A Mermade’s Tale Chapter 5 – Brine’s Wild West Adventure

Chapter Five


            Brine was an adorable merchild. With his big brown eyes and happy laugh, he was as cute as could be. He had just learned to swim on his own and loved playing with balls, knocking things over and snuggling while he was read a good story. He liked machines and undersea trains and playing with Don Quixote, his little catfish. He was starting to talk and was adding new words every day to his favorites of “ball,” “Mom and “Dad.” He was tidy and didn’t like to be sticky or too sandy. He had a sea cowboy hat that he loved and pair of little squirt guns that he wore in a holster. The popgun Shell had given him for Christmas was a favorite of his and you could often hear “pop, pop, pop,” telling you that he was coming down the hall of his sand castle.  He loved listening to stories of the wild western sea, about the brave sea cowboys and merpioneers that settled the wilderness.

            One beautiful sea foam green day, when the water was calm and the sun shining, Abalone took Pearl, Sandy and Brine to a seahorse ranch to explore, feed animals and ride seahorses. Brine would get to be a real sea cowboy!  He wore his hat and Mom strapped on his holster, even though he was small and it kept sliding off. She packed them a picnic lunch and they got into their merstation wagon and sailed off for an adventure. Shell and Sandy really looked forward to adventures, they loved learning new things, seeing new places and having new experiences. Going with dad to a ranch to visit animals and ride seahorses would be a great adventure!

            When they arrived at the ranch, they saw corals filled with frisky seahorses with names like Trudy and Sparky. There were sea turtles that you could pet and horseshoe crabs (in from the east) galloping around their coral.  The plants at the ranch were different than the ones at home in Coralsbed. They looked wilder and spikier. There were tumble seaweeds and the merchildren had to be careful of the urchins. Shell kept an eye out for sea snakes. She did not like sea snakes at all. Fortunately there didn’t seem to be any around. Dad gave each child a sand dollar to buy a bag of seafood to feed the animals. While they were at the feed store, another adventure was beginning right outside. A merwagon filled with cameras and a crew had arrived to film a television program that day at the ranch. A friendly merman in a convertible merwagon, drove up; he was Slim Barnyard, the star of the show.

            Slim saw Abalone and his three cute merchildren and asked if they could be sea stars that day on his television show “The Happy Merwanderer.” Shell had wanted to be a sea star since she saw some of her friends on a children’s show on t.v. when they lived in the City of Angelfish.

            Abalone agreed and the children were instructed to just be themselves. Soon, in the excitement of visiting the ranch, they forgot all about the film crew. They fed the turtles sea grass and patted sheeps head fish. They listened to the parrotfish squawk and saw beautiful peacock mantis shrimp.

            Then they got in line for the seahorse rides and Shell, Sandy and Brine got to ride the seahorses twice. Shell rode on Trudy and they instantly became friends. As the seahorses swam around the corals, the merchildren felt like real sea cowboys. They enjoyed their picnic on that sea foam green day and had a wonderful adventure with their Dad.

            The next weekend the merchildren wanted to go back to the ranch, but Dad said when they finished their work, they could go to Coralsbed’s Holiday Park instead. Not quite as cool, but the park was fun too and they were happy with that idea. Brine liked to swing and slide and dig in the sand with his little shovel and pail. Sandy and Shell liked to ride the mermaid-go-round until they got quite dizzy and swam a little crooked for a while (until their heads stopped spinning.) They played the alphabet game while they swung high in the water. “An A is for anchors all around,” they chanted as they pumped their tails and swung higher and higher still. “B is for bursting bub, bub, bubbles!” They were repeating their version of one of their favorite children’s book alphabets, “Anchors all Around,” by Maurice Sailback.

“C for catching crabs and D for dancing dolphins,

E is for entertaining eels and F is for flipping fishies.”

They sang on…

“G is giggling ghost crabs and H is having hooks,

I’s an island adventures and J is jellyfish jokes”

“K is king mackerel and L is a lobster”

“M is a mussel and N is a nautilus.”

“O is an octopus, P is for pearl,

Q is a queen conch and R; a reef coral.”

“S is for Sandy and Shell and seaweed,

T is for twirling tails down in the deep.”

“U is for urchins and V for volcano.” 

“W makes windy waves where X marks the spot,

Y’s a yellow seahorse and Z, a zephyr hot.”

            Sandy was excited to know all of her mermade ABC’s and was just beginning to read. She could write her name in the sand and play tic tac toe too. After a while, Brine noticed that his mersisters were on the swings and he was by himself in the sandbox. He swam over to the swing set, but all of the swings were full. Shell saw her brother off by himself and called him over to sit on her lap. He was very happy. They swung together, higher and higher. Brine loved to feel the rush of the water. Sandy and Shell sang the alphabet song again and Brine joined in when there was a word he knew. When they tired of swinging, they swam over to the water slide and swam up to the top. Now you would think that mermades would just float, but for some magical reason, they are able to slide on waterslides. Brine squealed with joy as they rushed down the slide. Then Sandy took him to the top of the slide and Shell waited at the bottom for her brother. Brine was having such a good time. Mom was happy to see her merchildren playing together nicely.

            Off in the distance, they heard the sound of tinkling bells. The children stopped to listen. The shave iceberg truck was coming! Maybe their parents would buy them a treat. They swam quickly to Dad who was sitting on a bench reading a merspaper. Yes, he had heard the music. (It was a good thing that Sandy and Shell had cheerfully pulled seaweeds in the garden that day and had helped polish the merstation wagon because Dad was feeling generous.) He said they could buy a shave iceberg treat! The family swam over to the side of the lane where the truck was heading. The driver saw them and stopped.  Mom held Brine up so he could see the pictures of treats on the side of the truck, he pointed to an ocean cherry-flavored cone. Sandy wanted a bubble-gum iceberg-cream cone and Shell looked for a root beer icicle, her super-favorite flavor. There it was! Mom and Dad ordered frosty treats and Dad paid for everything. They thanked the shave-iceberg man and swam back to the shady sea grass area to enjoy their icicles and iceberg cream.

            That night, back at their sandcastle after they had enjoyed dinner and were ready for seabed, the Planktons watched a television show featuring three little merchildren at a ranch riding seahorses and  feeding turtles and they laughed as they watched little Brine pulling up his holster as he swam off into the sunset. Happy sea trails! 

            Here is the mermade alphabet, see if you can tell the secret to remembering the letters. Can you use these letters to write your name or a secret message? Maybe you would like to invent your own secret alphabet – have fun!