I Dream Of Mermaids

Last night I dreamt of mermaids.

Again. Like I do most nights. Or some nights, at least. Frequently. Let’s just say frequently.

I dreamt I was sitting here, right where I am now, by my bedroom window. Staring out at the sea. The sea that appears so choppy, so gloomy. So grey. The near-sand-less, pebble beach that lines the coast adding to the moribund demeanour of the town. A once-renowned seaside town, or resort, that has long since seen its glory days pass by. Signs swing from side to side in the breeze to a squeaking soundtrack of rusty hinges. Eyes stare down at the rain-spattered pavements as the backdrop of boarded-up shops and graffiti-strewn walls drift by. The pier, once so fabled and so full of life, of colour, stands broken at the edge of the water. Rotting wooden posts thrust out of the water like fingers, reaching out for any kind of salvation as they gradually sink beneath the waves.

But when I dream I see so much more. The sea itself becomes a backdrop. The waves become the bit-part player. The rocks that occasionally make an appearance during lower tides become a stage. The stage. The stage for the mermaids as they glide so gracefully out of the water, resting on the rocks with poise and finesse. Two, three, five, nine; more and more cut through the water, revealing themselves amid the ethereal glow of the dreamlike surroundings.

I stare at them, from this seat, by the window. I am transfixed. Their beauty surrounds me, invades me, illuminates me. Their hair strands of perfection, flowing down past their bare shoulders, coquettishly concealing their supple breasts. Their eyes, beams of kaleidoscopic perfection, burrow into my trembling soul. Feasting. Devouring. Their smiles, warm and disarming, siren calls with power enough to ensnare any man, women or child who dare look upon it. And their tails, flicking gently, calmly. Almost demurely. Their scaly lower halves shimmer in the evening’s twilight, mesmerising my eyes as the grey becomes imbued with the slightest, most transient dashes of reds, greens, purples. I stare at them. I wish I were them. Amongst them.

And then they beckon me. All as one gently curling their hands into ‘come hither’ gestures, calling out to me, inviting me into their world. I look down and I am transformed. My legs replaced by a shimmering, smooth, scaly, majestic, stunning tail. And when I look up once more I am with them. Gracefully laying on my own rock. Within the ocean. Within the group. Surrounded by my fellow mermaids. My tail flicks confidently, breezily, bringing the slightest of tears to my eyes. The others whisper to me, sing to me, call to me. Praising my beauty, my poise, my everything. I am at one with myself. At peace.

And we slink beneath the waves. As one. All slipping from our rocks, from our stages. We curve and pirouette through the water, laughing and singing, allowing the waves to gently carry us towards the deepest, darkest realms of the ocean. Before we slip into the depths I look down, transfixed with my own beauty. By the smooth grey scales that delicately and intricately protrude from my torso.

And then they fade.

Transforming into the cold, grey, metallic sterility of my wheelchair. The grey of the steel, the wheels, the footrests infusing me with that familiar feeling of resentment. At the chair. At my legs. At my useless, lifeless legs. And sleep takes me, chewing me up and spitting me back out into the dreary morning’s banality. The struggle. The arm-aching struggle with this contraption that I despise so.

And so I stare out at the sea once more. Grey. Sitting by my bedroom window. In my chair. Willing, wishing, hoping for it to change. For mermaids to decorate every rock, every wave, every inch of the horizon. And yet, it never does. Only as I sleep. Only when I dream. Each time the same dream. Each time the same pull from my mind, the same existential plain of fantasy carved into my imagination.

Each day I watch the dreariness, the bitterness. Letting the minutes tick by.

Ushering me to the realm of sleep once more.

So I can dream yet again.

Once again.

So I can dream of mermaids.



Time to kill

Nanny was waiting by the door and hurried the child inside the porch.

‘What time do you call this?’ she said. ‘It’s way past your bedtime. Where have you been?

‘On the..the..viaduct.’ said Damian.

‘On the what?’ said Nanny.

‘The..the..v.v.viaduct,’ said Damian.

‘I’ve told you time and time again not to go there. What on earth were you up to?’

‘M.m.making a sacrifice,’ said Damian.

‘A what?’ said Nanny

‘A s.s.sacrifice,’ said Damian.

‘What kind if sacrifice?’ said Nanny.

‘A m.m.mus. c.c.cul..a.ar sacrifice,’ said Damian turning round

‘Whatever do you mean? Spit it out,’ said Nanny.

Damian’s eyes glazed over as confidence became diction.

‘Must kill her, must kill her, must kill her,…’

Nanny saw a carving knife flash in the moonlight and then nothing more.





‘Puts me in mind of a pepper’, he said, peering through narrow glasses perched halfway down his long, angular nose. He continued to view the plant from all angles before straightening his bent body and peering around the small room.

‘No tomatoes?’, he enquired.

‘I keep them in the Grow House, over by the wall’, nodding in the general direction of the cheap, plastic contraption sitting at a jaunty angle by the south-facing wall. ‘It’s far sunnier there and they seem to do better.’

His eyebrows arched in exaggerated surprise. He then nodded sagely, but with obvious disbelief, mumbling about the cost of a greenhouse, it not being positioned in the sunniest spot in the garden, and it not being used for growing tomatoes. And then, adding how I had far too much money to waste.

‘And this little table and chairs?

‘It’s so we can come out of an evening, sit in the warmth and have a glass of wine’, I smiled. ‘It’s a nice place to relax and see the garden without shivering in the cold.’

He shuffled in a circle to get a better view of the garden through the glass walls but stumbled. I caught him and rested him on one of the chairs as he started coughing, placing his stick to one side. ‘Just as well I had them’, I quipped. He ignored me and started fumbling in his pockets, wheezing heavily.

Pulling out a battered packet of cigarettes he paused, looked up at me and asked, ‘This is outdoors isn’t it?’

For anyone else I’d have said obviously not, but for him I said, ‘yes dad, this is outside’, and heard those words echo in the small, half-empty glass house as I stared down at an empty chair, imagining the smell of tobacco in the air.


In memory of William McDermid, 19th June 1922 to 30th August 1998. He’d have loved a greenhouse xx


No Dummy

Sale Picture

Each night I wait until the lights go out, until the doors are locked and they go home. Only then can I leave my spot on the settee and make my nightly trip to the lingerie department. It’s a tough job but someone has to keep the models happy. I just hope I remember to put my clothes back on tomorrow morning!!!!!!


Nakami’s mind was racing as he sat on the station bench. Could he do it, or was still too scared? He knew deep down it was his chance for freedom, but could he pull the trigger and make it to the platform’s edge? He counted the minutes. It didn’t help.

He fumbled in his pocket and took it out. Few noticed him in the crowded waiting mass. He examined the instrument of his future with care; every detail was checked. He knew it was fine, but repeated the process over and over.

Nakami felt the crowd move back from the platform edge and knew that his point of decision was close. He stood up. He was taller than the others and could easily see the slowing train approach the station.


As he moved forward his sweating hands gripped it hard. He looked at it again for the last time and, with his head held high, moved towards the stopping train. A conductor barred his way. Nakami raised his hand and released the ticket. Still in a sweat he boarded the train.

“The train to Kyoto is leaving from Platform 2,” said the announcement.

Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area

A wry smile flickers across Alan’s face. His arms folded, pressed against his store-issued fleece.

‘Martin…pssst Martin’ he hisses.

Martin, crouching by the vegetable aisle, looks up to see Alan gesturing wildly at him to come over.

‘What is it?’

‘Shhh…’ smiles Alan, ‘listen, that old lady over there…she’s chatting with the self-service machine.’

‘She bloody is too…’ smirks Martin.

I know they’re talking about me. Those boys over there. That’s ok though. They can’t see you, can’t hear you like I can.

I’ll keep coming though.

Keep talking.

Every day.

Until we’re back together again.