January 10, 2010

Mike was so excited about his first real dive that he sat on the boat in full gear for a half hour while the other divers finished preparing.

“You sure you’re ready, Mike?” Steve quipped. “The sink is still in the galley.”

Mike rolled his eyes.

“Stick with me,” Steve continued. “You probably won’t get lost, but better safe than sorry.”

The divers assembled and one by one fell backwards into the gently rolling waves. Mike obediently followed Steve around the reef for a while, admiring brightly colored fish darting about and anemones undulating in the current. Eventually, he drifted off to follow a school of parrotfish into open water.

He saw Steve in the distance, waving at him. He waved back. Steve waved again, swimming away, too far for Mike to see anything but his arm swinging back and forth.

Then he remembered that divers didn’t wave to say hello, but to signal danger. Mike turned to see a mass of delicate pink balloons floating a few yards away, their tentacles already reaching out to greet him.


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