The day the Mermaids clean their home !
Ellia and her sea companion, an octopus named Oswald were swimming through the Baltic Sea on one of their daily trips of visiting the “Upper” they like to call. The upper is where the sand follows out past the sea, and broken and some unbroken sea shells lie. There are twigs and leaves, seaweed and the occasional poor jellyfish that needs to go back into the water. Surrounding the sands are beachfront homes that range from grand to quaint, designed in a Scandinavian architectural style with sleek wood or stone. These homes all have a deck that the homeowners like to stand or sit on to enjoy the ocean view. The upper is up there, upstairs, above where Ellia and Oswald live below. It’s the beach, it’s the rest of the world.
“Where are we going today Ellia?” Oswald asks Ellia. It is interesting that Oswald decided to become Ellia’s sea companion because he is an Octopus, and his kind prefer to be alone. But he found out that so does his mermaid friend, and together they like to go on adventures and see how far away they can go.
“I heard a school of herring talking about a boat they saw not that far from here, that’s where we’re going.” Ellia answers, her vibrant green tail swimming out from beneath.
“I see, and we’ll be trying not to get caught by these humans, yes?”
“That much is obvious, I’d just like to see what they get up to.”
“Me too.” The intelligent creature nods. His curious expression turns into a sour grimace, and his beak puckers up in distaste as the two swim past a plastic bag.
Ellia looks down at the sea ground below to see what lays are many plastic bottles and cans and beer bottles and broken lids and plastic cutlery and even lost swim trunks.
She emits a jaded sigh and turns to her friend, “When will this stop?”
“I don’t know. But it’s been happening before you were even born.”
The mermaid and octopus were close to reaching the surface of the sea, Ellia’s tail scales flaring out as the water becomes warm.
“We’re here.” Ellia whispers, although the people on the boat will never hear anything she or any sea creature will say.
“It’s just two fisherman on a small boat.” Oswald observes.
The two pop their heads above the water to listen more closely as to what the two men are saying.
“What a shame what is happening to our waters.” The man closest to them grunts. He was wearing a yellow hat and matching rubber boots, and had an impressive beard.
“Its us humans and our laxity that caused this. The rising sea levels from global warming, all the plastic crap that we have lying around everywhere. Why can’t humans just put their rubbish in the goddamn bins?” His friend bellows passionately.
He continues, “Did you know what I read the other day?”
“I read that more than 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year. Every year, Bill!”
“That is terribl-“
“And what’s worse is 100,000 sea animals die every year because they get tangled up in rubbish we threw down there.”
“Well what can we do about it, Marley?”
“We can try to do our best. Each and every one of us can but, at the end of the day we’ve got those big corporations pumping out, churning plastic every day into stores, into our homes. Running shoes, t-shirt of the week, kids toy of the month, plastic that contains our hot food we just bought from the Seafood market, plastic that covers our foods, plastic that holds our foods, that ketchup you were just using. What can we do indeed?”
“Well for one,” Bill thinks for a minute, “We can bring our own cutlery and sauces. We can recycle, use less water and energy and—”
Bill reels in the fish he had just caught, and unhooks it from the mouth and releases it. “We can fish sustainably.”
Ellia turns to Oswald with a small smile, “Well some people seem to care.”
Oswald shrugs his tentacles, “If only they all did.”
The pair turn to swim back to their home, Ellia feeling a bit brighter in spirits than when she left for her little adventure earlier today.
Suddenly Ellia hears a loud screech, “Ellia look!” Oswald calls out panicked. Ellia follows the direction of where his tentacle is pointing and sees a sea turtle being suffocated by a plastic bag.
The mermaid swam as fast as she could to the poor choking sea turtle.
“Ugh!” She quickly removes the plastic of the creatures face.
“T-thank you!” The sea turtle splutters out, trying to regain his breath. “I was just going along, minding my own business when I see what I think is a delicious jelly fish. But it was not!” The turtleneck shakes his head.
“Thank you again.” And he swims off.
Ellia turns to Oswald in a huff, “I have had enough of this! That’s the third sea turtle I have saved this week!” Oswald gives a solemn nod.
Ellia and Oswald wait at the centre of Mermatlantalis as they wait for the other mermaids to arrive.
“Thank you everyone for coming here on short notice. Earlier today I saved a sea turtle who was suffocating on a plastic bag! Who else notices how dirty our ocean floors have gotten? We have rubbish everywhere!”
The mermaids all nod and echo the same sentiments as Ellia.
“Well what should we do?” One mermaid calls out.
“Right, that’s why I’ve called you all here,” Ellia pauses, “I suggest we should all clean up our ocean!”
Murmurs spread across the crowd, “Clean up?” “Why should we clean up after those humans who have spoiled our home?”
Ellia turns to the merman who asked this, “Because it’s our home. And it’s their home too. Not every human being is like this!” Ellia waves her hand over the random plastic bottles, and cans and debris.
The mermaids start to talk amongst themselves, and then one of them speaks. “We agree with you, and we want to help. I’m sick of every time I go on my morning freestyle I just see a random plastic bag floating past me! I miss the colour of our bright coral!”
“Yeah I miss doing my seaweed masks! It’s all rotten!” Another mermaid calls out.
‘So it’s decided.” Ellia announced, with an excited twinkle in her eye. “We’re going to clean our ocean up.”
The mermaids (and Oswald) didn’t waste any time to get started on cleaning up. With their nets they handcrafted, they start to fill them up with all of the rubbish.
Ellia glances over as Oswald with a smile, “Isn’t this nice? We’re making a difference.”
“I think we are.” The intelligent little octopus answers.
Barry White is an accountant that works at home since the Covid-19 lockdown. He owns a beachfront property and enjoys having his coffee in the mornings out on the deck as he enjoys the ocean view, the sound of the waves hitting one another and the gawk of the seagulls.
That morning, like every other, Barry walks out on his deck, cupping his coffee (all black, no sugar) in his hands. Still half sleepy, the accountant lets out a loud yawn that turns into a startled gasp. His hooded eyes open wide in shock, all across the sand scape of the Beach are netted bags and bags full of rubbish.
“What on earth is going on?” Barry half yells, half exclaims out loud.
Overnight, the mermaids cleared all the trash and put them in refused nets they had in their homes.
“How can this all happen over night?” Barry asks on the phone, not hesitating to call the local council to figure out what happened to the beach, and his morning view.
Shortly after the call, a man from the local council was dispatched, and along with Barry they walk down to the beach.
The council man, who is short and sturdy looking, peers down at a rock nearby one of the rubbish nets. There he finds a little note stuck there with a starfish and it says,
“Please keep YOUR rubbish out of our sea! We live here too!”
The councilman’s eyes widen and he shares the note with Barry. Barry shakes his head in disbelief and along with the councilman, he stares out at the sea, squinting with his hand on his brow to block out the morning sun.
Ellia and Oswald pop their heads up of the water and smile.
“Maybe they’ll have got the message and stop polluting now.” Ellia says hopefully
Oswald looks over to his younger friend whom he feels like is a little sister, “Perhaps they will.”