by Anna Lea Jancewicz
Contrary to popular belief, mermaids do not all want to sit around topless on rocks brushing their hair. When I met Jimmy, he gave me the Guns N’ Roses T-shirt off his back. I said to him For this I will be forever grateful, and that was the truth. I had a hard time believing that Jimmy would want to have someone like me for a girlfriend, someone who hobbled around on crutches, someone who cracked crabs with their teeth and always smelled faintly of low tide. But about that, Jimmy shrugged his shoulders and said Everybody wants to fuck a mermaid. He didn’t even say it like some kind of dirtbag, although of course he was a Dirtbag—he had their logo stenciled right on the back of his sleeveless jean jacket. He just said it like it was simple truth, and it made me feel pretty.
We spent those summer nights rolling up and down the strip in his Camaro, sipping Boone’s Farm out of Big Gulp cups as we joked about the tourists in their white plastic sunglasses and jams looking like barf bags. Jimmy always wore button-fly Levi’s, even in the heat, because he was rock ‘n’ roll. Sometimes we threw fast food garbage out the rolled-down windows and tried to hit them. Jimmy would yell Burn rubber! and we’d peal out, laughing hysterically. We’d end up parked down at the boat ramp, flopping around in the back seat while the radio played and we made our own ocean of sweat between us. It was all magical until that bitch Carly ruined it.
She worked at the roller rink and she had a reputation. It was known that she had shoplifted every single flavor of Lip Smackers. She had a complete criminal collection. Also, she had the high score on Donkey Kong at the arcade. She was badass. Plus, legs. I couldn’t compete. Carly. She walked right up to me and Jimmy while we were smoking a doobie with some other Dirtbags under the boardwalk one day and asked him if he’d ever had a ring of Bonne Bell Dr. Pepper around his dick. Jimmy called her a slut, but I knew it was the beginning of the end. All of a sudden, he wanted to hang out at Skate Palace in the afternoons. And what was I going to do there?
So yeah, that’s why I burned the place to the ground. Mermaids aren’t really known for arson. It’s pretty hard to make a spark under the sea. But c’mon, gasoline and matches aren’t that hard to figure out. I soaked Jimmy’s Guns N’ Roses T-shirt and lit it up. Welcome to the jungle, Carly. I swam out to the sand bar and sat there, tits out again, watching it burn. Jimmy was banging her in the men’s room and they both died. Legend has it that their ghosts roam the boardwalk, but I think that’s bullshit. I’ve never seen them.