I have written segments of a novel before for the FAR community several times—starting here. What follows are the beginning pages of a new novel (not the one I’ve published segments with FAR before—that one is on hold). I’m sharing this story—of the last surviving mermaid and her fight to save the planet– in honor of spring. You may see more pages in the future—but for now– happy spring equinox and blessings on you and our planet as the wheel turns.
The entirety of Blue would not have revolted, and would perhaps actually have been fine, if it had not been for the slaughter of the dolphins. It was because it was so many dolphins. That’s what did it. Why would humans kill dolphins? Dolphins were the closest in intelligence to humans—and yet, here were humans killing them. After that, there was just no reason to forgive Green, Tic-Toc had said. And for the most part Julie agreed.
But that would be in the future– after Julie and Tic-Toc had met. And like all stories we need to start at the beginning. And this story starts where everything started – deep, deep in the deep blue sea, or rather in Blue, the seventy one percent of Earth that is Blue (where most beings live), opposed to the twenty-nine percent that is Green (where Greens, or rather humans, live). Greens, well, basically they sucked. Tic-Toc wouldn’t have put it exactly like that to her Dad but that is what all her friends said, “Green SUCKS. They suck everything out of Blue. It’s called the Blue Planet for a reason.” That was before they wrote up the signs that said, “Down with Green.” And, “Does Blue Need Green? No!”
The deep-sea species—octopuses, sharks, Big Jellies and the Illuminated Ones never talked about Greens or HUMANS one way or another in terms of their survival. Dependent species like turtles who also spent time on land talked about them all the time—how they didn’t care, and how they tortured Blues. Dependent species, had brought back stories of the dolphin slaughter. The first big one—that they were slaughtering dolphins because dolphins ate the tuna that they wanted to catch/kill/put in a can/sell to humans…made Tic-Toc so made she joined an official DWG (DOWN WITH GREEN) group.
Tic-Toc of course had never seen a human– except in the shell prompter where she was told they looked smaller than they were and they were not actually green. She would never forget the image of dolphin families circling the edges of nets where their loved ones were killed –dolphin blood on the surface of Blue. All her friends became part of a DWG group. That was the thing to do at her school. So, when ZigZag, her father, came to tell her she had to RESCUE a Green she thought he was punishing her for something. She thought he meant RESCUE a Green as in join some group that was talking about Green’s good side.
When she found out that he meant rescue a real living Green who she would have to talk to AND go above water to get to, as in GO ONTO Green to do so, she was so stunned her rainbow tail lost all its color and went transparent. She was not going to destroy Green as she fantasized about with her friends at Pipsqueak and then planned later when she had learned to shoal with her school…she was instead going to RESCUE a Green. What she should have been doing as a mermaid Top Level Three was going on land—if she had to go there –and figuring out the best way to destroy them. But her father told her slowly that she, TicToc of the ZigZag Lineage with Sparkles was the last surviving mermaid in the Avalon lineage and for Green to survive she had to convince the last surviving mermaid of all human mermaids (who knew HUMANS had mermaids?) to accept her lineage. And the final shell in the game—the last surviving mermaid lived by the ocean on BLUE adjacent in some place called CAMBRIA, CALIFORNIA—and she was deathly afraid of water! How could someone live on a planet seventy-one percent water and be afraid of it? Tic-Toc looked on in shock as her father ignited the shell prompter and –there illuminated in pale green though a scrim of bubbles was this “Julie”—the human who was supposedly the hope of all Green.
Tic-Toc implored her dad, her tail flashing again in bright rainbow hues, “I don’t think Green sinking would be bad, Dad. I mean, it’s necessary. I mean, I have believed in that my whole shoal life. We believe it is best—for the dolphins. For the turtles. For everyone. We can destroy their land—and the species who are dependent can still survive –air will not be gone. And the land needed to help the other species will rise. Dad! Top level three mermaids do not spend their whole life in school shoaling to be a mermaid who—saves a Green!” ZigZag merely flicked his massive tail at the prompter and the bubbles sparked and moved, dissolving into a picture which Tic-Toc had not clearly seen before—this was the Green, the human—the JULIE.
Julie was yelling, “Mom—I am not going to go to the beach to take swimming lessons. I want to go back to Los Angeles. I hate it here.”
A woman’s voice yelled just as strongly back, “If I hear that one more time, Julie, I swear to God you will go back and live with your father.”
“He doesn’t want me exactly and you know it!”
Silence. Then Julie exploded, “I hatehatehate the water. For one thing, Mom, no one cares about anything down there except the water. They don’t want to talk about poetry or music –“
“Or Los Angeles?” the voice of it-must-be-her-mom suggested, “…and the friends you left behind and the mall you used to hang out at? Do you realize how lucky you are to live here and be able to surf and walk the beach and find shells and look in tide pools…”
“O-M-G. You are telling me about the most boring life –ever! Maybe when I am sixty I will look in tide pools and hang around looking for shells and make jewelry out of super glue and wire from that down and out hard ware store –and sell it for a stupid price to stupid people– Mom I am not a hippie. I am not a beach person—I hate it here and I want to go back to Los Angeles!”
Marie Cartier. Dr. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book Baby, You Are My Religion: Women, Gay Bars, and Theology Before Stonewall(Routledge 2013). She is a senior lecturer in Gender and Women’s Studies and Queer Studies at California State University Northridge, and in Film Studies at Univ. of CA Irvine. She is also a published poet and playwright, accomplished performance artist, scholar, and social change activist. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) and an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting), both from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is co-chair of the Lesbian-Feminisms and Religion session of the national American Academy of Religion and co-chair at the regional level of the Queer Studies in Religion session, founder of the western region Queer Caucus, and a perma-blogger for Feminism and Religion. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style, and a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified Hatha Yoga teacher