Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Whither Mermaids?

(Image found here.)

My adventures with mermaids go all the way back to my youth.  As an only child living in a fishing village, with my mother all but enslaved to the local fishmonger & my father always out to sea, I was alone a great deal.  The busy wharf & market were too frenetic for a boy with my sensitive disposition, so I would find myself wandering along the shore, staring out into the sea which seemed my destiny.

One sunny afternoon, I was daydreaming with the gulls when I suddenly heard what sounded like a whisper, then another whisper, then giggling.  I crept along the rock to see two beautiful mermaids lying about, half-in the water, half-out, chatting in a carefree manner.  I was frozen by fear, but became aware they had noticed me, by their glances & the accompanying laughs, though they otherwise ignored me.

Soon enough they were gone, diving back into the deep with their tales splashing as they went.  But I came back to the same place every day to discover it was their ritual to take lunch at this very spot regularly.  Though we didn't speak the same language, we managed to communicate by gestures & expressions on our faces, though I did manage to pick up a few words of mer-talk by & by.  They never once seemed interested in learning my language, which suited me, as I was not a talkative child.

When people now talking about "the abduction," it is assumed that some criminal element from our village had taken me for the months I was gone, & though I did my best to dissuade the authorities, & my parents, that nothing of the sort had happened.  No one took my away; I had decided to travel with the mermaids of my own volition.  To be sure, I was afraid of the cold & dark world underwater, but to acclimatize me to their surroundings was easy, as they were of course magical creatures.  Most surprisingly, I discovered many other humans in their underwater world, humans who showed no interest in returning to the surface.  My concern for my mother always nagged at me, & soon I asked to be taken home.  The merfolk did not imprison me in any way.

Over the years, I ventured there when I could, & even once took a common-law mermaid wife, which explains why I have never married here.  But my life above water kept calling me back - my parents took ill & needed constant care before their deaths, & my mother had needed me to work with the fishmonger to pay the bills.  It wasn't until I was much older when I found one of my oldest mermaid companions playing with what seemed to be gold coins.  She took me the site of a sunken ship which contained a fortune in treasure.  I would take some jewels & coins with me every time I resurfaced, & soon became the richest man in our village.  I even bought the fishmonger's place, & put him to work as my employee.

Expeditions were launched to discover the source of my good fortune, but they could never go as far out nor as deep as I did.  Jealous rivals accused me of stealing, but with the money I had I could always defend myself, & on occasion, arrange for their own misfortune.  In this way I managed to remain happy both on land & in the sea - truly, I was one of the few who successfully navigated the dangerous waters - both literally & figuratively - that separated the two spheres.

& now, in my old age, I have thought to tell the world about my adventures with my mermaid & mermen friends.  A book seemed to me too common, & they would never let me film or record them in any way.  It seemed music would perhaps serve me best, but I am a poor singer with no musical skills.  Yet there were many songs about mermaids.  Thus I hit upon a novel idea: a radio program, where I would share my stories as well as songs about my merfolk friends.  Alas, I have discovered too late that this would already happen, well before I could prepare such a tribute.  But I shall listen!

That show, about mermaids, airs tonight from 9-11pm eastern on 93.9 fm WLXU in Lexington, Kentucky, a poor, landlocked place.  I will be listening with my mermaid friends online, at Lexington Community Radio's website.  Yes, mermaids have the internet.  They steal it from the wires that run along the sea floor.

As for me, I do hope my friends enjoy it.  If not - well, it's been a long time since humans have angered them enough to cause them to retaliate on the surface world!

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