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by Tao Lin >


When I was four I went on a cruise with my brother to Bermuda.

My brother was old. He was twenty-five.

One day on the cruise we were on the top deck.

“Where are my parents?” I said. “I’m supposed to have a mom and a dad.”

My brother stared at me for a very long time.

He picked me up and threw me in the ocean.

I didn’t scream. I thought it must be normal to be thrown off a cruise ship.

I was raised by dolphins.

Fifteen years later I found my brother in America. I punched him in the face and he went blind.

There was no blood.

I stayed to see what he would do.

“Is this even fair?” he said after a while. “You were raised by dolphins, but now I can’t even move freely through this world, where colors and shapes and facial expressions are so important—crucial, really.”

“I liked being raised by dolphins,” I said.

I stayed some more. I did not want to leave. I stared at my brother. He was blind. I wanted him to say, “People are looking for you because they love you.” I wanted him to say the names of those people and to describe those people and for that to never end.

He was moving his hands in front of him.

“I liked being raised by dolphins,” I said

He came toward me with his arms in front.

We hugged. I felt I was going to cry and he started strangling me. “I can’t see,” he said.

I reached behind me and picked up a knife that was on a table and I stabbed him in the center of his heart.

I took his corpse and dove into the ocean. Because of being raised by dolphins I could breathe underwater and dive very deep without rupturing my lungs.

I dove to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. I put my brother’s corpse in a crevice in the Marianas Trench.

I stared at his corpse.

It became unjammed and floated up and a shark ate it.

“Shark,” I said. “Come here.” I spoke in a language the dolphins had taught me.

“Great white shark,” I said. “Come eat my head.”

I swam at it and held its mouth and felt its teeth.

The shark was annoyed. It kept its mouth shut and turned away. I felt tired.