The papers still run wild on the anniversary of our disappearance. We’ve gone down in the societal consciousness, like Marilyn Monroe. JFK. Jimmy Hoffa. I always want to link us to Bonnie and Clyde, but everybody knows what happened to them. No mystery there. It really was something when it started. Isn’t it always?
The moon was only just setting, the sky overrun with streaks of pink and coral, when I took a breath of air. It wasn’t my first, but I hadn’t been this close to shore before. It felt dangerous and my heart surged. There were no waves, the water was absolutely still. I could see him, with perfect clarity, standing naked on shore. I’d never seen a human so close, and a human had never spotted me.
His chest was broad, muscles well-defined. His hair shown gold in the growing light. When he waved to me my heart nearly stopped. What could I do but wave back? He jumped into the water and swam out to where I was. When he spoke I couldn’t understand, but later I recalled it was something like: “Hi, I’m Jason. Fuck you’re hot,” and then he kissed me full on the mouth.
Any normal person would have been disturbed to finger a fish, but he was so high I don’t think he noticed. There was a moment when my tail twined about his leg that made him shudder, but he only kissed me harder and pressed his hot dick to my cool flesh.
He pulled me back to shore, carried me over the sand up to his beach house. By that time I was head over tail and I’d have followed him anywhere. Trading fins for feet was as effortless as changing clothes.
We didn’t leave the beach house for days. Food came and went, scripts piled up. Day after day, Jason pulled me back into bed. The fact that I couldn’t speak English was a turn on. His goal became to bring out some new sound from my throat—movies be damned.
It turned into a huge scandal, but Jason didn’t care. Tabloids had me pegged as some gold digger who’d broken up America’s Sweethearts—Jason was married at the time. The two of them had had quite the public courtship. He was a mid-level actor, but voted the sexiest man in America, and she was the star of their relationship. She’d won an Oscar for portraying a victim of molestation at the age of fourteen and had gone onto many other controversial roles. Though she always kept her interviews cute and her clothes sweet. She’d been known to sport blond pigtails at the grocery store and at her most recent sit down with The Tonight Show she’d mentioned interest in starting a family—cornflower blue eyes positively sparkling with excitement.
I picked up English rapidly, or American really. Though I still speak it with a vaguely German accent. I wanted to cut my hair after discovering television, but Jason wouldn’t hear of it. He began calling me Madison as a joke and he’d say—“Fuck no Madi. Fuck no.”
My hair was long, though not insanely so. It fell down to the middle of my back—so blond it was almost white. Neither curly nor straight. Everything about me was pale until Jason turned me onto sunless tanning. My skin was translucent, with exotic lavendar veins. My eyes dove gray, like fog, were nearsighted when the sun got too hot and too high.
Our thirtieth morning together changed our lives. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I had played coy. It was early, and we were still awake from the night before—though the alcohol had worn off. Before dawn I’d gone for a swim. I came back with chains of pearls wrapped around my neck—streaming through my hair. Jason went wild. “Where the fuck did you get these? They’re amazing! These are the biggest pearls I’ve ever seen! Fuck, Madi! Holy fuck!” Before long he had to smoke some weed to calm down.
Is that when he changed? Or no, I suppose not. That’s when he began to show who he really was. He was just so excited. For weeks he had me dive again and again, bringing up Spanish pieces of eight, gold doubloons, and of course pearls. He started his own company, I was his partner, and he gave up acting to bring jewelry to the stars. (And of course to the black market.) Money rolled in like the tide.
We got in trouble a few times, permits and questions about where the treasure was coming from, not to mention tax issues. Jason made a sizable donation to the police department and their investigation ended rather quickly. Although the IRS was still a problem. Still, it wasn’t long before we’d been befriended by senators and the like. Jason was shady, but I always got my fair share. That’s one thing you could say about him.
Jason was a selfish greedy bastard and that’s half the reason I loved him. The way I grew up, it was all about the pod. Like with whales you know. No property, no personal space, no boundaries to speak of. The open ocean is lovely, but it’s not the same as having a personal masseur who kneads the kinks out of your baby toes each morning. I went to land because Jason was handsome. But don’t kid yourself, I stayed because I liked the lifestyle I quickly grew accustomed to.
The only problem was sun exposure, I’m not sure what else to blame. Jason had never had a problem being loyal. He may have loved money and himself more than me, who doesn’t? But I was without a doubt ranked third. He gave me anything I wanted and took me everywhere with him. We were never apart. He’d wait for me on the beach while I dove, even if it took hours. He didn’t care. He even learned to scuba dive and we did shallow dives together for a few years any time he took a vacation. I never brought him with me treasure hunting though. I wasn’t stupid. If he could have cut out the middle man, I’d have been toast. I also never changed back. Once became human, I swam and dove like one. It was limiting, but Jason was no longer aroused by the exoticism of it all. He wanted to be with someone normal. Well, normal and rich.
Still, he was always faithful to me. He was so faithful there were a few times I almost wished he’d find another woman. Diving and fucking, fucking and diving. Wears a girl out. Though, it’s not like I could really complain. The sex was always good, even if over the years Jason wasn’t quite as giving as when we’d first met. It wasn’t as though I couldn’t give myself a hand. And I did.
He was always faithful until he wasn’t. Again, I blame the sun. I tried all kinds of sunscreens, even wore long clothes outside. Once I realized what was happening. But in ten years I aged twenty. It was a hell of a thing. It wasn’t like I’d had horrible burns, so I never really thought about it. Neither did Jason. But don’t think the tabloids didn’t notice.
Sure I had some plastic surgery, but if you do too much of that you start to look like an alien. That wasn’t for me. For the most part I just wore more make up. Jason didn’t say anything. But most of all, he didn’t say he didn’t care. I sort of expected him to at least pretend he still thought I was beautiful. Bastard.
That last night I caught him in bed with a nineteen year old actress. Which I might have been able to overlook, except that she’d bleached her hair out to look like mine and was wearing one of my negligees. It was the creepiest thing I ever saw. When he realized he’d been caught, he didn’t even have the decency to be embarrassed, “Get out of here you ugly old cunt,” he said. And they both laughed. I got my scuba tank and knocked them both unconscious. Then I took them out on the boat.
We went way out. Far past U.S. waters. We were halfway to Cuba before Jason woke up. The whore he’d been fucking never did. Serves her right. Jason though, he always did have a thick skull.
When he realized what happened he started screaming. The woman was pretty bloody after all. But Jason was tied up, and I just kept steering straight ahead. When we got far enough out I attached the motherload to Jason’s chains. Small minded man hadn’t realized I’d been holding out on him. The pearl I’d found was huge. I had to roll it on a ramp, harnessed, to get it out of the hold. It was probably the size of a large dog. It weighed a ton—metaphorically speaking. I had drilled it and attached a large metal link, I’d planned on a display piece. Kind of a joke, the old ball and chain.
Jason watched the whole time. At first confused, and then, as it dawned on him what I was doing, his pleas grew more and more desperate. But it was too late. He’d crossed the only line there ever was. He had to face the consequences like a man.
I attached the pearl to a chain which I threaded around his waist. It was tight, I didn’t want it falling off. Then, without an ounce of regret, I threw him overboard.
He sank like a stone. And I’ve never felt more satisfaction. Not even in bed.
I couldn’t just go back home, of course. Now that would have been something to regret. Spurned wife returns home on bloody boat? I don’t think so. No, I had to go back to the ocean for a while. It wasn’t a terrible hardship. Not very glamorous but, after all, it was my home.
I didn’t think Jason would be so gutless, but I had planned for this eventuality anyway. For years I worked with my accountants to hide assets and make everything accessible from Costa Rica. Even were I to be declared dead, I had three secret pseudonyms with full access to my accounts. I waited an appropriate amount of time, before I rejoined the land of the living. Then it was just so easy, it was almost sick. Oh, there was one more thing. Something about living under the sea, I don’t know what it is, but it’s completely amazing for the skin. I walked out of the water a whole new woman.