Friday, September 26, 2008

Ugly Duckling (Fiction) by Michael A. Kechula

by Michael A. Kechula

Twenty minutes after Liz ingested the small blue pill, she was absolutely pleased with her new appearance.

"I always wanted to become a beautiful mermaid," she said, peering into a mirror.

Heading to the Pacific Ocean in her rusted Yugo, she couldn't wait to join the mermaid community.

Unfortunately, they rejected her. "To be a member," they said, "you gotta be born in the ocean. You weren't. Get lost."

Fleeing with filthy curse words ringing in her ears, she spotted the Golden Gate Bridge. Climbing to the top, she decided to hurl herself onto the jagged rocks below.

While she tottered on a girder, passersby spotted her. A crowd quickly gathered.

"Look at that weird thing on top of the bridge," a woman yelled. "What the hell is it?"

"Looks like a damn alien to me!" a guy answered. "Jump you freak!"

The growing crowd chanted the guy's words dozens of times.

Liz was only too happy to accommodate them. As closed her eyes and spread her arms, she heard somebody calling. "Hey, up there. What are you?"

Looking below, she saw ten dolphins. One had a megaphone.

"I'm a mermaid. But I used to be a woman. I took a pill I bought through an ad in the Weekly Tattler. It turned me into a mermaid."

"You're very beautiful," the dolphin said. "Why are you jumping?"

"I can't live with humans looking like this. Listen to the nasty names they're calling me. Even the mermaid community rejected me. Nobody wants me. I'm gonna throw myself on the rocks."

"Don't. It'll hurt. And you'll end up a gooey mess. Go to the other side of the bridge. There ain't any rocks there. When you jump, you'll fall into the water. Then you can join us. We swim, and play all day. We're on our way to Hawaii. Then we're off to Tahiti. Come along. We're gonna have lotsa fun."

"You really want me?"


"You don't care that I'm a mermaid who used to be a woman?"


"OK, I'll join you. Thanks so much for wanting me. You'll never be sorry for taking me in. I'm a good cook. And I know first aid in case your fins ever get cut or something. I'm gonna go to the other side of the bridge, then I'll jump. Gimme a couple minutes to switch sides."

Her new friends swam to the other side and waited.

Soon, Liz was atop the highest girder on the opposite side.

"Before I jump, I want everybody to know I was an ugly duckling my whole life. Nobody ever loved me. I spent everything I had on a pill to become a beautiful mermaid. I thought once I became one, everybody would love me for sure. But that didn't happen. Now I hate everybody. Especially all you bastards down there who urged me to jump onto the rocks. You don't care if I live or die, or if I hit the rocks and turn into a gooey mess. But these wonderful dolphins care. To hell with the world and everybody in it. People stink! Dolphins are genuine!"

She spread her arms and jumped.

Half way down, she saw ten sharks shedding their dolphin costumes.

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