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His first year at high school, settling into a new town, his first mad love affair - it's all behind him.
He's about to turn fourteen and things are looking up. His little brother's hrmones have kicked in and that's not a pretty sight. His lino-munching baby sister refuses to walk or talk. His dad starts arresting farm animals for a hobby and his poor mum won't stop crying.
Right in the middle of this family shanbles, an old flame comes scorching back into his life. Not even for grommets. Out of the cool mist another swell rose all seething and motley-green and shot six glistening, giggling missiles into the sky.
They twusted in the air and came spearing straight at him. Lockie stopped paddling and stared. As any halfwit knows, of course, this is not such a smart thing to do when a big horrie wave is bearing down on you like a cement truck.
But the human torpedo couldn't help himself. He watched them stall and turn in perfect formation, cutting white slices through the skin of the water, curving back on themselves the way no human surfer could even hope to.
They romped and skylarked. They arched their backs, pulled in their flukes and buried themselves deep into the meat of the wave until they were surfing underwater, riding the inner force of the wave. Now that was desperately cool, no question.
He hooted as the dolphins suddenly cartwheeled out the back of the wave, but no one heard him because half a second after he opened his mouth, the whole motley-green business fell on him with a roar and he went straight to the bototom, yodelling all the way.
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