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.
Read the Rest of the June Issue
- Proud of This Ship by Julia Rios
- Mermama by Mimi Silverstein
- La Voce to Me by Jennifer Lee Rossman
- Treasure by Inkshark
- Not the Brightest Starfish in the Sea by Rod M. Santos
- Mercouple by Mimi Silverstein
- Shoretune by Brandon O’Brien
- At the Mouth of the Sea by Tamara Jerée
- Queer As the Sea by Sarah Peploe
- Un/Reliable: Reflections in the Drowning Girl by Jordan Kurella
- 3 Mers on a Rock by Kala Tye
- Life as a Twenty Something Mermaid in Vancouver by Emily Deibert
- Gull by Inkshark
- Mergays by Elizabeth Burch-Hudson
- our translucent bodies by Devin Miller
- Hippocampus Zosterae by David Mohan
- Dissolution by Emily Deibert and Inkshark
- Riparian by Seanan McGuire
- Merfriends by Mimi Silverstein