Chapter 39: The Moral of My Story

They say that when you tell a story like this, you're supposed to end it by saying what the lesson is. You know, like: "The moral to this story is that you should never fall for skinny girls who want to steal seals from the aquarium."

But seriously, I really don't know what the moral to my story would be.

Maybe it's that you shouldn't always do what your friends want you to do, because sometimes your friends want you to do stuff that's really stupid. Of course, if you don't do it, you can lose your friends.

I know what you're thinking: I'd have been a lot better off losing a friend like Minerva.

But I don't think so.

I mean, if it wasn't for her, I'd still be just some kid who caught frogs all summer and froze whenever girls spoke to him. But Minerva helped me to grow up a lot. And to find inside myself a small, brave place I never knew was there before.

I didn't know it at the time, but I'd been waiting all my life for someone like her to come along. Someone who would make me be a stronger, braver person, because she needed me to be.

And that's why I did it. That's why I helped her bust out those seals.

Because once I understood what it meant to her, how important it was to her, I had to help her do it. And when the cops tried to get me to rat on her, I kept my mouth shut. Even though I was scared it would mean spending my life in prison. Because that, too, is what a friend should do.

So I guess the moral to my story is more like this: Even when you have a really good reason for doing it, you can still be doing something really stupid.

Putting seals in aquariums is kind of stupid, when you think about it, but I'm sure the people who put them in there have good reasons. Busting seals out of aquariums is just as stupid, but Minerva had good reasons, too.

And, hey, who knows WHAT the seals would want? After all, it's a pretty nice gig to lie around all day and have people toss you buckets of mackerel. I DO know that the aquarium soon "recaptured" the seals we busted out. It was easy. They were hanging out down by the drawbridge, begging the tourists for treats.

But of course none of this was ever really about the seals anyway. It was all about Minerva.

When I thought about this, I finally understood that this was what Minerva's "Law of Stupidity" was really all about. People ALWAYS think they have good reasons for the stupid things they do. But the real reasons may be something else entirely.

And people's favorite good reason for the stupidest things they do? It's the thing that they call "love."

In fact, that's the very reason I was going to risk my skin to see Minerva now.

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