mermaidWhatever Floats

by Angel Colón

When I met her, she was working as a mermaid in a 40 foot fish tank. Some new hipster bullshit bar downtown that everybody raved about. They had the nerve to call it the Dive. A few friends dragged me kicking and screaming, but at least the beer and girls were choice.

I was more impressed by what was under her clamshell bra than I was how long she could hold her breath. I remember knocking on the glass and giving her my best smile. She smiled right back. I bought her a drink after her shift and talked my way into her apartment easy-peasy. Don’t even think I caught her name that night.

It was around the third or fourth night out she caught on. “Ariel.” She held a hand out with a sarcastic grin.

I almost split my gut laughing. “Bullshit,” was my answer, but I didn’t pry for any more details.

It was a simple set up: drinks, laughs, fucks. Names didn’t need to be factual. Feelings weren’t appreciated.

That was, until someone else knocked on that tank.

I’d been running late. Figured I could waste a little time with a video game and a few blunts. Catch up with the boys.

Bad call.

He was a hipster pretty boy. Wore the uniform like a badge of honor—beard, skinny jeans, glasses and an ironic eighties’ metal t-shirt. Made my blood boil right up as soon as I laid eyes on him. I walked on over while the two of them chatted up. Heard him give her this bullshit line. “You look good in blue.” She was wearing green.  It was enough for me to get in his face, do a little pushing and shoving—made him fall back in line with the rest of his fag friends.

That led to our first fight. That led to an angry fuck.

It was fucking heaven.

Should have called it quits then and there. No way we were gonna get back to those heights, but we tried.

She baited them in. Hipster douche after hipster douche tapping on that glass and waving. She’d give them the princess bit, lead them on far enough and in I’d come—the angry boyfriend—ready to throw down.

But it wasn’t enough, see, we had to keep escalating. The pushing turned to punching turned to kicking turned to a glass bottle to the temple. We were addicted to the drama and trauma; to the rush of luring them in and casting them aside to light a fire that had no right being sparked.

Really should have called it quits.

Weeks in, it came to a head.

She talked me into getting one to go back home with her. Talked me into letting it get a little further. Problem was, I got a little too into the role. Our latest mark got beat bad—stopped breathing after I stomped on his neck with a little too enthusiasm.

That led to another fight and revelations. I’d been arrested before—didn’t need to graduate to convict. Turned out she was looking down the barrel of the same gun. We made a deal. Wrapped the body up with a few cinder blocks and sent it into the Hudson in the dead of night.

The next day, we fought again. She wanted to know more—to know she could trust me. I wanted to run away.

“I won’t let you,” she said.

“Watch me,” I promised.

#

I disappeared for three weeks and what happened? I saw my face on TV. Now I was wanted in connection with the disappearance of a local man. They flashed that hipster bastard’s picture on the screen and I nearly shit.

#

I made it to ‘The Dive’ right before closing time. Saw her tapping glass with a new mark.  Didn’t let anyone see me go into the back and fiddle with the water level, the drain and the locks.

Came out in time to see her go limp in the water—the staff scrambled to the back to get her out.

I watched her float—locked in the moment.

The hipster from before was right; she looked good in blue.

#

Angel Luis Colón has landed ass-first into crime fiction and is taking a shine to it. He hails from the Bronx and works in NYC, but is currently exiled to the wastelands of New Jersey with his family—thankfully; he has access to good beer and single malts.

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