Bored at the bottom of the river, Gar began to send chemical signals to a school of minnows.
He tricked them into swimming above him. He continued to send these signals and watched as the fish hovered and turned and darted, looking for their meal. Gar focused on their movements, the way they flicked their fins and swished their tails in coordinated thrusts. He watched their bright scales flash in unison as they turned together in the light.
As Gar watched the fish move their tails and fins, he felt his own body rising off the river bottom. He looked down. His shell and foot had morphed into fins and a tail—his own fish form.
He rose into the river’s water.
He awkwardly propelled himself with his tail.
Sensing the approach of something large, the minnows scattered.
Gar focused on swishing his tail and using his fins to keep himself from tumbling downstream. He found a rhythm that kept him suspended in the water.
I’m swimming! Oh—
Gar touched down. He was not as buoyant as other river creatures.
Gar fought the pull of gravity by flicking his fins and wriggling his tail harder and faster. That seemed to work. He swam over and under tree roots in the calmer water near the bank. He swam hesitantly and ungracefully, but managed to stay buoyant. Other creatures kept out of his way.
Gar moved into the open, faster moving water.
The water was too swift. Gar lost control and was carried downstream. He was swept into an eddy near the bank and lay, breathing hard, in the sand.
That was awesome! I want do it again!
Gar swam back upstream, sticking close to the bank. When he had gone far enough, he swam out into the swifter current once more.
He continued to practice.