old shells, and old tires and rotting nets. She swam further and further from her family’s underwater cave, until everything seemed strange and frightening, but as the shark said to herself, “I can’t lie: it’s all very exciting, too.”

“What’s that you say, young miss?” inquired a creature somewhere behind her right pectoral fin.

“Oh, why–nothing,” she said, suddenly remembering her mother’s warning.

“Oh, it was surely not nothing,” said the voice. “You sounded like you had something interesting to say, and indeed, I am interested, truly I am.”

“Well…I suppose it can’t hurt,” said the shark. “It’s just that this is my first time going to the sea university, and everything is very strange and exciting.”

“Sure it is!” said the voice. “But if you just stick with me, I can show you the best and worst of everything.”

“That sounds good,” said the shark, and they swam along together.

After a few minutes, she began to feel a little more tired than usual, a little heavier. “Sir?” she asked the voice.

“Yes?” it answered.

“I can’t help but wonder if I could see your face.”

“All in good time,” the voice said.

“Oh,” said the shark, a little doubtfully.

She swam on and on, but the more she swam, the weaker she felt.

“Sir?” she asked the voice.

“Yes?” the voice answered.

“I wonder if I might know your name,” she said.

“By and by,” said the voice.

The shark swam on, but as she swam, she began to feel something poking into her side. She shimmied in the water, but the feeling remained.

“Sir?” she asked.

“Yes?” the voice asked, “What is it now?”

“Are you biting my side, by any chance?” the shark asked.

“Indeed I am,” said the voice, and by then the shark knew it was a remora, the sharp toothed fish that clings to the bigger animals of the sea.

“Oh,” said the shark. She didn’t know what else to say, although she had a feeling that maybe there was something wrong with the arrangement. “Do you think I’m pretty?” she asked the remora, after a minute.

“Sure,” it said.

That calmed the shark, and she swam on towards the sea university.

The sea university was surrounded by a barrier reef of living coral and plants, but while it was beautiful, it was razor-sharp, and it required all of a young shark’s skill to get in successfully. Having the remora attached made it hard to get over the reef: it threw off her whole swimming style, and she scraped her belly on the sharp coral.

“Oh, dear,” she said.

“You better not be blaming me for this, because it’s totally not my fault,” said the remora.

“Oh, I’m not,” said the shark, even though she had been, because she didn’t want a fight right then.

“Good,” said the remora.

The shark began to swim towards the center of the sea-university, dragging the remora along with her. It was hard going. “Are you swimming in the opposite direction?” the shark asked.

“What about my dreams?” asked the remora. “Did you ever even bother to ask? What about what’s best for us?”

“Oh, but, you knew where I was going,” said the shark. “And you attached yourself to me anyway.”

“Things have changed since then,” said the remora.

“Please, let me just get settled in here,” said the shark.

But the blood from the scrapes on her belly attracted more and bigger sharks, and they surrounded her, and ate her right up! Some people thought they saw the remora swim away and attach himself to a different shark, but I know for a fact a spear fisherman got him later on. And a good thing, too!

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