Good jobs were scarce for nonhumans so he didn’t complain when the Pacific Aquarium staff treated him with the condescension and threadbare patience they might give a stupid but loyal dog (all except Eunice in the gift shop who smiled at him and never used the pejorative “goonie” and who said her nephew worked at a sewage treatment plant with a few nice lagoon ikkthu like him) and in any case scrubbing toilets and mopping floors was safer than doing marine salvage work with his brothers and less degrading than his last job impersonating the original Creature from the Black Lagoon for parties and birthdays (although he sometimes missed the birthdays and the kindness of the human kids who were always interested in “what it’s like to be a monster” even though they really wanted to ask a ghost or werewolf instead) so the aquarium was tolerable except for the tour guides who definitely did call him “goonie” and assumed his unhumanity made him unintelligent and mocked his monotone affectless run-on speech (as though it was a mental defect and not a trait common to a species used to communicating through underwater song) and the worst of them was Jackson with his sneaking ability to knock over mop buckets in the gift shop and whisper “what good are you fishy ikkthu fucks anyway” while Eunice frowned and shooed the guests away from the mess which was why some part of him was glad he and Jackson were alone in the Undersea Adventure Tunnel when the earthquake struck and 75,000 gallons of seawater exploded down in a glittering green flume because then he could anchor to a bend of pipe with one claw and grab the screaming man’s wrist in the other and say, “shut up hold on and watch.”

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