Life as a Twenty-Something Mermaid in Vancouver

by Emily Deibert

Look, it wasn’t like Kalani had planned on becoming one of those sewer mermaids. But she couldn’t just live with her parents forever, and by the time she moved out, the prices of lake-view properties had positively sea-rocketed. As for oceanside rentals? Ha! Forget about it. Besides, the place looked cute enough in the photos the realtor sent her, and sewer-chic was kind of in right now anyways.

Open-concept drain pipe with tunnel access to the ocean, the ad read. Partially-exposed sewer grate with 24/7 view of the sky.

She told the realtor to book her in for a tour and then hopped on the next current flowing out to the city.

The previous owner’s decor left a lot to be desired, but it wasn’t anything that a few strings of kelp and some ornamental shells couldn’t fix. As for the smell—well, it made Kalani gag, but she knew a mermaid from high school who sold seaweed-scented oils now and could hook Kalani up with a discount if she referred five new customers.

“The neighbourhood’s really up-and-coming,” the realtor told her. “They’re installing a subway line right above this pipe.”

It wasn’t perfect, but it was either this or a manmade pond out in the suburbs.

“Okay,” said Kalani. “I’ll take it.”

And if she closed her eyes, she could almost pretend that the sewage gushing by above her was really the sound of waves blowing in off the ocean. 


© Copyright Emily Deibert

Emily Deibert is a writer and astronomer from Toronto, Canada. When she isn’t busy studying other worlds in our galaxy for her thesis, she spends her time dreaming up new worlds for her short stories. You can find her on Twitter @emilydeibert.


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