“Moooooooooooooooooooooooooom! Stop it! It’s breakfast time. I want to eat my breakfast. I want to enjoy my breakfast. I don’t want to talk about exams! I want to concentrate on breakfast. Are you trying to give me fin-digestion before I even start eating?”
I don’t think Mom is listening. She’s swimming around the kitchen, preparing breakfast on autopilot—slooooooooooooow autopilot. There are kelp krispies popping and crackling in a bowl as they turn soggy (and kelp krispies are awful when they’re mushy). And she hasn’t even put the crab Pop-Tarts in the toaster yet! All she’s interested in doing is going on and on about the Quay Stage 2 exams I have to take next month at school.
“Well, Harry, I know studying isn’t your favorite pastime,” Mom says for the third time as she swims right past the Pop-Tarts, “but it really is important . . .”
In my head I’m yawning. It’s a BIG yawn. Not as big as the hungry hole in my tummy, but it’s close.
Dad is no help at all. He’s got his hammer head stuck in today’s Seaweed Times, scanning the pages to see if there’s anything about him. Dad’s Mayor of Shark Point, and usually there’s a picture of him in the paper, opening a new building, or kissing a newspawn, or standing next to an important visitor from another reef. He likes to cut the stories out and put them up on the wall of
his office. Today he doesn’t seem to have found anything about himself. This always makes him grumpy.
“Dad,” I say, “could you pass my kelp krispies, ple—?”
“Not one picture!” Dad slaps a fin against the paper. “I had a dozen photos taken yesterday and not a single one has made it into the paper. It’s like I don’t exist!” Dad does like to exaggerate when he gets upset. I’ve got to do something RIGHT NOW, so that:
1. Mom stops talking about exams.
2. Dad stops talking about himself.
3. My breakfast moves from the counter to my mouth before the rumbling in my tummy causes a seaquake!
And then I see it.
As Dad grumpily holds up the newspaper, I see an ad for the new Fintendo SeaWii-DS on the back.
All the hunger is pushed from my tummy as I fin up close to the back page. Dad is still huffing and muttering behind it, but I don’t care.
I’m too busy looking at the ad for the ultra-new fin-held game console, with SeaWii-DS graphics and Super Snapper Races 8. And it’s out today.
I WANT ONE!!!!
“Now, about this studying . . .,” Mom says, finally putting the crab tarts in the toaster.
But I’m not listening, I’m reading all the mouthwatering specs in the ad:
1. SeaWii-DS Screen!
2. Depth-Charge Slider!
3. Circle Pad Canalog Control!
4. WiFi-sh Communication!
OF OTHER GREAT THINGS THAT I DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND BUT ARE PROBABLY THE BEST THINGS EVER IN THE FISHTORY OF THE SEAVERSE!!!
It all looks so cool.
“Mom!” I say, stabbing my fin so hard into the newspaper it goes right through and plonks Dad on the hammer. “Can I have one of these? Please, please? Pretty please with a side order of please?”
Dad looks at me angrily through the hole in the paper, and Mom catches
the two crab tarts as they pop out of the toaster. “No!” they both say at exactly the same time, like they’ve been practicing.
“Why?” I ask, cutting around the ad with my fin so that I can stick it on my wall.
“Because it’s bad for you,” Mom says, finally bringing my breakfast over.
BAD FOR ME?!
I stare at her so hard my eyes nearly pop out of my hammer. What is wrong with her? How can something so good be bad?!
“You should be out playing with your friends, not stuck at home playing a silly computer game,” Mom continues.
SILLY?! I’m starting to think Mom might actually have gone crazy.
“But, Mom, I’d have way more friends to play with if I had one of these. I’d be the most popular shark in Shark Point!”
But Mom just shakes her head. “There’s no way I’m changing my mind, Harry. Anyway, you should be concentrating on your studying at the moment.”
I can’t believe she’s being so mean! I’m her son. Her only son. Doesn’t my happiness mean anything to her?
“I have rights, you know!” I say, puffing
up my chest and sticking out my dorsal fin.
Mom looks at me like I’ve just broken her best vase with a finball.
“I do! I’ll list them for you if you don’t believe me.”
Mom stares at me. “Go on, then.”
“Oh, well, uh, number one: I have the right to—uh—to develop proper fin—eye coordination!”
Mom just rolls her eyes.
“Number two: I—uh—uh—I have the right to express myself through getting the highest score at Super Snapper Races 8!”
starts tapping her fin on the counter.
“Number three: I have the right to new technology. I should not be left behind in the backwater of old stuff where all you old sharks live!” (I think I might be going too far, but I can’t seem to stop now . . .)
“Number four: I have the right to have parents who love
me enough to give me what I need to become a happy and healthy hammerhead shark!”
The kitchen is silent, except for a few pops and crackles as the last of my kelp krispies finally turn to mush. Mom is glaring so hard at me I turn to Dad.
“Tell her, Dad—I need a Fintendo, don’t I?”
Dad peers over the top of the paper, but he isn’t looking at me, he’s looking at Mom. “Harry, you definitely need something . . .” he says.
need to be grounded for a week and get no fin money for a month if you don’t apologize for upsetting your mom, right now!”
Mom looks really angry. She snatches the ad from my fin, crumples it up, and throws it into the trash can.
“Now, you listen to me, Harry,” she says. “If you don’t start studying and pass your exams, not only will you not be getting a Fintendo, but you won’t be going to the end-of-year party either!”
Mom takes my breakfast (I hadn’t even started eating it!) and throws the bowl in
the dishwasher. Then she crosses her fins and stares at me.
I don’t believe it. No Fintendo. No breakfast. And the threat of no end-of-school party!
THIS IS SO UNFAIR.
I bang my hammer on the table. “I can’t believe how mean you’re being. You’re lucky I don’t report you to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Hammerheads!”
With that, I storm out of the kitchen and swim to my bedroom as fast as my tail will propel me.
I throw myself onto my bed and pound the seaweed blanket with my fins.
“What’s up, Harry?” Humphrey, my humming-fish alarm clock, says. Lenny the lantern fish (my bedside lamp) lights up and shines his glow on me.
“I am never, ever, ever, as long as I live, getting out of bed again,” I wail, burrowing under the covers. “I am now the prisoner of the most evil dictator in the fishtory of shark-kind.”
“Who’s that?” asks Lenny.
“MY MOM!!!!!!!!!” I shout from under the covers. “She doesn’t care about my happiness. All she wants me to do is study, study, study—and she knows
how much I hate studying. She is so evil she makes the sting of sting-rays feel like tickles, and the chomp of a great white feel like a kiss from your granny!”
“I think I’d rather be chomped by a great white,” says Humphrey. “My granny smells like boiled sea cabbage and has lips like a sea cow’s rear end.”
I whine, sticking an eye out from under the cover. “My mom’s evil, evil Mrs. McEvil from Evilville-on-Sea!”
Just then Mom swims into the room, carrying my lunch box and a tray. The tray contains a bowl of fresh kelp krispies and a plate of crab Pop-Tarts.
“I’m sorry I shouted at you, Harry, but you did make me very angry,” Mom says. “Now make sure you have a big breakfast. You want to have plenty of energy for your schoolwork.” She puts the tray down beside my bed and tucks my lunch box into my backpack. “I’ve put an extra bag of krilled chips in your
lunch box so you don’t go hungry during the day.”
“Wow,” Humphrey says as Mom swims out of the room. “That sounds like the most evil breakfast and lunch box ever. What an evil dictator your mom is!”
Humphrey and Lenny start to snicker behind their fins.
“It’s just an act!” I shout. “She is evil! You didn’t hear what she said to me in the kitchen.” But Humphrey and Lenny
are now floating on their backs, surrounded by giggle bubbles.
“Hey, Harry,” says a voice at the window. I look up and see my best friends—Ralph the pilot fish, Joe the jellyfish, and Tony the tiger shark—crowded at the windowsill. “Want a game of finball before school?” Ralph says with a grin. Tony heads a ball toward Joe, who clutches it in twelve of his legs, then uses a massive toot to aim it at my bedroom window. I dive out of bed and flick it away with my tail.
I grab my backpack and a finful of crab Pop-Tarts
and head for the window.
“I thought you were never getting out of bed again!” Humphrey calls after me. He and Lenny start laughing their heads off again as I swim away.
By the time I get to the park, I’ve calmed down a bit, but then we hear a crowd approaching.
“WOW WOW WOW!!!”
“WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!”
A stream of our class friends come
through the park gates, flapping their fins in excitement.
“What’s going on?” Tony says, swimming above us to get a better look. I push up to join him. They’re all crowded around the broad back of a young bull shark.
“It’s Billy,” says Ralph, swimming up with Joe. “What’s he holding?”
The other kids are all looking at something Billy has in his fins. I turn on my hammer-vision and use it to zoom in on the center of the crowd.
My stomach flips.
Billy is holding a new Fintendo SeaWii-DS! He’s
playing Super Snapper Races 8 like a pro. His fins are flying across the controls and his eyes are fixed on the screen. I click off my hammer-vision and kick down toward him. I have to get a closer look at the console. Billy must have the best parents ever if they’ve
bought him a Fintendo on the day it comes out!
Ralph and the others follow me as I shoulder my way through the crowd.
When I finally catch a glimpse of it, I can’t believe my eyes. It’s as shiny as a black sea crystal and buzzing with noise and color. It looks even better in real life than it does in the ad. Billy finishes the level he’s on and hits a new high score.
The crowd goes wild!
I push up to him. “Billy, your Fintendo’s awesome! Can I try?”
Billy looks up from the console and glares at me. “No way! I’m not lending this to anyone.” He swims off toward the park gates.
The crowd moves on, following Billy like he’s the coolest thing in the whole ocean.
It’s so unfair! How come Billy gets a Fintendo and I don’t? It’s official—I have the evilest mom in the ocean!