In a world of gold,
The blue bird is precious.
Tentacles by another Name
On his travels, Cedric met many beings, some with more, many more tentacles than six. Some of the creatures had specialised tentacles, and they called them claws, legs or feet as he found out. Some called their extremities ‘tentacles’ quite wrongly, they were not ‘tentacles’, they didn’t have suckers on them.
He wondered too: ‘Would it be not very confusing to decide, before every action, on which specialised tentacle to use? And what about, if the one you want to use is on the other side of you, at the moment? It must be so limiting, to walk always in the same direction, only to make sure, the tentacle you want to use is at the place where it is meant to be.
‘Starfish are so flexible, not only with their body, but also, with the choices they can make, and all tentacles are fully equipped and functional. There is no need left to have specialised ones.’
Henry had six of the same and two specialised tentacles with grippers on their ends. There were also two tiny ones left and right of her mouth. Would they count as tentacles, because they were so small? Cedric found them sometimes quite practical, but not very often.
Most of the time, he thought them to be quite a hindrance. She even had a special claw, shaped like a shield. She used it to close the opening of her shell. No one could get in. Henry and Cedric never talked about all these details. ‘Why not?’ he wondered, now.
Even though Cedric was convinced about the starfish layout being more than adequate, he would not be curious Cedric without wondering, why his tentacles were all the same? Could he make them legs, feet or claws? How? But which ones would he call claws, which ones, legs? And why?
He watched other beings and noticed, claws are applied for picking up things, mostly for putting these things into the mouth. Legs are singly used for walking. Excellent observation skills come very handy when one must make such serious decisions.
For a while, he decided to call those two, next to each other, with the lesser number of dots at the ends ‘claws’ and the other four ‘legs’. And as he already had expected, this arrangement slowed him down significantly, even he was very quick in finding those two ‘claws’.
Bringing them into the place of action took so much time. Starfish are not good at turning on the spot. They knot up their little suckers. They prefer walking in circles to turning around if they have to.
There is hardly ever any reason for any of this, because, generally, they can walk in any direction they want, at any moment, as they please. The front is always there where your single tentacle points (oops, you know what I mean?). It’s so easy. Soon he gave up on this idea.
Since Cedric was in the lucky situation of always having two tentacles in front, he derived another version of deciding, which ones would be claws and which one’s legs. No matter what, those two tentacles in the direction of walk, in his field of view would be the claws and the others legs.
This was better, it was more his style. But then he noticed that at moments of unawareness, he was walking with his claws. None of those with claws and legs would do this. As a consequence, he would keep his ‘claws’ off the ground. Not only did this way of walking slow him down significantly, sometimes he would lose his balance. Consequently and at the end, he decided, it looked silly.
With time, Cedric also realised, he had not many reasons for picking up things, except for examining or poking them. For eating, he would bring his mouth above whatever he wanted to eat and did. Again no need for picking things up. With relief, he concluded: ‘No need for picking up things, no need for claws, forget about all the ‘claws and legs’ business, be normal, tentacles and all. There must be an excellent reason for being the way he is.’
This conclusive thought finalised this exploration and another significant chapter in Cedric’s life towards growing up.
Meeting other Beings
Generally, Cedric moved around with not much else in his mind, but eating and lately, not to go too much in circles. He keeps his eye open, but unless someone engaged with him, he would meander along, observing. And he did see much, and a great variety of beings.
Some had more than one eye. Most had two eyes. What for? Would they see more? There is only that much to see. What else would be there, could there to be seen? Some had even four eyes! Almost obscene. One eye well used is definitely sufficient.
He even met some creatures with no eye at all, like those small shells with a little trunk sticking out on one end. How could this be? He wanted to ask them, but as soon as he approached one, the whole lot of them would dig themselves deep into the soft sand. “One cannot make friends with everyone,” Cedric told himself, “and some questions one must leave to one’s own imagination.”
Most of them moved around in some way or another, had numbers of legs, claws and sort of tentacles like him, and there were some who attached themselves to the rock at some stage of their life and never move ever again. They were round and longish, with a large number of short, flimsy tentacles coming out of their top end. Cedric thought this lifestyle somewhat sedimentary.
And last but not least, there were all the fishes up there. In a way, they all looked similar: a longish body with eyes and mouth on one end, a fin at the end and a few more fins on top, side and bottom. Why would they need so many? But fishes are up there, and he considered them not as significant as all the other beings on the ground.
There was one question that resulted from all his observation: “Why are there all these shapes of beings and different ways of moving around. Why would there be such a variety? If one species is ok, such as starfish, why is there a need for any other?
So many questions, which never would have crossed his mind, if he never had started to travel, he would never have found them, these questions. And answers are always inside question. No travel, no questions. No questions, no answers. Sometimes, there needs to be a question at the start. Otherwise, you never travel.
Meandering and eating, Cedric went on about his ordinary, daily life. Suddenly, he noticed that the ground he was moving on was not sandy anymore, but soft and jelly-like. He tugged and poked on it. First gently, then stronger, more and more.
Nothing happened. So he jumped on it, with his yeeha trick. All of a sudden, the jelly thing jerked and called out:
…“That’s enough now. Can’t anyone have an afternoon nap?… In peace?” Cedric, in his shock, clung to the jelly thing as hard as he could.
…“Eek gitt, get off, you, you, whatever you are.” Cedric moved away and the mount he had been exploring changed colour in front of his eye, from sandy beige into red with blue dots all over.
…“You changed colour,” he exclaimed in utter disbelief.
…“Sure do, everyone can! And so I did so that I can rest in peace! Until you, whatever you are, trampled all over me. You could not just move on quietly? No, you had to stomp and tug until I was awake. Now, move along, you scoundrel, and leave me in peace.”
The story was the same as when he bumped into Henry. This time, Cedric wanted to be more careful.
…“I am awfully sorry, but I could not see you at all.”
…“That’s the whole point. For all mermaids sake, what are you?”
…“A starfish,” Cedric replied timidly.
…“A starfish? Never heard of one. Don’t look like a fish to me at all, none what so ever.”
…“Some call me a seastar.”
…“That makes more sense. What’s your name?” All said in a commanding tone of voice.
…“Cedric,” he did not want to say his last name, just in case, it would offend this longish thing, ah, with more than abundant tentacles at one end.
…“No surname? Everybody has a surname,” the inquisition continued.
…“Mo, what? … How do you spell that?”
…“M – a – u – r – i – t – i – u – s.”
…“Interesting name… Where are you from?”
…“The lower shelf.”
…“Ah, the lower shelf… And for how long have you been around here?”
…“Only a few weeks.” This was answered in a staccato voice with a pronounced rolling ‘R’:
…“All right then. You are forgiven… By the way, I am Sergey Squidjet,”
…“Pleased to meet you, Mr Squidjet,” said Cedric, cordially.
…“Never mind the mister. They all call me Serj around here.”
…“Thank you, Serj.”
Having learned that engaging people in questions about them, helps to mellow the situation, he continued:
…“If I may satisfy my curiosity, would you mind if ask what you are?”
…“You may ask. Everyone knows I am a squid. We have been around for about 60 million years, or so. Long enough for everyone to know, who is a squid.”
At this early stage of their relationship, Cedric did not want to overtrump Sergey by clarifying that starfish had been around for 150 million years, or so.
Sergey’s Box of Tricks
While they were talking, Sergey’s colour changed every so often.
…“Serj, why do you change your colour?”
…“Sometimes it happens involuntarily, like before, when you stomped on me.”
…“I am really very sorry,” Cedric interrupted.
…“It’s ok, now… I was angry but also scared. Blue for angry and red to shy things away.”
…“Very useful, it seems,” Cedric nodded with his eye.
…“Oh yes. And it’s good fun, too. Look what I can do.”
And Sergey started with a light and colour show, you could not imagine. Cedric was spellbound with fascination, and he laughed at the same time.
…“I like to make people happy,” Sergey joined in the laughter. He finalised his colour show and settled in a happy pink with a yellow circle pattern. Cedric wondered:
…“What do these colours mean?”
…“That I am pleased with myself, that you laughed and I think you are a good sport.”
…“Gee, Serj, you are very clever,” Cedric said.
…“I have to agree with you, I am so clever, I never know, what I come up with, next.” Sergey laughed so much that his whole body shook and his very floppy tentacles dangled around… one could fear they would fall off.
…“I can show you something else? Are you curious?” What a silly question to ask Cedric, curiosity personified.
…“Go right ahead.”
And within a few seconds, they disappeared in a black cloud. Cedric heard the chuckling laugh of Sergey, and his initial worry settled. Sergey called out to, and Cedric hurried hastily, following his voice, until he was outside the cloud again.
…“Pheeoo, this gave me a bit of a fright,” Cedric admitted.
…“You know, when I feel under attack, even I can swim very fast, I rather camouflage myself or hide in my cloud.”
…“Good question. I can adjust the colour and pattern of my skin to match my surrounding. And that’s the reason why you stumbled over me.”
Sergey giggled, and Cedric knew that he did not hold on to any grudges.
During all this time, Sergey was hovering just a little bit above the ground. In contrast to his big, awkward looking body, he had one long delicate fin, going all along either side of him and around his pointy back. It was elegantly waving, consistently, and he moved gently and effortlessly in all directions.
Cedric was fascinated.
…“Hey Serj, what is this?” pointing at the fin with one of his front tentacles. Sergey, enjoying to be the centre of attention, explained:
…“This is one of my modalities of motion.” He likes showing off.
…“Using them, I can move my body around, dear Cedric.”
…“Looks great, the way you do it. I wish I could.”
…“No fins, no way, Ced.”
When Sergey noticed how disappointed Cedric was, he wished, he would have used some kinder words. He added:
…“You are such a beautiful, young seastar. I am sure, you can do things that I can’t.” When he noticed that this did not help, he apologised. Cedric nodded with his eye.
…“What are we going to do next?” Sergey asked jovially, wanting to break away from this unhappy situation. Cedric did not like it either and suggested:
…“Um, would you like to show me around?”
A second after a “Yep,” Sergey shot off like in a flash, and another second later, he was out of sight.
‘This was an extremely short friendship,’ Cedric thought. ‘Oh yes, it must have had a purpose. I wonder what?’ He had hardly finished his thought, there was Sergey again.
…“Sorry, Ced. I got so excited showing you my home; I forgot you can’t move as fast as I. Do you still want to come? Can we try again?”
Curious Cedric was quickly enchanted by such an invitation.
…“Yes, Serj, let’s try again, just a little bit slower, please.” And off they went. Propelling himself with his frilly fins, Sergey made sure that walking Cedric would not be left behind.
After some time, breathless Cedric asked for a pause:
…“Are we there, soon?”
…“Only behind this rock over there. That’s where I have my cave.”
…“What’s a rock?”
…“It’s like sand, but it doesn’t crumble. It stays there all the time.”
Cedric thought: ‘This sounds like the hard sand hill I had been climbing up from the lower shelf.’ And replying to Sergey:
…“That’s quite some distance, Serj.”
…“Hop onto my back, and we will be there in a flash.” Easier said than done.
Sergey had to lower himself to the ground, and Cedric pulled himself up, like when he lived in the big green shell.
…“Hang on!” came the call, and off they went.
This was fun. Cedric was clinging on with all his might. His eye pulled in, he could see only slithers of the world swishing past them. Sergey made a sound like: “Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” at an even beat.
And a few seconds later, what seemed to be quite a distance away, was right below them. Cedric slipped off Sergey’s back. Sergey laughed when he saw him land in a small cloud of sand.
…“That’s excellent camouflage, too.”
Cedric had to allow his excitement to settle before he could ask:
…“How do you do this?”
Sergey did not want to see Cedric disappointed again and he unknowingly suggested Cedric’s favourite past time:
…“Let’s have something to eat, first.”
He hoped Cedric would forget about it. Would you believe this?
While Cedric was munching on some very flavoursome algae, he watched Sergey hovering motionless amongst some colourful tube-shaped creatures that were attached to the rock. If he had not known Sergey to be there, he would not have noticed him, so perfect was his colour match.
Suddenly, his two long tentacles shot forward and wrapped around a small fish. Quickly he pulled them in again and gripped the fish with all his other tentacles, and slowly the fish disappeared amongst them.
Cedric could not believe his eye. This guy had so many tricks in store, unbelievable. He gasped:
…“How do you do this?”
Sergey laughed loudly:
…“This seems to be your favourite question.”
And since he likes showing his skills, he explained:
…“You have seen the two long tentacles?” Cedric nodded.
…“They are very flexible, and I can stretch them. Only on the end, they have strong suckers.”
…”You don’t use them for moving around?”
…”I can catch my prey with them. My other eight tentacles come in pairs with various lengths.
…”Ah,” Cedric replied a bit overwhelmed.
…”I can transport my food to my mouth and crunch it.”
Impressed, but still inquisitive:
…“How do you crunch things?”
Sergey spread all his tentacles. Front on, he looked like a star, and Cedric wondered for a moment if Sergey might be some sort of a starfish, too.
In the centre, there was a practical looking impressive beak. He could crack everything with it. Not to let Sergey down, Cedric thought to himself: ‘Who would need to crack things? There is plenty of soft food around.’ Therefore, he just went:
In order to keep Cedric occupied after lunch had been completed, hoping he may forget about swimming, Sergey suggested: …“Would you like to take an afternoon nap, now?”
…“Why? Aren’t you going to show me how you can go so fast?” Oh dear, Sergey was a bit in strife.
He liked Cedric and did not want to disappoint him again. He thought, if he kept it all very scientific and complicated, it might sound too tricky, and Cedric would not ask, if he could do it, too.
This is the way Sergey explained jet propulsion.
…“Imagine, you have a big bladder inside yourself. This may be tricky, but try, it’s not too hard, just think, I, Sergey, have got one.” Cedric nodded.
…“This bladder has an opening on each of the far ends.”
While talking, Sergey cleverly drew the above sketch into the soft sand with one of his tentacles. Cedric elongated his eye out to its farthest extent so he could get a good look. Sergey waited for him and watched him. When Cedric nodded, Sergey continued intently.
…“Slowly you enlarge this bladder, with the muscles around it and it fills up through this opening. Got that?” Another serious nod from Cedric, who was all ears and eye. This sounded all very interesting; therefore, he concentrated very hard. However, the burning question was:
…“Serj, how do you do this?”
…“Making the ball bigger.”
…“Can you push out your belly?” Cedric tried.
…“Yes, I can.”
…“That’s how I do it, too. All clear?”
…“Yep,” came from Cedric.
…“Now, comes the important part. Very quickly with all the muscles, you have you make the bladder as small as possible. Consequently, all that was inside gets squished outside.”
…“Mhm.” Cedric returned.
…“The magic is, (Serj called it magic because he did not know Newton’s law of opposing forces) when you push something in one direction it pushes you into the other direction.”
He demonstrated it: He sucked in as much as he could, then he squeezed himself and not even a second later he was twenty, thirty starfish spans away.
…“Wow. Can I do this?” Cedric exclaimed. “My turn now.”
Sergey let himself tumble to the ground. In a soft, caring voice he said:
…“You are a lovely, young seastar with bright colours and bright dots. And, I am a squid.”
Cedric understood, still, he was disgruntled.
By now, you know what Cedric is like. A starfish like him cannot easily be defeated. Since he had discovered the third dimension, literally and absolutely, his eye was turned upwards, even more than before. Not much was happening on the ground, and eating occurred automatically.
Unless, one bumped into someone like Henry, but this did not occur very often. Other ground dwellers seemed to move out of the way when they realised, one is preoccupied with something else, up there.
Sociable Sergey hung around more than often, generally three or four starfish spans above him and in front of him, in a practical seeing and talking distance, but teasing him enough wanting to be up there with him.
He noticed fish with his eyes more open, now. They came in all sorts of colours and shapes, and their sizes ranged from much smaller than Cedric, too much, much larger, so large actually, he never would have believed they existed, let alone move so comfortably up there. Yet, they had no tentacles.
Still, inside, he was intrigued as never before. The thought of being up there had captivated him almost entirely, besides of eating, which happened almost automatically, and of course, talking with Sergey, or being absorbed by all what was going on up there.
And how it happens so often, once one is intensely occupied with something, it all ends up in dreams. This was, what happened to Cedric. The following night, or was it the next, he met Sergey’s sand drawings in his sleep, explicitly and three-dimensional, like balloons.
There they were, hovering in space in the correct sequence. First: regular, second: inhalation and then: squeezing out. He saw himself approach these images and explore them. He sat on the inhalation balloon and with some effort, he was able to stretch all his tentacles and wrapped them around it, enclosing it completely.
He squeezed to expulse and, unbelievable, he moved forward. Can one be so excited in a dream? He could not wait waking up.
How disappointed he was when he found, in reality, there were: ‘No balloons.’ Anyhow, breakfast time, now. While munching on a yummy piece of algae, he played with the image he remembered from his dream. The central problem was the balloon, or more correctly, the lack of one.
And he saw the image in his mind when he had enveloped the balloon entirely. There was no balloon visible. If he can make such a shape, then he needed no balloon. Wow. He even stopped eating.
He could clearly visualise the stretching and wrapping of his tentacles, and he shaped a ball. Strange feeling, laying on one side. Then he squeezed as hard as he could. He could feel something passing between all his tentacles, just like when he first tried to slip into the bottle, sidewards. Alas, he did not move a bit.
He remembered Sergey’s drawings. They had one single hole. How could he, Cedric, instead of leaving many small holes, make one hole, only? He had to keep the edges of his tentacles closer together and more firmly, very tight.
As he was trying to press the edges of two tentacles together, the little suckers got in the way. He moved them in and out and left and right, and they got all tangled up. When he tried to separate his tentacles, he could not, the little knotted suckers held them together.
Oh, what a brilliant idea he had in this instance. If he could work a method into all this mess, he could use the suckers to hold the tentacles together. He tried this and that and finally, he was able to link the suckers up and let go easily and quickly. (Cedric had invented the zipper. But he did not realise this and missed out on a big yeeha.)
Next thing was, to do this with all six tentacles at the same time. Since Cedric is very good with looking at and from the inside, it took him only a few hours until he could do it. Not to forget, meal breaks were included.
Sergey had been watching him quietly from above, wondering what all these convolving was about.
…“What, for all mermaid’s sake, are you doing?”
…“I am practising expulsion.”
…“Oh, you know, what you are doing when you move forward.”
…“Me? You want to move like me? Impossible.”
Unflinching, Cedric insisted:
…“What do you call it?”
…“Amongst squid we call it pumping, I don’t know what the official expression is. What did you call it?”
Sergey felt uncomfortable with this situation because he did not want his friend to end up in disappointment. He tried to distract him:
…“Do you want to go for a meal?”
It was very tempting, but Cedric was firm:
…“I want to work this out. It feels I am very close.”
Sergey could not hide the letdown of not having Cedric’s company. He shrugged and pumped off. For a moment Cedric felt a bit guilty. However, as soon as he started practising ‘pumping’, all other was forgotten.
As it is said: ‘To cut a long, much longer story of endless hours of drilling, short,” Cedric was able to move faster. After a while, the aim was no longer just practising mere pumping, but to get somewhere. And he was getting somewhere. Still, he never trained when Sergey was around until he felt really confident.
Not much later when he was quite a bit off the ground, he saw his friend cruising along. Cedric lowered himself slowly. …“Sergey,” he called out.
His friend looked everywhere but above.
…“Up where?” And looking up he saw Cedric. Wow.
…“You, you, you are amazing,” was all he could say.
Cedric had his biggest grin on his face.
…“You want to go out for a meal?” he asked casually.
Sergey laughed, and his whole body wobbled. He even squirted a bit of black cloud, just for fun. And off they went. Pumping next to each other and talking none stop, mainly Cedric, all excited.
When one is good at something, doing it gives fun back. Cedric loved pumping. He observed what happened when he was pumping and where to modify his movements to get better.
For example: He noticed when he kept his body long and thin after the expulsion, he would move further without doing anything. He also realised, he did not have to pump always to stay up. Every now and then was sufficient.
Another discovery was: When he pursed the ends of his tentacles around the opening he could go a smidgen faster, and when he pointed the pursed end a bit sidewards, he could go in curves. Sergey was very impressed when Cedric showed him his trick.
The best thing was when he expulsed very hard to go fast. Then the loose ends would flutter, and it would tickle him, a new sensation he liked very much, and it made him laugh like never before. The downside was, with all this laughter, he lost his concentration, and there was no way to pump any further.
Since he had been so engrossed in learning to pump, he did not realise, how much time he had been spending in the third dimension. Most of his life he knew about the third dimension, but all the time he was actually living in only two. Backwards, forwards, sidewards. Not often upwards, just when he jumped. When he went yeeha you know?
Those days, he had only looked up at night, not much during the day, even there were things up there, and predators usually came from up there, too. How careless is this? Was he, was anyone embarrassed? Not as far as he knew. All this had changed now. His view of the world has increased, tremendously.
The Big Fish
One day he was happily pumping along experimenting on interlocking his edge suckers in a new way, allowing him to open and close even faster. Suddenly, there was an almighty roar. The shock from the sound blew him at least one hundred starfish spans sidewards, if not more.
He used the impetus and shot off like never before. When he felt safe, he turned around and looked. There was nothing to see, nothing capable of making such an enormous noise.
…“Hey you, little sausage,” he heard now, still very loud. He jittered around in flashing fast circles, looking here and there. Where did this come from?
…“Right above you, little sausage.” The voice was soft and resonating.
Cedric was still not very familiar with the third dimension. He looked up, and above him, the ceiling of the world had darkened. How scary, in the middle of the day, so he quickly pumped in the opposite direction, even further away from it.
…“No worries, sausage. Don’t be scared, won’t do you any harm, I’m ok. Just wanna talk to you.” Considering himself in a safe distance, Cedric turned around again, and now, he could see, this was a fish, a huge fish. He fumbled:
…“What are you?”
…“Can’t you see? A fish, what else?”
…“Never seen one like you.”
…“I am a big fish. Come here.”
…“Who else is around?” Cautiously Cedric pumped closer.
…“Much closer than this, you frightened, little sausage.”
Cedric obeyed, and the big fish continued:
…“I have a crazy itch inside my left gill. Give me a good old scratch, there. Can’t get to it.”
What would Cedric not do for his insatiable curiosity? All his fear had vanished, instantly.
…“Where is it?”
…“Come closer, now…good…and a bit forward…no, the other forward. See that fin?”
“See that groove. Go inside. I flip it open… get in there, now. I hold my breath.”
Undoubtedly, Cedric was a bit scared, but without it, there would be no courage. There was a job to be done. Onwards, let’s do it.
There were many pinkish, flabby, thin drapes hanging inside there. Looked all ok. He made his way through them. Then he saw one with a stick pierced through it. Cedric curled two of his tentacles around it and pulled. It did not move. He tugged and waggled and dragged again. Nope.
The body of the big fish started grumbling and shaking, all of a sudden. Then followed a thunderous rushing, gurgling sound. He was frightened. He hung onto the stick with all his six tentacles. Then he felt catapulted away, he screamed.
…“Yeehaa, it’s gone,” the big fish exclaimed with a rumbling voice, which made Cedric go ouch.
Cedric was still drifting away within a cloud of tiny, shiny balls.
…“Sorry, sausage. Couldn’t hold my sneeze a second longer.”
Cedric was still hanging onto the stick, speechless. The big fish saw it and exclaimed, this time a bit quieter:
…”Wow, that’s what it was.”
Cedric only nodded.
…“Uhm, are you all right? How did you do that, you clever little sausage, you?”
…“Could not have done it without you,” said Cedric, dangling the stick casually in one tentacle.
…“And me, not without you. What a team.”
…“No worries big fish,” Cedric said, wryly and proud.
…“You are a brave little fellow, much obliged.”
…”My pleasure, big buddy.”
…”Ahm, by the way, my name is Terrence Tuna… my friends call me Bluey.”
…“Please to meet you, Bluey. I am Cedric Mauritius.”
…“Cedric who? That’s a bit of a mouth full. Is Ced ok with you?”
…“What are you Ced, I have never seen anyone like you?”
…“I am a starfish.”
…“You are kidding me. A fish? Never seen a fish like you.”
…“I know what you mean. I really don’t look like a fish, and really, I am not a fish. But that’s what our species is called. My good old friend Henry called me a seastar.”
…“How about that. Star of the sea. Still don’t know what you are, twinkle, twinkle.”
And after a moment of thought, Bluey added with relief:
…“I am glad we sorted this out, you don’t want to worry about things like starfish or what not, all day long.”
…”For sure, not.”
Then Cedric added:
…“Ahm, sorry for being so nosy, Bluey, you are a very big fish.”
…“You reckon? I have met some bigger than me. Blue Tuna I am, that’s why ‘Bluey’. Fancy that.”
…“By the way and being nosy,” Bluey continued: “It really looks jolly, how you swim.”
…“Swim? I thought it’s called it pumping.”
…“You are a star-fish, and us fish call it, swimming.”
…”Swimming? Since I am sort of a fish, I must remember this.”
…”Ahm, it looks you have to pump very often?”
…“How do you do this pumping?”
Then Cedric pumped himself a bit higher up, then he opened his tentacles wide, so Bluey could see the underside of his tentacles with all the hundreds of little suckers. He explained it all to Bluey, slowly descending. While talking one cannot pump.
When Cedric talked about sticking on to something, Bluey called out:
…“Hey, stick onto me. No problems… just there on top of my nose, where I can see you.”
And Cedric hopped on with no hesitation.
After a moment, Bluey asked:
…“Where do you come from, Ced?”
…“Oh, that’s a long story.”
…“Come on, tell me, I like long stories.”
And so, Cedric began telling his story. From the land below, his climb up the rock face, meeting Henry and the bottle shell, staying with Sergey and learning how to pump, pardon me, swim. And while he was talking, he was amazed at all the things that had happened to him, in what was really quite a short time.
…“Seastars generally don’t swim?”
…“Why do you, then?”
…“I want to explore the third dimension.”
…“Explore what? Third what?”
…“What is that? Where?”
…“All around you.”
…“Never seen it,” Bluey concluded determinedly, finalising this intangible topic.
After a thoughtful moment, Bluey asked:
…“Was wondering. Wanna stick around? You are fun company. And a fair dinkum itch remover, you are, too. I get them, now and then, and they can annoy you a heck of a lot.”
Cedric noticed a gentle whooshing while he had been talking. They had moved along. It felt a bit eerie. He looked down and could not see the ground. It was all black down there. What if he dropped? Would he be able to pump himself up again? What about food? Algae? And would he find his way home, again? It was the first time, home came into his mind.
Since Cedric did not reply, Bluey asked with concern:
…“What’s the matter, sausage?” Cedric told him about the deep darkness and food and home.
…“No worries, old chum. Just cling on. You’ll find lots of stuff when you climb around on me. I’ll be the cleanest tuna in all the seven seas.”
Oh, what would happen with Cedric without his curiosity?
…“The seven seas?”
…“Yeah, all the oceans around the world.”
…“Oceans, world? What’s all this?”
…“A bit like ‘third dimension’ for me, I reckon,” followed by a rumbling laugh.
Cedric tried to find out more, but Bluey started getting a headache with all this mind-talking and concentrating. Clearly, he had arrived at the end of his understanding of things.
…“Why don’t you go and find some food.” There was a finality in his voice.
Cedric had learned, at this point, there was no point in poking with more questions. Talking about food, he noticed, there was a croaking in his stomach, and quickly and positively, he was off on a mission. He was on his way exploring Bluey’s surface. From where he was, at the front, he could not see the end. And indeed, there was food all the way. Fresh, juicy and flavoursome and no sand. What a luxury.
End of Part 3