A fiction about a walrus.

It was fishy. In some way, it was probably my fault. I was daydreaming, wandering around the bookstore, not paying good attention to my surroundings. Awkward and taking up more room than I should, like a king walrus bumbling around on the rocks. I was aimless in front of the sales counter, getting in people's way, staring through them, thinking about whether or not I would read that book if I bought it. Fidgety, fussy, fiddling with my keys.

Clumsy, too. I dropped the keys; they must have fallen right through my flippers. Safety first, I knelt down rather than bending at the waist, awakening from my walrus dreaminess into the human reality that makes me careful of my back, for I walk with my spine erect. I reached for the keys at the same time another hand picked them up.

"Oh, thanks," I said, in that conventional, unwalrus-like way you say thanks when you drop something and somebody else picks it up for you. I reached for the hand in the conventional way one human reaches for another human's hand when the hand is holding something that has been picked up for the other. It was all convention. You've seen it in movies a million times: The woman drops something and she and the handsome stranger both go down on their knees at the same moment to pick it up. Their eyes meet -

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2000 E.V. Hobbs