Lie and protect the mermaid

Still shivering from exposure, she hurriedly re-wrapped the heavy blankets around her shoulders and plunked down on the bed.  She called out to Dalton on the other side of the sheet, which served as her door.  Her voice dripped with a thick layer of sarcasm, "Oh, come now!  Do you honestly think I would believe such nonsense?  What do you do in your down time, race unicorns?"

"No."

"Everyone knows there are no such things as mermaids.  It's a... child's fable.  Like Peter Pan."

"Er, I am unfamiliar with Peter Pan, but I can assure you that sea humans are very real."

"Pfah," Sara rolled her eyes.  Who hadn't heard of Peter Pan?

Dalton knocked and said, "Your soup is here.  May I come in?"

"I'm decent."

Dalton ducked around the hanging sheet grasping a steaming cup in front of him.  He noticed the return of the blankets around the girl as he placed the cup atop a wobbly bedside table and said, "This'll warm you up."

Sara leaned forward and took the spoon from the cup.  She inhaled deeply of the steaming broth and smiled, "Mmmmm.  That does smell wonderful.  Thank you."

Dalton placed a chair facing away from her and sat in it the wrong way.  He folded his arms over the backrest and settled his stubbly chin on one dense forearm to watch her eat.  "You're welcome," he said, then, "why don't you believe in sea folk?  Mermaids?"

Sara's mouth was full of the near-scalding soup which almost brought tears to her eyes.  She discovered, however, that she was famished, and gladly substituted the pain for sustenance.  After her third spoonful she answered, her mouth filled to capacity, "Cuz they're not real.  Like fire-breathing dragons, it's all phooey."

His face wrinkled as though he had just inhaled landfill fumes.  It was not an attractive face at all.  Sara suddenly felt like a moron.

"Fire-breathing dragons are not real, is that what you say?"

"Of course.  Everybody knows that."

Dalton shook his head gravely, "I'm afraid the people of Ju'ul Garrd would hasten to disagree."

"Why?"

"You don't remember?  The kingdom of Ju'ul Garrd was burned to the ground just last year.  Are you insinuating they burned down their own city and became nomads on a whim?"

Sara looked into the half empty cup of soup before her and tried piecing together Dalton's words.  While she was no Geography whiz, she was pretty sure she had never heard of a country -- sorry, KINGDOM -- called Ju'ul Garrd, "Are you puttin' me on?"

Again Dalton furrowed his brows and he shook his head, "I am unfamiliar with that phrase.  Putting you on where?"

Sara's headache seemed to be tearing a deep chasm inside her skull at that moment, and Dalton's whole "Lost In Translation" shtick made her crave a handful of ibuprofen all the more.  She steadied her breathing and felt her blood pressure recede before continuing, "I have never heard of Ju'ul Garrd.  What country is it in?"

Another blank stare from Dalton.

She sighed and tried again, facetiously this time, "What planet are we on?!"

The blank stare continued, "Planet?"

It was as if their roles had instantly flipped.  Now it was Sara who looked upon Dalton as the nincompoop, "You know, like Earth?"

His face was stone.  Finally he blinked and said, "I am sorry, Sara."

She spread her arms wide to the heavens for help and muttered, "Oh Christ."

Where all pirates idiots, or was she just lucky enough to scrape the bottom of the barrel this time?

The End

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