Caitlin at dinner with her son, Jacob:
"He just kept up a steady monologue about Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, which he was reading for school, and how he was going to use the novel as the basis for an essay about endangered animals. 'The Mexican walking fish is so doomed,' he said with a fervor that caused him to half-speak, half-sign in order to get it all out. 'So are big creatures like manatees and orcas.'
'Do you have a favorite?' Caitlin asked.
'I love them all,' he said. 'I was wondering, would Captain Nemo be an ocean conservationist if he were alive today?'
'Honey, he was never actually alive -- he's a fictional character.'
Jacob rejected that thought with a shake of his head. 'Every fictional character is based on someone. My English teacher told us that.'
'Oh?' Caitlin said. 'Winnie the Pooh?'
'He was a real teddy bear,' Jacob said. 'Just not alive.'
He had her; that was true."