Your Narrator and the Mermaid
by Darby Larson
The mermaid sitting in my tree was drenched.(1)
I didn't ask her where she had been,(2) why she was here,(3) why she was dripping,(4) sitting in my tree,(5) looking curiously at me.(6)
I climbed the tree(7) and sat next to her. We looked at things(8) together from the branch where we were sitting.
And it wasn't long until the gravity of Earth reversed.(9) And the mermaid and me and my tree and my house fell into the air.(10)
I had hung on to my tree which was floating on the sea, the sea that flowed high above the surface of the world like a river, like a ring.
I sat on my branch looking curiously down at the water, at the mermaid, at a hundred mermaids.(11)
(1) (a)Your narrator had just woken from an intoxicated nap and had incidentally slept through the hurricane that had plowed through his city. His house had been spared. The mermaid had been sucked into the hurricane as it moved across the ocean. She fell into his tree when the hurricane passed over. (b)When a mermaid finds herself out of water, glands all over her body secrete a very thin, watery-like mucus that keep her scales from drying out. (c)She wasn't so much sitting as lounging awkwardly against branches that held her.
(2) She had spent her life, until now, swimming back and forth between the Arctic and Antarctic poles where feeding and mating occur respectively.
(3) [see (1) (a)]
(4) [see (1) (b)]
(5) [see (1) (c)]
(6) Your narrator was the first human being she had ever seen. She was looking curiously at his legs more than his face.
(7) The tree was a rare kind of tree with glowing white bark, white leaves and white roots.
(8) A black tricycle wedged into his roof, etc.
(9) No explanation for the reversal of the gravity of Earth exists within the scope of human knowledge.(*)
(10) Also, the oceans of the world, the entire human race and the races of all species fell into the air, high above the surface of the world. Everything that had once sat upon it was now in its orbit.
(11) After the event [see (9)], the entire Mer population was suspended in the river ring that encircled the earth. Having been in migration toward Antarctica at the time of the event, they had come upon your narrator's floating white tree and mistaken it for the South Pole.
(*) The sinking of the Exxon Valdez in 1989 dumped 77,000 tons of oil into the ocean. A humpback whale ingested 40 gallons of the oil, promptly died, then sank to the bottom of the ocean and directly into an abyss along the mid ocean ridge. The whale's descent was stopped by a ledge, but the oil in her belly seeped out of her and into cracks along the bottom of the abyss, eventually finding its way into the very center of the earth. Once there, the walls began to rot and recede, the void in the center of the earth grew larger and larger, diminishing the overall mass of the earth, thereby slowly reducing the acceleration of gravity toward it. Over time, the volume within the empty center of the earth has increased exponentially. The pulling force from a recent slew of hurricanes finally forced the void to grow to a size disallowing the earth to sustain anything on its surface.
About the author:
Darby Larson has had fiction published on the web at Monkeybicycle, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Pequin and elsewhere. He has had fiction published in print at Opium Magazine, Greatest Uncommon Denominator, .ISM Quarterly and elsewhere. He lives in Northern California with his wife, Sarah.