Thursday, April 29, 2010

27. An Algae Farm

"Wait just a minute!" Starry exclaimed. "If Spike is just the advance agent of a swarm of his relatives who want to emigrate to our reef--well, there won't be enough ALGAE to feed them AND us. Spike may be willing to change HIS eating habits and he MAY be able to convince his relatives to change THEIR eating habits--that will save the reef! BUT there won't be enough ALGAE to feed all of us!"

"That's true!" Agreed Clam. "There won't be enough algae to feed ALL of us!"

"I see your point." I said. "Let me think this over a bit--"

"Wait! I've GOT IT, Constable!" Starry exclaimed--

"We'll start an ALGAE FARM and learn how to GROW enough vegetarian food for All of us! We can be Algae farmers!"


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

26. A Change of Habit

"All right, men!" I said, "Than we are agreed! We GOTTA convince Spike to change his eating habits! The best way to save our reef--and his reef too is for HIM to become a VEGETARIAN! But HOW can we do it?"

"I dunno." Clam said. "Some of us have sort of evolved to fit some kinda niche in the food chain--ya know what I mean?"

"We know what you mean, Al, but we gotta TRY. It may be hard but changing his eating habits might be the only way out--and OURS too!" I said.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

25.Starry Admits...

"Wow! THAT is an IDEA for sure!" Starry exclaimed with spirit. "And the plain fact is that I WAS NOT ALWAYS a vegetarian myself!"

"No Kidding?" said Clam.

"Really! I ate all kinds of things--even, uh--shellfish."

"No!" Clam said with a slight tremor in his voice.

"I am sorry to admit it, Al--but even some kinds of shellfish. But I was a young and foolish starfish back then--I saw the error of my ways long ago! I am now a confirmed ALGAE eater! In fact ALGAE is ALL I EAT-- Honest!"

"I have known Starry for a long time Clam, and I can tell you that he is telling the truth. He eats algae--and he has even influenced ME for the better. because I eat mainly algae too!" I added.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

24. The Vegetarian Solution

"I think I catch your drift, Constable!" Albert Clam quickly spoke up. "Of course! Starry Starfish--what do YOU eat?"

"Me?" Starry said with surprise, "I am a VEGETARIAN, of course--so what?"

"You mean," Clam asked, "you don't eat coral Polyps?"

"Coral polyps? YUCK! Not on your life!" Starry said looking a little sick.

"Then, don't you see?" Clam smiled happily. "THAT is the solution to our problem!"

"No, I DON'T see! What ARE you getting at, Albert Clam?" Starry replied defensively.

"Only THIS, you thick starfish you!" Clam said, "We only have to convince the Crown of Thorns Starfish--and all his relatives--to become VEGETARIANS like you and our little coral reef will be SAVED--and their own reef--if there is anything left of it--will come back to life and even FLOURISH!"


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

23. Conference and a Question

"But don't they understand that they will destroy THIS coral reef too?" Starry asked.

"They know this is a small reef--and there are MANY of them--but all must EAT to live. And what they EAT is CORAL polyps." Clam replied.

"Then there doesn't seem to be any way out of this, Constable." Starry said, turning to me. "It looks like we are going to lose our coral reef--and all of the residents of the reef will lose their homes and livelihood."

But I had a sudden thought.

"Wait a minute, Starry!" I said, "YOU are a starfish! How is it that YOU don't eat the coral polyps which build our reef?!"


Sunday, April 18, 2010

22. A Sad Story

Exactly at noon, Starry and I met at the sandy space below where the Crown of Thorns starfish had set up his abode in our coral reef.

Working quickly, we alerted Al Clam to our presence with our secret code knock on the sand, helped him from his hiding place and spirited him away to a quiet alcove in the coral reef fairly nearby.

As soon as we were all comfortably sitting on the sand we began to ply our "undercover agent" clam with questions.

"Here is the gist of what I have learned," Clam said. "The Crown of Thorns starfish will soon be joined by hundreds, if not thousands of his kind. They will travel here the same way this starfish did, clinging to the bottoms of ships--then when they are nearby---they will release their grip on the ship's hull and drift down into this reef."

"But why go to all this trouble?" Starry asked.

"That is the sad part of the story." Clam replied. "They have killed their own reef! They multiplied in an out-of-control way and literally ate their way out of house and home. They have destroyed their original reef!"


Sunday, April 11, 2010

21. Information Exchange

What did you learn about the Alien Starfish?" I immediately asked Starry.

"Well, he's not THAT bad a sort." Starry replied, "But it is unfortunately true that his kind of starfish feed on the little coral insects whose tiny skeletons make up the coral of the reef. If he intends to live here he will destroy the reef--and, just as we feared, that will happen fairly quickly!

Now, Constable--were you able to talk to Clam?"

"Yes! He came out of his hiding place as soon as you left--but he didn't have time to tell me anything about the Crown of Thorns starfish's plans--though he had learned something! I told him we would return at noon to take him away to a place where he can make a full report..."

"Good! Then I will meet you here at noon today! Now we'd better both get some rest!"

"Right, Starry. See you here at noon!"


Friday, April 9, 2010

20. Good Reef

"I like this little bit of coral reef just fine." Spike was saying as they approached. "Yes it suits me right to the end of my spines!"

"So you plan to stay a while?" Starry asked.

"Well I don't know about that." replied Spike. "Ahhh. Here's your friend Constable Crab. I am sure you two will want to continue your midnight stroll. It was very interesting to meet you both and I hope to see you again. Goodbye."

Starry took my claw and we walked slowly away from the strange Crown of Thorns starfish.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

19. Starfish Plans

"Am I ever glad to see YOU, Constable! I have learned a lot about the Crown of Thorns starfish and about the plans of the whole race of Crown of Thorns starfish to take over this reef!"

"Go on Albert! Let's have it!" I said with no hesitation.

"First of all--I could hear the starfish..."

"His name is Spike." I interrupted.

"Right--Spike! Well, I could hear Spike fairly clearly even though he was communicating very softly using some sort of wave broadcast channel of the C. of T. starfish people. Luckily, you put me in exactly the right place to tune in!"

"Good! Go on!"

"They plan to..."

At this very moment, I heard Starry coming in the distance!

"...and so, Spike, how do you like this little bit of reef?" he was saying so I quickly gestured to Albert to hide underground again--whispering to him, "We'll come back at noon! Be ready to leave with us!"


Saturday, April 3, 2010

18. A. Clam Appears

Just as I had hoped, Starry led Spike Jones off into the maze of passages of the coral reef, leaving me alone on the spot where our undercover clam had hidden himself beneath the sand.

I was about to rap out our code knock when I heard a whispered sound near my feet: "Psst! Constable Crab, Here I am!"

To my relief and joy--it was Albert Clam--our undercover agent!