“What do we do with them when we catch them?” Libby poked her head above water and looked at the man on the beach gazing at his smartphone.
Andrina smiled. “We pull them to their deaths and collect them at the bottom of the sea.”
“Because that is what mermaids do, dear little sister.”
“Because mermaids long for the nearness of a man.”
“Enough, dear Libby.” Andrina patted her shoulder. “Come let me teach you.”
They swam for shore, tailfins turned to legs, their long, luxuriant blonde hair covering them in suggestive yet innocent waves.
When they reached the foot of the man’s beach chair, he finally looked up. Curly light-brown hair, a Jeb’s Crab Shack T-shirt, and swimming trunks, he gawked at them over his sunglasses, questioning and on the cusp of annoyance.
Andrina swayed and smiled, four hundred years of practiced femininity. “Hi. Come into the water with us.”
“Because we like you. Do you like us?”
He took off his sunglasses. “I guess you’re pretty enough, but I just made a date online. She’ll be here in a couple hours.”
“Can you find such beauty as ours on the line?” asked Andrina.
“Of course.” The man tapped the phone a few times and turned it toward her. At the top it read, ‘Beach Date 2017.’ He scrolled through unending pictures of pretty women. “I can hook up with any of these, and there are plenty of beauties. It took me three minutes to find the perfect match.”
He switched to a colorful game with butterflies and a bat.
“Can I have one of those?” asked Libby.
“They don’t work where we live,” said Andrina. “You… you shop for women?”
“Yeah. Doesn’t everyone?”
Andrina shuddered, then kneeled in front of him. “If my beauty doesn’t allure, allow me to sing for you.” She started into a soft trill, one of her best.
The man tapped his phone and held it up. A ‘MyPlay’ application listed many titles. “I’ve already got all my favorites loaded. Thanks, anyway.” He selected a song. Bongos sounded from it, followed by trumpets, guitar, and a vibrant female voice. He bopped his head. “Gloria Estefan is awesome.”
He tapped the phone and held it up to his ear. “Excuse me a moment. I’ve got to get ready for my date.” He waited, staring at the space between them. “Hey, Chama. This is Jamie. Can I have my regular order for two at my usual spot?” He listened. “Yeah. Extra. Awesome. Thanks, babe.”
Andrina stood up. “I see you are a hard man to please.”
“Not really. I just get everything I want right here.” He held up his phone.
Andrina hoped for one more shot. She beckoned Libby back into the sea, and they swam for the kelp forest. She spread the strands apart and dove deep, searching until she caught the perfect beautiful sea bass. They carried it up to a rocky outcrop of a deserted island nearby.
“Quick, Libby. Prepare the fish while I fashion an oven.”
With mother-of-pearl she constructed a reflection chamber to capture the sun’s power. She lay the cleaned fish upon it and let it bake.
Leaving Libby at the water’s edge, she approached the man again, the fish served on a large scallop shell. He snoozed with a paperback on his belly.
He picked up his head.
“I have food for you.”
“I already ordered. You were right there when I called.”
“Yes, but you will never have fish this fresh and this good, selected from the ocean as only I can. Please, come out and join us in the feast.”
Jamie sat up. “I have to admit, it smells divine.”
“Come.” Adriana turned and walked sensuously toward the water.
Jamie followed a few steps into the tide. “Hey, where’s the sriracha?”
“What is sriracha?”
“Aw, man. I don’t eat anything without sriracha. I’ve got extra coming with my order.”
He shrugged a shoulder. “Appreciate the offer, but I’ll wait for mine.” He sauntered back to the beach chair, straddled it, and played with his phone.
“What do we do now?” asked Libby.
Andrina shook her head and dove. “Modern technology is ruining everything.”