The Rubber Mermaid

It seemed absurd. Unnatural and wrong. Almost … blasphemous in a way. Yet there is was, as if it had been waiting for me all along. I want to say that it couldn’t have. That no one could ever have predicted there might some day be a need for something like that… but truth be told, I have been shown more than enough times that indeed someone can and does have that very ability. So I picked it up and held it for a while, wondering what the hell to do next.
It was ugly as anything. Orangey-red rubber. Cheap and tacky in all the worst ways. Like some novelty gift you’d get in one of those chocolate Kinder-eggs, only bigger. Or something you might pick up at a gas station from the same shelf as Wunder-Baums and dancing dashboard figures. I never got those either.
The hair was swung stiffly around the too-broad shoulders, making her seem entirely too bulky for the rest of her body. The tail was too short and thick to allude to the expected air of grace and elegance. I guess it was a poor attempt to emulate the hourglass ideal… that thought struck me as hilarious. Vanity. In a thing like that. I guess anything is possible.
I shook my head and looked for a place to set it down. Nowhere seemed fitting. Nothing seemed capable of bearing the presence of such an atrocity. Maybe that was the point? Disturbing the image of perfection and tranquillity. I frowned… was I really going to keep it around? I just wanted to be rid of it. There were no mitigating qualities about it whatsoever. And yet it seemed wrong to toss it in the bin or hide it in a drawer.
At the back of my mind something whispered about fearful hopes, fragile egos and the wish to be accepted and desired. It got a little too close for comfort. It wasn’t her fault some idiot decided to cast her in rubber. Didn’t we all have things about ourselves we’d wish to change or improve if we could? Things we just had to learn to live with and make the best of? I sighed… shamed into feeling sympathy for this ridiculous mermaid. I growled softly to myself and set her down on a shelf in the corner. If I couldn’t hide it at least I wouldn’t put it out on full display. No need to advertise its presence, you know?
Making a victim of feng shui and my sense of aesthetics seemed oddly calming and I realized the figure seemed less obtrusive now. Holding it in my hand had made it an unintended focal point. Free of that on the shelf it was just another part of the whole. Still butt-ugly, still utterly useless, still disproportionate. But I can live with that.
The Rubber Mermaid

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