Friday, April 30, 2010

The Trouble with Mermaids


"Are all merpeople as conceited as you?"  Miriam demanded.
"They only wish they were," Thalassa replied, checking her reflection again in the small compact mirror she made Miriam go out and purchase for her.  She rubbed her teeth with her forefinger and flashed herself a smile.  Unsatisfied with the result, she vigorously rubbed her teeth again.  She grimaced with effort.
Miriam rolled her eyes.  Not once, in all her twenty-four years, had she ever cared about her looks.  Her untamed locks and mismatched socks were a testament to that.  Since becoming Thalassa's caretaker, she had become more and more grateful for her lack of fashion sense.  The way Thalassa went about her beauty routine made keeping up appearances look like too much work.
"There, that's more like it!" Thalassa exclaimed, finally satisfied that her pearl teeth shone.  Then her face scrunched up again as she noticed her sea weed top.  "Does this brown look dull to you?  I think it does nothing for my complexion."
“It’s fine, Thalassa.  Please, can we go now?  I’m late for work and my boss has all ready made it clear he’s that close to firing me,” she held her forefinger and thumb so close together, the ratty edges of her chewed off finger tips almost touched.
“All right, all right!  Who put squid ink in your fish flakes this morning?” She propped the compact mirror onto her lap and quickly pinched her cheeks, smoothed her hair and checked her teeth again before snapping the mirror shut.  “There.  I’m ready.”
“Finally!” Miriam snatched the compact from Thalassa before she could find something else to fix and ran to grab her purse.  She remembered that someone had once said that finding a mermaid was good luck.  Whoever it was, Miriam wanted to sit them down and give them a firm talking to.  Or hand Thalassa over to them and see how lucky they felt after a few days with her.
When she returned to the bathroom, Thalassa had all ready hoisted herself out of the bathtub.  She had managed to balance herself in a standing position, so as to lean on Miriams’s pedestal sink and use the bathroom mirror.
“You know, these light bulbs totally mess up colors.  You really should replace them with white, non-florescent bulbs.
“Nit pick at my light bulbs later!  Where do you even learn these things, anyway?”
“Beauty Magazine, obviously.”
“How do you get,” Miriam glanced at her watch.  It was 9:00.  She was dead to her boss.  “Ach, whatever!  Let’s go!” Miriam shouted, throwing up her hands in frustration.
“Okay, okay.  Jeeze, what is it with humans and needing to be places?” Thalassa asked, rolling her eyes.  Gripping the sink with one hand, she lowered herself until the other hand was an inch away from the tiled floor.  Miriam marveled at how graceless Thalassa was without water to support her.
Thalassa glared up at Miriam’s amused expression as she lay on the floor like a seal.
“Stop smiling at me like that.  I’d like to see you get around dry land with no legs.”
“After you, my lady,” Miriam swept a bow as she stepped out of Thalassa’s way, still smirking.
With her head held high and her nose even higher, Thalassa waddled out of the bathroom with all the dignity she could muster.

8 comments:

Aislinn O'Connor said...

"Who put squid ink in your fish flakes this morning?" Love it! Of course, it's totally ruined my mental image of mermaids as being graceful, charming, sweet, etc... Can't quite shake the image of Thalassa waddling out of the bathroom!

Think there's enough material here for more than just one #FridayFlash - any chance of a series involving the 2 characters? Would love to know how Miriam got stuck with - sorry, I mean was privileged to play host to - Thalassa in the first place... :D

Chris Chartrand said...

This was a fun read. Glad to have you as part of #fridayflash, I hope read more of your work.

Optomistic said...

Great read, thorougly enjoyed their exchange.
Fish out of water is not a pretty site.

John Wiswell said...

You could certainly send them on multiple adventures on future #fridayflashes. Loved the opening with "They only wish."

shannon said...

I love this mermaid character! Concieted yet insecure...would never even think to make a mermaid with these traits. Welcome to #fridayflash! Look forward to reading more :-)

Laura Eno said...

This was fun! Welcome to #fridayflash!

Gracie said...

Welcome to Friday Flash! This story is delightful. You just don't expect a mermaid to be so vain. :)

Nicely done, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

Lena S. said...

Thanks for the kind words, everyone! I'm sorry to have ruined many people's perceptions of mermaids. If it's any consulation, Thalassa is one of a kind (for the most part).

I do hope to write more about Miriam and Thalassa in the future, so please stay tuned!