We thought Old Palfrey had finally lost it. Came into the bar that night calling for drink and raving about having seen a mermaid. I asked him how much he’d already had. “Half a bottle of rum,” he said. “Needed it to steady my nerves. Wouldn’t you, if a mermaid came up caught in one of your lines?”
The older guys, seasoned hands, just chuckled and shook their heads. The younger ones shrugged their shoulders. “Whatever you caught, just send it to the canning factory with the rest of the catch. No one’ll know the difference.”
But he wouldn’t have it. Half woman, half fish. Nice face. Tits on it. Long blonde hair. And the clincher was this: “She’s still in the hold. I tied her hands to a stanchion there.”
“You mean you haven’t offloaded your catch?” No one keeps their catch after they’ve docked, the factory wants it fresh. “Well, in that case,” I said, “there’s one way to settle it. Let’s go see what it was you did catch.”
So we went back down to the docks. Old Palfrey, me, Jack, Jules, Ty and Brad. With torches. Made him open up the hatch.
And right there, hands tied, was a mermaid. Resting on a pile of lobster pots.
She looked at us with venom in her eyes. Slapped away questing hands with her tail. But she was weak, and we got a rope around her just above the tailfin.
“See?” Old Palfrey said triumphantly. “Told you I got myself one. Came right up with the pots, unconscious. Like she was exhausted and fouled herself on a line.”
“You gonna call the coastguard?” I asked. “This is going to make the news.”
“What’cha do with a mermaid?” Jack asked. It was a rhetorical question. “Cos I don’t see a cunt. Gotta be in the mouth, then.”
And while the rest of us were standing around he’d got his cock out, grabbed her by the hair to pull her face up and started pumping between her lips. She made gkk-gkk sounds. Her eyes were big, round, startled. She might feel venom but wasn’t exactly in a position to express it.
“If you don’t want her,” Brad said slyly, “I’ll buy her off you. She can live in my bath and soap me down when I get in with her.” Yeah. Like he ever bothered to even take a bath.
Jules fucked her, then Ty.
By the end of it her face was a slimy mess. She didn’t even seem conscious.
“You should have her, too,” Jack told me.
“Nope. You don’t just fuck a strange new species. That’s asking for trouble. And you don’t, like, fuck the other stuff that comes up in your catch, do you?”
Brad just grinned. He’s a slimy bastard but I’d never have expected that of him. That’s so perverted it’s surreal.
“Listen, you don’t know anything about her. Germs, parasites, weird stuff. And you’re lucky her tongue doesn’t have fucking spikes on it.”
Then a little voice from the darkness. “Motherfuckers.”
“Hey,” I called out. “Did you just speak English?”
Her breath came in irregular gulps. “Of course I… speak fucking English. Stop me… Drying out. Water.”
Old Palfrey sloshed a bucket of slop from the bilges over her. It seemed to help. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
“What are you?” I asked.
“You don’t want to know.” Quiet voice. Dreamy. “But if you want to stay and keep me company…?”
Old Palfrey, too old and alcohol-soaked to contemplate a mermaid blowjob, had already fallen asleep. Jack, Jules, Ty and Brad were too young and alcohol-soaked to even think it was a strange idea. Or be put off by the bilge slops. For all I know Brad actually found it a turn-on. And I was too sober to know what the hell I thought. Or felt.
So I left them to it.
Around seven the next morning I went back to the docks to see what the score was. The dock gates were blocked, though, by a couple of black SUVs. No insignia on them. And there were plenty of guys in suits I didn’t recognize, plus a few marines in uniform. And armed.
Lunchtime, the talk in the bar was about how Old Palfrey’s boat had been seized. No one know who by, or where it had been taken. Neither Old Palfrey nor the other guys were anywhere. I’d left them on the boat, screwing the mermaid. Far as anyone knew, they were still there when the SUVs pulled up a couple of hours later.
And there was a report on the TV in the corner of the bar. The government were strenuously denying the existence of mermaids. No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. That’s what they said.
We never saw Old Palfrey, or the other guys, again. Not ever.
This story’s inspired by a BBC report, ‘No evidence of mermaids, says US Government‘. Apparently there was TV show on the Discovery Channel about mythical creatures that a lot of people thought was a documentary about real ones. The US government took the unusual step of making the statement that ‘no evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found’.
Related stories: Fulani has a story ‘Andi in Chains’, in the Lucy Felthouse collection ‘Seducing the Myth‘, a selection of retellings of old myths from various cultures. ‘Andi in Chains’ is an urban punk version of the Andromeda myth, one he especially likes since it involves a nude maiden chained to a rock waiting to be eaten by a monster – very damsel-in-distress style…