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Skipping Stones

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Pancham ran his hand over the stone, getting a feel for its weight and shape. Perfect for skipping. He tossed it into the air and caught it, then pitched it off the hill with the tree into the Serene Village bay as hard as he could. The stone spun through the air… then hit the water, plopping in anticlimactically.

“Man,” said Shelmet, “you really suck at this.”

Pancham sighed, flopping onto the ground with a frown. “Screw you too, man,” he pouted. “At least I have hands.”

Shelmet waddled over to the panda’s side. “Hey, now that's a low blow,” he chided. “And it's a fair handicap. If I had arms I'm willing to bet I could kick your ass at skipping stones any day.”

Pancham turned to Shelmet questioningly. “What makes you say that?”

“At least I understand how skipping stones works ,” he replied. “You don't just toss it through the air like a Gravelerock, you have to make it spin sideways.”

“Oh yeah?” Pancham scoffed. “How do you suggest I do that, then, Einstein?”

Shelmet shrugged, that is to say, twisted his body slightly inside his shell. “Hell if I know, dude,” he replied. “I'm not the one with hands.”

Pancham rolled his eyes. “Figures. How ‘bout I toss you out there and spin you sideways? I bet you'd bounce.”

Shelmet jumped back, his eyes widening. “Dude, no! You know I can't swim!”

“Oh, come on, man,” Pancham laughed. “How could I forget after that school beach trip? You know I'm just messing with you.”

Shelmet turned away. “...Yeah.”

Pancham stood and walked over to his friend concernedly. “Hey, you alright, dude?”

The snail took a couple of steps away. “I'm fine.”

Pancham sighed, folding his arms. “No you're not. What's wrong?”

Shelmet took a deep breath. “It's just, I'm not… good, at things. I'm not strong or fast, like all you other guys.” He turned to Pancham, tears beginning to well up in his eyes. “I don't even have hands.”

“What, that all?” Pancham chuckled. He reached out and wiped away Shelmet’s tears. “You don't need hands, dude. That's what you got me for.”

“What do you mean?” Shelmet asked, looking up at his friend.

“Watch and learn,” Pancham grinned. He walked over towards the base of the tree and grabbed another rock. “Spin it sideways, right?”

Shelmet sniffed. “Yeah.”

Pancham nodded. “Alright, let's give this a try.” He swung his arm back and forth experimentally before tossing it out into the water like a disc. It plummeted towards the water… and bounced pitifully before plopping into the bay. He fist-bumped. “Yes!”

Shelmet’s lips flattened into a smirk. “Yeah, not bad. Maybe someday you'll even get two bounces.”

Pancham rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah.”