Dangling his legs over the water, Tommy sat on the pier and cried. Infused with his great sadness, the tears hit the waves and attracted Marina, a beautiful mermaid. Popping out of the ocean as sleek as a seal, Tommy gasped at the sight. While Marina’s tail flopped against the wood, which was long, scaly, and metallic blue, she asked poor Tommy the reason for his pain. Tommy explained that he had lost the surfing championship, which included a scholarship to college. Assessing his set as clumsy and inelegant, not a single compliment was received from the judges. After Tommy bemoaned his ineptitude on a surfboard, Marina made a proposal: She would turn him into a merman with the grace and athleticism of a dolphin! Wielding ancient ocean secrets with a snap of her fingers, a metallic green tail replaced Tommy’s legs! Diving into the waves, the tail propelled Tommy through the strong surf. Ecstatic about his new abilities, the training and advice Marina offered went unheeded. Refusing to use conditioner, for example, the sun and salt water soon damaged Tommy’s hair, which became dry and brittle. A dangerous and foolhardy activity, Tommy also insisted on head bumping the great white sharks that he encountered. Putting straws up his nose and barking like a walrus did not make Tommy popular when he had dinner with Neptune, Marina’s father. After thoughtlessly scrambling endangered sea turtle eggs for breakfast, an apology had to be made not only to Marina but also to the grieving reptile mother. One day out on a swim, Tommy drank a root beer and tossed the empty plastic bottle in the water. Polluting the ocean so carelessly was the last clam shell for Marina. With an angry snap of her fingers, she replaced Tommy’s tail with two human legs. Sinking under the waves, Tommy’s legs finally kicked him to the surface where he gulped a much-needed breath of air. Saying a curt goodbye, Marina’s tail slapped the surface dismissively as she dove into the ocean depths. While swimming the mile back to shore as a regular human being, Tommy regretted the gift that he had squandered.