It was the first day of summer vacation. Down at Screen Gems, Mike figured Bob had lost his mind, because he gave him, Jerry, and the rest of the Monkees and the Mallards the day off from filming. That was a good thing, since they had nothing to film anyway! The group decided to head down to the beach, which turned out to be a mistake, according to Mike. The place was packed with teenagers.
"It was the last day of school yesterday," Peter explained. "They're all out for the summer."
"Uh oh," Mike said. "Pray none of them recognize us. Or else we're in for a fiasco."
The others nodded and went down to stake out a spot to soak up some sun. Practically every high school student in California was on the beach that day. This included Fluey, Multi, Linda, and the rest of their friends. Laurie was the first to notice Camp Monkee/Mallard (as Mike called it) in the distance.
"Uh oh," she said. "Don't look now, guys, but Monkees at six o' clock."
"They're risking it," Fluey said. "Nearly every girl I know at school's got a crush on Davy. It's only a matter of time before someone spots them."
"Then it'll be a free for all," Erin replied.
"Well, I'm going over there," Linda said. "See you guys around."
"Sure," Multi replied. He turned on his transistor radio and began tuning his guitar.
The Monkees and the Mallards had staked out a pretty good spot, as far away from the teen girls as they could get! Luckily, most of the girls on the beach were too busy gawking at the lifeguard on duty. One of those bleached blonde, perfectly tanned, muscular, muscle head types. Athletic, but dumb. Linda walked over to the group and sat down next to Jerry.
"Hi guys," she said.
"Well, fancy meeting you here," Drake said, imitating Groucho Marx.
"Hey Linda," Jerry said. "The rest of your crew here?"
"Yeah, they're all down on the other side of the beach," Linda said. "They're just hanging around. And I wouldn't worry about any fans coming to chase you down the beach. They're all staring at Toby."
"Who's Toby?" Davy asked.
"The new lifeguard," Linda explained. "He's on duty up there, see?"
Everybody looked, and the girls' jaws practically hit the sand. Sarah let out a wolf whistle.
"He is hot!" she shouted.
"Sarah!" Reggie yelled.
"What a hunk!" Camille shouted.
"He's gorgeous!" Phyllis sighed.
"I wondah if 'e's single?" Samantha asked.
"Ooooh, I feel faint," Valerie swooned.
"Oh brother," Mike groaned.
"And they thought us guys went nuts over girls in string bikinis," Micky said.
"Sarah, you're unbelievable!" Reggie shouted.
"Eh, don't worry, Reg," Sarah replied. "He may be gorgeous but muscle heads aren't my type. I prefer the tall, dark, and musical type."
Linda shook her head and groaned. The group began to scatter just then, going off to do separate things, and Davy trying to pick up a date with the local beach babes, without all the teenage girls getting in the way. It had been pretty much low key with the fans response whenever the Monkees and the Mallards went out in public. They just treated them like they were normal people. Most of the girls on the beach were giggling and swooning over Toby anyway, who was sitting up on the lifeguard stand, flexing his muscles.
"I don't get why girls dig that sort of thing," Multi said.
"They're like us guys in a way," Fluey replied. "I mean, you see a guy drooling over girls in skimpy outfits, that sort of thing. Girls do the same over rock stars and body builders. And I'm not about to change for some girl."
"Me neither," Multi said.
"That's good," Shawn replied. "'Cause I like you the way you are now, Multi."
Multi smiled and Shawn and went back to tuning his guitar. Fluey played with the dial on the transistor radio, looking for a good station. He finally hit the local oldies station, and that day was featuring nothing but surf music.
"How appropriate," Keith replied. "Sun, sand, the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean . . . . . what could be more perfect?"
Suddenly, from what appeared to be out of nowhere, came the cry of:
The boys glanced at each other and then shot to their feet. Why turn down the surf? They grabbed their boards and followed the rest of the crowd down to the ocean. Micky had heard the cry himself, and grabbed his own surfboard.
"Hey, Mick, I didn't know you surfed," Jerry said.
"Yeah, it really impresses the chicks," Micky replied.
"You wish," Samantha replied.
Micky shot her a dirty Look, and headed for the ocean. Mike shook his head and snapped his fingers. A pair of binoculars appeared in his hands.
"What are you doing with those?" Valerie asked.
"Watchin' the action," Mike replied. "I think it'd be kinda fun to see Micky wipe out. Hey, Val, did you and Pete know Fluey was into surfin'?"
"Yeah, he's into a lot of things," Peter replied. "He's your typical all American teenager of the nineteen sixties, living in a nineteen nineties world."
Mike laughed and watched the surfing through his binoculars. He then noticed this one guy he recognized from Carson High School the captain of the football team, Josh Schultz. He was the most popular boy in school, dating the most popular girl in school, and that made him think he was the best of the best, and that included surfing. He had a grudge against Fluey for quite a few reasons. Reason 1: Josh thought Fluey was a big shot just because his uncle happened to be Peter Tork of the Monkees, and he could get tickets to concerts for all the girls, not only at Carson High, but at Thomas Edison High as well. Reason 2: Fluey was a very talented singer, and had quite a few songs on the charts, which made him quite the teen idol at school, while Josh couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. Reason 3: not only was Fluey a singing star, but in the movies as well, since he co-starred in Keep on Rockin', and made his own movie with Multi and Coiley, The Impossibles, which made him and Multi teen idols at Carson (it also made Coiley a teen idol at Edison). Josh was so jealous of that, because his girlfriend, Peggy Johnson, happened to be a huge Monkees fan, and often bugged Fluey for tickets. Mike got a slight twinge in his sixth sense while watching Josh on that surfboard.
"Hey, look who it is trying to surf!" Josh called out. "Fluid Dork-McAlister!"
"Oh no," Fluey groaned. "Josh Schultz."
"What's he doing here?" Shawn asked.
"Public beach, Shawnie baby," Josh said. "Besides, it's my job to keep trash like this off the beach."
"Who you calling trash, jock?" Fluey challenged. "You think you're so great, just 'cause you're captain of the football team and dating the head cheerleader."
"You think you're hot stuff just 'cause Peter Tork's your uncle," Josh said. "You're probably one of those bratty little superstars, bragging about the fact that you've been in show business probably all your life, with your supermodel girlfriends. Truth of the matter is, McAlister, you probably don't have a supermodel girlfriend, or any kind of girlfriend. So you're not the hot shot you think you are."
"Who said I was a hot shot? And the reason why I don't have a girlfriend is because I haven't found a girl who's my type!"
"Oh come on, you've got girls flocking all over you! I've seen it at school!"
"Only because most of the girls at Carson really dig the Monkees and Davy Jones and they know I can get them tickets."
"Why don't you just butt out, Josh?" Laurie asked. "If anyone around here's a hot shot, it's you!"
Everybody seemed to agree on that. There was a lot of tension just then. Mike had to act fast. He waved his hand in a circle and aimed it at the ocean. The waves became just too perfect for surfing.
"Hey, surf's up again!" the kid who had called "surf's up" earlier shouted.
The tension seemed forgotten and the kids headed out with their boards, as did Micky. Mike breathed of relief.
"Well, I averted another disaster," Mike said. "I could kill Bob for castin' Fluey in Keep on Rockin'. That movie status of his is causin' nothin' but trouble between him and the jocks."
"Well, Bob only cast him in the role because you didn't want to play a teenager again," Reggie replied.
"It would've been too weird anyway," Mike said. "I may be two years younger than Jerry, but I'm much taller than he is, which is why more than often I play someone older than him."
"Hey, Mike," Drake said. "I'd keep your sixth sense fixed on the kids out there. Josh Schultz's got that look in his eye."
"What look?" Mike asked, taking his binoculars.
"That sneaky look Gosalyn uses whenever she's going to attack the cookie jar."
Mike shrugged and looked through his binoculars, watching Josh like a hawk. Josh was pulling his surfboard next to Fluey's, and tried to cause him to wipe out. Mike quickly sent a telepathic message to Micky, who happened to be surfing close by.
You know Josh Schultz, Mick? he asked. Captain of the Carson High football team?
Yeah? Micky thought back, sending his message to Mike.
Well, he's ahead of you, tryin' to knock Fluey off his surfboard. Do me a favor and create a diversion or somethin'.
Sure thing, Mike!
Micky crouched down and used his hands to paddle himself closer to Josh. He caught a wave and zoomed ahead of Josh, cutting in front of him.
"Surf's up!" he shouted.
That wasn't the world's best diversions. Josh ended up crashing into Micky's surfboard, and both of them wiped out and ended up sliding into the shoreline. Josh stood up, kicked wet sand in Micky's face, and stormed off to go find Peggy. Micky just lay there like a slug. Reggie, Mike, and Samantha cracked up.
"Bleah!" Micky shouted. "Very funny! Very funny! You try getting a mouth full of seaweed and see how many you get!"
"Sorry, Micky," Mike said, stifling his giggles. "But I just can't help it. Thanks for the diversion, though."
"Yeah, yeah," Micky said.
"You look cute covahed in seaweed, Micky," Samantha said.
That sent Reggie into a fit of giggles. Micky glared at both his best friend and his girlfriend and then skulked off to clean the seaweed off of him. Reggie and Samantha went with him. Mike shook his head and continued to watch the surfers. As he did, his sixth sense started to twinge, but he didn't seem to see any danger. He figured it was just a fluke or something. What Mike didn't know was that he wasn't the only one watching the surfers. Under the water, there was a crew of frog men under the water. Frog men in the literal sense, that is.Half human, half frog.And they didn't like the fact that a large group of people kept invading their waters in between May and September. They didn't like "landwalkers" (as they called them), and they were planning to sabotage the entire fleet of surfers, by using a wave machine they created. One turned it on, which caused the waves to crash around like there was a huge thunderstorm or something going on.
"Hey, what's going on?" one surfer asked.
"Two words," a surfer girl said. "Wipe out!"
"Let's get back to shore!" Keith shouted. "QUICK!"
All the surfers began to scream and then scrambled back to shore. The waves were beginning to get rougher and rougher, smashing the surfboards in half when they came into contact with the waves. There was a lot of panicking going on. People were screaming like crazy, trying to avoid getting clobbered with bits of surfboards while trying to get back to shore. Mike's sixth sense began to go crazy. He held up the binoculars and watched the entire scene. Most of the teenagers had managed to get to shore, but Fluey wasn't so lucky. He was getting closer to the shoreline, and then BAM! A piece of surfboard hit him in the back of the head, knocking him out.
"Uh oh," Mike said.
"What? What happened?" Peter asked.
"Fluey just got clobbered by a piece of surfboard," Mike said. "He's been knocked out."
"Stand back! I'm going in!" Peter shouted, ready to dive into the surf.
"Petah, you can't go into those waves!" Davy yelled. "You'll drown!"
"Well, so will Fluey!" Peter shouted. "You can't swim when you've been knocked out!"
"You guys better do somethin'," Mike said. "I've lost sight of him."
"I'll go get the lifeguard!" Jerry shouted, and he ran off.
The others nodded. Mike's sixth sense began going crazy. He threw the binoculars aside, and then scanned the water, looking for Fluey. Peter was biting his nails nervously. Mike kept his gaze fixed on the water. He could make out something, but he wasn't sure what.
"What in the world?" he asked.
"What is it, Mike?" Davy asked.
"I can't tell," Mike said. "The water's too murky to make anythin' out clearly."
"Do you see Fluey, though?" Valerie asked.
"No," Mike said. "My battery must be low. The picture's goin' fuzzy. It's fadin' . . . . it'sfadin' . . . . oh rats! It's gone! But I know my battery isn't dead. I don't know what happened."
At that moment, Jerry returned with Toby, who immediately dashed out to the water, but then returned just as fast as he went in.
"I'm not going out there!" he shouted. "I could get killed in waves like that!"
Everybody groaned. Mike wanted to throttle this guy.
"What kind of a lifeguard are you?!" he shouted.
"A good lookin' one," Toby said. "See ya!"
With that, Toby walked off. Everyone else again groaned. Valerie was ready to call her lawyer and sue this particular lifeguard. But she didn't have anything to worry about. Mike's sixth sense was on the blink at the time, but everything would check out normal soon enough. Fluey, still unconscious, had hit the bottom of the sea, and the frog men swam off, turning off their wave machine. Once they were gone, an honest to goodness mermaid swam out from behind some tall sea grass and approached Fluey. She grabbed him by his shoulders and pulled him back to shore. She stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled. Two other mermaids appeared out of nowhere.
"Give me a hand, girls," the first mermaid said to her friends.
Her friends helped pull Fluey back to the surface, and pulled him to shore.
"Is he still alive?" the second one asked.
"How can you tell if humans are alive are not?" the third one asked.
"I think he's still alive . . . . ." the first one said. She pulled herself up to Fluey and pressed her ear to his chest. Then she nodded. "Yes, yes, he's still alive. There's a heartbeat."
"Hey, we'd better get out of here before someone sees us," the second mermaid said. "Someone's coming!"
The three mermaids swam off as fast as they could, just as Mike and the others came by. Mike happened to see their tails go into the water and ran out to see what they were.
"Mike?" Jerry asked. "What's up?"
"I thought I saw . . . ." Mike started, and then shook his head. "No. Never mind. It's too ridiculous."
Mike walked back to the sand, still wondering what in the world it was he saw in the water. He quickly shook the feeling and went further down shore. He kneeled down and looked over Fluey closely.
"Well?" Peter asked.
"He's all right," Mike said. "No need for CPR or anythin'."
"Oh, thank goodness," Valerie said, breathing of relief. Mike nodded, took hold of Fluey's shoulder, and shook it.
"Fluey, come on, buddy, wake up," he said. Fluey groaned, coughed and then sat up.
"Wow," he said. "What hit me?"
"A piece of surfboard," Mike said. "You all right?"
"Yeah, you had us scared to death!" Peter shouted.
"Yeah, I'm okay," Fluey said. "It was the craziest thing. I thought this girl pulled me out of the water."
"A girl?" Peter asked. "I didn't see anybody, did you guys?"
"No," Valerie said.
"A girl, huh?" Mike asked. "Hmm, I wonder . . . ."
"You wonder what?" Reggie asked.
"Oh, nothin', Reg," Mike said. "I'm just thinkin' out loud, that's all."
"Come on, guys, let's head home," Phyllis said. "I think I've had enough of the beach for now."
The others agreed and walked off. Except Mike. There was something he wanted to investigate. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a seashell on a string. He put it around his neck and headed for the sea. He dove into the water and began swimming around.
"Now I know Ariel hangs out at this beach," he said. "She should know whether or not I saw a group of mermaids."
"Hi Mike," a voice said. Mike jumped with a start, turned around and was face to face with a red headed mermaid.
"Ariel, don't do that!" he shouted. "You know how jumpy I get!"
"I didn't mean to startle you. So what brings you down here?"
"I was investigatin' a surfin' accident. My friend's nephew got hit in the head with a piece of surfboard and nearly drowned, and he said he thought some chick pulled him out and I saw these three fishtails disappear into the water, and I'm wonderin' if there are anymore mermaids around."
"Plenty. I've got lots of friends who are mermaids and mermen."
"Yeah, but do me a favor, okay, Ariel."
"Lay low. You know Sea World would be dyin' to get a mermaid on their hands. They'll stop at nothin', you know."
"I promise I'll tell my friends to be more careful."
"Thanks, Ari. I'll see you later."
Mike swam off and went home. He wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but he was going to find out sooner or later. Probably later. The next day, Multi and Fluey were cruising around town in their custom made "Impossi-Mobile" which Mike and a friend of his made for their movie. It was a good thing Multi was driving, because Fluey had somewhat of a faraway look on his face. He was staring out the window, not really looking at anything.
"Hey, Fluey?" Multi asked. "You in there?"
"Huh?" Fluey asked.
"Answers my question. You're kind of deep in thought today."
"Yeah, I know. I can't get this chick outta my head."
"Yeah. I can't even remember what she looks like."
"Is this the girl at the beach yesterday?"
"Yeah.Hey, let's head back to the beach and see if she's there. You know all the kids around go to the beach during summer vacation."
Multi and Fluey then drove down to the beach and proceeded walking around, knowing they were on a wild goose chase, but it didn't matter.
"Looks like Toby's out on a break," Fluey said, looking at the lifeguard stand. "A lot of help he was the other day."
"Yeah, I know," Multi said. "Maybe they fired him or something."
Fluey nodded and continued walking down the beach. He didn't get too far at one point. He tripped over something or another and ended up with a face full of sand. He leaned up, and there was Josh Schultz laughing.
"What a loser!" he shouted.
"Very funny," Fluey replied. "Come on, Multi. Let's split. I'm not about to sink to this guy's level!"
"Chicken! Chicken! Bwaaaak bwak-bwak-bwak!" Josh taunted. Fluey rolled his eyes and continued walking.
"I'm surprised you didn't flatten him," Multi said.
"He's bigger than me," Fluey said. "Besides, Uncle Peter has warned me a million times not to pick fights. I did that in the sixth grade and I was the one to get in trouble."
"Besides, we've got more important things to do."
"Yeah, looking for that girl, right."
The boys walked along for awhile, until they ran into some familiar faces: Charlene Walters and Rachel Amers, who played Cindy and Natalie in the boys' movie. They saw Multi and Fluey coming and waved.
"Hey guys!" Charlene shouted. "Long time, no see!"
"Let me guess, your school let out today, right?" Rachel asked.
"Yesterday," Fluey replied. "We were all here yesterday."
"Cool," Rachel said. "So where's Coiley?"
"Not with us today," Multi said. "Hey, Rachel, you live near this beach, don't you?"
"Yeah, but only in the summer," Rachel replied. "Why?"
"Do you know of any . . . . . regulars who come to this beach? Fluey's looking for a girl he saw yesterday."
"Well, there's this one girl I see a lot hanging around Mike Nesmith. She's got this red hair . . . . redder than yours, Multi, and she and Mike are always swimming."
"What color was this girl's hair, Fluey?" Multi asked.
"From what I remember, sort of light brown, kinda dark blonde . . . . . a lot like Uncle Peter's," Fluey replied. "And it was kind of long."
"No, I don't know any girl like that," Rachel said. "Where did you meet her?"
"Strange story, actually," Fluey said. "See, Josh Schultz, who's this jerk at Carson, knocked me off my surfboard yesterday, and then the waters started getting rough . . . . . sheesh, I don't even know the whole story. All I can recall is getting hit with a surfboard, blacking out, and next thing I know, there's this girl standing over me or something like that."
"Well, Char and I will keep our eyes open for you," Rachel said.
"Thanks," Fluey replied. "We'll see you around."
"Bye," Charlene said, and the boys walked off.
After spending an hour scanning the beach, Fluey finally got the bright idea of actually going under the water.
"Have you flipped?!" Multi shouted.
"Well, what if she's a mermaid or something?" Fluey asked. "You know that can be a possibility."
"I think you played your part too well in that movie, that's all I've got to say."
"Oh come on! We'll go rent some diving equipment and look for this girl! If we can't find her by the time we have to come up for air, I promise I'll give up. Deal?"
"Oh, all right, deal."
Multi and Fluey shook on it, and went to get some diving equipment. Within ten minutes, the two teenagers were swimming along the ocean floor, looking for something out of the ordinary. The two of them split up and continued swimming around. Fluey spotted something in the distance and swam forward, trying to figure out what it was he saw. He was too busy looking for it, he didn't look where he was going, and crashed directly into what he thought was another diver. The diver looked at him and stopped. Fluey came to his senses as well and realized he hadn't crashed into a diver; he crashed into a mermaid! And not just any mermaid. It was the mermaid that saved him from drowning the other day! Both he and the mermaid swam up to the surface. Fluey took off his goggles and laughed.
"Wow," he said. "I thought I'd never find you!"
"I'm surprised you remember me," the mermaid said. "Actually, I've been thinking about you."
"Yeah, me too. So what's your name?"
"Marina. What's yours?"
"Fluey. Man, it's surprising, but I thought mermaids were only in stories."
"Humans have a lot to learn."
"Yeah, I know."
"I'd better go. My friend, Ariel, warned me not to get too close to a human. She said a friend of hers said that Sea World's dying to get their hands on a real live mermaid."
"That sounds like something my friend Mike said once. And he has mentioned he knows a mermaid named Ariel. Listen, I can keep a secret. I won't tell anybody."
"Okay. Come on. Let's go for a swim."
"Well, I got a little air left in this tank. Okay."
Fluey put his goggles back on and dove under the water with Marina. The two of them swam around a little while, until Fluey had to come up for air. Marina went with him.
"I've been told humans were trouble," Marina said. "But I find it hard to believe, since Ariel's friend is a human, and you're human."
"Well some humans can be trouble," Fluey said. "I know a few who are bad news, but most of us are pretty much okay. "I mean, we all have our flaws, but who doesn't?"
"I guess that's true. You're a lot more fun to hang around than a lot of mer-guys I know, Fluey."
"Same here, Marina. A lot of human girls don't even bother with me unless there's a Monkees concert around. And the girl I like doesn't even know I exhist. Well, I mean, she does know I exhist, but she only likes me as a friend. Not as a boyfriend."
"I don't understand why."
Fluey and Marina looked at each other then. The sun was going down. It was a perfect romantic moment. Of course, something had to spoil it.
"Fluey!" Multi called. "Where are you?! We'd better get going or else my dad and your uncle will have a cow!"
"Multi," Fluey groaned.
"What's wrong?" Marina asked.
"Nothing's wrong," Fluey said. "It's just that I've got to go. My aunt and uncle kind of worry about me when I don't call."
"Will I ever see you again?"
"Uhhh, how about tomorrow? I'll meet you at here, okay?"
"Okay. See you then!"
Fluey dove under the water in order to get back to shore. Multi was waiting for him.
"What took you so long?" he asked.
"Sorry," Fluey replied.
"Did you find her?" Multi asked.
"Yeah, I found her."
"And was she a mermaid?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Multi. There's no such thing as mermaids. Come on, Uncle Peter's likely to have a cow if I don't get home by seven thirty."
"Right. Let's go."
The boys returned their equipment and went to the Impossi-Mobile. Then they headed back home. It was a pretty much normal day the next day. Mike was out on the beach, swimming with Ariel.
"So did you tell your friends what I told you?" he asked.
"I sure did," Ariel said. "Bubbles, Coral, and Marina listened to me, but I don't think they took the warning seriously. Marina said she had a date with a human today."
"Date with a human? Huh, that's kinda strange, isn't it?"
"Yeah, she said it was some boy that she, Bubbles, and Coral fished out of here the other day. I think I've seen him before . . . . . with your friend Peter."
Mike stopped for a moment. He saw a mermaid with light brown hair swim by, accompanied by what looked like a teenage skin diver, with black hair.
"Really," he said.
"Yeah, in fact, there goes Marina now," Ariel said. "That must be her human date."
"Uh huh," Mike said. "That's also Peter's nephew. Hey, Fluey!"
Both Fluey and Marina stopped. Mike swam up to both of them and looked at Fluey.
"Okay, you, surface," he said. "Let's talk."
Mike, Fluey, Ariel, and Marina surfaced. Fluey and Marina were a little red faced when confronted by Mike however.
"Hi, Mike," Fluey said. "Listen, I can explain this."
"You'd better," Mike said. "I'd hate to see this on the cover of the Inquirer in a few days."
"Yeah, well, see, Marina and I were just going for a swim. I met her yesterday and . . . . ."
"I think you mean the day before yesterday."
"Yeah, you're right. And anyway . . . . ."
"You know this sort of thing can only lead to trouble."
"I promised I wouldn't tell, and I won't."
"I'm gonna hold you to that promise, you know. But really, I don't have anythin' to worry about. You're very reliable, Shotgun."
"Shotgun?" Marina asked.
"Yeah, he calls everybody Shotgun," Fluey explained.
"Just one more thing, Fluey," Mike said. "How the heck do you do what you're doin'? There can't possibly be enough air in that tank for more than an hour or so."
"I come up for air every hour," Fluey replied.
"Uh huh. You're incredible. Hey, Ariel, do this kid a favor."
"Sure, Mike," Ariel said. "What?"
"You know the shell you gave me so I could swim underwater without comin' up for air?"
"Well, get Fluey one of those. I have a feelin' he and Marina are gonna be seein' a lot of each other this summer."
With that, the four dove back underneath the water and continued swimming. As they did, who should be watching them but a group of Frog People?
"Those mermaids are getting too chummy with those landwalkers," one said. "They're practically inviting them to dump more and more pollution on us."
"We have to do something fast," another said. "King Gribbit won't like more trash and garbage in our home."
"We'll let it go for awhile," another said. "When they get too close to Amphibius, then we'll do something."
Amphibius happened to the Frog Peoples' village. Not one human (or mermaid for that matter) had ever seen it or gotten close to it. King Gribbit of the Frog People kept it hidden. But it wouldn't stay hidden for long, that King Gribbit knew, especially with people dumping trash and pollution into the ocean. This is why the Frog People hated humans so much. Mike and Fluey knew about all the trash, but they weren't exactly sure what they could do about the whole thing. Mike's magic wouldn't be able to handle a large amount of garbage. It didn't matter then, anyway.
The next day, Ariel gave Fluey a shell similar to Mike's. Once around his neck, he wouldn't have to come up every hour for air. That meant Fluey and Marina could spend more time together. And they did. Fluey hadn't broken curfew once, but Valerie didn't like the fact that he was coming home around ten at night, soaking wet. Both she and Peter knew he was spending time with a girl, one that they knew nothing about.
"If you're going to be hanging out with this girl all summer, we want to know a little about her," Valerie said.
"What would you like to know?" Fluey asked, while helping his aunt peel potatoes for dinner.
"Where does she live?" Peter asked, slicing carrots.
"Malibu Beach," Fluey said. "You guys remember Rachel Amers, right?"
"Mm hmm," Peter said.
"Well, her family has a summer house on the beach and Marina lives near there," Fluey replied.
"Practically in the water."
"What's her last name?" Valerie asked.
"I really don't remember," Fluey said. "In fact, I don't think she ever told me."
"She never told you her last name?"
"Not that I can remember."
"I don't know about that. What are her parents like?"
"I haven't met them yet."
"Probably makes sense why she hasn't told you her last name," Peter said. "And when do we get to meet her?"
"You don't," Fluey replied.
"What do you mean we don't?" Valerie said. "Of course we want to meet her!"
"Only so you can grill her and breathe down her neck 'cause you don't trust her," Fluey replied.
"I never said that," Valerie said.
"But you're thinking it," Fluey said. "What's the big deal?"
"Well, what do you two do all day?" Peter asked. "You come home dripping wet, and . . . ."
"Oh, we swim," Fluey said. "Scuba dive, that sort of thing."
"Scuba dive?" Peter asked. "All day?"
"Don't you have to come up for air?"
"Oh, sometimes.She's a great swimmer."
"I'd still like to meet her."
"You can't. She . . . . she's really shy and all, and . . . . well, our area's a little . . . . . dry."
"Dry?" Valerie asked.
"Well, she likes it on the beach," Fluey said. "She lives there all year long."
"Even in the winter?" Peter asked.
"Oh yeah," Fluey said. "You know California."
"Yeah, well, lately, winters have been getting cold," Peter said. "Personally, I don't see how you can scuba dive on dates for a whole day."
"You'd be surprised," Fluey said.
"I guess I would."
Peter went back to slicing carrots. Fluey breathed of relief and went back to peeling potatoes. He didn't want to tell his uncle that his new girlfriend was a mermaid. Peter just couldn't keep a secret. The next day, Fluey could be found on the beach again. Coiley and Multi were there as well.
"We haven't seen much of you lately," Coiley said. "Where have you been?"
"Right here," Fluey said. "On the beach."
"Every day?" Multi asked.
"Yeah," Fluey replied, pulling on his diving goggles.
"I hope you use sunscreen," Coiley said.
"Sure I do," Fluey said. "But I usually go scuba diving with Marina and her friends. I'll see you guys later."
"Wait, hold it," Multi said. "Who's Marina?"
"That girl I was telling you about," Fluey said. "Bye!"
Fluey was off like a flash then. Multi and Coiley stared after him, and glanced at each other.
"Either Fluey's truly likes this girl, or he's lost his marbles," Coiley said.
"I'll opt for the latter," Multi said. "Speaking of girls, I'm meeting Shawn here soon, so I'd better go."
"Yeah, bye," Coiley said. And he walked off. He had nothing else to do that day, so he sat down and prepared to soak up some sun, at least until he saw Mike climb out of the water, without so much as an air tank.
"How can you scuba dive without an air tank?" Coiley asked.
"Oh, hi, Coiley," Mike said. "Long time, no see. I'll tell you why I can dive without a tank. Did Fluey ever tell you I'm half witch?"
"No! You're kidding!"
"Nope, I'm dead serious. A friend of mine gave me this shell, and I can breathe underwater."
"Cool. Hey, Fluey had a shell similar to that. And he just went diving without a tank, too."
"Oh, yeah, my friend gave him one, too. Uhh, you know he took his part in your movie a little seriously, don't you know. I think he might still have his costume from the set, too."
"Yeah, he must have."
"Yeah. Incidentally, how good are you at keepin' secrets, Coiley?"
"Terrible. I tell my sister, Reine, everything. So whatever you and Fluey know, better not tell me. And Multi's a worse secret keeper than I am."
"Yeah, I'd better not."
Mike sat down and clicked his tongue against his teeth. At that moment, Peter and Valerie walked by. They were determined to meet Marina one way or another. And they figured if Fluey wasn't going to bring her home, then they'd go down to the beach and see her for themselves.
"Hey Mike, hey Coiley," Peter said.
"Hi Pete," Mike said. "What brings you down to the beach?"
"We want to meet Fluey's new girlfriend," Valerie said.
"Well, you just missed them," Mike said. "They went divin'."
"I don't know if I like this arrangement," Peter said. "It's like he's taking his superhero role a little too seriously, if you know what I mean."
"You don't think he can really change from solid to fluid, do you?" Valerie asked.
"That's impossible," Mike said. Then he realized what he said. "Hmm, bad choice of words, considerin' the deal in the movie. Okay, never mind. At any rate, trust me, you don't want to meet his girlfriend."
"Why not?" Peter asked.
"Yeah, why?" Coiley said. "I'm dying to meet her, myself!"
"Look, she's a friend of a friend of mine, and I can't tell you why," Mike said. "It's too complicated."
"Mi-ike!" Peter shouted. "You've never kept secrets from me or any of the Monkees or Mallards before!"
"I made a promise to my friend, Ariel," Mike said. "She's friends with Fluey's girlfriend, Marina, and . . . ."
"So you've already met her," Valerie said.
"Yes, I have, but . . . ."
"So what is she? A witch or something?"
"No, she's not a witch. I can guarantee you, Valerie, Marina is not a witch."
"Well, how old is she, then?"
"I'm not sure. But she can't be more than eighteen."
"Okay, that's good. For a minute, I was worried Fluey was dating an older woman. A really older woman."
"One as old as you, Val?"
"Maybe even older. I don't know. It's just that a lot of people around here are getting involved with younger women for one thing."
"Yeah, my dad and Jerry, but Fluey's not goin' in over his head with an older woman, or a younger woman, for that matter. I'll have to ask Ariel, but Marina is probably only sixteen or seventeen, maybe even eighteen."
"So when can we meet her?" Peter asked.
"You can't," Mike replied.
Peter heaved a frustrated sigh. At that moment, Fluey emerged from the water and saw Mike, Peter, and Valerie, probably about ready to start an argument. He ran over to them.
"Hi," he said. "What's going on?"
"Where's your new girlfriend?" Coiley asked.
"Still swimming," Fluey replied. "She could practically live in the water, you know."
"Well, go get her," Peter said. "Valerie and I want to meet her."
"We're a little upset because Mike has already met her," Valerie said. "Obviously you've introduced her to him before you introduced her to us."
"Aunt Valerie, that was unintentional," Fluey said. "Marina and I were diving one day and we ran into Mike and his friend, Ariel."
"Now who's Ariel, Mike?" Peter asked.
"Just a friend," Mike said. "You can ask Jerry. He knows her. On second thought, don't ask Jerry."
"Besides, Marina doesn't really like coming out of the water," Fluey said. "Her skin gets really dry, you know what I mean?"
"Then she should get a good skin moisturizer," Peter said.
"Well, I'll see you guys later, anyway," Fluey said. "I'm going back under."
"Oh no you're not," Valerie said. "You're not going to see this Marina girl until Peter and I have had the chance to get to know her."
"But you can't get to know her!" Fluey shouted.
"Why not?" Peter asked.
"Well, because . . . . because you just can't," Fluey said. "Look just let me go back, please?"
"Yeah, man, let the kid go back," Mike said. "He's nuts about the chick."
"Not until we meet her, Michael," Peter said.
"Okay, if I go get her, would you let him stay out here?"
Mike led Peter and Valerie down to the shoreline and then into the ocean. Then he dove down and swam around.
"I don't get how he can do that," Valerie said.
"It's magic," Peter replied, with a shrug. A few minutes later, Mike emerged with both Ariel and Marina.
"Okay, guys," he said. "This is my friend, Ariel, who is just a friend. You know I'm faithful to Phyllis. And this is Marina. Ariel, Marina, these are Peter and Valerie, Fluey's uncle and aunt."
"Oh," Marina said. "Uhh . . . . hello."
"Yeah, hi," Peter said, staring at Marina. Valerie just nodded. They weren't exactly sure what it was, but there was something about Marina that they didn't like. Marina began to feel a little uneasy.
"So, can Fluey continue his skin divin' routine?" Mike asked.
"I don't think so," Valerie said.
"Me neither," Peter said.
"Why not? You met her, didn't you?" Mike asked.
"Well, other than we met her, we don't know anything about her," Valerie said.
"Yeah, except that she swims," Peter said. "There's just something not right about this."
"Look, my sixth sense isn't sendin' me signals about this girl!" Mike shouted. "I think the two of you are bein' a little unfair."
"Michael, you're sixth sense may be good at picking out bad vibes, and sensing danger, but Fluey's my nephew, not yours, and I just have to go with my gut feelings, and I'm getting an uneasy feeling about this whole thing."
Mike just sort of floated there, staring at both Peter and Valerie. Then he looked at the two mermaids and shrugged.
"I'd better move out," Marina said.
"Hold it, Marina," Mike said. "Let me talk to Peter. I can convince him . . . ."
"No, forget it," Marina said. "It'll never work out, anyway. He's a human, I'm a mermaid. I'll be seeing you around, Ariel. Bye, Mike."
Marina dove underneath the water and swam off. Mike looked at Ariel and sighed.
"You catch up with her," he said. "I'll talk to Peter."
"Right," Ariel said, and dove down.
Mike swam back to shore and tried to catch up with Peter, but he had already left. Mike sighed and headed home. He'd call Peter later. Peter, in the meantime, was in the middle of an argument, and it was a hot one.
"Well you met her, didn't you?!" Fluey shouted.
"I would've felt better if she would have come out of the water," Peter said.
"But Mike wasn't picking up any vibes or anything like that!" Fluey shouted.
"That's not the point!" Valerie shouted. "Mike may not have gotten vibes, but Peter and I did. We got this uneasy feeling about this girl, but I can't really tell you exactly what it is."
"Oh yeah, just because she's a little different," Fluey said. "I gotta tell you, you are being so unfair! You can't tell me who to date!"
"Don't you use that tone of voice with us, young man!" Peter shouted. "You may be only a few years younger than the two of us right now, but we're still your legal guardians."
"Legal jailers is more like it!" Fluey said. "You always have to butt into my life! I can choose whoever I go out with, and it's not your decision! You guys are more like prison wardens!"
"That does it," Peter said. "I want you to go to your room right now! We'll discuss this later."
Fluey glared at his aunt and uncle and stormed up the stairs. Once he was at his room, he slammed the door shut. Peter sat down and sighed.
"I'm turning into my father," he said.
"I know it's not easy, but there are times where Fluey just doesn't get the point unless you apply it with a sledgehammer," Valerie said.
"What I don't understand is why he never listens to us anymore."
"He's sixteen now, Peter. He's at that age where he wants independence. You have to admit, we do kind of treat him like a baby."
"I know, Valerie, I know. But I just don't understand him sometimes. When I was sixteen, I listened to everything my father had to tell me, and I never complained about it."
"You were trying to set a good example for your younger brothers and sisters, and you know as well as I do that Fluey's an only child. At least as far as we know."
"I guess you're right. I'll go up and talk to him."
"I think you'd better let him cool off, first. You know he was pretty mad."
Peter nodded. If there was one thing he didn't want to do at that time was confront an angry sixteen-year-old boy. But he should have gone up anyway. Fluey was walking around his room, going from the closet to the bed. He pulled out his gym bag, threw his gym clothes out of it, and went to the closet. He dug through it, until he found his costume from The Impossibles, which was basically a full body wet suit. The reason for that was because Fluey had to be emerged countlessly into a tank of water for some of the special effects used in the movie (since his power in the movie was turning from solid to liquid). At any rate, he threw it into his gym bag, along with his diving goggles, and sea shell Ariel had given him. Then he put on his jacket, flung his bag over his shoulder, opened the window, and climbed down (the second floor wasn't so high, and Fluey's very agile, anyway). The minute he was in the backyard, he unlatched the gate, and went for the garage. He retrieved his bicycle, and headed for the beach. Peter and Valerie didn't know any better, either.
Fluey made it to the beach, and prepared to go out diving when Ariel swam up to the shore line.
"She's not around here," she said. "But Marina may be closer to the docks. You might want to check over there."
"Will do," Fluey said. "Thanks, Ariel!"
Zoom. Fluey was off. Ariel dove underneath the water and swam off as fast as she could. Fluey went over to the docks, and practically threw his bike down on the ground. Then he went over to the edge of the dock, and looked around. He was looking for a good place to dive right in, when a sign caught his eye: NO SWIMMING ALLOWED. This was because of all the boats coming in and out of the area. He sat down on the dock and thought about the position for a few minutes. As he was thinking about it, one of the workers came over to him.
"Hey, now," he said. He had somewhat of a typical "sailor type" accent. "What's a young lad like you doing on the docks like this at this time of day?"
"It's a long story," Fluey said. "See, I'm kind of supposed to be out on a date right now . . . . my girlfriend and I planned on going skin diving, and she said to meet her by the docks, but she obviously ignored the No Swimming sign over there."
"Well, the docks aren't usually good for launching skin divers. Me and my crew are about to go out on a run, and we know of a great place for skin divers. They rent out boats all the time, you know."
"Yeah, well, I'm a little short on cash at the moment."
Fluey mentally kicked himself for not grabbing any of the money he had hidden in his room. He thought he wouldn't need it.
"Well, don't worry about that," the sailor said. "We'll be glad to take you out. Your girlfriend's probably out there already."
"I can pretty much guarantee that," Fluey said.
That was a lucky break. Meanwhile, Peter figured Fluey had cooled off enough, and headed for the bedroom.
"I'll call if I need back up or something," he said.
"Got it," Valerie said.
Peter took a deep breath and headed up the stairs. Valerie sat down in a chair and turned on the TV. A few moments later, Peter practically flew down the stairs.
"Valerie!" he shouted. "Valerie!"
"What's the matter, Peter?" Valerie asked.
"Fluey is not in his room, the place is a mess, and the window's open," Peter explained. "I think he ran away."
"Oh no!" Valerie shouted. "What do we do now?"
"I guess call the police."
"I don't know what else we can do. I'd better call, Peter."
Peter was a nervous wreck. Valerie picked up the phone and dialed the operator, and told her to get her the police. There was a lot of commotion at the Tork household then. About three minutes after the police arrived, Jerry and Mike pulled up to the house.
"What the heck's going on here?" Jerry asked.
"Beats me," Mike said, shrugging. "Come on, let's find out."
"Mike, come on. You flag me down on my way home from the radio station, you practically order me to drive to Peter's, and you don't tell me what's going on."
"I'll tell you later. Now come on!"
Jerry sighed and climbed out of the car. He followed Mike up to the door and the two of them walked inside.
"Pete? Val?" Mike asked. "What's goin' on?"
Mike and Jerry were blocked off by a very large policeman. Both of them gulped.
"Who are you?" the cop asked.
"It's okay, officer, they're friends of ours," Valerie explained. "Mike, Jerry, come on in."
"What's with the fuzz?" Jerry asked.
"Very long story," Peter said. "We think Fluey ran away from home."
Mike's eyes grew wide upon hearing that. Nobody noticed. The other police officer pulled out her notebook and a pencil.
"When was the last time you saw your nephew, Mr. Tork?" she asked.
"About an hour ago," Peter said. "We had a fight over this girl he was seeing. Valerie and I didn't trust her, Fluey got mad, there was a lot of verbal hostility, and I sent him to his room."
"Has he ever run away before?"
"No, not once. We rarely have fights."
"Do you have any recent pictures?"
"Yes," Valerie said. "I'll go get the school pictures."
Peter nodded. Mike felt sick to his stomach. He had a feeling something like this would happen, but he didn't say anything.
"I can see you're busy," he said. "I'll come back later. Come on, Jerry."
"Wait a minute!" Jerry shouted, before Mike grabbed his arm and practically pulled him out of the house.
"Hold it, sir," the police woman said. "It appears that you know something that we don't."
"I do," Mike said. "I think I know where Fluey is, but I can't tell you that. I promised my friend that I'd keep this secret of hers, and her friends. But if you'll let me speak to Peter and Valerie for a moment or so, I can handle this."
"All right," the officer said, taking a photo from Valerie. "Mr. and Mrs. Tork, we'll notify you if anything happens. Chances are your nephew should come back on his own. Call us if anything changes."
"Okay," Peter said, and the cops left. Mike took a deep breath and turned to Peter and Valerie.
"Whatever I tell you can not leave this house," he said.
"What's going on, Mike?" Valerie asked.
"You know my friend, Ariel?" Mike said.
"Yeah?" Peter replied.
"Well, she's a mermaid."
"Yeah, and so's Marina. Chances are Fluey's down at the beach skin divin' with her."
"Let me go after him. You two stay here. He may not want to talk to you right now."
Mike nodded and was off. He grabbed Jerry by the arm and went back to the car.
"We gotta go to the beach," he said.
"What's going on?" Jerry asked.
"I'll tell you later."
Jerry groaned, rolled his eyes, and pulled out to the beach. Both of them headed for the shore, and were met by Ariel.
"Down to the docks," she said. "I sent him there."
"Okay, thanks," Mike said. "Come on, Jerry. The docks aren't too far from here."
"Mike, you're beginning to drive me nuts," Jerry said as he and Mike walked for the docks. "Now what's going on?"
"You know Ariel, right?" Mike said.
"Yeah, she's your mermaid friend."
"Well, Fluey's been seein' a friend of hers, Marina, who happens to be a mermaid."
"Fluey's been dating a mermaid?!"
With that, Mike clamped his hand over Jerry's mouth and lowered his voice to a whisper.
"Shhhh!" he hissed. "Do you want every Tom, Dick, and Harry on the dock to hear you say that?! You know these docks are crawlin' with fishermen just waitin' for a chance to get rich off sellin' a mermaid to Sea World!"
"Okay, okay, you've made your point," Jerry said. "So what do we do now?"
"We get you some divin' equipment, and we'll go down and look for Fluey."
"Don't you need some diving equipment?"
"Just the wetsuit. You need the whole shebang."
Jerry was about to ask, when Mike snapped his fingers. The two of them were then equipped with everything they needed for a deep sea diving excursion. Mike approached the dock foreman and asked if any teenagers had happened on the docks lately.
"Yeah, there was one teenage boy out here a little while ago," he said. "Seemed a little down in the mouth."
"Was he about so high, with black hair and brown eyes?" Mike asked.
"Yeah, that was him," the foreman said.
"Where is he now?"
"Got on a boat heading for fishing waters. I think he wanted to do a little diving, like you guys. I got a boat leaving in a few minutes or so. You two can get on that."
"Great, thanks! Come on, Jerry!"
Jerry shrugged and followed Mike. This whole thing was starting to get completely crazy. Just as they headed out on their boat, the boat Fluey was on had made it's final destination.
"Well, here it is," the sailor said. "You'll get good diving out of here."
"Thanks," Fluey said. He put the shell around his neck and prepared to junk.
"Hey, kid!" another sailor shouted. "Don't you need an air tank?"
"Not really," Fluey said. "I've got an incredible lung capacity. Rally ho-ho!"
Fluey then jumped into the water, leaving the sailors a little confused. Once under the water, all Fluey had to do was find Marina, and that was going to be easier said than done. He swam around for what seemed like hours, searching. He wasn't the only one searching. The Frog People were doing a little searching of his own.
"Look," one said. "There's another landwalker out there."
"King Gribbit said if we saw another landwalker to sic Killer on him," the other said. "Let's go."
The two Frog People swam over to a gate and cranked it open. Killer happened to be a rather large killer shark, and he was just itching for his next meal. He zoomed out of his cave and approached Fluey. The teenager felt he was being watched, and he turned around.
"Yikes!" he shouted, and swam off as fast as he could. Killer was right on his tail, about ready to take a bite.
"Man, what I wouldn't give for those super powers right about now!" Fluey shouted. He finally came to a small cave, much to small for Killer to get inside. Fluey dashed inside, and Killer followed. Or tried to. The giant shark tried to squeeze his way in, but he was much too big. As he was trying to get in, a rock hit him in the head.
"Pick on someone your own size!" a familiar voice shouted. It was Marina! She slapped the shark in the nose with her tail, and Killer retreated.
"And don't come back, you big bully!" she shouted. Fluey laughed and swam out of the cave.
"Thanks," he said. "But you know I could've taken him. I'd give him a right and a left!"
"Yeah right. If I hadn't come along you would've been shark food."
"I would not!"
"Yeah, you would, too."
The two of them swam off, arguing over whether or not Fluey could have taken the shark. Mike and Jerry, in the meantime, had just reached the drop off area. Jerry pulled down his goggles.
"I don't see why I have to go with you on this trip," he said.
"I've got three good reasons," Mike said. "One, I'm not about to go through this alone. Two, Peter would've been a nervous wreck, as would Valerie, and I don't want to put Ariel through this. Three, the Writer's got this obsession with both you and me."
"Oh yeah, the Writer, darn her!"
"Look, this shouldn't take too long. We'll just go in, get Fluey, and swim back to the dock."
"Okay, but it'll have to be fast. I may have a full tank now, but it'll only last a couple hours."
"Right. Bomb's away!"
Mike jumped into the water. Jerry sighed, and gripped the mouthpiece from the tank with his teeth, and jumped overboard as well. He caught up with Mike later.
"Okay, I suggest we split up," Mike said. "You go that way, I'll go this way. We'll cover more ground that way."
Jerry nodded and began to swam off.
"And for Pete's sake, Jerry, try to keep out of trouble!" Mike called after him.
Jerry rolled his eyes and swam. Unknown to him, and Mike, he was heading right for the Amphibius. He might have been oblivious to the fact, but the Frog People sure weren't! Two guards saw him coming.
"Landwalker!" one yelled.
"Air breather!" another shouted. "We must get word to King Gribbit!"
The two guards swam off as fast as they could into the palace.
"King Gribbit!" the first guard shouted. "A landwalker's approaching the city!"
"Probably to dump more trash in our area," King Gribbit said. "I don't know how those mermaids can stand these air breathers. Capture the landwalker."
"Yes, your majesty," the guards said. They swam off, with a special tube the guards had, for just such an emergency.
Jerry continued swimming along, looking behind every tall weed he could find. The whole prospect wasn't easy. He moved away a tall patch of weeds and came face to face with the Frog People. Startled, Jerry turned around and swam away as fast as he could. The Frog People went after him. Being part frog, they were faster swimmers than Jerry. They opened their tube, and swam upwards as fast as they could. They caught Jerry in the tube and closed it. Strangely enough, there was no water inside the tube. Jerry took out his mouthpiece and began banging on the sides of the tube.
"Hey, let me out of here!" he shouted.
"Not a chance, landwalker!" the guard shouted. "You're now the prisoner of King Gribbit!"
Jerry didn't get a chance to ask anymore questions. The guards had brought the tube to King Gribbit's throne room.
"Good work, men," King Gribbit said. "This landwalker won't be polluting our waters."
"Look, I wasn't swimming around looking for a place to dump trash," Jerry said. "I was looking for a friend of mine!"
"A likely story!" King Gribbit shouted. "Take him to the sunken ship!"
Jerry didn't like the sound of that. The two guards picked up the tube, and then took Jerry to a large luxury liner, which had sunken years and years ago. The Frog People were saving it for an occasion like this. They took Jerry inside the ship, which (surprisingly) had very little water in it. The anchor happened to be in the particular room (don't ask how it got there, or why it's in there). The guards took Jerry out of the tube, and took off his air tank. Then they tied him to the anchor with some very strong seaweed.
"You won't be needing this tank," one of the guards said. The other yanked Jerry's goggles off his face, too.
"You won't be needing these either," he said. "Okay, turn on the water!"
The other guard nodded and turned a giant wheel. From the top of the room, a panel opened and water gushed inside.
"Hope you can hold your breath for a long time, landwalker!" the guard shouted, and swam away. Jerry gulped.
"Oh man," he groaned. "How am I going to get out of this mess?!"
Getting out of this jam was going to be easier said than done. Mike's sixth sense wasn't working right, either. He was still on the hunt for Fluey. Luckily, he found him swimming around with Marina. Not one to mince words, Mike swam over.
"Fluid Tork-McAlister!" he shouted.
"Mike!" Fluey shouted, turning around. "What are you doing here?"
"I should be askin' you the very same question," Mike said. "You have your aunt and uncle worried sick! I had to tell them Marina was a mermaid!"
"Now you no better than to run away from home like that! What were you thinkin'?!"
"I'm sorry, Mike, really. But I just wanted one more date with Marina!"
"This is a lot like what happened when Jerry was seein' Linda."
"Fluey, you shouldn't have run away," Marina said. "This relationship can't work out anyway. I'm a fish, you're a human."
"But there's gotta be some way," Fluey said.
"Not unless she trades her tail for legs, or you trade your legs for a tail," Mike said. "And I'd advise against that. Jerry traded his legs for a tail and we ended up in trouble."
"Yeah, I remember that," Fluey said. "Well, I guess we'd better head back for shore."
"Yeah, just as soon as we find Jerry," Mike said. "I made him come with me, and we split up."
"He could be anywhere if that's the case," Fluey said.
"I hope he didn't head for Amphibius," Marina said.
"What's Amphibius?" Mike asked.
"An underwater city," Marina explained. "It's inhabited by the King Gribbit and the Frog People. They've got a real thing against humans, or landwalkers, as they call them. They blame all humans for dumping pollution and trash in the waters. If the Frog People caught your friend, there's no telling what kind of danger he's in."
"Somethin' in my sixth sense is tellin' me Jerry headed for Amphibius," Mike said. "Marina, you've got to take us there."
"But if you and Fluey are caught . . . ." Marina said.
"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it!" Mike shouted. "We don't have time to lose! My sixth sense is really goin' nuts here!"
Marina shrugged and led Mike and Fluey to the outside of Amphibius. The three of them hid in a tall patch of sea grass so they wouldn't be seen.
"Where do you think they're holding Jerry?" Fluey asked.
"Hang on, I'm gettin' somethin'," Mike said. "My psyches doesn't work very well under water. The picture gets all fuzzy."
Mike put his hands to his temples and concentrated as hard as he could. He finally got a picture of a sunken ship, completely filled with water. He caught sight of Jerry inside of it, nearly unconscious.
"Oh no," Mike said. "Jerry's in a sunken ship and it's nearly filled with water."
"We've gotta hurry before he drowns!" Fluey shouted. "But how do we get in without those Frog People seeing us?"
"I don't know," Mike said. "Let me think for a minute."
"I don't think you have a minute," Marina said. Finally, Mike got an idea.
"Marina, get Ariel and the rest of your mermaid friends," he said. "And hurry! We need you to distract the Frog Guards."
"You called, Mike?" Ariel asked. Bubbles and Coral were right behind her.
"How'd you know we'd need you?" Mike asked.
"It's magic," Ariel said.
"Don't worry," Coral said. "We'll keep those froggies busy. You two have to get to that ship!"
"Right," Mike said. "Go to it!"
The four mermaids swam out into the open and began throwing mud at the guards.
"Hey!" one shouted.
The mermaids just giggled and swam off. The Frog Guards swam after them.
"You pesky fish!" one shouted.
"Come back here!" the other one yelled.
"It worked!" Fluey shouted.
"Come on," Mike said. "We don't have time to waste!"
Mike and Fluey quickly dashed to the ship and swam into it. They found Jerry quickly, but couldn't find his air tank anywhere.
"Those frogs probably took it," Mike said. "I'll have to conjure up another one."
Mike snapped his fingers and another air tank appeared in his hands. Fluey took the mouthpiece and stuck it in Jerry's mouth. Mike turned on the air tank, cut Jerry loose, and then began swimming.
"You go on ahead," Mike said. "I'll take care of Jerry."
"You sure?" Fluey asked.
"Positive. Just go!"
Fluey went off. Mike followed. The air tank wasn't helping Jerry much. Mike had to get him to the surface and fast. That wasn't going to be easy, considering both he and Fluey had literally run into the mermaid brigade, and the Frog Guards were right behind the mermaids!
"More landwalkers!" one guard shouted.
"And they've freed the prisoner!" the other yelled. "After them!"
"Swim for it!" Mike yelled.
The group swam directly for the surface. The Frog Guards were hot on their heels, shooting seaweed at our heroes right and left. Mike couldn't use his magic on them, so he threw the next best thing. The air tank. It smashed directly into the Frog Guards and sent them back to Amphibius. Mike was close enough to the surface by then. He, Fluey, and the mermaids popped out and began catching their breaths.
"That was a close one," Ariel said.
"Too close," Coral said. "Those Frog People don't give up easily, Mike. They'll be back."
"Yeah, and they'll be hopping mad," Bubbles said, and then she giggled. "Hey! I made a funny!"
"This is no laughing matter, Bubbles," Marina said.
"How's Jerry, Mike?" Fluey asked.
Jerry coughed just then, and slowly began to revive. Mike breathed of relief.
"Answer your question, Shotgun?" he asked.
"We have to get him to shore," Ariel said.
"Unfortunately, there's no shore close by," Marina said. "It's a good, long swim to the nearest piece of land."
"There's no way Jerry can make it," Mike said. "Not even with a full air tank."
"What can we do?" Bubbles asked.
Mike looked around for a moment, and spotted a cliff in the distance. He swam for it, making sure to keep Jerry's head above water. The others followed. The cliff happened to be a dead end, but there were a lot of rocks surrounding it. Mike propped Jerry against one.
"Mike, what are you doing?" Ariel asked.
"Tryin' to keep Jerry out of the water as best as I can," Mike replied. "Jerry, how you holdin' out, ol' buddy?"
"All right," Jerry said, stifling a cough. "I don't know how long I can hang on to this rock, though."
"Sit tight," Mike said. "I'm gonna find your air tank, and then I'm gonna try and get to a ship and radio for help. Ariel, you, Marina, Bubbles, and Coral stay with him. Fluey and I will look for Jerry's air tank and then radio the coast guard."
"Okay," Ariel said.
"Be careful, guys," Marina said. "And watch out for the Frog People and King Gribbit!"
"Don't worry, we will," Fluey said. "Come on, Mike."
Mike and Fluey dove underneath the water and swam off. The whole prospect was going to be much easier said than done, that was for sure. Especially with the Frog Guards around. They were standing around, guarding the palace.
"You think you can scan the area to find the tank?" Fluey asked.
"I could," Mike said. "But my psyches aren't very reliable under water. But the rest of my powers pretty much work like normal. It's the psyches I have problems with."
"So what do we do?"
"I'm thinkin'. You got any ideas?"
"Yeah, actually. I'll distract the frogs, you look for the air tank."
"Good plan. But before we go ahead with it, I'm gonna give you those super powers you had in your movie. It might give you a slight advantage."
"But it won't last more than an hour. It shouldn't take me that long to find that darn air tank, anyway."
Mike cracked his knuckles and his magic transferred into Fluey. Once the magic was inside of him, Fluey was able to turn from solid to fluid.
"Now don't go crazy with those powers now," Mike warned. "You're gonna need them for the entire hour that you have them."
"Gotcha," Fluey said. "I'll see you later."
"Right, and as you would say in your movie, Rally ho!"
Fluey laughed. He swam forward, stuck two fingers in his mouth, and whistled.
"Hey, frog faces!" he called. "Catch me if you can!"
With that, Fluey took off like a shot, using his power. The Frog Guards didn't notice it at first. Mike laughed and swam forward.
"That kid is somethin' else," he said, and started at the sunken ship. He searched the entire thing and couldn't find the air tank anywhere.
"Too bad I threw that other one at those toads," he said. "I couldn't zap up anythin' big like that anyway. This is gonna be like lookin' for a needle in a haystack!"
Mike left the ship, and then decided to head on over to the palace. Since the two guards were busy chasing Fluey, he was able to get in easily. King Gribbit was in the middle of his daily nap, so Mike snuck past him. He broke into King Gribbit's treasure vault and began searching.
"It's gotta be around here somewhere," he said. He put his fingers to his temples and concentrated as hard as he could on the vault. Finally, he found the tank under a pile of seashells. He picked it up and swam as far away from Amphibius as he could get. Then he put one hand to his temple and proceeded to contact Fluey telepathically.
Hey Fluey, I got the tank, he thought. Ditch the toads and let's surface!
Gotcha, Mike!Fluey sent his signal back to Mike, and turned directly from solid to fluid, blending in with the ocean.
"Where'd he go?" one guard asked.
"Well, he was right here a minute ago," the other said.
"Come on, let's head home."
The guards were off. Fluey streaked by them unnoticed. He spotted Mike in the distance and crashed into him, forgetting to transform back into solid form.
"Hey!" Mike shouted.
"Sorry, Mike," Fluey said, going back to solid. "I couldn't help it. I was going too fast."
"So I've noticed," Mike replied. "We'd better get back to the surface and then swim to the nearest beach."
The boys surfaced and returned to the rocks.
"We got the tank," Mike said.
"How much air is in it?" Jerry asked.
"It's about half full. I hope you can swim fast."
Jerry groaned, and put the mouthpiece into his mouth. Then he put on his goggles, and the group dove underneath the water. Ariel led the charge.
"I'm pretty sure there's a beach near here," she said.
"If you could take us to the dock, it might be easier," Mike replied.
"I'll do what I can."
"Hey, Mike," Fluey said. "You ever get the feeling you're being followed?"
"Yeah, actually," Mike said. "My sixth sense is startin' to go. But it ain't the Frog People. They gave up."
"Then what is it?" Coral asked.
"You don't wanna know," Mike said.
"Sure we do," Marina said. "What is it?"
The group turned around, and saw a shark. None other than Killer himself.
"Oh look!" Bubbles giggled. "It's a cute little fishy!"
"And unless you wanna be fish food, let's get out of here!" Mike yelled.
"Swim for it!" Fluey shouted.
The group swam off as fast as they could, but Killer was fast. He managed to grab onto Jerry's air tank. Jerry gulped and struggled to get out of it. The mermaids were way ahead of the shark, and saw the docks in the distance.
"There it is!" Ariel shouted.
"We're home free!" Marina called.
"Not for long," Fluey said. "Look!"
"Oh boy," Mike groaned.
"What do we do now?" Coral asked. "Jerry's shark food!"
"Wait a minute!" Fluey shouted, snapping his fingers. "Sharks don't have too many bones. They're mostly cartilage. Maybe if we can run into it in the side or something . . . ."
"Are you nuts?!" Coral shouted. "Look at those teeth!"
"No, he's right," Mike said. "I heard you could subdue a shark by boppin' it in the nose. I mean, they are mostly boneless. Come on!"
Mike and Fluey swam forward, while the four mermaids just staid by the docks. Mike zapped the strap of the air tank and Jerry shot for the docks, swimming faster than he ever swam before. Then Killer swam forward. Fluey rammed his shoulder into the shark's side, but that tactic didn't work. Mike cracked his knuckles and used his magic on Killer. The shark shrank down to the size of a minnow.
"Now who's the superior one?" he asked.
"Yipe, yipe, yipe, yipe, yipe!" Killer yipped as he swam away.
"That takes care of that," Mike said. "Now let's come up for a little air."
Mike, Fluey, Jerry, and the mermaids surfaced. To their surprise, there was Peter and Valerie standing on the docks.
"What are you two doin' here?" Mike asked.
"We had a feeling we'd find you here," Peter said, pulling Mike out of the water.
"Boy, you should've seen it!" Fluey shouted. "There are a lot of things under there that you wouldn't believe!"
"Like mermaids?" Valerie asked, as she helped Jerry climb onto the dock.
"Yeah, mermaids," Mike said. "And sharks, and frog men. Literally."
"Literal frog men?" Peter asked. "Half man, half frog?"
"Yep," Mike said. "And don't forget sharks. I gotta warn the coast guard about that."
The others laughed. Peter and Valerie then turned to each other and looked down at Fluey, who was still floating in the bay with the mermaids.
" You getting out?" Peter asked.
"Well, I don't know," Fluey said.
"You know, you don't . . . . have to get out, if you don't want to."
"No, you don't. Valerie and I thought it over, and we realized . . . . if you want to go on seeing Marina, then it's okay with us."
"That's sweet of your aunt and uncle, Fluey," Marina said. "But I still don't think it'll work out. After all, our lives are too different. Besides, me and the girls . . . . . we were planning on heading out to sea."
"There's got to be some way," Fluey said. "Hey Mike?"
"Yeah?" Mike asked.
"Isn't there some way you could turn me into a fish or something like that?"
"Yeah, it's possible. It's also possible to turn Marina into a human."
"Do it!" Marina shouted. "Turn me into a human!"
"Are you sure?" Mike asked. "That'll mean givin' up a lot of things, you know. You'll never be with your friends again."
"Oh," Marina said. "I don't think I could stand that."
"Then turn me into a merman, Mike!" Fluey shouted.
"Yeah, that could work," Mike said. "Of course, they'll be a lot of things you'll have to give up, too, Shotgun."
"Well, there's electric guitar, there's your singin' career, your actin' career. Not to mention you'll never be able to hang out with Multi or Coiley again, or Peter and Valerie."
"Oh, I hadn't thought about that."
Fluey and Marina looked at each other just then. There was no way they could work around this without either of them giving something up. Fluey sighed.
"I really like you, Marina," he said. "But I don't think I could live as a merman, not without being with my family or friends."
"Same here," Marina said. "So I guess this is goodbye."
"I guess so. Who knows? We may meet again. Someday."
Marina swam up and kissed Fluey's cheek. Then she swam away. Fluey climbed onto the dock and watched the four mermaids leave. Peter sighed and put his arm around Fluey's shoulder.
"Don't worry," he said. "You'll see her again, someday. Besides, there are plenty of other fish in the sea."
Jerry elbowed Peter in the ribs for that remark. Fluey laughed and turned towards his uncle.
"Thanks," he said. "We'd better get going. It's getting late."
The others nodded and started walking off. Fluey looked over his shoulder and stared out at the moonlit bay. He knew for sure that he'd meet up with Marina again. Someday.