How to Properly Distinguish Between a False Mermaid and a Genuine One ~ fiction by Hiya Mukherjee

The false mermaids will try to engage you in a political debate. They’ll ask your views on Jeremy Corbyn and Sashi Tharoor. They’ll demand a staunch opinion on the Amazonian tribes and the disappearing lot of arctic penguins while looking completely innocent and cuddlesome. They’ll never be satisfied with any middle ground. They’ll keep nagging for absolution while batting their rainbow eyelashes like young Lindsay Lohan. They’ll offer you century-old cognacs found inside the rusty arks of the sunken pirate ships. They’ll keep asking you particularly disturbing questions regarding your relationship with your mother. They’ll ask you whether you prefer cotton candies over chocolate mint chip cookies, wagging their fishtails like an overzealous seahorse. Frankly, the easiest way to identify a false mermaid is their overenthusiasm over every small detail of life. “Oooh, a sea cucumber! Oooh, a coconut tree!” they’ll go exclaiming in childish delight. In reality, they’ll just be monitoring each of your reactions to fill up their huge underwater database. The false mermaids are well known for trying to plot a new world order where people who like cognac are preferred over the ones who don’t. Unlike the false ones, genuine mermaids are way more difficult to spot since they prefer solitude. If you are lucky enough, you can chance upon one of them sitting on some desolate boulder with their mangled tresses and stooped down gray fishtail, looking morose for no particular reason. They are often spotted drinking rum from the skull of their ex-lovers when the sun hits the horizon and the albatrosses fly back home. In reality, the genuine mermaids are a delicate and melancholy lot, save the few stray occasions where they’ve been reported to lure and drown some equally melancholy men deep inside their lair to feast on their flesh. Hypothetically, there is no real danger if you approach one. At least not if you’re not particularly sad.

Hiya Mukherjee was born and brought up Kolkata, India. She writes mostly in Bengali, her mother tongue. She has published a chapbook of her Bengali Poems. She co-edits Agony Opera, a bilingual bimonthly blogzine. Her work has appeared in Friday Flash Fiction.

Show Hiya some love via PayPal at hiyamukherjeephysics(at)gmail(dot)com.