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A Fish Tale
by Cindy Cockrell

What a perfect day for sailing! Mary Ann felt lucky that at only 21 years old, her life was anything but boring. This was an experience of a lifetime. After all, how many girls were able to live with a boy they loved while he played guitar in a rock band? Especially in Marathon Key which seemed like paradise.

Aura, a middle-aged friend of the band, invited the group and a couple of friends to go sailing on her spacious white and gold trimaran. Aura appeared to have adopted JR, the lead singer from Birmingham, who had an incredible singing voice as well as a Southern charm which he used lavishly on the ladies who came into the club.

The band arrived at Aura’s house on the water’s edge and were in awe as it was a far cry from the cheap hotel where they performed as the house band. Mary Ann, a girl of modest beginnings, felt lucky to be living her life in this tropical nirvana.

The beginning of the sailing trip was exciting but a bit scary. Jimmy Buffet’s music and wine made it an intoxicating experience. While the sun was gleaming on the crystal blue water, Aura asked to stop at a small red and white float, a sign of someone’s lobster trap below. However, Mary Ann became nervous when questioning Aura about whom it belonged to. Evidently, obtaining lobsters was more of a priority to the group than the legality of it. Everyone became excited when not only lobsters were in the trap, but also something attached resembling a large fin.

Once hauled in, the lobsters were cooking in a large pot while the object was cleaned up. It appeared to be a tail about the size of a mermaid’s appendage. While everyone dined on lobster and salad, excitement grew as the sunburned and slightly drunk group discussed what this find might mean. The tail was spread out on the porch as they pondered what a phenomenal media story this would create about the band! They already achieved local interest but this find might give them national prestige, going viral as the kids say. The problem was, how to explain where they found it?

They entered the venue just in time for their set. The crowd was boisterous. JR and the band took the stage while dancing and drinking commenced.

During a break between songs, Aura brought in the tail and placed it at the side of the stage. Mayhem broke out when curious customers swarmed the strange thing. Before the band could answer the crowd’s questions, an enchanting young woman with flowing, red hair appeared from the back of the club.

She was sitting in a wheelchair wearing an emerald green dress. She wheeled herself up onto the stage while pushing others out of the way.

The band gasped when they realized the long-haired maiden had no legs.