The Mermaid

“I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.”

― T.S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

mermaid

Chapter 1. Real Mermaids Aren’t Like That

Thirty days running the Goldie River on the turtle’s tail of Papua New Guinea chasing rebels left me exhausted and wild-eyed. I was watching out for any man or beast that would try to stop me from my rendezvous with an ice-cold beer. We headed south through the twisting valleys,  jungle, and rolling mountains until the canopy parted revealing blue sky and cotton candy clouds running straight for the Coral Sea.

The team passed east of the Owen’s Corner outpost then down to the Soperi track and picked up our ride to Port Moresby. I could almost taste that cold beer through the sour stench of dirt, sweat, and salt ground into my clothes.  Somewhere along the way, I must have fallen asleep. Every bump in the road was a bullet tearing up the trees around me. Tires bouncing inside the wheel well from ruts in the road were grenades ripping flesh from bone, and I lay on the jungle floor choking in my spit and blood. I didn’t care. Dreams never killed anyone; it’s the reality that sucks the life out of you.

Life returned to the walking dead when we reached a safe house near the Ela Motors headquarters off Hubert Murray Highway in Port Moresby. After a long soak in the shower and a bar of Ivory soap later, the team and I hit the Big Rooster Koki for a meal. We ate everything they had and drank all their beer then headed to a little hole in the wall bar next to Remembrance Park.

Hell yeah, I thought as soon as I walked in the place. The girls were working the tables where rough men plotted to take each other’s money and maybe a little fighting and knife play. My kind of place. The guys split up and found a place to sit to muscle in on some action and maybe a chance to snuggle with one of the waitresses after her shift ended. I wanted to sit back and watch a little. It was always better to let life take you by surprise and roll with the evening no matter what it brought.

There was one table open where an old man with a scraggly white beard sat with his back in the corner. Nobody else bothered to take a seat at the table with him. That was prime real estate as far as I was concerned. I took the chair against the wall and gave the old dude a passing glance before I hailed the waitress and ordered a beer for my mute table mate and me.

The girl brought us the beers, and the guy held his mug up and mumbled, cheers before his gaze returned to a picture on the wall. I looked up at a topless ginger mermaid and then at the man. He had the look of one who knew how deep sorrow could take root in a wounded soul. I’d seen that look too many times before. Most often, I saw it in the mornings while shaving. He looked over at me and mumbled.

“You know they don’t look like that,” he offered as we stared at the picture.

“No? Well, how do they look, old man?” I replied, my voice echoing back at me from inside my beer mug.

“Derek.”

“Huh?”

“My name’s Derek,” he whispered in a hoarse cough.

“Derek, don’t fuck with me. Are you going to tell me what mermaids look like or am I going to squeeze it out of your head?”

The old salt laughed then wheezed like it was his last breath. I smiled to let him know I was kidding and more than a little skeptical.

“The name’s Hyperion, but don’t let that stop you,” I said. I wasn’t going anywhere and the entertainment was getting interesting.

After a spell of asthmatic coughing and wheezing, Derek started talking. He never took his eyes off the picture on the wall.  “My boat took on water in a storm southeast on the Coral about ten years ago.  I made it to a spit of sand on the lee side of a collapsed volcano left over from the creation. The boat beached on the rocks and I managed to get ashore where I waited out the storm under a rock outcrop. The storm raged all night and when it cleared in the morning, the ship’s hull was split. I wasn’t going anywhere soon.

My new summer home wasn’t more than a square mile in size, shaped like a crescent moon with a high peak of lava rock in the center, covered in brush, trees, and birdshit. The inside of the crescent had a few coconut palms lining the high tide mark and thick brush along the raised spine. I decided to set up camp at the foot of the peak and wait for rescue.

I saw her the first day early that morning while hauling stuff off the boat so I could set up a camp. I thought she was a yearling dolphin at first. She kicked by the stern and darted around like a cat chasing a mouse. All I could make out was the flash of dappled skin with zigzag rays of light streaking across her body. It was the auburn hair and sun-bleached strands of blond flowing straight back over her back that made her look like a Dolphin. I remember thinking I could harpoon her later for food. That was before I knew her.”

“What do you mean, before you knew her?” I asked, like a kid listening to a pirate story.

Derek paused for a long time, always staring at the picture on the wall.

“I want to think I fell in love with a woman -a woman of the sea. Thing is, I don’t know if she was human or beast. All I know is we learned to love each other only separated by the boundaries of our estranged worlds.”

Derek, are you telling me you had a relationship with a mermaid? How did you manage that? My skepticism came in a raised voice. A few people looked over with that who farted look. I lowered my voice and told Derek cut to the good parts.

“Not so fast, he replied. “You young bucks need to learn that life is more about foreplay than dry humping a woman with your imagination. Buy me another beer; my memory is starting to fade.”

He stared at me with an impatient glare. I ordered another round. Derek took a few deep breaths after draining half his mug. He looked up at the picture. A tear traced down his cheek and disappeared in his beard. He hacked and wheezed again and wiped his eyes and tobacco-stained mouth with his sleeve.

“It wasn’t what I saw, son. It was what I lived, what I tasted, felt, and drew in with every breath. It was the smell of salt air, the feel of her skin smooth as glass. Her lips tasted like sweet almond oil and her breath was like apples and the scent of trade winds blowing ashore over hot stones and wet sand. She never uttered a word I could make out but her voice was high and melodic, like a song. Yes, like a song; a song no man can turn his back on.”

“You mean the two of you . . .?”

“Aye, we did,” he cut in with a glint in his eye. “Now, order another round like a good lad and listen.”

 


Author’s note: This short story is dedicated to the two ladies that inspired it. Draculauren  from Alien Scribe writes about her observations of people and places. She distills the best parts of living scenes into an entertaining story. We discussed a Mermaid undertaking you can check out -> HERE newyorkunseen or her vampire story at Natashapea. Both ladies are quite talented and they like mermaids which prove great minds think alike.

Image source: Pinterest.com

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68 thoughts on “The Mermaid

        1. You have some inspiring stories as well. Hope you don’t mind me rummaging around. I’ll be sure to clean up after myself. Do you prefer to go by your author name or your avatar name? My friends all call me Daniel. Hyperion is my main character who always manages to get himself in trouble.

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    1. You are right Sara. It’s when there is no hope of love, companionship, and family that people miss it so intensely and make promises to themselves or their loved one about when they get back things will be different. Sadly, many don’t make it back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Chris! The artist recommended to me by Draculauren was Charmaine Olivia. I checked out her artwork and she is quite good and includes herself as part of her canvas. I ran across many great mermaid artists. But alas, my collection was lost by an incompetent IT staff at Pinterest. They make WordPress grimlins look like Bambi and friends. I think the other aryist was Bob Dale but could be horribly wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. She does mermaids here and there and seems especially obsessed with them lately. 🙂

        Regarding Pinterest, something similar happened to my gentleman this past week. He’s an artist and it took him many years to build up all these Pinterest folders with ideas for future projects and things that inspired him. Recently when he logged in, his page wouldn’t show up and after trying everything he could under their help or faq section, he emailed them for help and had to do it multiple times. They finally sent him info in the faq he’d already seen which wasn’t helpful at all. His account is mysteriously erased and he has to start over. 😦

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        1. Hi Lauren! What a pleasant surprise. Ms Olivia is a fantastic artist. After I visited her works, I became an instant fan of her style. Thank you for that reference. My Pinterest experience was the exact same. My collection was a treasure trove to me of many subjects to include art and photography – all gone with no explanation and no help from Pinterest ninnies. I did think I couldn’t be the only victim but they are being very quiet about all the accounts they lost. Other than that, how are you these days?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hello, and you’re welcome! She’s a fun one to watch.

            My guy will never forgive Pinterest – I’m sorry it happened to you, too. I still have an account on there but I don’t really use it. Instagram is my thang.

            I’m swell! Been tidying up my writing projects and have submitted a children’s story and some children’s poetry to a number of publishers. Now I’m working on a short horror story to submit to a children’s magazine, and after that I plan to finish up a horror comedy short story for adults. What about you? Any new projects in the works?

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            1. Wow, you really have been busy! I think that is awesome you write children’s stories. I hope you do get them published soon. I would love to buy some for my little grandkids, nieces, and nephews. I do everything possible to spoil them and create conditions for developing totally gnarly little personalities. I still haven’t gotten over Pinterest. I used them a lot and after they lost everything, I haven’t had the heart to go back. I’m on instagram too. Hyperionsturm if you are interested. I post all my outdoor activities and the ocassional Dragon family of all ranks and ages. 🐉 I’ve taken some time off from writing to fill my brain up with newer and more gooderer material. Soon, I’ll start converting the vast store of short stories to an ebook anthology and post a link to it for free. Free is a fair price for my musings. I’ll offer triple their investment back if they feel cheated. Hope you and your Draculdude have a wonderful Christmas and a memorable New Year.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Well thank you for the kind words and wishes, as always. When it comes down to it, I enjoy writing for adults more because there aren’t any limits. But I do have a playful, childlike side that yearns to be free. 🙂 Sounds like you’re a kickass grandpa and uncle! I’ll let you know if my silly stuff should ever get published. What a long journey it is! Hope you’re doing well with your own writing goals.

                Good news, my boyfriend’s Pinterest account was returned, 100% He’s ecstatic. I hope yours resurfaces, too. Hope you and your loved ones have a fabulous New Year’s.

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      2. Yes, it was Charmaine Olivia who was the artist I was trying to think of.

        I’ll have to think of Olivia de Havilland the last surviving cast member of the classic Gone With The Wind to help me remember.

        Also Olivia the waitress/bartenderess at a restaurant in Vancouver I was becoming good friends with.

        A friendship that came to a sudden end thanks to the greed of Vancouver landlords and the stupidity of Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson in not offering to pay the rent of a great writer such as myself (I guess with that last statement I don’t have to appear as a guest on Oprah as someone who suffers from low self-esteem).

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        1. What an interesting scenario. Oprah hosts you on the show and as you wow her with your renditions of Shakespeare if he were a vampire, Olivia comes out to propose to you and Oprah pays the rent. Then your vampire novels suddenly sell ten million copies to housebound spouses who dream of vampire adventure by getting in a hot tub with that naughty Renfield. You should work on making that happen. 😉

          Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, D! Always a pleasure to have you passing by as well. Yes, I’ve been caught up other things. And I’ll have to say that I could not have continue so long without support from many wonderful generous people, amongst which includes you.

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        1. Thank you very much, K. It’s been a long journey and as you noted, I’ve made many changes in my stories and presentation but the underlying desire to develop and evolve a writing style worth reading was behind every line. I read often the best way to get better was write and so I did. I owe it to my readers and their great inspiration for the many stories and any success I’ve enjoyed. Though challenging, I’ve enjoyed the effort and deeply appreciate the friendships developed along the way. All the best to you and your wonderful family during the holidays and the new year. And also, thank you very much for your friendship. It has meant a lot.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m about to go to work and I had just an email to you.
    Sorry for not responding quicker.
    Was so busy and I was terribly ill for two days.
    I was overdone with the house renovation and catched a terrible cold as I worked without proper jacket outside … I was sweating like hell and my brother told me a few times not to Forget to wear my jacket. I simply forgot because I felt so hot while working … Yeah, my mistake! Ugh!

    Got to be Patient and be Kind to myself the next time …

    I will wait for your respond soon enough …

    Till then! Ciao, my Brother Dragon!

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  2. Did you turn this all into one story, Daniel?

    There were some great comments in Scene 2 and Scene 3 I was going to respond to.

    But when I click on them in my emails, they never show up.

    So I came directly to your page and found that The Mermaid is no longer divided into scenes and those comments have been lost. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, sorry Chris. Yes, I combined the other mermaid scenes into the first one and withdrew the Dragon stories. I put the Dragons to eternal rest. They had served their purpose and it seemed obscene to let them linger.

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    1. Oh gee, if only I was as lucky as Hyperion when I was single and his age. He does fall in love way too easy it seems. Of course, he does go for the ‘different’ girls. 😛 Thank you for the compliment, Sherrie. It does encourage me.

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        1. Mwaaaa haaaa haaaa haaaaaaaaa!!!!! 😂. It takes a strong man to handle a scorching love like that. I had a vision in my mind of those wistful eyes with long dark lashes that emphasized a sly smile as the whip and cream came into view. Classic Sherrielock Holmes. I think she is equally desireable as a mermaid if not more so. Of course, very naughty boys may think otherwise after a good shellacking of their naughty buns. 😳💨😂

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  3. That’s probably it, Daniel.

    The gremlins at WP seem to be extra fond of causing havoc on your page I’ve noticed in the past on my clever phone.

    Looking forward to reading Scene 3.

    Yes, I’ve been fond of mermaids since a very young age.

    Because the pictures I saw of them, they were very beautiful (to say nothing of being topless).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Great minds do think alike, Chris. Being a Florida boy, I believed I would find a mermaid. I had a plan to hide her under my bed. Scene 3 is now posted if you can actually see it on my gremlin haunted website. 😀

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            1. Oh, certainly my choice as well, hands down. If you want to pacify my raging oratory, introduce me to a fair mermaid like Meera and everyone would be spared my bloviating presence. On the other hand the other option would not be even close to the same pleasure as cavorting in the sea.

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        1. hehehe …
          It reminded me of what I fantasized when I was a child. I fantasized of King of Elf with the weird sticking ears. My grandma told me of that Story and we had no idea how an elf look like. My grandmother told me whenever she saw me playing with my dolls or toys, I always imagined that I marry the King of Elf(Elves). LOL hahaha …

          Yeah … I know … I was a weird kid!

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      1. Ha hahaaa! I used to hope to find one when I lived in Florida. I just knew she would accept me and we’d live happily ever after. First I had to learn to hold my breath underwater. I practiced every chance I got. Nothing was too hard for my mermaid. Well, here she is. 😛

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  4. So this is Scene 1 of the Mermaid story.

    I was looking for Scene 1 the other day but didn’t find it so I read Scene 2 first.

    Either you posted Scene 2 first or for some unfathomable reason, I never located Scene 1 first.

    In either case, one of us must have been overindulging in Sherrie’s roasted Bavarian magic mushrooms.

    Thoroughly enjoyed Scene 1.

    I love that line, “Buy me another beer, my memory is starting to fade.”

    I also loved that painting you used to illustrate this chapter.

    It reminds me of the style of paintings done by the 19th Century British Pre-Raphaelite painters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s strange, Chris. I did post Scene 1 several days before scene two. If you are using your clever phone to view the webpage, maybe the link was moved waaaaaaay down at the bottom. Who knows but I’m glad you found it. I think Ana didn’t see Scene 1 either. I found the mermaid painting just perfect for the scene. I’ve grown quite fond of mermaids since I started this story. The end comes this weekend with scene 3.

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          1. You have to admire the Democrat’s devotion to lies, violence, chaos, and destruction in order to prove the Republicans are not a good choice to run a well ordered government. I’m convinced. 😒🙄😬

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  5. “That who farted look!” You totally added that for me, didn’t you?! And that’s some sexy watery music, by the way. I’m going to have to look into more and play some around my apartment when it feels right. Probably when I’m in the bathtub pretending to be a mermaid…

    I love how this kicked off – you’re dangling this carrot over our heads, making us wondering how in the hell Derek scored with this watery goddess. His coughing and wheezing is a nice touch, and he’s cheeky, too. This made my day, especially with all the seriousness and dark mood created by the election results. And thanks for sharing my blog info under the Author’s Note. 🙂 Can’t wait to read the next bit…

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    1. LOL! Thank you, Lauren. I was pretty sure you’d get the who farted look quip. 😀 That Hyperion is such a rascal. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the story so far. I thought about it for several days and then the head elves got busy with it. I love the underwater ballet done in E-Mantra. The have a few songs with the same dynamics. Great head music. I think soaking in the tub pretending to be a mermaid while listening to E-Mantra is probably a short route to enlightenment or even Nirvana. Derek seems past his prime but he might have a few surprises for us. It was my pleasure to try to send more readers your way. I know they’ll love your blog. And, thank you for the inspiration and encouragement. It worked! I knew it was a done deal when you and Natasha were on mermaids at the same time. It was fate. I’m working on the next scene so stay tuned . . . 😉

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      1. You’d be so disappointed if I didn’t. How did you even find that music? Derek was probably a real lady-killer in his day. I wish I had regular content to provide but I have to make the choice of seriously writing and sending off to publishers or spending time on blog posts and socializing. It’s time to get on it and get busy. And don’t get me wrong, I love me some online socializing, but a girl’s got to have priorities if she wants to be a successful writer. The fitness classes and full-time job at a publishing company don’t make it easy. ❤

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        1. Oh, yes and I can’t handle disappointment without psycho-active quantities of chocolate and vintage port wine or three cups of coffee if it’s early. Ole Derek sure fell for Meera. I’ll bet she likes Derek for his beach wear. I want to see if he makes her wear a grass skirt and polished coconut shell swim top. I do feel ya on the serious writing with a full schedule. I was fine until I let someone talk me into coming back to work. Now, writing is a struggle. I retired my old site and thought I could just concentrate on Dragons and it would be okay but, the dragons aren’t getting the love they deserve and need. Now, mermaids have my undivided attention. Scene 2 is up and 3 will go out this coming weekend. Derek will wait on you when you have time. In the mean time, I wish you the greatest success with your writing. If you need a beta reader, I’ll volunteer anytime.

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        2. Oh, I forgot to tell you how I found E-Mantra. I was listening to the music made by a Romanian artist, Raceneau on YouTube and E-Mantra spooled up on my autoplay. The music was so similar, I didn’t know it changed and kept listening. I was quite pleased with myself when I finally figured it out. 🎶🤔

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          1. Mmm well I’ve had my chocolate and coffee today, so I just need some wine to top it off! So it’s Meera…I was curious to see what her name would be. I like it – any special meaning? I have this photo I need to try and find – it’s a silly mermaid photo from one of those photo booths where they insert your face onto a mermaid body.

            I’m afraid I’ll have to wait to read the rest of the dragons until you have a full pdf for download, whenever that’s complete. Your blog is the only one I currently read, since the few others I was consistently reading kind of dropped off like I did. But I struggle finding time to make the occasional post and keep up with yours as well. The Mermaid story is all good since it’s short and sweet. I’ll get to scene 2 today! And thank you for your support, as always. As for the E-Mantra discovery, I’ve found many a band that way, too. It’s easy to get lost on YouTube.

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            1. Hi Lauren. My mermaid is named Meera mainly because Meer and multiple versions of the word in several languages mean, Sea and the “a” at the end makes it feminine. I’ve been thinking of turning the dragons into an ebook and just put a link to it here for people to download. I may do that for some of the other short stories too. I have totally enjoyed socializing with you and look forward to it. I also understand the need to focus elsewhere. I’ll sit over here in my Dragon Creche and watch for you and your book. We Dragons like to do that sort of thing. It’s creepy and that’s why I like it. Mwaaa haaa haaaa! Anyway, take good care of yourself out there.

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                1. LOL! I will endeavor to creep on. 😀 and I hope you will find yourself a New York best seller. I’ll be gloating to my friends that you are a Dragon Sister Goth Mermaid Goddess. If you have time the third and final scene of The Mermaid is up. Take care out there in the real world. I here it’s crazy out there. 😉

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  6. That’s beautiful Dan!!! I like the setting of a soldier in a bar and a mysterious old man telling a story. I want to hear the rest of it! Is there going to be a second part? I always found mermaids fascinating and you did really good job catching the interest of a reader and setting a mysterious and forbidden kind of tone. Can’t wait to hear the rest. Hope you don’t mind if I share it on Facebook. And thank you so much for mentioning me in the note:))

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    1. Hi Natasha! Oh, thank you so much for this comment. I never know if I’m on it or not, I just write what my head elves tell me. I was thinking 3 scenes would make a great short story. There are a few twists along the way. Please feel free to share the story however you like, I’m honored. Mermaids are like Dragons. They are in every society with a connection to the sea. They have never faded from literature since the first hints of ancient humankind. I believe they reach deep into the sub-conscious of men and women and touch something inherently hidden in all of us. My story hopes to bring that hidden part to light. And, you are most welcome for the mention. You are an inspiration and that’s a good thing 😀

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        1. I think you are right, Natasha. I was noticing the art and photography world was experiencing a resurgence in mermaids. The world is revisiting this ancient myth with modern themes and interpretations. I started to add a Pinterest board and collect the pictures but didn’t. I think I will now that my interest is also peaked. Some of the best were digitized paintings by several artists in the 1800’s. My story will change how mermaids are depicted because now we have a first hand account from a reliable witness. 😉

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