Friday, 9 October 2009

MULTIPLY Wordsmiths Writing Challenge #6: Evolution


That is one of the problems being sort of half fish, half human. You just do not know where you really belong. Mum and dad told me it was all in the name of science.

“Penny, what are you saying, I only did it for your own good. At the time when you were a baby it was the best idea your father said. Think of how many children were never lucky enough to learn how to swim properly.”

“Yes mum, but no-one asked me. You just threw me into deep water and let me get on with it.”

And that really was the way it all began. I was just a happy baby, drinking regularly, smiling to please everyone, but mum insisted and before I could say no, she was taking me to the swimming pool every week.

“Penny you were really the best in the group.”

Of course I was the best in the group, the other babies could not breathe the water as well as I could. The first examinations showed that my lungs were changing, I could actually breathe in water or air and it made no difference. It was perhaps the webs that started growing between my toes and fingers that looked a bit strange. I suppose I could have been a champion swimming for our country in the Olympic games, but because of my physical differences I was banned from the beginning; something about having unfair advantages.

“Penny, listen to your father. We scientists call that evolution, the changing of the species and it was working so well with you. Look at you today you can take a walk in water or in air, it makes no difference.”

Now that is easy for a father to say, who also happens to be a marine biologist and just had to try out his ideas on me; so just tell me mum and dad, how am I going to find a normal boy, get married and settle down, when I look like a fish out of water on land, and a human out of land when under water.

“Penny you have so many advantages.”

That was mum and dad talking together. The only advantage I can see is that if I happen to fall into the sea, I can walk back to the shore, or if I live somewhere where floods occur I will survive. Of course, there are perhaps a few things to treasure. Diving for a pearl now and again has made mum and dad quite wealthy.

I am now 25 years old and have never been kissed. The boys avoid me, and at school I was called fishy by everyone. I remember I quite took a like to Jeremy in the class, but when we had swimming lessons and I decided to dive in at the deep end with him, he was very unhappy when I wanted to stay under water with him. He said he almost suffocated and whether I was mad.

“What did you say dad, you want me to meet someone. His name is Neptune and he comes from another part of the world where they have also been using the same programme?”

I suppose I will do them the favour of meeting him, who knows. Perhaps we might be able to breed a couple of mermaids together. The things you do for scientific research these days.

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