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Halfway There
by Linda Garnett

Esmeralda the mermaid and Steve the fisherman rendezvoused at the river bank as they had for months.

“I’ve made my decision. I want to do this,” said Steve.

“Are you sure? Remember, there’s no going back.”

He placed a diamond necklace around her neck.

“I love you. I want to change into a merman and spend eternity with you.”

She took out a large compact mirror she had tucked inside her tail.

“I love your taste in -- I mean, I love you too. You’ve really spoiled me with all of the beautiful jewelry you have given me.”

She placed her hand on his heart and began the transformation spell. Suddenly, his nostrils pinched together and he could hardly breathe.

His eyes bulged and his face turned purple, red and then orange. She stopped chanting and he fell over.

“You liar! You don't want to change for me. Your heart told me you’re a jewel thief running from the police,” said Esmeralda.

Steve tried to stand up but his body felt like jelly. “What the hell are you talking about?"

“I was just a storage unit for you, wasn’t I?”

"If you help me up, I can explain everything.”

Esmeralda smirked. “I forgot to mention that the spell has a nasty side effect when you lie. Take a look at yourself.”

He screamed at his reflection in her mirror. White stripes circled his bloated orange head and body. He had no nose, a small mouth, and bulging black eyes. His arms and legs had become fins.

“Oh my god, I’m a clownfish! Undo the spell! Undo it!”

“I told you there was no going back.”

“Then put me out of my misery and eat me!”

“Sorry Steve, but I want a merman with good taste, not some clown who might taste good.”

She flicked her tail and he fell screaming into the river.