‘Creeeeamy! Turn back!’
The loudhailer sent Lennie's voice booming over the sea, as he repeated Creamy's name again and again. But Creamy just swam on.
‘I wouldn't waste your breath on that stupid bear,’ said the sailor, taking the loudhailer back from Lennie.
Lennie just glared at him. The sailor shrugged his shoulders and gazed at the sea. For a moment, they both stood there watching helplessly, as the small blob on the water, illuminated by the ship's search lights, receded further and further into the darkness.
Suddenly, Lennie's paws gripped the rail; he had made up his mind. Without another word to the sailor, he leaned over, grabbed the rope out of his hand, and leapt on top of the rail, shouting:
‘Wait for me, Creamy, I'm coming! Wait!’
The sailor gawked. Then quick as a flash, he threw himself at Lennie. ‘Where do you think you're going!’ he shouted, as his fingers curled round Lennie's long ears and held fast. ‘Get down at once!’
But Lennie's ears were silky smooth, and the sailor's fingers clumsy and stiff with salt from the sea. In another instant, he found himself clutching thin air, as Lennie leapt off the rail and into the sea.
‘Ah, well!’ sighed the sailor, watching the water close over the top of Lennie's head, ‘They'll both drown now, I expect.’
But even as he spoke, Lennie came streaking to the surface and popped out of the waves like a cork. For a few seconds, he looked blearily round, his paw holding firmly onto the rope.
‘Argh! Help! Argh!’
Lennie spun round and was suddenly nose to nose with a soggy lump. ‘Creamy?!’ he cried joyfully. ‘Is that you?’
‘Is that me! Is that me!’ the lump spluttered back, blowing salty water right into Lennie's eyes. ‘Can't you tell it's me?!’
Lennie chuckled softly. Creamy was all right – the grumbling proved it.
‘What you laughing about! I'm all wet!’
‘Now, that's a surprise,’ smiled Lennie. But his joke was lost on Creamy, who started thrashing about, raising fountains of water and wailing: ‘Ouch! My toe! Something's bitten me! Sharks! Sharks!’
‘Don't be silly, Creamy. More likely you've got a cramp. Stop flailing your arms about like a windmill and just …’
‘A cramp! I never get cramps. I tell you, something bit me!’ Creamy looked round fearfully. ‘I'm sure it was a shark! See that hump over there? It's following us!’
‘Sharks don't have humps. Just calm down, Creamy.’