Reef Point Press
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Reef Point Press

Cassidy and the Whale (Part 3)

Photo by J.S. Lender © 2021

BY THIS TIME I was so mad that I could feel my face getting hot and red, and I yelled: Okay, you big dummy whale. Now you’re really going to get it! I placed my two fists in front of me and started to hit that slimy, stinky old punching bag, first with my left hand, then with my right hand, over and over and over again, until the punching bag was flipping and flopping back and forth and all over the whale’s throat. I think this must have gotten the whale’s attention at least a little bit, because he started to squirm and grunt. But he still would not open his big stubborn mouth and let me go free.

Now I’m starting to panic, as I am running out of ideas. I sat there at the bottom of the whale’s mouth for a little bit, with my knees folded up to my chest, and my arms wrapped around my legs. I pushed my face into my knees and cried so hard that I was afraid my eyes might explode. Then I got a new idea. I remembered how my big brother, R.J., acts like such a big tough guy, until I tickle him. I don’t care how big and strong R.J. tries to act, if I tickle him under his chin (or his little chinny, as I call it), he will suddenly drop to the floor like an old sack of potatoes.

I got back onto my feet and walked to the front of the whale’s mouth, close to his teeth. I took out my finger, and thought: this better work, because I do not have any other ideas. I slowly started to tickle the whale’s tongue, first up and down, then side to side. At first, the whale did not do anything, but I kept at it. After about five minutes, I could hear the whale chuckling from the back of his throat, and his mouth started to open just a little bit. By this time, he had swam up to the surface of the ocean, and when he opened his mouth, I could see just a little bit of the shoreline and the sand. If I squinted with my eyes and looked real hard, I could see my family standing on the sand, kicking beach balls around and splashing in the water and having a grand old time without me.

My finger was getting sore, but I kept tickling the same spot on the whale’s tongue, over and over again. I felt a rumbling coming from the back of the whale’s throat that kept getting louder and louder, to the point that it was starting to make my arms and legs vibrate. Then suddenly, the whale’s mouth flew open and a warm rush of water came flying from the back of the whale’s throat. Before I knew it, I was completely covered in the water and I was flying out of the whale’s mouth, straight into the air, toward the beach. I kept flying, higher and higher, as the rush of water from the whale’s mouth sent me tumbling through the atmosphere with no control over my arms or legs. It looked like the sky and the beach kept tumbling over one another, until I was so dizzy that I could not tell which way was up and which way was down.

I can’t remember if I already told you this, but I am a pretty darn good swimmer. When I landed into the ocean after flying out of the whale’s mouth, I was able to swim all the way back to shore, which must have been at least a mile. But if I am being completely honest, I had to do a doggy paddle part of the way, and another part of the way I had to float on my back and kick with my legs. But I made it back to shore all by myself. As I was floating on my back and kicking toward the shore, I saw the whale floating behind me, with his head above water. For a second, his head got higher and higher out of the water, and he looked right at me. It might have been my imagination, but I am certain that I saw the whale wink at me and give a little smile, before sinking back into the mysterious dark blue ocean forever.

I eventually made my way back to shore, doing an army crawl along the wet sand, as my mom and dad frantically ran toward me, asking me what in the heck was going on. I thought about explaining everything that had happened with me and the whale, but eventually decided that they would never believe my little tale. So, I just told them that I had been caught up in a riptide that carried me out to sea for just a little while. I spent the rest of the day making sand castles with Sissy, and collecting sand crabs in her little pink bucket with the unicorn painted on the side.

Sometimes late at night when I am lying in bed and I can’t fall asleep, I think about the whale, and I wonder if I will ever see him again.

J.S. Lender’s new book They Are Here Now (Short Tales) is available in paperback on Amazon. A new short story anthology for middle grade readers will be released in late 2020.

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J.S. Lender

J.S. Lender

fiction writer | ocean enthusiast | musician | author of four books, including Emma and the Starry Night. Blending words and waves…reefpointpress.weebly.com