Here’s some more of the story I’ll be posting in its entirety on August 1 for the Summer Reading Trail. The real Perry Block has read it and contributed a line or two of dialog. He’s a very funny fellow.
A pale blob approached the surface. It was a face. A female face. A young, gorgeous, beautiful, sweet, female face, with wide blue eyes, a pert nose and red lips. Her hair was long, blonde, and wavy. She grinned impishly at him.
“H-hello,” he said.
“Did you mean it? May I really come join you?”
Stunned, he said, “Please do.”
She put one delicately pink hand on the planking, one on the lower rail, and, fast as lightning, was on the deck, lowering herself into a chair as if she’d walked through the restaurant to get there. She wore a sea-green sarong, a shell necklace, and thin gold sandals. She was completely dry, from her hair to her feet.
Belatedly, Perry started to stand to greet her, but she was already sitting by that time, and he sank back into his chair, feeling disoriented.
“Didn’t you….” He gestured toward the water. “But you’re….” He gestured to her. “You’re dry.”
She smiled, showing a delightful dimple. “Isn’t that how it works? Water makes things wet, and out of water makes things dry?”
Her fingers twitched toward the food.
Perry, amused, asked, “Do you like crab legs?”
“Love ’em!” She apparently took the question as an invitation, because she grabbed one. Perry offered her a shell-cracker, but she split the carapace with her bare hands and drew out the meat.
“You’re pretty good at that,” he said.
She laughed. “I’ve had lots of practice.”
“So,” he said, indulgently watching her unvarnished enjoyment, “what’s your name? What do you do?”
“You, first,” she mumbled around a mouthful.
“I’m Perry Block. I’m a writer. A Jewish writer. My mother wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. I told her, ‘Ma, I don’t have to be a doctor or a lawyer. I have people for that. You know — my doctor and my lawyer.’ She wasn’t impressed. She’s a tough crowd, my mother. Anyway, I’m a writer. I’m here till Saturday, partly on vacation and partly to get material.”
“You’re a fan of Tolkien?”
“Oh, what do I write?”
“Humor. I’m ‘Nouveau Old, Formerly Cute’.”
She swallowed, wiped her hands and face, and said, “What do you mean, ‘old’? What do you mean, ‘formerly’?”
“I mean, I used to be cute. Now I’m old and not so cute.” But he didn’t feel old. He felt like maybe he should feel old, sitting across from this beautiful girl, but he didn’t. He felt just right. And cute. Definitely cute.
“Your turn,” he said. “Name. Occupation.”
“My name is Hannah. Hannah Poseidon.”
“Hannah. A nice Jewish name. But Poseidon? Isn’t that Greek? Which are you: rugelach or baklava?”
“I’m a mermaid.”
“I can just about believe it, after that trick in the water.”
She sat back, wiping melted butter off her elbows. “What time is it?”
He told her.
“Oh, cripes! I have to get going or I’ll be late!”
She stood and perched her behind on the rail. “See you!”
“Hey!” Perry stood, too. “You can’t go in swimming for an hour after you eat. Didn’t your mother ever tell you that?”
She laughed out loud. “You’re so funny!”
With a flip, she went off the rail and cut silently into the water. As she swam off, her sarong wrapped around her legs, making them look like… like a blue-green tail.
Come back Wednesday for the rest of the story. 🙂
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character goes swimming.