Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ugly duckling

By Michael A. Kechula

Twenty minutes after Liz ingested the small blue pill, she was thrilled with her new appearance.

"I always wanted to become a beautiful mermaid," she said, peering into a mirror.

Heading to the Pacific Ocean in her rusted Yugo, she couldn't wait to join the mermaid community.

Unfortunately, they rejected her. "To be a member," they said, "you gotta be born in the ocean. You weren't. Get lost."

Fleeing with filthy curse words ringing in her ears, she spotted the Golden Gate Bridge. Climbing to the top, she decided to hurl herself onto the jagged rocks below.

While she tottered on a girder, passersby spotted her. A crowd quickly gathered.

"Look at that weird thing on top of the bridge," a woman yelled. "What the hell is it?"

"Looks like a damn alien to me!" a guy answered. "Jump you freak!"

The growing crowd chanted the guy's words dozens of times.

Liz was only too happy to accommodate them. As closed her eyes and spread her arms, she heard somebody calling. "Hey, up there. What are you?"

Looking below, she saw ten dolphins. One had a megaphone.

"I'm a mermaid. But I used to be a woman. I took a pill I bought through an ad in the Weekly Tattler. It turned me into a mermaid."

"You're very beautiful," the dolphin said. "Why are you jumping?"

"I can't live with humans the way I look. Listen to the nasty names they're calling me. Even the mermaid community rejected me. Nobody wants me. I'm gonna throw myself on the rocks."

"Don't. It'll hurt. And you'll end up a gooey mess. Go to the other side of the bridge. There ain't any rocks there. When you jump, you'll fall into the water. Then you can join us. We swim, and play all day. We're on our way to Hawaii. Then we're off to Tahiti. Come along. We're gonna have lotsa fun."

"You really want me?"


"You don't care that I'm a mermaid who used to be a woman?"


"Okay, I'll join you guys. You won't be sorry for taking me in. I'm a good cook. And I know first aid in case your fins get cut or something. I'm gonna go to the other side of the bridge, then I'll jump. Gimme a couple minutes to switch sides."

Her new friends swam to the other side and waited.

Soon, Liz was atop the highest girder on the opposite side.

"Before I jump, I want everybody to know I was an ugly duckling. Nobody ever loved me. I spent my life savings on a pill to become a beautiful mermaid. I thought once I became one, everybody would love me for sure. That didn't happen. Now I hate everybody. Especially all you bastards down there who want me to jump onto the rocks. People stink! But these wonderful dolphins care!”

She spread her arms and jumped.

Halfway down, she saw ten sharks shedding their dolphin costumes.

Copyright ©2008, 2011 Michael A. Kechula. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form, including electronic, without the author’s express permission.


This story was originally published in Clockwise Cat magazine (issue 11) in 2008.


If you like the above story, check out this Michael Kechula-penned tale, Let's trade, published on this site in October 2011.



Michael A. Kechula’s flash/micro tales have appeared in 143 magazines and 43 anthologies. He's won eighteen writing contests. Four of his books are published as eBooks and paperbacks: A Full Deck of Zombies - 61 Speculative Fiction Tales; The Area 51 Option and 70 More Speculative Fiction Tales; I Never Kissed Judy Garland and Other Tales of Romance; Writing Genre Flash Fiction The Minimalist Way - A Self Study Book. Ebooks at Paperbacks at

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