Written byShad Z.
At that, Ariel, who had had a very trying day (and it wasn't even midmorning yet), passed out.
"You? You will do nothing. She is mine!" This came from another human, a man who had just walked into the hut. He was a short, stocky man, dressed in jodapars and a beret, carrying a megaphone in one hand and a cigarette holder in the other.
"What do you mean. 'She's yours'?" said the stiff-lipped man.
"Um, she is one of my actresses, and she's obviously hurt. I will have to take her to a hospital." With that, the motion-picture director (for that is what he was) scooped up the unconcsous Ariel. "I'll be back soon to finish filming your fascinating island survival story." And with that, he left the hut, traveling to the lagoon as quickly as his short legs could carry him.
On the way to his yacht, C. B. DePille mused that his luck was just getting better and better. Originally, he thought discovering the lost Minnow castaways would be a great way to promote his new movie Depth Charge. But now, a real live mermaid has literally fallen out of the sky! That'll get butts into the seats in Peoria!
The others caught up to C. B. at the lagoon, just in time to see his boat leave. "Does anybody know what just happened here?", asked the brunette in pigtails.
"I don't have the slightest idea", replied the redhead. "But I think my big comeback has eluded me again."
"Will we ever see him again?", the gawky fellow asked.
No one answered him. The only response was the mocking calls of seabirds, and the dispairful sound of dreams crashing to the ground. A sound the castaways were all too familiar with. 1
Back in Atlantica, Sebastian had almost forgot about the missing Ariel. She always turned up eventually. So the crab had figured his time would be better spent in the concert hall, coaching Triton's other daughters.
All of the princesses could use the practice, because tonight they were going to sing with a special guest. A very BIG talent. And they would not be singing gospel, or reggae, or showtunes, but the hardest musical form of all. Tonight they were to sing . . . opera!
When Ariel awoke, she found herself wrapped up several times in a hammock, suspended over the deck of a small ship. However, this hammock wasn't made of seaweed netting, like the ones under the sea. Instead, it was made of human rope, like the despised fishing nets. Even Ariel, who did not automatically shun human things the way most merefolk do, could not stand to be so close to a fishing net! She began to panic and started to thrash around.
Now you may not know this, dear reader, but the very tips of a young merperson's tail fins are razor-sharp, because that part of the fin is still growing. Merfolk are taught from an early age to always be aware of where their fintips are, and to keep them away from others. Even Ariel, who never got high marks in her deportment classes, learned that lesson well, because she did not want to ever accidently hurt someone.
But now, in her blind panic, all such lessons were forgotten. And that was a good thing. For in all her squirming and writhing, she cut thought the ropes on one end of the hammock with her fintips! She was unceremoniously dumped onto the deck, but she was away from the ropes!
As soon as Ariel realized she was free, she began to gather her wits and take stock of her situation. She only saw one person abovedeck, the same human that was the last person she saw before she passed out. His back was towards her now, but she could recognize him by the strange leg-coverings he wore. "He must be part merman, because he has fins on his hips", she thought. He was grasping the studded wheel that Ariel had noticed all ships have. "Maybe that's how they control the ships!"
The human had not heard her struggle because of a strange humming noise coming from beneath the boat. It was so loud, the deck vibrated. "Perhaps the hold is full of growling dogfish", Ariel thought. "Or purring catfish!"
Ariel quickly came up with a plan. First, she would make her way to the edge of the ship and jump into the water. No one was watching her, and she knew enough about human ships to know this one wasn't traveling very quickly. The sail was not even up! Second, she would get some one to help her free all the poor creatures who must be imprisoned inside the boat. Perhaps she could get Monstro to split the ship open! He still owed her for his monstrous breach of protocol, after all . . .
Ariel slowly crept to the edge of the ship. "So far, so good!", she thought. But then she looked over the side, and saw from the waves that the ship was moving very fast! She didn't know how that was possible, but it was clear there was no way she could jump overboard safely! "Now what do I do?"
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Shad Z. Daly
This page last modified Thu, Mar 9, 2000.
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