Archived: Ariel…I Think :: Marcus Johnson


The mermaids.  Why are they so gorgeous, yet so unapproachable? I see them every single day walking in through the front door, happy and carefree. I’ve probably talked to each of them at least once, nothing important, just small talk. One time one of them actually told me where they lived once, unfortunately for me her place of domicile was “under a bridge near skyline high school”. I know that mermaids need water to survive, so it seemed plausible but I thought they all lived in Atlantis. The more likely conclusion that I reached was that she didn’t want me to know where she lived. But then why tell me in the first place? I didn’t ask her a single question, least of all where she lives. I was leaving the ocean when she called ME out. What does that mean?

Maybe she is more of a Siren than a Mermaid, singing her songs of lust trying to catch me slipping. Her name is Alybeth, or possibly Amylin, who can even remember names? I can see her from the shore though, through a tiny sliver in the wall that surrounds Atlantis. She is perched on her Atlantean throne using her superior swimming ability to save lives. What a noble venture. And I know that she can see me from her underwater kingdom, handing out coral towels to the droves of people who wish to enter Atlantis and let their children bask in the wide array of technology afforded to them. This “seeing” of each other only lasts for a moment, though- scores of people requesting coral preoccupy my time and saving lives preoccupies hers. But there is always that moment, that little glimpse where I see her looking out the exact same time I am looking in. There is no way that it’s a coincidence- why would she be looking out of the wonderful land that she resides in when the only thing she could see would be me?

I must admit that the best part about working on the shore is the complete lack of natural coral. The only place that it can be obtained is in that magnificent wonderland. I don’t do much working here on the shore. I may sign people up for swimming lessons every now and then but most of my time is spent playing around with the beach balls that we have for rental. But one job that I never miss out on is coral harvesting. If only to catch a glimpse of a mermaid… hopefully Alice is working, or is it Andy? Who can even remember names? If I’m lucky I’ll have a few words with her. Nothing resembling a serious conversation- I usually open up with, “Check out the Chance The Rapper socks! Guess how much they cost?!” as I pull my jean pants up to reveal the melting face of Chance The Rapper plastered across my socks. They always give me this look of confusion as if I’m about to pull a prank on them and they ask “how much?” in a tentative tone. I tell them $40, they look at me in disbelief, and so goes my cycle of stagnancy with those amphibious beauties.

I think I’m getting better at talking to them, I really do. But they’re mermaids! They basically speak a different language! I talk with some of the male guards in Atlantis when I go to get coral and let them know how lucky they are that they get to work with them on a daily basis. And they tell me it isn’t fun! I don’t know what kind of seaweed they’re smoking, but working with mermaids in a watery palace would be awesome. Awesome with the possible exception of Poseidon and Amphitrite, or maybe it’s Luke and Heather, who can ever remember names? Either way they make the whole ocean rough, they love to cause waves and they can because they’re in charge. I guess there are some perks to being a god of the sea.

They don’t bother me to much, though, because I don’t bother them and their group of guards dedicated to life saving. Maybe if I was a little more confident in my approach, I could successfully talk to a guard long enough for someone to drown on accident. I’m not saying I want anyone to die or anything I just want to have a meaningful conversation with a mermaid without my socks being involved. If a conversation is special enough that you can be distracted from someone drowning, it probably means something, right? If only I could have that conversation with Alex, or is it Amy?

Who can even remember names?