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iExploreAmerica

an unorthodox journey

 

Is this story true, children, you can decide for yourself...

â CHAPTER 1

Icky, the miniature mermaid of freshwater origin.

One fine spring day, Auntie Jackie went jogging near a stream in the forest. It had rained and rained for days before this particular day. The ground was soggy and the stream was running fast.  A large glass jar had become snagged in the twigs of a tree branch lying in the water. A movement in the water in the jar caught her attention. She stopped and looked more closely. What she saw in that half full jar made her sit right down on the muddy bank.

 

Inside the jar, golden and small, was the most surprising creature she had ever seen.  She picked up the jar very carefully and stared, her eyebrows raised up like McDonald's arches. The little creature stared right back.

By now you must be burning to know what was in the jar and I shall tell you.  It was a miniature mermaid. Her tail was golden and shimmered like that of a goldfish. From the waist up she was all girl, only miniature. She had long dark curls like a small-scale gypsy. The little mermaid reached up to the top of the jar, rested on her elbows and spoke.

"Hello", she said in a loud voice, considering she was so small.

"Good morning", replied Auntie Jackie, her eyebrows still frozen in their McDonald arches. She had learned in her travels around the world that when you find yourself in a peculiar situation, it's best to simply be polite.

"I am so tired of being dirty" said the miniature mermaid, "would you please get me into some clean water?". 

 

Carefully, Auntie Jackie carried the jar back to her apartment and filled the jar with special, spring water - because everyone knows that the water that comes out of the tap tastes dreadful.

"Ah!" exclaimed the miniature mermaid, "that feels much better."

Auntie Jackie set the jar in the middle of the dining room table. 

"You speak English", stammered Auntie Jackie, "you, you…speak."

"So do you", shot back the miniature mermaid, cheekily.  

 

The miniature mermaid, swishing her golden tail in the water, plucked a piece of grass from her hair.

"My name is so long that even I can't really pronounce it so you should call me Icky", she announced matter-of-factly.

"You can call me Auntie Jackie," said Auntie Jackie, extending a finger. Icky shook her fingertip with her little hand.

With that, Icky slid back into the water, curled up on the bottom of the jar and fell fast asleep.

 

Auntie Jackie went to the tropical fish store.  The bored young clerk/ associate/ salesman (the name seems to change, but the job does not) ambled over.

"Need help, ma'am?", he asked, looking as if he sincerely hoped the answer would be no.

"Indeed I do, young man", said Auntie Jackie. "What kind of container would be required for a…a….mer...kind of goldfish?"

He sighed, his thoughts obvious, 'another old lady with nothing but a goldfish to keep her company.

Auntie Jackie left the store with a big fish tank and lots of bags of things. 

 

Icky was still asleep when Auntie Jackie returned

Very quietly, she assembled the giant new tank and arranged all the aquarium 'doodads' inside. Icky woke up and stretched her little arms above her head and wiggled her tail. She opened her eyes and then opened them wider still as she the new fish tank.  She smiled the biggest smile a miniature mermaid could smile and Auntie Jackie made a promise to herself that she would never ever flush her down the toilet, even if this all turned out to be in her imagination. Icky swam to the top of the jar and Auntie Jackie gently tipped her into the new tank.

Icky swam and kind of fluffed around in the new tank, arranging the plants and ornaments. Icky discovered the waterspout where the air and water pumped into the tank. She sat under the bubbling stream. Auntie Jackie stared, transfixed. Darting to the surface, Icky said, "Do you mind, I'm having a Jacuzzi. It's a Norwegian thing".

Later, perched on the top of the large amethyst rock, brushing her hair with a tiny Barbie doll brush, she said, "I know what you're thinking, you know. You're thinking that I'm lucky you found me when you did otherwise the water in the jar would have become stagnant or the sun would have fried me through the glass." She put her little hand on her hip and continued coyly," How do you know I didn't simply decide to let you find me?"

"Well I never!" was all Auntie Jackie could say.

"It's a fish thing", said Icky.

 

Later that evening, Auntie Jackie asked Icky, "If you don't mind me asking, where do you come from? Do you have any family? Are there anymore like you? How old are you?"

"That's a lot of questions," replied Icky, disentangling her lovely long curls with her fingers. "There are others just like me. In fact, I met one just yesterday. He was particularly rude. He came from Tennessee and used bad language so I swam away from him as fast as I could." She nibbled on a fish food flake. "I come from Canada".

"You came all the way from Canada!" exclaimed Auntie Jackie, "that is a long way to swim".

"Yes, I know", replied Icky, "I didn't realize how far it would be. I came for the singing festival."

"Singing festival…?" floundered Auntie Jackie.

"You really don't know much of anything, do you", said Icky, rather annoyed.

"Obviously not", replied Auntie Jackie.

"Every seven years in the Cumberland River. It's tradition."

"You sing too?" questioned Auntie Jackie.

"I speak, I sing, I eat, I sleep, I read" retorted Icky, "I am quite normal".

"I think I'll make a cup of tea", said Auntie Jackie who, when at a loss for words, usually made herself a nice, hot cup of Earl Grey Tea. Clears the mind, she would say.

 

"I think I'll do some research on the Internet", announced Auntie Jackie, sipping on a cup of steaming tea. Hours went by as Auntie Jackie searched the Cyber seas for information about Icky's kind. Icky stared in fascination and wiggled with delight at the endless world of virtual reality. There was information on Mermaids, both myth and historical fact. There were stories of the Sirens, singing mermaids who would supposedly lure toothless and tattooed sailors to their death on the treacherous rocks.

"Humphff!", huffed Icky.

"I wouldn't pay any mind to that, Icky, I don't think that applies to you. Besides, I doubt whether you'll be luring a sailor to his death", smiled Auntie Jackie " not unless he was very, very small".

There were stories about spacemen and hairless aliens. Icky laughed, "Humans will believe anything!"

A long search on the cyber seas turned up no information about miniature mermaids of freshwater origin. Nothing. Naught. Zero. Less than one.

"The nerve of it!" cried Icky, "they're trying to say I don't exist."

"That's not true," said Auntie Jackie carefully, peering over her reading glasses, "You are just so rare and so special that your existence is unknown."

She clicked on another link titled: 'Icchytheological Delusions of the New Millennium'.

A psychiatric report described a patient that had to be locked up in an asylum because he kept looking for his goldfish and refused to be consoled when his cousin had allegedly used it for bait.  Icky and Auntie Jackie looked at each other and nodded in understanding. The poor man hadn't been nuts after all.

 

"Well!" announced Auntie Jackie, "it appears as though I have my work cut out for me. I'll have to educate people about you", gently tapping Icky on her head, "and you, Missy-two-fins, will have to sing at the festival and show them exactly what a miniature, Canadian mermaid can do."

With that they called it a day. Icky went to sleep in her new submersible miniature hammock and Auntie Jackie went to her waterbed. Each dreamed according to scale.

 

The end of chapter 1.

 

© iExploreAmerica XXXIVCCII

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep on your journey, Friend. Dreams change. Find joy in something.