|We provide the image, you provide the story or poem.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
Jona groaned against the vice tightening inside of his skull. Light speared with the intensity of lasers into his shuttered eyes, his bladder was about to explode, hell, even his teeth hurt and still the thunking noise continued.
“Son.of.a…can’t a guy drink himself into oblivion in fucking peace?” The last of his words were uttered in near silence—a testament to Jose, Jim and Johnny for winning this round.
“Fine…” Jona groaned, giving a violent shove to the tangle of sheets on the bed. As he dropped his feet to the swaying floor and brought himself upright it became clear that standing was out of the question. His only hope was to hand and knee it across the floor while silently praying he’d make it to either the head, or the edge of the boat, before he returned last night’s idiocy to the outside of his body.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
Jona moved from the bathroom, once more on his own two feet, and tossed the well used toothbrush into the trash. No one was more thankful than he that the three J’s had been kind and their retribution quick. His head continued to pound with a headache that would last all day, if not longer, but he deserved it. There was a reason he didn’t drink.
Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
“Okay, what the hell…” Jona climbed to the deck of the ketch he called home, slid his sunglasses over his burning eyes and headed to the rail. The harbor was a ghost town this time of the year. No work was being done on the docks, even though it would have been the perfect time for it and the boats in the surrounding slips appeared to have been closed up for the season. There was not a sole to be seen, and yet the sound continued.
Jona walked the railing around his boat, his eyes on the water next to the hull. Perhaps something on his boat had come apart, or off of another boat, and was brushing up along the side. Waves rolled in, creating small white caps that lapped against the boat, bringing with it bits of flotsam from the Atlantic.
“Shit!” At the bow, he spied the tail end of a fish beating the hell out of his boat. He’d have to pull it out quickly or he’d be dry docking the Sunset Eyes for a paint job before he could sail her again.
Jona was mildly surprised by the fin as it bobbed about large and luminescent. It was mesmerizing, a green so dark it looked almost purple, but it glowed like a jewel. He’d hoop, rather than hook the fish to bring it up; it would be a shame to destroy the gorgeous scales.
He rigged a pulley system and tightened the hoop rope around the tail. Leaning back, he tugged at the rope and raised his catch. When the tail came even with the rail he could see the stiffening and undulating of a fish that was still alive even after the beating it had taken against his boat. His stomach protested at the notion of having to beat the fish to death, hopefully it was still able to swim and he could release it back out into the ocean.
All thought of catch and release escaped him as the gorgeous scales turned to alabaster skin tinged with the lightest shade of purple he’d ever seen. This had to be some drunk induced state. The three J’s were fucking with him.
A trim waist led to perfectly pert, palm-sized, mouth-watering breasts. Higher was a long thin neck, adorned with three perfect strands of pearls that cost the purchaser a seemingly outlandish amount of money, he’d know because the receipt for those babies was still tucked somewhere below with his paperwork. Her hair was ebony with hanks of neon green and purple. Those streaks he’d once taken for a funky dye job, hung down towards the water.
“Jona, I can explain…” Eyes the exact color of a setting sun beseeched him.
The love he’d thought to have lost overboard, nearly a year ago, now hung off the side of his boat. She spoke of explaining, but how could she explain away being lost at sea, explain still being alive…
“Fuck.” Jona grabbed the rail and bent over. Each breath he took whispered to him a word he didn’t want to believe—Mermaid.
Jose, Jim and Johnny would be getting a rematch tonight, only he would win and the insane flashes of the impossible would stop tormenting him with what he wanted most.
Bluebell Books: Short Story Slam