An angry sea serpent rose up out of a small pond in a large damp depression that used to be a lake. All that could be seen of him was a small head, covered on the top, back, and lower jaw with spines, and a long neck with a row of spines running down it. The sea serpent's head waved back and forth as he looked around the depression that used to hold his lake crossly. And then he glared up at the far away shore line.
"Did you have to drink the whole lake, Gertie?"
"I didn't mean to, Roy! But I was nervous and when that Mr. McCay suggested a drink, I hoped it might help."
The sea serpent lowered his head into the puddle to remoisten his scales and then raised it back up. He repeated this a few times as if he was dunking himself like a tea bag. Each time he came back into view he gave the empty lake and then Gertie an incredulous look.
"And I just kept hoping until I couldn't reach the waterline anymore."
Roy looked all around again. Was he surveying the disaster? Morning the loss of his lake? Looking for something to fling at Gertie's head? It was impossible to tell by his swaying back and forth.
"Well thank goodness for small favors that your neck isn't as long as mine."
He stretched his neck out to its longest, his head almost as high as Gertie's despite how much higher she stood, and then pulled it down so that only a bit as long as Gertie's neck reached above the water. Then he bounced between these a few times more.
"But I don't know what I'm going to do until the lake fills back in."
He peered all around him and then looked up into the empty sky above them. The spines along his neck ruffled as he looked in all directions before his attention returned to Gertie.
"I don't suppose you could ask McCay to pencil in a few rain clouds by any chance?"
Gertie hummed and looked at the sky as well as if hoping she'd see a cloud that the sea serpent had missed. Eventually she gave up on the sky and looked around on the ground, but found no clouds among the rocks scattered along the shore. Giving up her search for clouds she ate a nearby rock. Behind her the plant grew taller and started spreading out into a crown of leaves and branches.
"I suppose it's worth a try. Though I don't know how to get his attention. Usually he comes to see me."
Roy swayed some more, his head tilting from side to side as he thought about how to attract the strange and demanding creature Gertie allowed to boss her around.
"Maybe if you make some noise?"
Gertie started laughing, rearing up on her hind legs as she did so. It took her a few tries to calm down, every time she sank down onto all fours she caught sight of Roy's face and reared back to laugh some more. The tree shook with the force of her full body laughter.
"As if he can hear me. Humans are all deaf."
She shook her head sadly remembering all the times she had tried to talk to Windsor McCay. Then she ate another rock. The tree stopped growing taller and flowers bloomed among its leaves.
"That's why I had to learn to nod and bow and everything in the first place."
Gertie nodded her head in an exaggerated manner that involved her neck as well. Then she bowed to the sea serpent and then to the empty space on either side of him. A breeze blew across the hills, pollen and petals streaming away from the tree.
"They shout fairly well, but I've never gotten a single indication that one could hear what I was saying."
The sea serpent's head sank down into his puddle and stayed there for a few moments, ripples on the surface the only indication anything was in the water. Eventually his head rose into the air once more.
"Well that's depressing. Maybe we should get someone else to try."
Roy looked at the hills that rose beyond the lakeshore which were empty for as far as the eye could see. Between his spiky nature and Gertie's tendency to eat everything as soon as it grew to a reasonable size, the area around the lake didn't get many visitors. Seed pods began to grow where the flowers had been, causing the remaining petals to fall.
"It's too bad you upset Jumbo. He's excellent at making noise."
Gertie blushed and hung her head in embarrassment. Her tail came up and she hid her eyes behind it for a moment then she glanced back at the sea serpent. The tree's leaves shivered a bit and a cloud of seeds fell and were caught by the wind and scattered around the area.
"But he's so much fun to tease!"
The sea serpent shook his head causing all of his head spikes to shake as they brushed against each other. He dunked himself a few times more, coming up streaming water each time. Above him a four-winged lizard flew over the remains of the lake. Just before it flew out of sight it glanced down and it's eyes widened in shock.
"I still don't understand your sense of humor, not even after living next to you for all these years."
Gertie stretched her neck out towards him and opened her mouth and eyes wide as if mugging for a camera that wasn't there, but Roy remained unmoved knowing that he was quite far out of Gertie's range. Giving it up as a bad job she pulled back and looked around again. There were still no clouds but she noticed the tree and turned around so her head was near it instead of her tail. She broke it off just above the ground and ate the whole thing from trunk to crown of leaves.
"Are you just giving up?"
The sea serpent wavered back and forth indignantly at being ignored. He was so focused on Gertie that he completely missed the four-winged lizard coming back trailing a tiny cloud. It positioned the cloud directly over the middle of the lake, which was also directly over Roy, and then started flying around it. Each time the lizard circled the cloud it shivered and grew a little bigger.
"This isn't just going to fix itself you know!"
Gertie looked over her shoulder and down at the sea serpent. Then turned back to the remains of the tree and pulled the stump and its roots out of the ground and quickly ate it as well. Licking her lips afterward to get rid of any remaining dirt. Above them the cloud had tripled in size and begun to darken.
"I'm not giving up. I just get hungry when I think."
Roy looked down into what used to be the depths of his lake hoping for strength. Then he looked back up at Gertie. Above him the cloud reached across the screen and the lizard was out of sight more often than not.
"Has your snack helped?"
Gertie turned back to face the sea serpent and looked all around the lake and the lake shore again. Then she looked up into the sky and saw the cloud just as the first rain drops began to fall.
"Maybe the lake will fix itself?"
Roy frowned mightily at her and looked like he was about to start yelling before a drop fell directly on his nose. His eyes crossed as he tried to focus on his nose but soon noticed rain falling all around him. He looked shocked as he gazed up at the cloud and the four-winged lizard flying around it.
"Did we know those flying lizards could make rain?"
Gertie looked back down at the sea serpent and then looked back and forth between the sky and the quickly filling lake. Seemingly excited by everything that was happening.
"Until right now I wasn't even sure anyone else could see them."
Roy took a moment away from watching the rain being created to glance over at Gertie. By this point the lake had reached half its former height and waves caused by the speed it was filling were rippling across its surface.
"Of course I can see it. They fly over all the time. But I've never noticed one making weather patterns before."
They watched the water rise for a while longer, the surface going back and forth between pockmarked from the rain and rippling from the waves caused by the lake's rapped rise. Eventually the four-winged lizard's flight around the cloud slowed and it swung out along the same path it had traveled when guiding the cloud. Then it turned around and flew straight through the cloud breaking it up and stopping the remaining rain. Looking satisfied it continued on its original path.
"Well I suppose I can forgive you for drinking the lake since the problem did fix itself. But after all this excitement I could use a nap."
Roy sank down below the lake once more and this time didn't return. Gertie looked around herself for a moment but seeing neither food source nor entertainment she returned to her cave to nap as well.