Sam and Bobby were walking along the seafront when they saw the man, crouched over the rocks. He wore green boots and a long coat with big pockets. The boys approached him, Sam leading the way like he always did.
Whatcha doin’? Sam said.
Just lookin’, said the man.
Anythin’, really. Shrimp, ’nemonies, crabs.
You eat ’em?
They worth anythin’?
Don’t think so.
So why you lookin’ for ’em?
I just like lookin’, that’s all.
The two boys hunched down next to the man. They peered into the clear water of the rock pool. Tiny grey fish darted back and forth.
You see ’em? said the man.
Yeah, the boys said.
Neat, aren’t they?
Yeah, Bobby said.
Guess so, Sam said.
Bobby pointed at a strange red shape attached to the rock. What’s that?
That’s a sea ’nemone, said the man. You wanna touch it?
Naw. It feels kinda funny, but it won’t hurt.
Come on, Bobby, Sam said. This is stupid.
Hold on, Bobby replied. He reached his fingers into the pool. The water was cold. He touched the anemone, squeezing it between his forefinger and thumb.
Feels weird, he said.
Come on, Bobby, Sam said.
The boys stood and began walking along the rocks again. There were little pools all along the shore, left behind by the tide.
A couple of minutes later, Sam stopped and turned around. Bobby was fifty yards back, crouched over one of the pools.
Whatcha doin’? Sam shouted.
Bobby gazed up. Just lookin’, he said.