Lionel Fortescue was taken aback one day when he found a mermaid in his bath.
"How the devil did that get there?" he thundered. "And she's borrowed my rubber ducky! The impertinence!"
The mermaid was pleasantly well-formed to the point of being Rubenesque and she had a sweet smile. She looked at him with round eyes. The water glistened on the orbs of her breasts, and her tail swished gently at the tap end near the plug-hole. However she said nothing.*
[* Footnote from Prof. Neville Twistytrouser: Close reading of later chapters suggests the possibility, indeed likelihood that, although the mermaid is of Cornish ancestry, she may have some African blood. I feel I should mention this now in case someone makes a film out of it and overlooks this at the casting stage, an oversight that would sooner or later be spotted by attentive readers.]
"Give me back my ducky at once!" Lionel said commandingly, but the mermaid merely looked at him demurely. He made a grab for the ducky, but she would not let it go, and he found her grip to be unbreakable. In pulling harder on the ducky he was necessarily drawn towards the bath and found his face closer to the breasts than decorum would allow.
Lionel's face was full of steam, whether from the moisture rising from the bath or from an exhalation from his own pores he could not tell.
"If you do not give me back my ducky I shall have to call the police!" Lionel tried to control the passion in his voice.
The mermaid said nothing, the soap suds caressing her breasts as they rose and fell slightly with each breath.
Lionel went into his study and lifted the handset on his telephone.
"Police please. Yes it is rather. My rubber ducky's been taken. Yes well it has sentimental value. Yes I did see the thief, she's still here, in my bath. Well of course the rubber ducky is still in the house, the thief is in my bath as I just told you. Long hair, well-built, totally naked and with a fishy tail. Why not? Signs of breaking and entering? Well no, not as such. Why isn't it your department? Well whose is it then I'd like to know?"
Lionel stormed back towards the bathroom, then hesitated at the door, and knocked. There was no reply, only the gentle splashing of water in the bath. He paused, uncertain of what to do, then took a deep breath and strode in.
The mermaid was now sitting forward washing her hair. Lionel noticed one or two tiny crabs being washed out, wriggling in the stream of dilute shampoo flowing through her long wavy locks, together with a few strands of seaweed. There was a small sea anemone stuck to the side of the bath near the tap end. His bath was beginning to resemble a rock pool.
Little cascades dropped from the ends of her tresses and wound down her back in ever-changing sinusoidal courses.
Pulling himself together, Lionel exclaimed, "This won't do at all! This is my bath you know." The mermaid ignored this remark as if it were irrelevant to the task at hand, which was the restoration of her hair to its proper glory.
Lionel noticed that with her hands occupied with her hair, her raised arm revealed an incurved armpit like a gentle harbour in some sleepy Cornish village. He thought of fishing boats and ice-cream.
At this point the rubber ducky was floating on the far side of the bath next to her silvery thigh. He noticed that her thighs were covered with thousands of tiny scales like mother of pearl. He paused, vaguely enchanted by the way each scale glistened with a point of light. Then, breaking though his sense of wonder, he made a lunge for the duck.
The mermaid was too quick for him. Lionel missed the duck, his hand plunged into the bath meeting no resistance and he fell. He found his face under water. His nose was pressed against the shallow groove where the mermaid's big fishy tail was not quite separated into two thighs at the top. The mermaid did nothing.
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A mermaid in the bathHumor
A mermaid, the transformation of a boring accountant, an atomic submarine and a lot of jokes. Now available as a paperback, with mermaid illustrations. See the last section for a special offer! www.miltonmarmalade.uk The first several updated chap...