© copyright Ragnar Fyri. All rights reserved.

But he's a lion


"Diver" Tim Ento

  This story is supposed to be the  beginning  of a series of stories about
one Tim Ento, also known  as  "Diver".  As  you may have guessed, I started
with the character's name, and after  a  while  I had something that sounds
interesting enough to be written down.
  Obviously, Tim would have to be a diver  or something like that - maybe a
not very popular one? Which raises the next question: Why isn't Tim popular
as  a  diver?  Perhaps  because  he  belongs  to  a  people  or  race  that
traditionally aren't divers? Well,  it  occured to me that this point would
be more clear if the story was done  as  a "funny animal" comic strip; then
Tim could be an animal who (according to tradition) doesn't like water. The
most obvious choice would be a  cat,  but  somehow  I  wound up with a lion
instead. I can't remember why I made that  choice initially, but I soon got
some ideas that matched (?) it, so  it  would  be hard to change it at this
point. Take the title, for instance.  In  case you still haven't figured it
out, it's part of the  punch  line  (?)  from  the  fable about the animals
quarreling about  who  had  most  children  at  once.  When  they asked the
lioness, she answered: "I only have one. But he is a Lion!"
  I plan to use this line at the end of the  story, but first I have to get
started on it! I have an idea  for  the  opening  panel: Tim (about six  or
seven at that time) stands in front of a large aquarium, gazing dreamily at
the lazy movements of the fish, almost  mesmerized by the flickering light.
In the background we see his parents reacting  to his reactions. His father
looks angry and on the verge of running  over to drag his son away from the
treacherous water, his mother  looks  more  worried.  The narrator tells us
that "Ever since he opened his eyes,  Tim  Ento  had been fascinated by the
sea." There's probably a bit more narrative in that panel and the following
ones too, but I haven't worked out so much detail yet. A panel or two later
Tim's father takes his son and an umbrella for a walk along the river (It's
near the sea, and some ideas  I've  got  (such  as the fact that the prota-
gonist is a lion!?) requires the  climate  to be subtropical or tropical.).
While they are walking, Tim's father  tries  to  explain how unnatural this
water business is for a lion, but  either  he can't find the right words or
his son doesn't understand the ones he  does find. They have just come to a
place where a dog sits fishing on  the  bank,  when Tim's father decides to
try a different approach: "Okay, then I'll show you why not. Dog!!"
  The dog jumps to his  feet  and  answers:  "Yessir!"  (This  is  a normal
reaction to being addressed in a  commanding  manner  by a lion at least in
this scenario, though there are exceptions that we will see later.)
  Tim's father points to the river and says: "Jump in!"
  The dog repeats: "Yessir!" and jumps  into  the  river. Tim's father then
orders him to climb back out of the  water  and (after opening the umbrella
and holding it between himself and the dog) shake himself dry.
  Tim's father then feels the dog's  almost  dry  fur, lets Tim do the same
and says: "That's why not."
  Tim apparently still hasn't got the point,  so his father lets him repeat
the same exercises only to find that he can't shake himself dry the way the
dog did. His father explains that  lions  and  other cats are not built for
getting wet, and that's why they shun the  water whenever they can (Fact!).
As they start walking  slowly  homeward  (Tim  would prefer to run home and
find a towel as soon as possible, but his  father makes him walk slowly be-
hind him - he obviously wants  Tim  to  learn  his  lesson as thoroughly as
possible), he starts elaborating  this  and  various other points (one gets
the impression that he  is  talking  not  so  much  for  saying things that
haven't been said already, as for an excuse to keep Tim with him), and soon
gets so carried away by his own  arguments  that he doesn't notice what his
son is doing.
  What, you may ask, is Tim doing? As they walk slowly down the street, Tim
notices an electric appliances shop  (or  whatever those places are called)
with a sign in the  window  announcing  that  hair  dryers are 50% off this
week. While his father continues  up  the  street,  Tim disappears into the
shop. For some reason  I  picture  this  scene  in  a somewhat unusual way.
Rather than following one of the  two,  the "camera" just stops outside the
shop, and soon all we can see of Tim's father is a trailing word balloon to
the right (Maybe the  letters  are  getting  smaller  as  he  moves further
away?), while Tim and the clerk's lines  come floating out through the open
door. We hear the clerk ask  Tim  what  he  can do for him, and Tim answers
that he would like to try one of the  biggest  hair dryers. There is a loud
WHOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSHHH, and when it dies  out again the clerk asks Tim how
he liked the dryer. Then Tim is seen  walking  out  of the shop again - now
completely dry - while he answers  that  it's great, and he'll buy one when
he gets rich.
  After running a couple of blocks,  Tim  catches  up to his father just as
the old lion turns his head to  see  if  he  is listening, and is of course
very surprised to see what has  happened  behind  his back. Tim answers the
unasked question with a smiling  shrug  and "No problem!", then he runs off
down the street (as it looks like  his  father  hasn't got anything else on
his mind).
  Tim's father stands scratching his  mane  for  a while before he comes to
the conclusion that Tim is wrong - there is a problem...

  The next scene, which is sort of the  beginning  of  the actual story, is
set a couple of years  later,  when  Tim  is  in  his early teens. This has
nothing to do with the plot,  but  I've  got  this idea that he has started
dressing a bit in accordance with  the  standard  macho image of his people
(leather jacket etc.), and he's  probably  started  growing his mane. Maybe
the idea is that he's started looking a bit more awesome.
  Tim's out walking on a pier, and has stopped  to rest a bit on a conveni-
ently placed bench when suddenly  a  clam  comes  flying out of the sea and
hits him on the head. He jumps to  his  feet, picks up the innocent animal,
runs over to the railing and roars: "WHO THREW THAT?!?"
  From the sea below him comes a  voice:  "Shit!  You hit a lion! It's been
nice knowing you, Harry!" In  the  next  panel's  reversed view we discover
that the unlucky clam thrower must be one  of three young sea otters float-
ing around a couple of yards from the pier. (We're going to see quite a bit
of these three in the future, but I  haven't  thought up any names for them
yet, so I will just call them Tom, Dick and Harry for now. That's why I say
there are three, by the way -  there  could  be  four of them, but not just
  After a while one of the otters  (presumably  the one called Harry) turns
toward Tim and says something like:  "I'm  sorry, sir. I didn't mean to hit
you! I was trying to throw it to Dick, but overshot..."
  Tim gives him a dirty look and holds  it  while  trying to find something
better to say than "Well, be more  careful  next time!" In the end he gives
up, says just that and turns to leave.  When Harry realizes that he's going
to survive after all, he calls: "Excuse me, could we have our clam back?"
  Tim looks down and realizes that  he  is  still  holding  the object that
started it all. "What do you want it for?" he asks.
  "To eat it."
  Tim frowns and taps the clam against the railing to verify that is really
is as solid as it looks. Dick answers the unasked question: "Not the shell,
of course - but there's a delicious  animal  inside." He licks his chops to
underline the adjective.
  Tim looks at the three otters, and when he realizes that none of them are
carrying knives or anything like  that,  he  asks how they plan to open it.
Dick answers: "I'll show you!" and swims  down to the seabed to pick up the
flat rock he dropped when Tim first appeared.  Back on the surface he rolls
over on his back, balances the rock on  his chest and asks Tim to throw him
the clam. He grabs it and bangs it against the rock a couple of times until
the shell breaks, and throws the  pieces  away. (That really is the way sea
otters open clams, honest!) He holds up the remaining parts of his prey and
asks Tim if he wants a taste. Before Tim  can answer, Dick throws the clam,
and Tim catches it instinctively.  After  eyeing  it suspiciously for a few
moments and reminding himself  that  lions  are  supposed  to be daring, he
takes a big bite, chews it pensively and swallows.
  "How did it taste?"
  "Of course it's salty, it comes from  the  sea!" The sea otters appear to
find this remark very amusing, and  start  laughing, which Tim doesn't find
amusing at all.
  "How dare you laugh at a Lion!?" he roars.
  "With ease, landlubber, with ease!"
  "What you gonna do about it?" Dick adds, "Come out here and spank us?"
  Tim starts turning away because he  can't  think  of a snappy answer, but
suddenly realizes that one is not supposed  to talk to a lion like that and
get away with it, and besides he's not that much afraid of the water, so to
everyone's surprise (his own  not  the  least)  he  rips off his jacket and
tosses it on the bench with the  words:  "Yes, believe it or not, fishface,
but that is exactly what I'm going  to  do!"  While finishing this line, he
kicks off his shoes (assuming the artist  has made him antrophomorph enough
to wear them in the  first  place),  jumps  to  the  top of the railing and
lunges at the last (and most offensive) speaker.

...Well, I started on this part a  handful  of weeks ago before I got side-
tracked by other things, and  now  I'll  have  to  see if I can pick up the
thread again where I left off...
  There was a bit of dialog here (between  the two spectators), but nothing
worth a Pulitzer, so I threw it out  again.  After the fight has ended in a
draw, Tim and the others (I mean the  otters!)  do as young people often do
after a fight - they become friends (Some dialog left out here too).
  As they are walking homeward, they pass  by the el.app. shop that we have
better reasons to remember than Tim  (It's  a couple of years ago to him, a
few pages to us). He asks the otters  to  wait for him outside, and we wait
for him too (just like last time) as he goes inside and we hear him talking
with the clerk again:
  "Hello, I'd like to try..."
  "Wait, let me guess! One of our biggest hair dryers, right?"
  "Uh... Yes."
  "Well, I'm sorry, Sir, but we're sold out.  Perhaps you'd like to try one
of our new microwave ovens instead?"
  A moment later Tim comes grumbling  out  again  (He does not seem to have
appreciated that joke either...),  Tom  asks what's the matter, and Tim (we
have to do something about those names...)  answers that it's nothing, just
some friggin' clerk whose memory  is  too  perfect  for his own good. He is
about to say something  else  when  he  notices  something.  After stroking
Dick's arm to verify what he sees, he puts it into words:
  "Hey! You're all dry!"
  "Right. My fur is naturally waterproof.  Pretty good protection against a
number of other unpleasant things  too.  My  uncle used to say that nothing
sticks to an otter...  (his  smile  fades)  Nothing,  except  for  insults.
"Fishface", for instance..."
  After a few seconds' fumbling for the words  (being a lion, he's not used
to apologizing) Tim answers that he  didn't  really  mean that, it was just
because Dick called him  a  landlubber.  <At  some random point during this
exchange, Harry notices that Tim  is  still  soaked  and starts leading the
whole group down the street and around a couple of corners.>
  Dick tells Tim (after getting Tom  between  them just to be sure...) that
that wasn't an insult - he is a  landlubber.  After mulling over this for a
while, Tim admits being a landlubber, but he'd much rather be a sealubber -
whatever that is. He is about to  start  explaining this when Harry, who is
still leading the way, suddenly stops in the middle of a block. Tim doesn't
understand at first why they are stopping  right there, but then he feels a
stream of hot air coming out of a mesh-covered opening in the wall nearby.
  "Air conditioner outlet," Harry explains. "You'll dry faster here."
  Tim steps closer to the mesh  and  starts  turning  slowly.  "Clever," he
remarks to noone in particular.
  "Not really - it's just a question of knowing it's there."
  "Well, would you answer to 'Observant' then?"
  "Actually it would be more  remarkable  if I had never noticed it; I grew
up in this area!"
  At this point Tim gives up trying to find  suitable compliments for some-
one who doesn't want them anyway, and changes the subject:
  "That's right, now that you mention it I remember seeing the three of you
around here quite often..."
  "That's mutual," Dick interjects.  "We  have seen quite a lot of you down
here too. And if you don't mind me  saying  so, 'Mister Lion', that's a bit
stranger than us being here."
  "Right! (That's Tom for a change)  I've  seen  you sitting on the pier or
other places and staring at the sea, counting the waves or something.  As a
matter of fact I tried talking to you once, but you didn't seem to hear me.
Why do you find the sea so fascinating?"
  Tim laughs. "What?? You ask me what's fascinating about the sea? Now look
who's asking silly questions!"
  "Well... I know how I feel, of course. But a lion sharing my feelings..."
  "Point taken.  I  guess  I'm  the  exception  that  proves  the  rule  or
something. You see, I've always been fascinated  by the sea. Down here, the
time I don't spend counting waves, I waste  on the rather futile mental ex-
ercise of wishing I was a seal or something."
  "What's wrong with sea otters?" Dick bristles.
  "Nothing. Just didn't think of them before.  Come on, I did say 'or some-
thing', didn't I? Well, that something includes you..."
  After about a panel's worth of deep thinking, Dick makes a decision.
  "Well, it's a bit late to become a seal, but if you add three letters and
some hard work (and a bit of waterproofing) you could become a 'sea lion'!"
  "Well, would you answer to  'water  lion'  then?  What  I'm trying to get
through, is that when I think about it  (which I just did), I'm sure almost
any animal can become a sea creature with the right training and proper mo-
tivation. You've got the motivation,  and  we can supply the training. Just
for a start, how would you like to learn to swim - properly?"
  "Who do I have to kill?"
  "Noone - just some old prejudices..." After  looking at Tim for a moment,
Dick adds: "There is just one thing you must do first."
  "What's that?"

  Cut to next scene, which is supposed to  show the answer rather than have
Dick spell it out. We are in a sport  equipment  shop (?), and the proprie-
tor, an old goat (literally), has  just  decided to devote his attention to
the new customer who just walked in - Tim.
  "Can I help you, Sir?"
  "That's what I have come  to  find  out.  What  have  you got in swimming
  "Swimming trunks?"
  "Yes, you know, for swimming..."
  The proprietor decides not to pursue  the  subject  any further and shows
Tim what's available. While Tim  looks  over the possible choices, the goat
for some inane reason tries to get the conversation going again:
  "Is it a gift?"
  "No, it's for myself."
  "But you're a lion!"
  Tim sighs. "Yes, I've noticed.  What's  the matter, you want me to behave
like one?"
  "Okay!" Tim reaches up and grabs the  proprietor's  beard (You did wonder
why I made him a goat, didn't you?),  pulls  him  down to his own level and
snarls into his face: "That's none of your  business, coinslot-eyes! (Actu-
ally that was the reason...)  You  wanna  sell  me this trunk (the one he's
holding), or do I punch your face and take it?"
  "Yessir... I mean nosir... uh... that'll be one dollar fifty, Sir!"
  Tim lets go of the beard, throws a  couple  of coins on the counter, says
"Here. Keep the change!" and heads for the door.
  "But there's only one fifty here!"
  "Yes, that was the price, wasn't it?"
  "But you said... Never mind..."


  Time passes by, and all of a sudden  it's  a couple of years later (in my
life, not in the story - yet!). I  haven't  been thinking much about Tim in
all that time, so most of the  ideas  I  haven't  written  down yet are old
ones. Now let's see if I can remember them...

  When Tim comes out of the shop, he meets  Tom and Dick who compliment his
"joke" with the nonexistent change. He  shrugs and asks where Harry is, and
Dick answers that they are  supposed  to  meet  outside the drugstore - "He
said something about taking care of another of your problems."

  A couple of minutes (and one panel)  later  Harry comes out of the afore-
mentioned shop to find his three  friends  (or maybe he's even more closely
related to Tom and Dick? Just a thought; I haven't decided yet) waiting for
him. He hands Tim a bottle a  tells  him  that  it is a non-toxic and hypo-
allergenic water repellant (or  whatever  it's  called). If he uses this on
himself, he may not get  otter  fur,  but  at  least  he  should be able to
aquaint himself with the water without getting totally soaked.
  Tim is (understandably) a bit  sceptical  about whether the chemical will
work on fur, but Harry points out that  according to the label it does work
on wool, and that's sort of sheep fur, isn't it?

  Well, I don't really have so many ideas  for the rest of the opening sto-
ry, only that Tim - rather anticlimactically  - starts hanging out with the
otters a lot and learns  everything  they  know  about water and the sea in
particular. (By the way, the water repellant does work pretty well.)
  Finally the great day comes when Tim passes some kind of final test (ope-
ning a clam, perhaps?),  and  everyone  suddenly  gets  very serious. Harry
tells them to stand up and form a  circle,  and  then he asks Tim about his
full name. They  know  his  family  name  is  Ento,  but  does  he have any
  Tim answers that his mother used to call him a couple of different things
when he was smaller, but nothing he  wants  to  keep at his age. While they
are discussing this, they are  interrupted  as a seagull dives into the sea
to catch a fish some distance away.  Watching  the  seagull's ascent, Harry
looks like he gets an idea. Tim  notices,  and  makes it clear that if they
even consider starting to call  him  "Seagull",  that  will be the end of a
beautiful friendship! [A  rather  graphic  way  of doing this would be that
when Tim notices the light  bulb  over  Harry's  head, he swats it away...]
Harry answers: "Perish the  thought!  I  just  thought you might like to be
called "Diver"..."
  After Tim has thought this over and accepted his new name, the circle re-
forms, and Harry sets his voice to "Solemn" and announces:

"Diver Tim Ento!  By  the  authority  that  will  never  be  mine if I keep
squandering it in this way, I hereby declare you an Honorary Sea Otter!"

The idea is that this line is spread  out  over  the last 3-4 panels of the
story, an in the same panels  (showing  the group from different angles and
ending with a closeup of Tim looking very  proud) the narrator goes through
a short version of the fable I mentioned  at the beginning (As the fable is
a bit longer than Harry's line it might be an idea to let it start a little

[Later addotion: I did not seem to make  that quite clear, but this "initi-
ation" scene (and  the  preceding  test)  takes  place  at sea, about waist


  Thus endeth the first story about  Diver  Tim Ento, but I have some ideas
for what happened later as well.  Just  one  thing first: After I got these
ideas I have discovered that lions  have  weak  hearts - they get exhausted
very quickly. This means that if we are  to remain true to what is known a-
bout lions (just ignoring the fact that real lions are nonintelligent quad-
ropeds and all that...), some of my ideas  just won't work. Well well. I'll
tell you what I've come up with anyway, and then we can discuss it later.
  At the start of episode two (which,  by  the way, has a different title -
"But he's a lion" just ended...)  Tim's  father  has found out what his son
has been up to lately, and is discussing the problem with his parents (i.e.
Tim's grandparents),  who  surprisingly  enough  turn  out to be a bit more
understanding than their son (maybe they  remember what he was like at that
age?). Grandma puts an end to the discussion with a Solomon:
  "If I get this right, the problem is that this Harry character has made a
declaration that he has no authority to make, right?"
  "Uh, well... Yes, that's right."
  "Well, if he couldn't do it, then he hasn't  really done it. So Tim isn't
an H.S.O.! End of problem..."
  Of course this doesn't really  solve  all  the  problems with Tim, but at
least it makes his father lose the  thread  and  give up the discussion for
the time being. His father then assures him that all this water business is
probably a passing fad, and that if he'll just leave Tim alone, he will get
other interests when he grows older. As a matter of fact he seems to remem-
ber someone else who was pretty wild as a cub...
  This last remark in particular puts  an  end  to the discussion, and soon
after Tim (who's been listening  to  the  whole  thing  and become terribly
bored) and his father break up and head  for home. Suddenly Tim "remembers"
that he "left" something in the flat (?)  they just left and has to go back
for it. As you may have guessed from the  quotemarks this is just an excuse
for getting a word with his  grandfather  under four eyes, to tell him that
even though he is the head of the  clan  (or  something) and everyone has a
lot of respect for him, Tim just has to tell him that this time he is wrong
- Tim and the sea really are unseparable now. To his great surprise the old
lion answers with a sly wink: "I know that - but don't tell your father!"

  Later Tim discusses his grandmother's logic with the otters and turns out
to be a bit disappointed at  not  really  being  a Honorary Sea Otter after
all, but all three assure him that it was  real enough for them, and as far
as they are concerned he really is what Harry said.

  It's summer again, and Tim  has  reached  the  age when his vacations are
longer than his parents' (actually he's been that old for a couple of years
already...), and so he faces the two  usual  problems:  What to do with his
parents, and what to do without them.
  Like most youngsters waiting for their  parents to quit work for the sum-
mer, both Tim and the otters start looking for a way to have fun and make a
bit of money at the same time. One day  Tim starts thinking about pearl di-
ving (one reason I placed him  in  that  part  of  the world). He finds out
where the local pearl divers  hang  out  and  immediately goes there to see
them. "Strangely" enough they are not as  enthusiastic about the idea as he
is - in fact, they find the idea on taking on a lion as an apprentice (even
if it's just for a few weeks) so ridiculous that they won't even discuss it
with a Lion! (That is,  they  won't  even  listen  when  he tries to "lion"
  A bit later Tim  discusses  his  latest  disappointment  with  the  three
friends we know so well by now, and after a bit of heavy thinking Harry (he
seems to be the idea man - I mean  otter  -  of the group?) remarks that as
far as he knows there is no monopoly  on  pearl diving, so there is nothing
to stop them from trying it on their own!
  The idea sounds great until  someone  remembers  that  there is one thing
that could stop them - the  closely  guarded  secret  of  where the oysters
grow... This time it's Tim who gets  an  idea;  it has something to do with
lions being more sly than most other animals (in this scenario at least!).
  After being thoroughly instructed by their  leonine friend, Tom, Dick and
Harry go to see a young friend  (well,  aquaintance at least) of theirs - a
girl we could call Jenny  for  instance.  She  is a couple of years younger
than Tim and the otters, but she is a sea animal (not necessarily an otter)
and a pearl diver's daughter.
  Tom opens the conversation by asking  how  the pearl business is, but be-
fore Jenny can answer  Harry  interjects:  "Why  do you ask her about that?
She's no diver - they won't even let her row the boat!"
  The ruse works. Jenny, who  doesn't  expect  an  otter to be a trickster,
gets angry and assures them that she  does  row  - and dive as well! And if
they don't believe her, why don't they come and see for themselves?
  "Alright, we'll come down to the harbour and watch you row - big deal!"
  Jenny is still upset, and without  realizing  that  she is giving away an
old secret she tells them that if they come to Sakai Island before daybreak
they will see more than that!  At  that  point  the otters strangely enough
seem to lose all interest  in  quarreling  with  her, and find an excuse to

  That night our friends find a hiding place  on Sakai Island and spend the
next couple of hours  (until  daybreak)  discussing  the gullibility of the
opposite sex. A brand new idea I  just  got:  Tim remarks: "Why shouldn't I
"gull" her? You once considered calling me "Seagull", remember?"
  "Yeah, and you gull'em at sea alright!"

  Morning comes, and our friends spend  the  first part of the day watching
the pearl divers as promised. In the afternoon  the uncamouflage their boat
and take it out to the spot that was  most  crowded  a couple of hours ear-
  This is where Tim runs into another little problem: He hasn't got any di-
ving gear yet, so he has to stay in  the  boat  while the otters search the
sea bed. They soon find a lot  of  oysters,  but  alas! no pearls in any of
them. Fortunately they know that  mother-of-pearl  is also worth something,
and so they load all the shells into the boat and head for home.
  Here's a point where I must admit  that  my characters know more than me.
Do pearl divers extract the m.o.p.  from  the shells (and how is it done?),
or do they sell them as they are? Well,  our friends wisely decide to leave
that part of the job to someone who knows  how it's done, and start looking
for a buyer.
  A little sidetrack idea I got here:  Our  friends  find out that the mer-
chant who buys and sells pearls  and  their  parents  prefers  buying large
batches, so when they show him  what  he  thinks  is a sample batch he asks
them how much they've  got  altogether  and  is a bit disappointed to learn
that this is all they've got. Do they take him for a retailer, or what?
  Our friends are disappointed as well. They had already decided to get Tim
some diving gear before going out  again,  and now it looks like he'll have
to spend another week guarding the boat...
  Then Tim gets one of his strange  ideas.  If the merchant won't buy their
small batch, perhaps he could  lend  them  some  money?  They can leave the
shells as security... The merchant, who is a bit less of a fool than Jenny,
realizes that this  would  be  practically  the  same  as  buying the batch
anyway, and is so impressed by Tim's twisting  of the rules that he decides
to break one of his own and buy a small batch after all.

  So now our friends have some money for the first thing they want to spend
it on, and head for the shop last seen at the end of episode one. This time
the proprietor sees them coming  and  asks  his  daughter  to mind the shop
while he, uh, makes a phone call. "And don't ask any silly questions!"
  Enter Tim. "Good morning, I'd like to look at some diving gear!"
  "Diving gear? (Oops, was that a silly question?)"
  Deep sigh. "Yes, you know - for diving. (I seem to have been through this
before...)" Tim waits a couple of  moments  for  a sensible answer and sud-
denly anticipates the next couple of  questions:  "No, it's not for someone
else. Yes, I'm a lion. And no,  that  is  none  of your damn business! Just
show me what you've got, okay?"
  "Uh... okay..."
  I had a couple more lines around here, including one I remember as parti-
cularly brilliant (What do you mean, as opposed to everything else?), but I
have forgotten them... Anyway this visit  to the shop turns out to be a bit
less fruitful than the  previous  one.  For  some reason or another, diving
gear for lions isn't a stock  item  (or  whatever  you'd call it)... Fortu-
nately the proprietor  (who  finally  found  the  courage  to return to the
scene) knows about a retired  fisherman  who spends most of his time repai-
ring and overhauling gear for  divers,  and who may be sufficiently skilled
to either adapt a set or even make one  from scratch. Tim asks what kind of
animal he is, and is pleased to hear that he is about to deal with a rhino-
ceros. Another land  animal  with  ties  to  the  sea will probably be more
likely to understand him and refrain from asking stupid questions...

  Well well... Our friends have got  hold  of  an address that looks promi-
sing, but there is one thing about it that's  a bit awkward: The last line.
The retired rhino lives in a  different  town,  and the bus connection is a
bit less than daily...
  Our friends are hanging around  in  the  city  square looking rather dis-
gruntled when fate steps in in the form  of a young woman I haven't decided
a species for yet, but she is a  distant  aquaintance of one or more of our
friends. She is also a freelance journalist, and gets rather curious at the
sight of four long faces at the same time.  When they tell her their story,
she smells a distant scoop  (she's  right;  more  about this in about three
pages) and decides to help them - which turns out to be rather easy because
she happens to be on her way to  the  same  town  our friends are trying to
reach, to interview someone. And she's  got a car all on her own... (By the
way, her name  is  Jessica  or  something...(No,  she's  not  married  to a
  For the next couple of pages things go rather smoothly. Our friends reach
their destination and meet the  old  rhino,  who  has  no objections to the
suggested job as long as they can  pay  him  what he asks. He even spends a
bit of time to give  them  an  estimate  of  the  costs right ahead, and it
doesn't look too bad. In fact everything  goes quite well until our friends
find it's time to head for home. When they  return to the town square, Jes-
sica's car is gone...

  The mystery of the disappearing  journalist  is soon solved. An innkeeper
(who keeps his inn nearby...) comes over and hands Tim a note from Jessica.
It says that she had finished the interview  early and had intended to wait
for them, but then she got a phone  call  about some really important event
that just had to be covered, and  since  being  a freelancer means she gets
paid for each article... She is really  sorry for having to leave them like
that, and even more sorry that she won't have time to return for them later
either... End of episode two.

  Episode three (or whatever) should obviously  start with some explanation
of how our friends got home again,  but  I  haven't managed to come up with
something more exciting than a long night's  walk. This is followed by some
more anticlimaxes until Tim returns  to  the other town (on the day the bus
runs) to pick up and pay for his  custom-made  diving gear. On the next day
all four of the water maniacs start diving for pearls (and parents) again.
  Everything goes well until the other divers move elsewhere, and Tim & Co.
are surprised to find that there are still lots of oysters left. The expla-
nation comes when Jenny's father suddenly turns up to have a word with Har-
ry. He tells him that "someone" has been  working the same oyster fields as
his crew, and now they are worried that "someone" may wipe out the breeding
stock. He explains that the pros always leave a sizeable population in each
field to make sure that there will still  be oysters there when they return
in a couple of years. An amateur who doesn't  know this might just wipe out
the whole population. Harry tries to explain that an amateur who only knows
about one oyster field doesn't really have  a choice, but unlike his daugh-
ter Jenny's father does not rise to the bait.

  So our friends have a new little problem,  and have just started thinking
seriously about finding another pastime - they have already got quite a bit
of money out of it anyway - when the  whole  thing  becomes irrelevant. The
adults start their vacation, and everyone  goes somewhere else until school
starts again...

  Tim's father turns out to have some special plans for the summer. Grandpa
Leon (?) has assured him that  Tim  will  eventually  find  other things to
waste his time on, but it wouldn't  hurt  if  he tried pushing a bit in the
right direction, would it? By the kind of coincidence that is only found in
comics, Tim's father happens to have a  cousin who lives far inland and has
a daughter about Tim's age. So he  decides  that  this year the Ento family
will spend their vacation in the countryside, far from the sea and close to
other attractions (though he doesn't exactly say it that way, of course..).
  A few days later Tim meets  his  third  cousin,  a  rather attractive and
charming lioness named Lea. His father's  plan seems to work well at first,
as Tim and Lea soon start spending a lot  of time together, going for walks
in the forest and along the river...
  So! You noticed the river? Well,  that's  why I put it there! One day the
two youngsters are crossing the  river  on a bridge when suddenly Lea trips
and loses her purse into the water. To her great surprise Tim (who is still
in the habit of keeping his fur waterproof) jumps in after it and retrieves
it before it even has time to start  leaking.  As  she hugs him gratefully,
Lea notices something funny about Tim's fur, and soon after he has told her
everything about being a water lion, staying waterproof and all that.
  The next day Lea takes a trip to the nearest drugstore, and a while later
Tim's father discovers that rather than  a reformed water lion he's now got
TWO water lions in the family!  Needless  to  say, he isn't exactly pleased
about this - in fact he gets  so  upset  he  inadvertently reveals his true
purpose for coming here in the first place...
  Obviously Lea's father gets even more upset  at realizing what his cousin
has been up to, and this could lead  to  a lot of trouble I haven't thought
out yet.

  Something I have thought up is what  happens  after  the vacation. School
starts, that's right, but this  year  Tim  has  some special plans for that
too. He's become quite a good  swimmer  and  diver, and now he wants to try
out for the school's waterpolo team! There  is just one catch. P.E. classes
are divided in water classes and land classes, and according to the rules a
student must be in the water class  to  qualify for waterpolo (He must also
be in the land class to participate in  land sports, but that's got nothing
to do with this plot). So how do you transfer  from one class to the other?
Simple - just get a note from one of your parents...
  At this point Tim makes a mistake: he asks his father first. When he says
no (actually he says NO), Tim  wants  to  ask  his mother, but is surprised
when she tells him not to ask.  If,  she  explains,  he had asked her first
everything would have been alright, but now that his father has said no she
can't go against him... (That's how  it  is  with lions, you see... you can
have quite a lot of liberty as long  as  you don't directly oppose the lea-
der. At least that's how it is with my lions.)
  But does Tim give up? No, no, this  is  just another challenge... Only he
can't find the solution. But then one day  it finds him instead. On the way
home from school he is approached by a beaver (?) who introduces himself as
the captain of the school's  waterpolo  team and explains that he has heard
about Tim and his wishes (probably  from  a certain otter...). He's willing
to give everyone a chance, and if  Tim  wants to show what he's good for he
can just turn up at the next  training   session.  He won't make any promi-
ses, but if Tim is good enough they'll try to think of something.
  Well, Tim goes to the  training  session,  shows  what  he's good for and
turns out to be acceptable as far as  the  team is concerned. Now they must
find a way to convince the school and not at least Tim's father...
  It is, as usual (?), Tim who gets the great idea.  A week later it's time
for the first match of the season  when  one  of the players suddenly tells
the coach that he can't play this season.  No, he isn't ill or hurt or any-
thing, it's just that he has transferred  to the land class, and that means
he can't play on the waterpolo team, right?
  Well, this (a player disqualifying because  of a transfer) is the kind of
thing that happens now and then, but  when  several other players - in fact
the whole A team - turns out to have transferred to the land class, it gets
rather hard to not suspect something  fishy  (pun not intended). When asked
why they want to transfer, the ex-players  innocently answer that they want
to be in the same class as "Diver".
  Aha, the coach says to himself, this is obvious. The team wants young Mr.
Ento in their class, and if they don't get him the whole team will desert!
  Soon after Tim's father is surprised to  find that it's up to him to save
the school's honour - either he lets Tim  transfer, or the team won't play!
In the end he gives up and writes that  note. When the coach tells the team
about this and suggests that they hurry home and get their parents' permis-
sion to transfer back to the water  class  (it's  just a couple of hours to
the match!), he is surprised to find that  they have finished the paperwork
for retransfer already - it  turns  out  that  most  of the players got two
notes from their parents at the same time!
  So Tim is now in the right class but still  not on the team - but that is
only a question of time now, so he is allowed  to go with the team to wher-
ever the match takes place,  to  watch  them  win  (as the captain optimis-
tically puts it). And then something unexpected happens...
  Halfway through the match some of the players  seem to think it's time to
show that they've been  influenced  by  hanging  around with Tim (i.e. they
have learned a bit about scheming). All of a sudden, players start dropping
out for different reasons, and soon  all  the substitutes are used up. When
another player "has to" leave the  game  and  none of the others have shown
signs of being ready to return, the referee wants to stop the match because
he can't let one side play with less  than  a  full team - I'm not sure how
the rules for waterpolo work, so  this  may  need some modifications later;
the point is that we reach a point  where  another substitute is needed and
there is noone left.
  "Actually," the team captain  tells  the  referee,  "we do have a sort of
substitute substitute out in the wings..."
  "What's his name?"
  "Tim Ento!"
  At  this  point  the  referee  is  quite  understandably  getting  rather
stressed, and the audience has  started  showing signs of impatience, so he
decides to accept the "substitute  substitute"  without  further questions.
He's got noone to ask them to anyway because  the team's coach isn't around
for the moment.
  And so Tim gets to play in the  rest  of  the  match  - and scores enough
points for his team to win. At  the  end  of  the  episode he is everyone's
hero... (I originally had an idea about  his mother being there and quoting
the lioness in  the  aforementioned  fable  in  response  to a journalist's
question about her feelings, but I don't know...)

  In the next episode - a few days  later  -  things are a bit different. A
couple of league officials come  to  town  to  have a serious talk with the
headmaster, the coach and the team  leader.  It transpires that Tim and the
team have unknowingly violated  a  less  wellknown  rule  for official team
sport matches (or whatever the general  term is): The rule which says some-
thing to the effect that to play in an  official match a player must be of-
ficially registered as a member  of  the  team  - and Tim isn't! This means
that not just the points he scored, but the results of the whole match have
to be cancelled, and the team has to play  against the same opponents again
at a later date - without  Tim,  unless  he  has officially joined the team
until then. Of course his chances for joining the team after such a scandal
are rather slim, even though he didn't know he was doing anything wrong...
  Actually the league scandal is the least of Tim's problems. He soon finds
that by getting involved in rule-stretching  he has caused the Ento clan to
lose face, and now he'd better think of some way to redeem his faults or be
forever disgraced...
  I got this idea a couple of years  back,  and  don't quite remember how I
let Tim get the idea, and anyway this is an idea that probably has to go if
it's decided that Tim has a  weak  heart  (in  fact I'm not even sure if we
should let him play waterpolo). Well, to get to the point: Tim & Co live on
a large island (I should perhaps have made  that clear earlier) a couple of
kilometers from the mainland, and  one  day Tim some way or another gets it
into his head that it would be great  to  swim across the strait separating
the island from the mainland - then  he  would be a hero again, and his old
errors would be forgotten.
  Tim shares his thoughts with the otters, who think it's a great idea too.
Then they contact Jessica (the  journalist,  remember?), who agrees to help
them with some practical arrangements in return for an exclusive story.
  To make a long (and  exclusive...)  story  short,  Tim spends most of the
next day in deep water, escorted by  Jessica  and  the otters in a boat she
has rented. As soon as they reach  the  mainland  Jessica - who has updated
her hardware a bit since the last time  we saw her - writes a short article
on her portable computer and  modems  it  back  to the island's local paper
along with some digital  pictures  taken  with  a still video camera. A few
minutes after the transfer  is  finished,  the  editor calls back and tells
Jessica that they are clearing the  front  page  for her, but need a snappy
headline fast. Dick suggests VOYAGE  OF  REDEMPTION, Harry supplies 'DIVER'
SWIMS TO THE CROSSı, and Tim remarks that if either of the two headlines is
used, he is going to indulge in some nasty activity that involves his claws
and soft parts of the otters...  To  his  great  horror Jessica responds by
giving the editor both lines, and  when  they  return home (all in the boat
this time) they find that the editor has used both lines as well...
(Footnote: ıto crawl/creep to  the  cross  is  a  Norwegian expression that
means to show remorse or  something  like  that.  I'm not sure if a similar
expression is found in English - if  it  doesn't  Harry's suggestions seems
rather pointless...(Maybe Harry is of Norwegian descent?))

  So what happens next? Well,  other  papers  and  media pick up the story,
which not only means more profit for  Jessica  (who's got the only pictures
from the trip), but also more  fame  for  'Diver',  as everyone soon starts
calling him. When the word  starts  getting  around  that  there's a "water
lion" living there and there, it  doesn't  take long before our hero starts
realizing that he is not alone  -  there  are  others with the same kind of
problems (that he once had) who feel encouraged  by his success and are now
going public with their "otherwiseness" as well...

  Well? I haven't got so many ideas for what  happens later, and continuing
from here could easily get boring, so I might as well end while the game is
good, as we say in Norway. Just a  little  idea I can't remember the proper
place for: Once Tim meets another youngster  who teases him about something
- perhaps being a "water lion", perhaps  something entirely different. Any-
way, this obnoxious character doesn't know  when to stop, so he keeps need-
ling Tim until the latter loses  his  temper  and  knocks the other off his
feet. Then he stops dead, surprised  by  his  own strength! It dawns on him
that he doesn't know his own strength because he never had to attack anyone
physically before - all his life  he's  just  been "lioning" people who an-
noyed him, but now he seems to be getting more "unleonine"...

  Another little piece of weirdness I  just  thought of: While Tim is being
interviewed by a journalist, the latter remarks that "There doesn't seem to
be very many of your kind around, does  it?" To which Tim promptly answers:
"As far as I know there's only one -

"But he's a lion!"

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