Sue Vincent’s #writephoto prompt this week is
Norris Soffit stood on the concrete slipway and studied the sea. He itched all to buggery in his new-to-him wetsuit (its previous owner, a part time dominatrix claimed to be allergic to Croatian latex) and improvised flippers (a cunning combination of plastic ties, flip flops, a couple of wire coat hangers and that staple of all diy ephemera, sticky-backed plastic). This was definitely the spot yet…
Just as doubts began to surface, something else did just that.
Norris held his breath. He hadn’t been lucky in love in his twenty seven years on the planet, his only meaningful relationship (with an asymmetric bull-inseminator from Basildon) having ended in hospital when at a moment of heightened passion he accidentally sat on his amour’s carelessly pre-cocked turkey-baster. The resulting tendency to whimper when walking would, he was assured, fade with time and liberal salt baths but NHS waiting lists meant nature would have to be his healer.
Thus Norris found himself on a deserted beach on mizzly Wednesday in March, waiting for the tide to sooth his mutilated nethers when a voice floated out of the mist.
‘Hello.’ The voice suggested a female seductress even if the setting was more home-knit dog walker. ‘Don’t look, please..’
‘I can’t see you even if I wanted to.’
‘’If you see me then my life will be transformed utterly.’
‘I am a merperson and…’
‘A gender ambivalent fish-human chimera.’
‘Really? Must we? Haven’t we left all that old neo-oceanic sexualised nomenclature behind?’
‘Sorry. Why mustn’t I see you?
‘Geez, don’t you read? Or watch films? If you see me I’ll no longer be able to undertake my aquashift? I’ll become human.’
‘Yes, her. And no I don’t look like her. The hair for starters.’
‘Have you any idea how hard it would be to have flowing tresses like her and spend fifty percent of your life in sea water?’
‘I’ve not focused on my hair. Not really.’
Norris heard a sigh and a scratching noise. ‘Could you look at the horizon please?’
‘I want to look at your hair. You could do something with this, you know. A bit of seaweed oil and a coral scrub. Look, thanks for not looking but I must get on.’
‘Yes sure, my pleasure, erm… do you have a name?’
‘Theonewhosatonarockandsangbadlyyetwithacertianerraticcharm… but most people call me Finn.’
‘On account of your tail?
‘Because I come from Finland. Look, see, we have this rule. If a human is good to us, lets us go, we promise to return in the form he or she most desires at the next high tide and take he or she to the place of his or her dreams. How are you placed for Friday? About nineish? By the old jetty?’
‘Good. Yes, that works.’
‘Right ho. See you.’
Finn began to slip away when Norris called, ‘Do I need to bring anything?’
‘Something to keep you warm.’
And thus Norris stood near the water blinking as a tall human form emerged from the surf. The golden haired maiden of his dreams it was not. Instead he gawped as a large, rather overweight man of about forty, wearing what appeared to be green scrubs and pushing a wheeled bed struggled up the beach towards him. He appeared breathless but smiled.
‘Finn? Is that you?’
‘The same. Why are you wearing a wet suit?’
‘You said to wear something warm.’
‘I said to keep warm. Take it off.’
‘Of course here.’ He turned to the still dripping bed and began to fiddle with a monitor.
‘What are you doing? More to the point why aren’t you my deepest desire?’
Finn appeared to be filling a syringe with a yellow fluid. ‘I’m exactly what you desired when I saw you last.’ He turned and smiled, holding up his hands in which he held two long rubber gloves. ‘Can you give me a hand getting these on?’
‘I don’t understand. I want a golden haired maiden who…’
‘No you don’t. Lie down Norris. I haven’t all day. There’s a chap in Bridlington who’s expecting a freshly oiled vegan upholsterer at eleven thirty so I need get a move on.’
Norris, now naked lay on the bed. ‘Who are you? This isn’t about my hair, is it, because I’m fine with my folicles the way they are.’
‘Silly boy. Now hold still.’
Expert hands flipped Norris over and gently prised his buttocks apart. ‘I’m your dream proctologist and we’ll soon have you right as rain. Now deep breath, I’m coming in…’