Undersea Ballet

I’ve been here a long time. And I don’t like it here. Most of the time it’s real cold and dark and lonely. It’s hardly ever bright enough to get light where I am. The water’s kind of dirty and down on the bottom all the light is blocked out.

I don’t like it, though, mainly because of being lonely. I’ve been down on the bottom now for months and I haven’t had many friends. Fish aren’t very friendly. They get afraid too easy. And they’re not very smart. My owner used to have a cat and the cat would lay on me and I’d like that. But fish don’t lay on you and they aren’t soft and warm and cute. Everything’s just cold and wet and I feel all pruney and wet and soaked all the time, like it’s making me all fat. It’s started to make my paint peel and my rope bridle is coming apart.

So I don’t have any friends down here. There’s a lot of garbage and broken things and furniture and, really, everything down here. People must throw things down here all the time. But there’s no people to talk to, to be friends with. I miss my owner, Bobby, who was really nice and really liked me.

I don’t really remember what happened now. Everything was fine and Bobby would ride on my back and rock back and forth and yell and play cowboy and smile and was always happy. But one day I was in a truck, going somewhere, maybe moving, maybe being thrown away, but I don’t think so and I hope not because Bobby loved me, and I was in the back of the truck and we were driving along next to the river and I fell off, but I couldn’t hold on anyway, and I fell off onto the road, but was okay, and then the next car hit me and threw me over the side and I floated down to the bottom. And the car had broken my leg, so I guess it’s good that Bobby doesn’t ride on me anymore, but I miss that and the cat and wish I could have friends again. And I felt kind of floaty, but my leg’s been caught on a metal stick since I hit the bottom, stuck between my legs, and I may have floated away to somewhere else if it wasn’t for that being there, but that’s okay, because I guess it isn’t so bad except for being so lonely, but I guess things could be worse, but I’m not sure because I never really went out before I fell off the truck.

Then more things fell down real slow. I was hoping it might be new friends but it was just more of the metal L’s. I saw that Bobby had cards with letters on them and he used to learn letters using the cards, so I figured that maybe that’s what the L’s were for, for teaching letters to people, but I didn’t understand why there’d be so many L’s or why people would just throw the L’s away. And some of them didn’t even look too much like L’s, but they all looked a lot alike. They were all black or silver or silver & black metal and some were real straight and some were a little round and some where shaped kind of like my head and had a hole in the front like a mouth or a nose and I didn’t know why an L would have holes in it, except to hang on the wall, but it wasn’t that kind of hole. So more of the L’s came down floating slow and it started to look like that’s what most of the garbage was, metal L’s everywhere, chairs, shoes, and bricks and other stuff.

It was hard to see, but my eyes were used to the dark and it was real dark up there and it must have been past bed time, but there were things in the water, not fishes and the L’s were coming down, so I couldn’t sleep.

And then a not-L came down and I wasn’t really sure what it was until it got to the bottom, real slow, but it was big and funny-shaped. It wasn’t shaped like me or an L, but it wasn’t Bobby-shaped either. It was bigger, like a mommy- or daddy-shaped thing. And I could see that where it came down it had squirted out a stream of red going up, or at least as red as things look in the dark, but my eyes were used to it. And it didn’t really look at me or anything else, it just sat there like the fish who don’t stop sleeping, before they float up or get eaten, and it stared off and laid down on the ground in the L’s. It had some kind of rope bridle, too, because it was wrapped around and around, but it had big bricks with holes in them on the rope and it looked like a bead necklace that Bobby’s sister had and I wished my bridle had bead-rocks on it too. But the big thing just laid there and leaked more color out its head where it had a little hole that wasn’t a mouth or nose hole and I thought it must be like the hole in the L’s, but I didn’t think either of them were to hang it on the wall. And I thought that it wasn’t going to be a good friend because it wasn’t very friendly and it just stared off like it was asleep and I hoped it wasn’t because my bridle didn’t have bead-rocks on it.

But soon enough, before I could worry too much about the beads, another thing came down and it wiggled as it floated down and it came fast. And bubbles came out when it hit the bottom. I stared at it and it looked like the other thing, but it was definitely daddy-shaped and had a coat and pants and a hat that I could see and it had a bridle around its middle too, but no beads, and had one big funny foot that looked like a round brick in a pan, which is funny because it had two legs and one big foot and I have two legs on each side and one long foot for each side, but one of my back legs was broken and my foot was held down by the metal stick.

I smiled and said ‘hi’ and the daddy-shaped thing blew bubbles out of its mouth and swayed from side to side and I laughed to myself. And it did a little dance for me and tried to flop from side to side, but didn’t move its big foot, even though its legs would bend around and it would dance and dance and blow bubbles and its mouth hole, a real mouth hole and not a hole to hang on the wall from, it would open and close like it was pretending to be a fishy. It made me laugh.

After a few minutes the dancing stopped and I guess it decided that it had impressed me or made me happy and it got real serious like the other one with the beads, but I knew that the dance meant we were friends, which was good, because I was lonely and it was cold and dark, but I had company, so now I had someone to talk to and I wouldn’t be too lonely anymore.

So it wasn’t so lonely down on the bottom anymore and I was happy because I had a friend again and it wasn’t Bobby and nobody rode on my back, not even the kitty, but I had someone to talk to, so I could make the best of the situation and I didn’t feel so cold and alone.