I Talk with the Mermaid


Are you recording this? I don’t want to record this.

That’s fine.

No recording.

All right. Why?


Why don’t you want to? It’s no problem. I’m just wondering.

Now or later?

I’m sorry?

You’re just wondering. Are you wondering now or later?

What does that mean?

Now or later or later again. Because those times are all different. And I’m only answering now.

That’s interesting.

May I have another cigarette please?

Absolutely. That’s interesting, what you said. Does the future worry you?

Does the future worry me?


I’m repeating the question because it’s so stupid.

I see.

I’m sorry.

Maybe – let's get more concrete.

You identify….

As a mermaid.

As a mermaid! Why?

There are advantages. Everybody knows what the advantages are even if they act like they don’t.

May I play dumb? What are the advantages?

I’ve got two legs, right? Obviously. They open. I can fuck.

This would seem like an advantage of not being a mermaid.

I could fuck you, but if I’m a mermaid, if there’s the idea of me being a mermaid....


You want to fuck me a lot more.

So it’s—practical?

You want to talk to me, offer me cigarettes. He’s offering me cigarettes.

It’s not recording.

When this is done, I get both packs of cigarettes.

It’s not recording. It’s not on. Do you want me…? I could take it to my car if you want me to.


My car’s right over there.

You’re pretty good at what you said. Playing dumb.

I want to get back to—motives. Motivation. This isn’t a situation—correct me if I’m wrong—but this isn’t just a case of somebody IM-ing as ‘Mermaid 19’ because it sounds alluring.

Another cigarette please?

Am I right about that?

Thank you. When I was fourteen something bad happened to me. I was outside. I was swinging on the swing. I was too old for swinging but I felt like swinging. But I got the butterflies and had to stop. You know on sunny days, when a cloud goes over and you only realize because of the shift in the light? It was like that.

What was like that?

Can you write without making that sound?

Sorry. What was like that?

I’d taken everything to be one way but it was different. There was this huge quiet shift.


No one else felt it. Only me. I felt like I was being dreamed. But not well. Like whoever was dreaming me couldn’t dream me back into the picture.

When you say….

These are metaphors.

I get that.

Metaphors are what you use when you’re fucked.

I’m sorry. Do you want to stop for a minute?

It’s okay. I like crying. I’m a mermaid!

We can stop.

The oceans are made up of tears!

Were there—if you don’t mind me asking, were there particular results of the experience you had at fourteen?

Were there results?

Stupid question?

You seem like a nice guy.

I don’t know.

I don’t know either but you seem nice, and I don’t want to say anything else bad about you. So can we be done now? Can you give me those smokes?

Scott Garson has fiction forthcoming in elimae, Avery Anthology, Unsaid Magazine, SIR! and others