Artist with a Magical Touch
The Mermaid and the Sock of Dave
This is a very strange tale.
In fact it is a very fishy tale.
As with all my stories and poems I saw this all happen in my mind so just wrote about what I was seeing and hearing.
Many years after writing this I was working in a town called Girvan in Scotland for the very first time.
Oh boy! It was the place I had seen in my story. There was the house from the story, there was the clock tower,
there was the sea wall just as I had seen it. Even the people I met reminded me of those in my story.
This may be a long read but I guarantee that it will make you laugh.
I have always envisaged this made into a film.
I even began writing the script.
© Birdy Heywood 2001
THE SOCK OF DAVE
Half awake I stumbled, down the dirty dusty, stair.
Bits of fluff stuck to my feet, cobwebs to my hair.
It was really quite disgusting. I tried hard not to see.
Walked into the kitchen to make a mug of tea.
I turned towards the cupboard if you could call it that.
The door hung off its hinges, the shelf was smeared with fat.
Piles of dirty dishes towered in the sink.
A bottle full of sour milk had just begun to stink.
“What a blooming mess!” I cried. “Surely he is able,
To do a little washing up, at least to clear the table.
He says he is a writer and hasn’t got the time.
He’d rather read, write stories or a silly little rhyme.”
My appetite it vanished I was quite disgusted.
Had not hoped to find it, spotless, clean and dusted.
Just a sultry tea bag, cup, or sorry letter,
Would’ve been enough to make me feel a little better.
I’d rung him on his mobile, to meet me at the station.
Grinned from ear to ear in sweet anticipation.
Struggling with my heavy bags, I stepped down from the train.
But could not see his face, he’d forgotten me again!
“Oh Dave you are so useless.” I struggled through the gate.
Stopped to catch my breath, arrived home tired and late.
All was dark and silent, I searched round for a letter.
Thought maybe a sleep would make me feel a little better.
Now here I stood next morning and still no sign of him.
I’d been away for weeks and ached from limb to limb.
I thought he’d be excited that I was coming home.
Instead I stood here seething, dejected and alone.
“Just get out of here,” I thought starting up the stair.
“Walk towards the sea and clear the cobwebs from your hair.”
I rummaged through my drawers looking for some socks.
Respect for lazy, dirty, Dave had hit on jagged rocks.
Tears of shear frustration trickled down my face.
“Find some socks,” I stuttered, “then leave this sorry place.”
Dave’s purple socks with holes in lay upon the floor.
Hurriedly I put them on and rushed towards the door.
I tripped upon a book, stubbing my big toe.
“I must away,” I cried in pain. “It’s time for me to go.”
How to catch a Mermaid was the title of the book.
One of David’s latest. I cast it forth and shook.
“What a load of nonsense, on this he spends his hours.
Doesn’t even notice me and never buys me flowers.”
I slammed the door quite loudly and walked towards the gate.
Stamped my feet in anger and rushed towards my fate.
The road that led towards the sea, my final destination,
Took me past the broken clock and then the railway station.
That is when I saw him dressed in brand new clothes,
Waiting for an inward train, in his hand a rose.
My first thought was to hit him, the rotten little cheat.
Waiting for some woman, dressed all clean and neat.
But reason got the better, I turned and limped away.
My heart and toe were aching, that sad and fateful day.
The fresh sea air dried my tears. I’d nothing left to lose.
Time to start a brand new life, take off my socks and shoes.
I walked towards the seashore and chose a comfy rock,
Picked a pebble that was round then stuffed it in a sock.
Walking was quite painful so I just had to sit,
Relaxed upon my chosen rock and breathed a little bit.
Closed my eyes breathed steadily, tried to feel at peace,
Hoping that the seashore sounds would grant me some release.
I longed for understanding, for someone to agree,
Dave the nasty, lying cheat was not the man for me.
I wondered how he’d met this brazen little hussy.
Dave he was the mouse at play and me the poor old pussy!
Thus I sat there muddled, thoughts like worms entwined.
An eerie voice like water soothed my troubled mind.
“Here the shingle move about, the seagulls high above.”
“Let go all your worries and fill your heart with love.”
“It’s as you wish dear human, stand upon the rock.
Clasp rounded pebble to your heart and hand to me the sock.”
The purple sock with holes in, up to the sky she held.
Chanted in some ancient tongue, “Let it be done!” she yelled.
I goggled at the Mermaid and could not take it in.
She had no tail, instead were legs, hairy, white and thin.
Her feet were quite enormous, as she walked towards the shore.
This was getting scary. I could not take much more.
“What’s happened to my spell,” I said. “You did not fulfill,
Anything for me at all, in fact I feel quite ill.”
“Please lend to me your sweater, its warm and very long.”
I gave it her without a word. The Mermaid put it on.
“Go home human and be sure, your wishes have been granted.
You’ll soon see for certain, the seeds that I have planted.
Its up to you,” she called to me, turned and walked away.
I rubbed my eyes and knew it was, quite the strangest day.
Deciding that the best thing was to go back home and pack.
Thoughts of Dave that morning started flooding back.
Who was it he had waited for, to greet with one red rose?
That lying cheat, I longed so much, to punch him on the nose.
Had the spell really worked? I fumbled for the lock.
Something dropped onto the ground, David’s purple sock.
I pictured that the sock was him, kicked it really hard.
Away it flew and landed, in the next door neighbour’s yard.
I walked in through the front door, ready for a fight.
But somehow things looked different, it didn’t feel quite right.
Upon the table in the hall, was a wilted, bright red rose.
I slowly walked towards it and crumpled up my nose.
That’s what I do if I’m confused, who was it really for?
I read the note beside it, then lent upon the door.
It read he’d come to meet me, but I had not been there.
He had things to tell me he couldn’t wait to share.
On the kitchen table, was a crisp, clean ironed cloth,
Candles flickered brightly, around them flew a moth.
Mouth agape and trembling heart, I slowly sauntered in.
Champagne on ice stood cooling, in a tall green biscuit tin.
“Dave,” I called in panic, my voice was very shaken.
How could I be so wrong and horribly mistaken?
Had the Mermaid kept her word and cast a magic spell?
Until I spoke to Dave, I couldn’t really tell.
I called again much louder, and rushed towards the hall.
Where is he now? I wondered and then I heard him call.
“I’m here,” he answered angrily. “I’m in the bloody shower.
Can’t take much more, I’ve been here, for over half an hour!”
I rushed towards his angry voice, and opened up the door.
Stepped inside the bathroom and collapsed upon the floor.
From underneath the curtain, draped a large green fishy tail.
Realised just what I’d done, I poked it with my nail.
“Get out you nasty creature, and go back to the sea,”
“Ouch!” cried David. “Don’t do that, can’t you see it’s me?”
I peeped around the curtain and screamed at what I saw.
A Merman, with Dave’s face, sat on the shower floor.
“Oh Dave, my Dearest Darling, oh what have I done?
I didn’t really mean it, its me, I was the one.”
I kissed his face, all wet and cold, looked into his eyes.
It pained me to acknowledge, his gaze of sad surprise.
“How did this happen, tell me. Do you know more than I?”
He looked at me so puzzled, but what could I reply?
The damage that I’d done couldn’t have been worse.
My poor David smitten by a Mermaid’s curse.
I told him all about some things that really bothered me.
Arriving home to such a mess, and no hot cup of tea.
“I was sad and angry, couldn’t find clean clothes.
You didn’t some to meet me, I saw you with a rose.”
“Get to the point now will you. Where did I get this tail?”
He looked all hot and bothered and just a little pale.
“A Mermaid did it,” I explained, feeling rather silly.
“She’s got your long white hairy legs. She’s even got your willy!”
All fell silent for a bit, we’d lots to think about.
Make sense of this awful mess and try to sort it out.
The water from the shower flowed towards the door.
The first small indication, of what we had in store.
“I can’t stay here, that’s plain to see, I’m feeling rather hot.
The chlorine in the water will cause my tail to rot.
I need to journey to the beach, its there that I should be.
I have the constant longing to dip into the sea.
“We’ll have to get some help,” I said “You’re much too large to carry.
What we really need right now is someone with a lorry.”
It was then we both agreed, that no one else could know.
They’d find a merman perfect, for putting out on show.
So it was we started, to plan a course of action.
David was not destined, for show, or vivisection
We planned the finest detail, but had to wait till dark.
The safest route down to the beach was through the local park.
I fetched a ground sheet from the shed, the one we used for camp.
Decided that it best to keep him, really nice and damp.
With some flapping movements, he splashed across the rim.
I glanced out of the window, the light was growing dim.
The plan was really simple, to drag him to the door.
The ground sheet slid quite easily, on the wetted floor.
The stair, a different matter, dry and very dusty,
Sticking to his slimy tail it turned all brown and crusty.
There we sat and rested, at the bottom of the stair.
David kept quite busy, removing all the hair.
In search for lubrication, I moved towards the sink.
Past the festive table, it made my poor heart sink.
Instead of celebrating the success of David’s story,
To drink champagne from glasses and revel in the glory.
I filled a jug and several bottles right up to the brim.
Walked into the hall and tipped them over him.
Not so dry, he smiled at me and said “You’re doing well.”
I wrinkled up my nose, he had a very fishy smell.
“Go and fetch the pram,” he said “Its time we were away.
Or it will soon be morning, you know I cannot stay.”
Lifting Dave up off the floor, wasn’t very nice.
He was so darned heavy and I dropped him only twice.
I lay the sheet around him and pushed him through the gate,
But leant against a lamppost was Dave’s old drunken mate!
“Whatyer got in der?” Slurred Rob, his breath it reeked of brandy.
If he could help me push I thought, that it would be quite handy.
I bribed him with a treat, said “this is contraband.”
I’d let him have some if he would, lend me a helping hand.
It did not take me very long, for me to see my error.
He tugged the sheet away and screamed in utter terror.
Lights went on and curtains twitched. Rob began to wail.
Dave saved the situation and flicked him with his tail.
He flew quite high and came to land, on Mrs. Trotter’s lawn.
Dave cried,” you must go faster, its very nearly dawn.”
I had to keep on stopping, to push his tail back in.
Dragging on the ground, it was wearing rather thin.
Oh what luck the tide was in, no need for me to push,
The pram across the pebbles and piles on dirty slush.
Pulling back the ground sheet, I looked into his eyes.
“We have to say goodbye now, your tails attracting flies.”
The tide was in, the water, came right up to the wall.
I tipped the pram on its side and Dave began to fall.
He landed with a splash, then gave a little wave.
A speck on the horizon was my friend Dave!
One day when the time is right I will create a sequel.