A Mermaid's Tail

Sound asleep in my room, or so I think, I lay in bed snoring when I feel a drip, drip, drip on my face. I wake-up in slumber, wipe-off what I suspect is water and look up at my ceiling to see whatever is causing it. Only, I am not in my room like I thought. I wake-up on a sandy beach, a pile of sea kelp for a pillow. I hear the roar of the waves crashing right next to me. I am wet.

Above me is the source of the water, sea water to be exact. Staring down at me with an expression of curiosity, excitement, and joy was a beautiful scarlet-haired girl with eyes the color of the ocean itself.

I sit-up and say, "Hello!" with a startled expression. She smiles. I notice her hair is wet as it dangles over my face. Perhaps I had been swimming, or rather sinking, and she had rescued me. I take in my surroundings when I notice from the corner of my eye something turquoise, scaly, and sparkling, waving joyously back and forth just like my dog's tail when he's excited about his walk.

It can't be!

I do a double take.

No, it's true! She has a tail! A large, fishy, swishy tail!

How much salt water did I swallow? Do I have heat-stroke? Was someone smoking-up at the umbrella next to me, and I got second-hand high?

My rescuer is, in fact, a mermaid!

Anticipating my thoughts, she says, "Yes, it's real. Want to touch it?"

I touch it.

Her tail is not as slimy as one would expect. It is, however, cold and smooth like running your fingers along piano keys.
"Wow," is the only comment I can muster.

"That's what they all say," she says with a more understanding tone than sarcastic.

After a few moments caressing her iridescent scales, and feeling rather flushed, I ask, "So what's your name?"

She giggles, melodically.

I say, "I know, kind of late for formal introductions, having massaged your tail and all. My name's Phineas, but everyone just calls me, Phin. Do you have a name where you come from? What do they call you?" I pause to try to let her answer; I scratch my goatee. Suddenly it dawns on me, "Wait! Do you even speak English?! Can you understand me?!"

Embarrassed again, I try various forms of sign-language to communicate my question as she continues to stare at me quizzically through her smile. Finally, after a few moments of utter humiliation on my part, she responds, "You humans never get it, do you? Being naturally telepathic, we mermaids can adapt to any spoken language: human, mermaid, plant, quadruped, crustacean, insect, bird, lizard, or otherwise just by taking a few moments to listen to your thoughts, silly biped!"

"What a great asset!" I say, "I wish I were telepathic considering my terrible lack of skill with the ladies, and my deep desire to be able to talk animals, being a zoology major and all."

I pause to scratch my goatee again and adjust my glasses which I am not wearing, yet I my vision is twenty-twenty.

I ask again, trying to be tactful, "So what's your name?"

"Lucy," she says, "It's really 'Bella Lucia,' meaning 'Beautiful Light,' but everyone calls me 'Lucy' for short. Poseidon sent me here to find you."

"Poseidon?! Me?! What?! I am dumbfounded!"

She continues, "You see, because of your diligent dedication to studying and preserving our mythology and folklore, Poseidon took it upon himself to reward you with an all-expense-paid trip to his kingdom. You will have a full moon cycle to enjoy yourself in our world, and afterward you must return home and document your entire stay in the form of a child's short-story, because humans must start believing in our world again and at a very young age or else it doesn't stick. These days, you humans are too caught-up with your vanity and science to remember all the real magic and wonder we have to offer you. Why do you think mermaid-sightings have been so few and far between for the last couple of centuries? No one believes in us anymore. Our tourism has been so low, we've taken to offering you a full vacation, free of charge, as long as you are a natural-born citizen, and you are!"

"Wow, even mermaids have been affected by this recession,"

"Indeed."

Another pause as I absorb what was just said.

"There's usually a cost?" I then ask, curious and a little fearful.

"Oh, nothing much. Just your voice!"

"What?!" I exclaim!

"Just kidding!" she says, "Don't think we mermaids don't watch those movies you make about us. We take vacations to the surface, too, you know!"

Lucy has a sense of humor about herself, hmm… I kind of like that. Oh no! I will not fall in love with a fish! I will not fall in love with a fish!

"So when does this vacation begin?!" I wonder aloud hoping to distract myself.

"Right now! If you're ready for it!" she replies with enthusiasm.

"Are you kidding?! I've been waiting for this my whole life!"

"Good," she adds, "Then grab my hand and don't let go until I tell you. We have to reach the clam bed in time to collect some of their pearls and bubbles before you can breathe on your own. Until then, we're going to share our air through our hands."

"Our what?!" I question in disbelief.

"You're just going to have to trust me," she commands.

And I do, wholeheartedly.

We grab hands, and swim out to where the ocean floor just starts to sink below my feet, before she pulls me down with her and our journey to Oceanica begins.

Commencement