Day 216: The Other Mermaid

First, a poem…

Little Tommy was stuck on a raft
surrounded by man-eating sharks.

With nothing to lose, only amusement for food,
he put bum to water and let out a fart.
(Kid on raft, bum in water, bubbles around it, sharks fleeing in horror.)

The Other Mermaid

Matt Zurbo

Lance was a pirate who fell in love with a mermaid.
(Stubbly, rough, but hansom pirate, with skulls tied to his belt, leaning over tip of pirate ship plank, puckering to kiss very pretty mermaid.)

Don’t get me wrong, Lance was mean and nasty and pushed people off the plank.
But was sort of hansom… for a pirate. And the mermaid needed a challenge.

All the mermen and merboys were the same – swimming everywhere, talking about fish.
(Mermaid in middle of busy mermen, being ignored.)

The mermaid was beautiful, in a scaly sort of way.
(Mermaid combing her hair, using a whale’s eye as a mirror.)

She would sing and sing, a song so wondrous it would lure seafarers of all sorts to their doom.
(Mermaid singing, arm uncurling, as if inviting people to come closer, beneath and around her, in the shadows of rocks, are human skeletons.)

(Three fishermen on a row-boat, in the rain. One trying to stop another from jumping into water. The third grimacing, holding ears with his hands.)

(Explored on bow of boat, body still bold and looking outward, telescope still in hand, but face looking down to water, where mermaid waits.)

Weekend yacht club members.
(Men in suits, with pipes, floating underwater. One looks tranquil. The other, closer to the mermaid, full of horror. Mermaid’s mouth is open. Six foot wide, full of 100 sharp teeth, about to eat them.)

Surfie dudes.
(Mermaid lying back in coral, content, using finger bone as a toothpick. Skeleton in broad-shorts, and Surfboard beside her, weighed down by rocks.)

But not Lance. That was love, wasn’t it?
(Lance dragging fish net onto jetty. Has stereophonic earphones on. Tunes are coming out from them. He is ignoring mermaid, who is in water beneath, singing/beckoning.)

‘Besides, we make such a pretty couple,’ she thought. ‘He has legs! And wears really cool jeans!’
(Lance from behind.) 

The mermaid’s psychiatrist told her there were plenty of nice fish under the waves, she just wanted what she shouldn’t have.
(Giant squid with bifocals and notepad.)
“I can’t help it,” she said. “I like bad boys.”

Truth to tell, it was a bit of a popular thing to do. Mermaids were falling in love with pirates all the time.
(Pirates of all sorts, heads tilted underwater, kissing mermaids, who’s heads are tilted up to kiss them.)

Wendy was also a mermaid, but no pirates seemed to want to fall in love with her.
(Sexy lady legs, walrus top half, human arms with webbing and walrus skin.)

They were so shallow. Like low tide. “Can’t they see my inner beauty?” she would sigh.
(Wendy on bottom of ocean, looking up at four mermaids treading water, kissing four pirates.)

Then she would sing.
(Wendy, eyes closed, passionate expression, singing.)

Wendy would sing and sing and sing, and, oh,
(Mermen turning their heads.)

(Crabs and hammerheads turning their heads.)

the whole ocean would sigh!
(Shark and dolphin swimming together through giant octopus tentacles, two of which are shaped like a love heart.)

Octopi would uncurl, giant squids would let off ink, waves would rise!

Lighthouse keepers, and even, sometimes, pirates would fall in love without knowing why.
(Lance, in the shallows, hands clutching vest of fallen opponent, looking up at mermaid, a little deeper, watching him.)

Wendy had loved Lance since she was a little fish, and he was a small boy.
(Child Lance in small rowboat, fishing. Child Wendy poking head out of water behind him, watching.)

“Can’t you see it’s my voice you love?” she pleaded.
(Mermaid and Lance underwater, holding hands, swimming, hair everywhere. Wendy in background, clutching her heart.)
But Lance couldn’t speak mermaid. He just knew that the other mermaid was very cute.

“It’s my fault,” Wendy told the psychiatrist. “When Lance and I were teenagers, I sang to him.”
“And sang and sang…”
(Wendy in shallow water, one hand over heart, other reaching to Lance, singing. Fish, crayfish, etc… in twos, popping heads out of water around her Dolphins, in twos, leaping, Flying sigh, twos. Seagulls and sea eagles, in twos. Lance in ankle deep water, next to rowboat, putting corks from XXX bottles of rum in his ears.)
“I’m not going to fall in love with that!” he said.

“Ironically,” Wendy concluded, “that’s now why no other mermaids can eat Lance!”
(Other mermaid singing to Lance, a pirate and a businessman drowning either side of her. Lance had goggles and snorkel on, and corks in his ears.)
“They broke my heart,” she sighed.

The psychiatrist told Wendy she only ever wanted what she couldn’t have. That Lance was just another boring, hansom, murderous human.
Wendy didn’t care. ‘Love is love,’ she thought.

What Wendy didn’t know was, a giant crab called Groop had fallen in love, too… With her!
(Other mermaid, beautiful hair everywhere, playing gently with small fish. Lance poking head underwater from rowboat, watching her in a yearning way, Wendy watching him in a yearning way. Behind Wendy, giant crab, two of its smaller legs over heart, is watching Wendy.)

He wrote poems for Wendy in the low tide sandbanks, that the incoming waves would then spread throughout the ocean,
making everybody feel glad, and wanted, without knowing why.
(Crab writing into sandbank. Kid on jetty wide-eyed, tugging on Mum’s hand, pointing.)

Groop fought many a battle.
(Groop wrestling giant deep-sea creature, Wendy swimming by.)

He did much to impress Wendy.
(Wendy swimming after swimming Lance. Crab in background, has made giant seaweed love hear with sea horses in middle of it.)

Much to protect her, without her ever knowing.
(Crab fighting off killer white shark. Behind them, Wendy is yearningly looking up at Lance’s rowboat.)

Groop wouldn’t let the psychiatrist say a word. “Love is love!” he would bark. “But who would love a rusty old crab?” he would then mumble to himself.
(Crab being aggressive to giant squid, who is dropping his notepad, backing away.)

One day, Lance decided to marry the other mermaid. They had two weddings.
One for the pirates.
(Blackbeard performing the ceremony on deck. Mermaid in a rum barrel. Mermaid and Lance on plank.)

One for the fish. (That way nobody would eat each other.)
(Poseidon performing the ceremony. Lance in suit and deep sea diver’s helmet, with air hose.)

Wendy cried, Wendy sang. Oh, she sang like never before!
(Wendy singing, giving it her all, seas rising around her, creatures being thrown about.)  

Storms rose. Wild seas went flat. Anyone near water, even a sink, a drain, felt lonely and sad.
(Man, in apron, doing dishes, looking mournful.)

It drove the orca mad! It had a partner and a pod of kids. It didn’t need all this grief!
(CHOMP! Swallowing Lance and mermaid in one gulp.)

The orca would have eaten Wendy, too, but Groop was quick!
(Crab using pincher to pull Wendy away from snapping orca teeth.)
‘It’s now or never,’ he thought.     

“I know mermaids don’t normally go out with giant crabs, but they aren’t meant to date humans, either,” he said.
(Crab, half Wendy’s height, pleading to her. She is still dizzy.)
“Okay, one date,” said Wendy.

Which was a nice start.
(Wendy and crab sitting at coral table on top of giant stingray. Plate of seaweed in front of them, small, deep sea creature with tentacles with glowing nodules on their ends doubling as a candle. Other sea creatures, including mermaids and mermen, and two skeletons, paired up, romantically watching.)



The End

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