2nd Prize – Amanda Leslie-Spinks

Canadian Authors – Victoria 2016 Flash Fiction Contest – Second Prize

Problem Solving by Amanda Leslie-Spinks (Victoria)

I’ve hit a warm patch. That’s usually when I roll onto my back and watch the wind-feathered sky. People who say they don’t float—I don’t get that. They must kick themselves under somehow searching for something solid that isn’t there. It takes me only small scratching movements of my flippers to keep horizontal with the sun on my thighs and face.

Just don’t fight.

Maybe once or twice I’ve had a scare my feet would cramp. Your flippers are a size too big, so my toes strain sometimes to keep them on. And also I can be surprised by where I’ve got to. You may not feel the current but it will change your compass points.

Otherwise, okay, it’s easy.

If you’re still for more than four seconds, your legs sort of arc down. The weight of the flippers pulls them. The water closes up around you like a drawstring. Your head tilts back as the saltiness reaches your lips. But even then, legs hanging deep, air in your lungs keeps you afloat.

The question is how to breathe out enough. It would take a totally exhausted sigh to squeeze six million air sacs shut. Then you’d have to sweep the water upward with strong arms – get deep before the little sacs are forced to fill again. The diaphragm can’t help itself.

“Take rocks,” you said. “A belly-load like an otter with his clams. That would be tiring.  Tied on, though.”

I’m not stupid.

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