I was going to write a new flash fiction for today’s Sample Sunday, but I’ve been busy FAILING to install a new Linux OS on my desktop (Mint 12 FAIL, Mint 11 FAIL, Mandriva 2011 FAIL), so I didn’t get to it. I have, however, been working on “Blood of Mermayds”, the fantasy short story I pledged for June on the Summer Reading Trail. I posted an excerpt from it last Sunday. Here is another.
excerpt from “Blood of Mermayds”
by Marian Allen
It always made me nervous when Uncle Phineas and Loach were in my place at the same time. Iris was right: Phineas always looked at mermayds with that calculating stare he used whenever you wore a new cloak or put a new coat of paint on the walls, like he was wondering if it was time to raise your tithes.
One day, Phineas came in just as Loach and his friends were moving away from their table. At first, I thought somebody had shut the door, but then I saw it was the priest. He’s 6’6″ and he doesn’t make up for his height by being skinny. He has to stoop and turn sideways to get through the small door I’d never bothered to enlarge when I turned the storehouse into a restaurant.
Phineas loomed over me as I hurried to greet him, hoping to distract his attention from the mermayds in the corner.
I could have saved myself the trouble. Instead of easing out, Loach made a point of coming to take formal leave of me — something he never did, by the way. He also proved how much he had learned about handling his bulk on land by raising himself, balancing on his coils, until he was just half an inch or so taller than Phineas.
The priest looked up, memorizing the tad’s face. The corners of Uncle Phineas’ mouth turned down in his particular version of a smile. It was not the kind that lit up a room.
“Out,” I told Loach, concern making my voice harsh. “All three of you. Out. Now.”
“See you again soon,” he said.
The whole effect was rather spoiled by his having to lose half his height in order to get through the door. To move at all, for that matter.
I got the feeling Uncle Phineas was amused but, to give him credit, he didn’t laugh.
He sat at his usual table and nodded when I asked if he wanted his usual order. He loved my lobster chowder and the beer I brewed in the cellar. I got a break on my temple dues in exchange for never bringing him a bill when he deigned to grace my wharf-rat chow-house with his custom.
When I brought his food and drink, he flicked a finger toward my bracelet and said,
“A gift from your mermayd friend?”
“I made it out of copper wire and red coral. One of the mermayds traded it to me for a month of meals.” It had been Loach who did the trade, but I wasn’t about to give his name.
“Do you know what they call red coral? ‘Blood of Mermayds’. People used to think that’s what red coral was. More precious as jewelry than as life fluid.”
“Depends on whether you’re a mermayd or not,” I said.
You can follow Uncle Phineas on his Facebook page, if that’s your idea of a good time.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character feels someone or something is a threat to someone he or she isn’t sure qualifies as a friend, exactly.