Bradenton, FL: Captian James Nelson has been on a single minded quest since viewing "Mermaid: the New Evidence."
"I want to be the first known human to have intercourse with a mermaid. I don’t know much about anatomy, but if it’s got a working vagina, and it’s of legal drinking age, I'm having sex with it. I'll wine and dine her of course. I'm a true gentleman of the sea."
It's high tide on the Florida coast. The wind is bearing down on the shoreline, making the gulf water beat violently against the hull of a small, weather worn fishing boat. The years at sea have nearly rotted out the hull of the small ship. Captain James Nelson is on the deck, preparing for the long voyage ahead, making sure the onboard engine has enough fuel to make it to the next port.
“This goddamn hurricane isn’t going to keep me away from these goddamn mermaids,” he says to his shipmate as he drinks a swig of dark rum. The shipmate shakes his head and walks below deck, visibly annoyed.
The man has reason to be concerned. Leaving the harbor is not a safe. The Coast Guard has issued warnings about the turbulent waters. The wise move would be to keep the boat secured at bay. But Nelson is a veteran seaman, a rugged relic of the cutthroat fishing age. He looks and acts the part of a well traveled sea captain. His long, grey beard has grown past his chest. It smells of rum and whiskey. The skin around his eyes is lined with deep, leathery wrinkles. He could be just another piece of equipment on the deck of the old boat. Too him, warnings are just guidelines.
"He watched that stupid show and believed the whole thing,” said the deckhand. “At first, I didn’t have the heart to tell the old man that it was all fake. I thought maybe he was going a bit senile or crazy or something. I was just having a good time messing with him about it. I didn’t think he’d go on some wild, perverted, Captain Ahab fishing rampage across 3 oceans. Now that bastard is taking us into a hurricane. I had no idea he was this big of a pervert. Now there’s no talking him out of it. He says the TV doesn’t lie. I’d believe more of what I read on this website than what I see on television.”
Nelson fastens a slip knot to stabilize the sail, hoping to beat the storm. He's bracing himself against the keel as the boat rocks with the waves. He starts to whistle.
"I know what you're saying. This could turn out to be my undoing. I read ‘Moby Dick.’ The sea has dragged many a men into the icy abyss. I lost my best mate about 12 years back when a giant wave swallowed him whole. It’s an unforgiving graveyard.
“But I’ve also seen the ‘Little Mermaid.’ So I’ll take my chances.”