Tuesday, March 14, 2017

EXCERPT from Sea Witch by Carol Ann Kauffman

Boy Meets Fish

“Scott?  Tell Vanna to bring down an acanthaster planci, please,” Laura called over the intercom.
“Yes, Dr. Martin.”  Scott looked around for Dr. Vanna Johanssen.
“Dr. Johanssen!  Vanna?  Has anyone seen Vanna?”  They all said no.  Not wanting to disappoint Dr. Martin, Scott scooped out a crown of thorns starfish and placed it in a plastic bag with some water and tied off the top.  “Dr. Johanssen?” he called as he headed for the down staircase.  
“Vanna?”  No Vanna.  He ran down the steps.

As soon as Scott walked down the steps, Zara became extremely agitated.  She beat the glass sides of her tank wildly.
“Zara, what’s the matter?  What’s wrong?  Calm down and talk to me,” Dr. Martin spoke softly and calmly to Zara, the giant tetrapescahumanoid.  Zara attempted to calm down, but she beat her chest and thrashed around in the tank.
“My mate!” she screeched, “My mate is here, Laura.  I sense him.  And you are keeping him from me.  I want my mate.  And I want him now!”
“Zara, your mate is not here.  I have no other TPH here, you know that.  There’s only you.  You are the last.”
“He is here, Laura.  I sense him.  I smell him,” she inhaled deeply.  “And I want him.  I must have him now.  Now!”  She pounded her chest and threw herself up against the glass walls of the tank.

“Here, Dr. Martin,” said Scott, handing her the starfish.  “I couldn’t find Dr. Johanssen, so I brought it down myself.” 
Zara stopped and stared at Scott.  Zara pushed herself up against the glass wall.  She began to coo and reach toward him. 
Scott looked at the giant six and half foot tall tetrapescahumanoid in the tank in amazement.
“Well, hello beautiful!” he said. “Isn’t she is amazing? What is this gorgeous creature? A mermaid?”
“A tetrapescahumanoid, a TPH for short.  The only one left on the planet, out of the nine who splashed down about twenty years ago,” said Laura.
“She’s… she’s… incredible.” Scott stared in amazement.
“Oh, crap!  I’ve seen this movie and it gets really messy,” said Sylvia.  “Earth guy falls in love with giant alien female.  Lots of people die.  The planet gets bombed.  Except in the movie, she was much larger and …blue. Are you smitten with the big green fish-woman?”
“Well, she is beautiful, I must admit, and her ancestors were undoubtedly the reason for irresistible siren and mermaid legends of long ago, but I’m madly in love with a one hundred percent human woman,” he said eyeing Laura.  Laura glanced over at him.
“Yeah?  That’s good, Scott.  Is she a geek like you?”
“Well, I’ve never thought of her that way, but yes, I guess you could say that,” laughed Scott, shaking his head, “except she’s a cross between a geek and… Wonder Woman.” He smiled.
“Well, then she sounds like the perfect match for you.  Hold on to her and don’t let her slip through your fingers.”
“I’m determined not to let that happen, Dr. Martin,” he smiled, blushing.

Zara pressed herself up against the glass wall of her tank, eyeing Scott intently.
“Come.  Come to me, my mate.  Oh, how I have missed you.  It has been a long, long time, and I am ready for you,” Zara cooed.  She reached for her genitals, pulling her labia back to show him her opening.  “I want to hold you up against me and enfold you into my skin and feel you throb.  Come to me.”
“Did the big green fish-woman just… proposition me?” asked Scott.
“Yes, and not too subtley,” said Sylvia Washington.
“Her first two layers of skin are gelatinous ectoplasmic vasodilators, capable of keeping her body at the perfect temperature despite her surrounding temperatures in water or air,” said Laura.  “Even a splash from that tank water can be EXTREMELY harmful to you as a human male, Scott, so please remember to stay behind the yellow line at all times.  And watch out for what appears to be her long, flowing hair.  They’re actually masses of tentacles that can pack quite a sting."
“Come to me.  Come now,” Zara beckoned to Scott, but not so sweetly this time.
“She certainly can communicate.  Dr. Martin, did you teach her to talk?”
“I’ve worked with her.  But she has good communication skills and she picks up very quickly.  Zara is extremely intelligent.  The TPH must be a brilliant species.”
“What are these characters on the side of the tank?” said Scott.
“I believe that is her native language.  Sometimes she doodles.”
“They look, uh, oddly familiar.”  Scott leaned forward. “I’ve seen these somewhere before.”
“You!  Come to me NOW!  I command you!  How dare you disobey me!” Zara scowled, hitting the glass wall with her body again and again and whipping her hair against the glass. Everyone backed up in fear.
“Zara, calm down.  Scott, back up slowly,” Laura said calmly.  “Security team, lower level.  Emergency,” Dr. Martin called out.  A team of six armed guards showed up in moments.  “Dr. Conner is in danger.  Please escort him upstairs.  And tank him.  She can’t see him, or smell him.  Or sense his presence.”  They led Scott upstairs.

“Did she say ‘tank me’ or ‘thank me?  Must be thank me,” a bewildered Scott asked.  “You’re welcome, Dr. Martin,” he called back.

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