Hooking a Mermaidbyoggbashan©
Copyright Oggbashan December 2016
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
This is a work of fiction. The events described here are imaginary; the settings and characters are fictitious and are not intended to represent specific places or living persons.
Our amateur Christmas Pantomime led to an argument with Adrian. He had wanted to take me to the professional Pantomime in the nearby city with a meal beforehand. I would have liked that but I was an occasional member of the amateur dramatic society, as was he.
Adrian had avoided being cast as one of the performers and wasn't required as a stage hand this time. He is too large and muscular to be on stage normally. He looks out of scale compared with other performers. I had thought I was exempt as well because I was an assistant to the costume department. Once the costumes were made, I would not need to be involved in the actual production.
Adrian had suggested the meal and show. I had said "Yes, probably" in November so he had booked the restaurant and tickets for the professional pantomime.
At the first read-through which included the actions to happen on stage our amateur group hit a snag. A significant scene change would take too long. They couldn't have the curtains closed and the audience looking at nothing so they decided to write a sketch to be performed in front of the curtain. So far so good but most of the characters were involved either in moving scenery or frantically changing costumes -- except the Wicked Witch, who was also the costume manager and my aunt Alice.
The writers went into a huddle and devised a sketch based on The Little Mermaid, or rather on Disney's Ariel. They needed an Ariel and Alice suggested me. She knew that the Mermaid costume fitted me as well as the woman who had previously worn it until she moved away from our town.
Alice didn't ask me. She told me that I would be the Mermaid, appearing in all six performances, five evenings and a Saturday matinee. Of course one of those five evenings was when Adrian had booked our night out. I was disappointed. Adrian was angry with Alice and with me. We shouted at each other and by the time of the first dress rehearsal we were no longer on speaking terms. That hurt both of us but we were too stubborn to apologise.
"Sue, why do you let Alice walk all over you?" Adrian had shouted.
"Because she is my aunt and she needs me!" I retorted.
"I need you too!" Adrian shouted back.
From there on the interchange became more angry and more personal. We said things we shouldn't have said and didn't mean.
I was so unhappy I didn't really take much notice of what I had to do in the sketch. All I cared about was that I had neither lines to learn nor any cues to follow. Alice, as the Wicked Witch, would do everything. I would be dressed as a Mermaid. Alice would wheel me on stage on a trolley because I wouldn't be able to walk. I did know that I would be flown upwards from that trolley. I had been flown before in a production of Peter Pan so that didn't bother me.
I should have paid more attention but I was still angry with Adrian and annoyed with Alice.
Full Dress Rehearsal
I was dressed in my Mermaid costume too early because Alice was so involved in the act before the scene change. I was tightly laced into that costume which had a harness at my back that would lift me to fly upwards. I sat on a settee in a dressing room with a blanket over my sheathed legs. It was boring. I spent the time while I waited trying to read but regretting over and over again the argument with Adrian.
Two stage hands carried me to the side of the stage and placed me on the trolley. The long green dress I would wear as a human was draped over the back of the trolley.
The curtains shut. Alice rushed towards me, grabbed the back of the trolley and pushed me out in front of the curtains.
"Now, Ariel, you're sure you want to go through with this?" The Wicked Witch asked.
"It's very powerful magic and you have to give me your voice in exchange until..."
I nodded again.
Alice made some gestures with her black wand.
"Your voice will go shortly. Legs will take longer. Until your voice has gone you have to be absolutely silent."
Alice grabbed something from the trolley. It was modified ball-gag shaped like a fish. She pushed the fish's head into my mouth and buckled the gag behind my head. The fish's body and tail flapped as I moved my head.
"We need to cover your tail while it changes into legs. You'll need a dress as a human woman."
Alice pulled the long green gown down over my head. The massive skirt bunched around my waist. I was surprised that Alice zipped the dress up outside my arms, clamping them to my body.
"You'll need to find a human to release you," Alice said, "but like this you can't remove your gag. By the time someone does, I'll have your voice."
I pretended to struggle. It was more than pretence. I hadn't expected to be gagged and pinioned.
"Now we have to get you up to the surface so you can be human. I wonder how?"
At that point a large hook, looking like a massive fishhook, descended from above.
"How convenient," Alice said. "A human fisherman. He'll lift you up into the air and if you are fortunate he'll release you..."
Alice took the hook. I expected it to be fastened to the harness around my body. She hooked it just above the tail fin. As the hook rose my legs lifted from the trolley and stopped with my legs tilted upwards.
"Have I got your voice yet?" Alice asked.
She started to sing "I do like to be beside the seaside" in her own voice. By the chorus her voice was replaced by a recording of me singing that song from a previous pantomime a couple of years ago.
"Yes!" Alice shouted in her own voice. "I can sing like you, Ariel. Goodbye. You should have legs soon."
Alice walked off stage. The hook rose further until I was suspended upside down. The fish gag wobbled frantically as I tried to protest. The green dress fell around me hiding my body and head. It was far too long. I could see the stage floor a couple of feet below my head.
Someone grabbed me around the body. The hook lowered slightly and I was released from it. I was still swathed in the skirt of the green dress. Suddenly I was turned the right way up. The dress fell down to cover my mermaid's tail. I looked at the person holding me. It was Adrian, dressed as a fisherman in thigh waders.
"What a catch!" He said. "But why?"
Adrian unbuckled and removed the fish gag. I knew my part had no words. The Wicked Witch had my voice. Adrian kissed me before lowering me to the trolley and pushing me off stage. As we left, the recording of me singing "I do like to be beside the seaside" started again from the beginning. Adrian's kiss had given me back my voice.
Off stage, Adrian kissed me again. I responded but I was still bound in the green dress. He carried me into the dressing room and sat me on his lap.
"You're coming home with me, Sue," he said. "I won't take no for an answer. If you were to say no, I would carry you to my car dressed as you are, and stuff that fish back in your mouth if you object."
"I won't object..." I started to say before his kiss stopped my mouth.
It was at least a quarter of an hour before Adrian helped me out of my costume.
We apologised to each other again and again.
During the six performances of the pantomime I enjoyed being hooked and kissed by Adrian. He enjoyed himself too.