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The Mermaid Who Needed CPR: The Legend of Agapetos and Adonia

A hopeless romantic falls in love with an acerbic-tongued aquatically-challenged mermaid.

I fell in love with her the first time I saw her. I found out later that often happens when men meet mermaids. I still smile and feel warm and giddy inside when I remember the very first words that she said to me on that deserted beach.

“Get the hell off of me, you pervert! What do you think you’re doing?”

I removed my hands from her rib cage. “CPR,” I said. “You were unconscious, not breathing! I was doing chest compressions and giving you mouth-to-mouth.”

“And that required using your tongue?” she asked.

“I didn’t do anything with my tongue!” I responded. “And I am not a pervert! Usually.”

“Wait a sec,” she said. She coughed, reached into her mouth, and pulled out a little sea slug. It looked like a little slimy snail without a shell.

“So that’s what was in my throat!” she observed. “Darn, I hate when that happens! It’s easy to swallow those little guys. Sorry. My bad.” She was talking to the sea slug. She put it on the sand and watched it wriggle away. “Isn’t he cute?” she asked.

Suddenly she broke down completely and began to cry. “Oh god,” she whimpered, “I am so pathetic! This is the second time I almost drowned this week! How can a mermaid almost drown? What is wrong with me? I can’t do anything right. Somebody, filet me! Put me out of my misery. Please!”

I rejoiced that she had apparently recovered so quickly. And even wrapped in emotional turmoil she was incredibly beautiful. Long black hair, blue eyes, thick red lips, full breasts, and a golden tail. I tried to console her.

“Aren’t you being a little hard on yourself?” I asked. “Don’t mermaids ever have accidents?”

“Sure, in mermaid nursing homes!” she responded. “There was no accident! I was just swimming along and suddenly took in water. Think about it! I’m a friggin’ mermaid and I was enjoying a swim and for no reason I took in water and choked! There has to be something wrong with me! Or maybe I just shouldn’t have been texting.”

I was totally smitten. I could not restrain myself. “You are so beautiful,” I sighed.

“Give me a break!” she said “Human men are unbelievable! I practically died, and you’re getting horny? And now you’re hitting on me! If I green-lighted you and said ‘go for it!’ right now, you wouldn’t even know where to put it! You don’t even know if it can be put!”

She was right. I felt really foolish.

“I’m sorry,” she suddenly said. “You just saved my life and I’m berating you. Please forgive me?” She batted her lovely eyelashes and smiled.

“Of course,” I responded.

“Come a little closer,” she beckoned.

I came closer.

“Sit next to me. Lean down. Put your head close to mine,” she said. I did as asked.

“Close your eyes,” she directed. I closed them.

WHAP! I felt a hard slap on the back of my head!

“What was that?” I asked. “It hurt!”

“Tail slap,” she responded. “It’s supposed to hurt a little. In the mermaid-merman world, that’s a very affectionate thing to do!”

“I’m not a merman!” I observed. But even as I protested my treatment, I could not stop staring into those gorgeous eyes. I fell into those eyes. I was consumed by those eyes. I was afloat in those eyes. She apparently saw my look of wistful, loving passion and responded to it.

“O.K, you’re right,” she said. “Let’s try something else. Something more appropriate for a human man. Just lean over and put your lips near mine.” My heart was pounding. I couldn’t believe it was happening. I leaned over her face until our lips were almost touching.

SPLOOSH! She spit out a stream of water and drenched my face. “Mermaids always hold a little water back,” she said. “Emergency reserve.”

“What was that about?” I asked. “Why did you do that to me?”

“That is what we mermaids call ‘the cool-off technique,’” she replied. “And you needed cooling off, fella! That technique, by the way, even works on horny giant squids! Just one of those guys groping you makes you think the whole damn bar is after you!”

“You must think so badly of me,” I said as water still dripped down my face.

“Not really,” she said. “There’s something weird that goes on between human men and mermaids. Some bizarre love attraction thing. You’re just the quintessential example of how stupid a horny man can be. You were so far gone you would have done anything that I had asked! I could have told you to drop your pants, stand on one foot, twirl, and quack like a duck and you would have done it!”

“I would never have twirled!” I retorted. “I have my dignity.”

Suddenly she broke down and started crying again. “What am I doing?” she sobbed. “I’m belittling a man who just saved my life. What is wrong with me? Please, Hon, lean your head back down near mine?” she asked. “I’ll make it up to you.”

“No,” I responded. “You’re not tricking me again.”

“Pwetty pwease with cherries on top?” she said. She batted her eyelashes and smiled at me again.

“No,” I said. “I’m not doing it.”

“Good!” she said. “You passed the test! We’ve made headway! You’re finally thinking with the right head. Now we can have a serious conversation.”

She took a long breath and looked at me. “Thank you for saving me, Hon. I am forever in your debt. May I ask, what’s your name?”

“Tom,” I said. I loved that she had called me Hon. “What’s yours?”

“My mermaid name is Schniggylibroxopopali,” she said, “but you can call me Ali.”

“Can I call you Schniggy?” I asked. “That would be so cute!”

“No!” she said. “That would be so stupid! That would be like calling Rudolpho ‘Ru,’ or Amelia ‘Am.’ Just call me Ali.”

“Well, Ali,” I asked, “what do you want to talk about?”

“Well,” she said, “look at me. What is wrong with this picture?” She leaned back in the sand and smiled.

“Nothing!” I said. “You look beautiful.”

“Here we go again!” she said. “Control yourself. Take a few steps back, num nutz, and tell me what you see.”

I stepped back about ten feet. “A beautiful mermaid in the sand,” I said.

“And what else do you see? Look around.”

“Well, there’s the water about fifty yards east behind you,” I said.

“And where should a mermaid be?” Ali asked.

“In the water?”

“Very good, Tom!” She wiggled her tail. “So again, what is wrong with this picture?”

“You are nowhere near the water,” I replied.

“Bingo!” Ali said. “See, you’re not just a dumb horny hunk! You are going places, Kiddo! Like to the water…with me in your arms! I must have been stranded here during high tide. You’ve got to get me back in the water.”

“I would do anything for you!” I said. “I can’t help it. I have fallen in love with you.”

“Great,” Ali said. “then get your loving fat ass back over here, pick me up, and get me to the water.”

I picked up Ali and started walking to the beach. Having her in my arms was so wonderful!

“Can I ask you something, Ali?” I said.

“As long as you can talk, walk, and carry at the same time,” she replied. “But maybe you should spit out the gum.”

“Ali, is it possible for a human male and a mermaid to make love?”

“No,” Ali said. “Not possible. The anatomy just isn’t there. If you’ll forgive the metaphors, without the bolt and the nut there ain’t no attaching! Without the tenon and the mortise there ain’t no joint! Without the ball and the hole there ain’t no putting! Get my drift?”

“Yes,” I said. My shoulders drooped and my disappointment was obvious

“Now, Tom,” Ali said, “can I ask you something?”

“Anything,” I said.

“Did you get turned on by goldfish when you were a little kid?” Ali asked.

“That’s not the same thing, Ali,” I responded. “How can you compare yourself to a goldfish?”

“Because from the waist down I am a goldfish!” Ali retorted. “Keep it in your pants, for heavens sake! I don’t want to have to spray you again.”

We continued walking to the beach. “Ali,” I said, “may I ask you something else?”

Ali rolled her eyes. “If you must,” she said.

“Well, could I become a merman and go with you?”

Ali was obviously touched. She cupped my face in her hands as we walked. “That,” Ali said, “is about the sweetest thing that anyone has ever said to me.”

I smiled.

“And one of the dumbest things!” Ali continued. “Do you think I can wave a magic wand and voila! You’re a merman? Are you two years old?”

“No,” I said. “I just thought, I was just hoping, that maybe there was a way.”

“Hey,” Ali said, “see those rocks over there near the water?”

“Yes,” I replied.

“Take me over there. Then put me down gently. We can sit and talk.”

I helped Ali take a seat on one of the rocks. I sat next to her. Her tail was in the water and she leaned back on her hands.

“Well,” Ali said, “I owe you. I can’t deny it. You saved me.”

“Well,” I asked, “is there any way I could go with you?”

“If the old legend were true, there would be way,” Ali sighed.

“If the old legend were true, there would be a way?” I responded.

“The legend of Agapetos and Adonia,” Ali said.

“The legend of Agapetos and Adonia?” I queried.

“Are you going to be my echo now?” Ali responded. “I would really find that annoying!”

“Annoying?” I asked. Ali glared at me.

“Ooops, sorry,” I said. “Please, Ali, tell me the legend.”

“It was thousands of years ago,” Ali said. “Agapetos was a young Greek shepherd, and he came across the mermaid Adonia lying on the beach much as you did with me today.”

“What was a shepherd doing on the beach?” I asked. “I mean, that would mean his flock was on the beach, and the beach would be filthy! Unless he deserted the flock. But that would make him an irresponsible jerk!”

“You know,” Ali said, “let me think. You may be right. Maybe he wasn’t a shepherd. Was he an insurance guy? No….that was the legend of ‘State Farm.’” Ali thought a while.

“O.K.,” Ali said. “I remember. So he wasn’t a shepherd. Now that I think of it, he was a fisherman. The shepherd thing is from another legend, O.K.? I was almost dead a few minutes ago, I got confused. Cut me some slack!”

“Sorry,” I said. “So what happened?”

“So Agapetos,” Ali continued, “whose friends called him ‘Pete,’ by the way, came across Adonia.”

“What did Adonia’s friends call her?” I asked.

“Actually, mostly a ‘slut whore,’ Ali explained. “She was a wild one! But that’s not germane.”

“Is this Ancient Greece or Germany?” I asked.

“What is wrong with you?” Ali said. “Do you want to hear the story or not?”

“Sorry,” I said.

“So anyway,” Ali continued, “Pete found Adonia, lying on the beach unconscious and bleeding. And he tended to her wounds, and then took her and hid her in a thicket where she would be safe and he could care for her as the weeks went by until she healed. And they fell in love.”

“A beach thicket?” I asked. “Aren’t thickets usually in forests?”

“O.K! So maybe it was actually a little cave in a grotto!” Ali said. “You are so damn anal! What’s important is the thrust of the story, not the stupid background details. Don’t you agree?”

“Yes,” I said, “but since I may wind up gambling my life on this story it would be nice if it seemed credible!”

“You’re trying to hump a mermaid and you’re worried about credibility?” Ali asked.

“Ali,” I said, “why don’t you just cut to the chase? Bottom line…..was there a way, did they try it, and did it work?”

“Well,” Ali said, “yes, yes, and yes! Ancient lore proclaimed that if the love between a mermaid and a man was strong and pure enough, it would prevail. That they should go to the ocean, embrace, and jump in. A transformation would occur, and they would spend the rest of their lives together. And everything happened exactly as predicted!”

“That’s fantastic!” I said.

“Well, kind of,” Ali said. “The good news is their love was strong and pure, they embraced, jumped into the water, and the transformation occurred! They did indeed spend the rest of their lives together.”

“So what could be bad?” I asked.

“Well,” Ali explained, “it was Adonia that transformed, not Pete. She became human and no longer knew how to swim! Pete, or Agapetos if you prefer, hadn’t had lifeguard training or anything, so he and Adonia both drowned trying to reach shore. They did spend the rest of their lives together, but that was only about twenty minutes and there was a lot of coughing.”

My shoulders slumped again. Ali tried to console me.

“Look,” Ali said, “if we give it a go, there are three possibilities. Case one. We jump into the water, I transform into a human and you stay human.”

“Then we’re dead,” I said. “I’m not a rescue swimmer, and you can’t swim as a human. You even seem to have troubles as a mermaid!”

Ali glared at me again.

“Case two,” Ali continued, “you transform into a merman and I stay a mermaid.”

“That would be ideal!” I observed. “We could swim away and be together forever.”

“Case three,” Ali said, “is that we both transform. I become human, you become a merman.”

“So then we’re kind of back where we started,” I said forlornly.

“Worse!” Ali said. “I haven’t even got a social security card, and you don’t even know how to play with yourself! Well, wanna try anyway? I owe you the opportunity. I’ll give it a shot.”

“No,” I said despondently. “The odds just aren’t very good for either of us.”

Ali nodded in agreement. “I don’t think it’s meant to be, Hon,” she said. “I think it’s time for us to part. Kiss me good-bye?”

I leaned over and we kissed. It was the most wonderful, beautiful kiss of my whole life. It was soft and warm and tender and truly loving. Then our lips parted, Ali caressed my cheek, slipped into the water, and waved good-bye. I watched her start to swim away.

I got up and started making my way over the rocks back to the beach when I heard a scream. “God damn it! I did it again!” Then there was coughing. “Please help me!”

I turned and saw Ali struggling. She was drowning again! I went to the end of the rocks and dove in. Somehow I managed to swim to her, and together we struggled but managed to make it back to the rocks! I helped her get out of the water. She was bleeding a little from scraping her arm.

“Damn it!” Ali said. “I took in water again! Boy, am I screwed up! It’s gonna take time to figure this out.”

I held her in my arms. “Oh, Ali,” I asked, “where do we go now?”

“Well Disneyland ain’t in the picture,” she quipped. “Can you pick me up and carry me again?” Ali asked.

“Of course!” I replied. I scooped her up and held her in my arms. She put her hand around my back and grabbed my shoulder. “What now?” I asked.

“Well, Hon,” Ali replied, “two things. First, it looks like you get the piece of tail that you’re so hot for!”

I smiled. “And second?” I asked.

“We gotta find us a thicket!”

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © © Lee Goldberg 2011, 2012, 2013. All Rights Reserved. Contact info: leegpoetry@gmail.com

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