Sunday, June 22, 2008

The boy with a dorsal fin was rarely invited to parties, and never to pool parties. He wasn’t an outcast the way the girl with the blow hole on her forehead had become because besides his dorsal fin was so often out of view, contained by a hood or a cape or other flattering accessories. He didn’t have sonar, as many supposed he did. His skin was flax-colored, crusty where his bones hinged. He would often leave flakes of himself, which was helpful when he was wondering in the forest or exploring new continents, as he did later in his life. In his teens, he wanted his dorsal fin removed. He called a family meeting. It turned, the way his family meetings often did, into a human triangle with his mother on top of him and his brothers and sister shouting orders, reminding them all of the proper manner in which to brush their teeth. “Hit the gums!” she’d yell, again and again. “Give them hell.” The boy with the fin supported the weight of his heaviest and clumsiest brother at the bottom of the human triangle. His heaviest and clumsiest brother grappled with the dorsal fin, loosing his balance and regaining it over and over. But he never fell and the triangle remained until their mother was done explaining how brushing one’s teeth should never be done in circles, but in squares or rectangles or parallelograms, perhaps triangles. And that’s when he realized that he’d keep his fin forever, even if meant he’d be buried face down.

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