Twist and Shout
GREAT JOB ON YOUR KELP reports,” Mrs. Karp told her class of third graders. “I’m so glad you enjoyed ‘My Side of the Ocean.’ It is one of my favorite stories.”
Echo tried to pay attention to the lesson, but she couldn’t keep her pink tail
from tapping the ocean floor. She couldn’t wait until school was over! When the final conch shell sounded, Echo soared out of her seat and down the hallway of Trident Academy.
Her best friend, Shelly, followed Echo and patted her shoulder. “Do you have Tail Flippers practice today, or can you come over?”
Echo loved being part of the Tail Flippers dance team, and since the big Poseidon City Dance Competition was coming up next week, Coach Barnacle had been making them practice almost every day after school. Echo’s fins ached from all the hard work.
Echo had been working especially hard
because she had a big job to do. She was going to perform a very difficult flip called a Scale Dropper. And she was going to do it from the top of a mer-pyramid formed by the other team members! It would be their big finale.
Normally, Echo would have spent her free afternoon at Shelly’s home, especially since Shelly lived right above the Trident City People Museum. Echo loved learning about the human world. But there was something else she liked just as much: sea horses!
Echo shook her head. “We don’t have practice today, but Rocky invited me to ride his sea horse this afternoon.”
Shelly smiled. “That sounds fun.”
Just then, Coach Barnacle swam by the mergirls. “Well, if it isn’t our star Tail Flipper herself! Tell me, Echo, how is your Scale Dropper coming along?”
“Fin-tastic!” Echo told him. “I’ve even been waking up early to practice it every day before breakfast!”
“Mervelous!” Coach Barnacle boomed. “After all, you’re our secret weapon! If you keep practicing, I think our team has a great chance of winning first place.”
Coach Barnacle zoomed down the hall just as Rocky burst out of their classroom. He took one look at Echo and grinned. “Shake your tail! It’s sea horse time!”
Echo squealed in delight. She waved good-bye to Shelly and sped out of Trident
Academy after Rocky. As they swam past the Big Rock Café, Echo’s mouth watered at the smell of boxfish burgers. She’d love to have a snack, but she wanted to ride Pinky more.
Pinky was one of Rocky’s two sea horses. Zollie was his first sea horse. Rocky’s uncle had rescued Zollie from a human’s net. Pinky was Zollie’s mate, who’d come to stay at Rocky’s house too. Echo couldn’t help being a tiny bit jealous of Rocky. After all, he had two sea horses and she didn’t have any. But at least Rocky was nice enough to let Echo ride Pinky.
The two merkids swam around Rocky’s large home and a storage shell to find the two sea horses feeding on small shrimp.
When the pets saw Echo and Rocky, they raced over to see them. Echo laughed and hugged Pinky while Rocky petted Zollie’s head. Soon the merkids were riding on the backs of Pinky and Zollie.
“This is shelltacular!” Rocky yelled. He leaned down over Zollie’s orange neck, urging him to go faster.
Echo did the same to Pinky and yelled, “Giddyup!”
This is what it must be like to be a sailfish, Echo thought. She loved the feeling of water whipping through her curly black hair.
Pinky sprinted through MerPark. Echo waved when she passed Pearl, a girl from her class. Pearl frowned as the two sea
horses charged past. “Echo Reef! You’d better slow that thing down!” Pearl snapped.
Echo laughed and shook her head at Pearl. “No wavy way!” Echo yelled. “This is too much fun!”
But just as Echo turned her head, something horrible happened!