Another entry in the Story A Day May Challenge.
by Marian Allen
“Learning to drive seems difficult at first,” Kkakk said, “but you’ll soon get the hang of it, and then it’ll be second nature to you.”
Akkooo blinked in acknowledgment of his elder’s wisdom, but omitted the half-blink that would have meant he accepted and agreed with the statement.
He wasn’t at all certain he wanted to drive, but all his friends did, and his caregivers had made it plain they looked forward to his learning. It was putting a strain on his social life and his consortium relationships, his only being able to swim as far as his physical limit without someone else giving him a lift.
“I’ve been watching Bikkkk,” he said, flushing when Kkakk waved in approval. They had both mounted the twofer jet, Akkooo in the driver’s position for the first time in his life.
It would actually be easier, once he got his license, because he wouldn’t be able to afford a twofer for, like, ever, so he’d be driving the smaller, more maneuverable single.
“Um….” Is this rude? “Did you already check for barnacles and seaweed?”
Kkakk waved again. “I did. Good question! Glad to see Bikkkk knows his jet safety procedures.”
“He always checks the seashield for cracks, too.”
“Right. Everything in order?”
“Then we’re ready to go.”
Akkooo touched the starter. The motor hissed and bubbled to life. His beak clacked involuntarily and he leaked – just a little – ink with his anxiety. Colors played up and down his tentacles.
Nothing to be nervous about.
He faced stiffly sideways, one eye pointed ahead and the other behind. Prime tentacle on the brake, secondary on the speed; two backmost on steering; leftside and rightside curled around the braces to hold himself in place, and the final two free for emergencies.
Kkakk said, “Now ease forward on your speed while you lift. Don’t hold the brake at the same time! That’s it. Gently….”
Akkooo was sure Bikkkk rose faster than this, but he didn’t want to look like a squirt-tail, so he went as slowly as he could without killing the engine.
“Now, forward. Slowly, if you please.”
I could propel myself faster than this!
“You’re thinking you could propel yourself faster than this,” said Kkakk, nearly causing Akkooo to clip the edge of a coral shelf. “And I’m sure you’ll go faster, once you’re trained. For now, let’s just get used to the controls, shall we?”
They spent the entire day navigating the sea bottom, and even took the jet up into the middle reaches and opened her up to her full speed, sending out blasts of subsonic waves to warn the self-propelled of their coming.
When they ended at Akkooo’s consortium, he set the twofer down with scarcely a bump.
“Very good,” said Kkakk. “Two more sessions will probably do it.” He waved all his tentacles at Akkooo’s caregivers to let them know how well their fledgeling had done.
They invited him to stay for supper, but Kkakk declined.
“Our little larva is growing up,” Akkooo’s matron said. Akkooo tried not to change to match her color, but he was just too tired and happy. He gave up and relaxed into harmony.
Okay, that got strange.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write about your character’s learning to drive.