Michael A. Kechula
“There’s something I’ve wanted to tell you for quite some time,” Shakira said as she sat across from Harry, sipping coffee.
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Well, promise you won’t laugh.”
“I promise. Unless it’s something really funny, then my promise is nullified.”
“It’s not funny in the slightest,” she said.
“Well, are you gonna tell me or what?” Harry asked.
“OK…it’s like this. Do you remember me telling you that I was born on a Pacific Island?”
“Right. You’ve mentioned that from time to time. And you’ve told me several times your mom and dad were sole survivors of a shipwreck—while your mom was preggers with you. And the stress of the incident caused her to go into labor weeks before she should have.”
“Well, Harry, that was all a lie. I came from the Pacific, but not from an island. The truth is…I’m a mermaid.”
“Yeah, and I’m Superman,” he said chuckling. “You are one of the funniest women I’ve ever met, Shakira. Always joking. That’s what I like most about you.”
“I’m not joking. It’s true. I wanted you to be the first to know.”
“It’s true, eh? So, where’s your tail? Don’t all mermaids have tails?”
“Yes, they do. Mine is just starting to develop. It takes about three hundred years for a mermaid’s tale to develop properly. I’m only a hundred and five. So, all I have is a stub. In a hundred and ninety-five years, my tail will be fully developed. Too bad you won’t be around to see it.”
“What an imagination! Mermaid. Heh-heh.”
“Cross my heart and swear to God, it’s true,” she said.
“Yeah, sure.” Suddenly, Harry shouted to all the customers, “Hey, everybody, see this woman sitting across from me? She’s a mermaid. Ain’t that a scream?”
“Where’s your tail, Honey,” an old guy called out, then guffawed.
A pony-tailed guy yelled, “Hey, Ariel. Can I have your autograph?”
Shakira turned red. “Harry, what the hell are you doing? Why did you betray me like this and tell everybody my secret?”
“C’mon, Shakira. Enough is enough. Want another donut?”
“No. In fact, I’m leaving. I never want to see you again, you bastard!”
“Geez,” Harry said. “Take it easy. What’s your problem? PMS?”
“Dammit, Harry! I don’t get periods. I’m a mermaid, for crying out loud. Why the hell didn’t you believe me when I told you? Why did you have to yell it out to everybody? I wanted to keep it a secret, especially since I got that slot as a TV Weather Woman on station KZIX. What if they find out? They’ll fire me before my first broadcast.”
That said, she stormed out.
Several customers yelled, “Bye, Mermaid.”
Harry was stunned. He’d never seen her act like this before. While he pondered the incident, a woman slid into the chair Shakira had vacated.
“Do you mind if I sit?” she asked.
Harry couldn’t believe his eyes. The most stunning blonde he’d ever seen was sitting across from him.
“Not at all,” he replied.
“I heard what she said. Perhaps it’s true. Several women have come out of the closet and told the truth about what they really are.”
“I suppose they said they were mermaids.”
“Right. Lots of people scoffed. It’s a perfectly normal reaction. But the woman were examined at the university hospital. Turns out they really were mermaids.”
“Aw, c’mon. I never head anything about that. If such a thing happened, CNN and Fox News would have blasted us with that, around the clock.”
“But it’s true,” the blonde said. “The world’s not ready for the announcement yet. But it will come.”
“So, how do you know all this?” Harry asked.
“Because I’m a mermaid too.”
Harry had enough. He left without saying another word.
On the way to his car, he noticed a meter maid writing him a ticket. “Hey, Officer. Gimme a break. I was on my way to put another quarter in the meter.”
“Yeah, that’s what they all say,” she said, handing him a ticket.
Harry crumpled the ticket, threw it on the ground, and stepped on it.
Before he knew what happened, he was flat on the ground.
“Wise, guy, eh?” the maid yelled. “Now you’re going to jail.”
Harry couldn’t believe when she cuffed him, picked him up and threw him over her shoulder.
As she carried him toward the nearest police station, he said, “Officer, I’m 260 pounds. How the hell did you pick me up with one arm and throw me over your shoulder?”
“For me to know and for you to find out,” she said.
“Do you by any chance come from a Pacific Island?” Harry asked.
“Yeah, how did you know?”
“And do you tell everybody your mom and dad were the only survivors of a shipwreck while your mom was pregnant with you?”
“You’re a mind reader,” she said.
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BIO: Michael A. Kechula is a retired tech writer. His stories have been published by 128 magazines and 35 anthologies in 6 countries. He’s won first place in 10 contests and placed in 7 others. He’s authored three books of flash fiction, micro-fiction, and short stories: A Full Deck of Zombies--61 Speculative Fiction Tales, The Area 51 Option and 70 More Speculative Fiction Tales, and I Never Kissed Judy Garland and Other Tales of Romance. eBook versions available at www.BooksForABuck.com and www.fictionwise.com Paperbacks available at www.amazon.com.
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