Ask Madison

Curing the Ick


Dear Madison,

How do you treat Ick? I’ve spent a lot of time in fresh water lately and it has left me with these white spots below the waist.

Please hurry!

Feeling Icky


Dear Icky

                The Ick is caused by a free swimming ciliated protozoan called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. The disease itself is known as ichthyophthiriasis and can show up in marine environments as well as fresh water. The most common causes are stress and diet which depresses the efficiency of our immune systems.

                While an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, you can help things along by getting rid of all the stress in your life. Bab’s Cut & Curl offers spa-packages and a day of pampering will work wonders, leaving you mellow and relaxed.

                Diet is equally important and reducing, or eliminating, junk food from your daily fare is a must. Stick to our traditional foods like sushi and kelp. Even though there are a variety of different kelps, it can nonetheless be a monotonous diet. Try and spice things up by using different sauces.

                Our newest resident, Peter Macpherson, has come up with a kelp sauce that is quite tasty. The recipe appeared in The Chronicle several months ago and I’ll ask Maureen to reprint it in the next issue.

                Finally, spend as much time as possible in warm water – the warmer, the better.

                Good luck!


Love on the Mainland


Dear Madison,

I am a Junior in High School. I met the cutest boy from the mainland. He’s really cool and really gorgeous and I’m head over fins in love with him. I think that he just may be THE ONE. Should I tell my parents or not? What do you think I should do?

Young Love


Dear Young,

The first thing you should do is find some cold water to swim in. While he just may be the one you want for a mate, it’s still early to be making your choice and don’t try to argue that feral mermaids choose mates as early as the age of 14. They live under different circumstances than we do here on the island.

Does this mainland boy even know you exist? If he does, is he aware of your background? Mainlanders don’t react well to such revelations at that age.

If he does know about you, what does he plan to do next? Will he join you here on the island or in the Royston enclave? Do you plan to relocate to the mainland in order to be with him?

Let’s assume that he knows about your background and he has decided to join us here on the island. How will he explain his new breakfast drink to his parents? What if his little sister decides to try the juice and likes it? How will he explain to his family that he’s going through some changes?

I know that I’ve asked a lot of questions here, but you need to get all the information you can before you can even think of choosing him. I am not disparaging island/mainland pairings – just look at Penelope Tench – but all too often, these things can end badly for the island girl if action is taken without careful thought.

He may indeed be your future mate and if that is the case, you the two of you can look forward to at least 150 years together. In the long swim, waiting a few years is merely a very brief pause in your quest for a mate. Simply take some time and get all the facts, first.


What to wear?


Dear Madison,

All the mermaids I know can talk of nothing else but the so-called wedding and what they’re going to wear that day. Do we have to wear anything? Does there even have to be a wedding? Why can’t they have an old-fashioned joining ceremony on the Private Beach and then everyone goes for a swim after its all over?

Old Fashioned


Dear Old,

A bit of history is in order here. Centuries ago when our ancestors lived in the sea full time, there was no such thing as a ‘joining ceremony’. The couple would simply go to their friends and family to announce they’d chosen each other as mates. There might be the additional step which was a sort of ceremonial adoption by each family of their child’s mate but that was the very most which could happen.

When we came ashore on Colony Island, mermaids had their first contact with human wedding customs and the joining ceremony was devised as a substitute. While it was better than nothing, most mermaids still longed for a wedding and some chose human mates in order to have one. This brought its own set of problems which I am loathe to discuss at this moment.

While human ceremonies are often just as simple as our joining ceremonies, there are plenty of couples who will put on their fanciest clothes for the occasion. Those family and friends who choose to celebrate this joyous event with them will also put on their best clothes as well, making sure not to outshine the bride and her mate. 

Since all Colony Island mermaids want a wedding of their own – you seem to be the only exception – it is easy to understand why your girlfriends are excited about the upcoming event and what they plan to wear. Since Colony Island’s Finest will be out in force that day, I suggest you wear something – anything – if you plan to attend.


The Bare Facts

Dear Madison,

I was on my way to the beach at the end of 12th Street, for an evening swim, when I was accosted by that horrid police officer. He threw a blanket over me and wrote me a ticket for a $25.00 fine.

Of all the nerve! What kind of town do we live in now days?

Put Out


Dear Out,

I don’t need a crystal ball or even a call to the Police Station to know that you were walking to the beach in your natural state.

While I, myself, am quite fond of my own natural state, Colony Island has ordinances prohibiting you, me, and the rest of the population from being enroute to or even on the beach without the appropriate attire. Such attire does not include your natural state.

The beach South of the harbour for a distance of around 3 miles is designated as a Public Beach. This means that anyone, including visitors from the mainland, can use the beach. What is more, mainlanders often wind up on our streets because they’re lost.

We are able to maintain our privacy and way of life by not drawing attention to ourselves. Unfortunately, residents in their natural state on either the streets or the public beach are a sure-fire way to advertise that we’re a bit different over here.

My advice to you is to go to City Hall and pay your fine. On the way back, you can pop into a shop and buy a bikini.


In A Quandary


Dear Madison,

I’m really starting to feel the urge to breed but have yet to find the merman of my dreams. I’m sure that he will swim along sooner or later but in the meantime, it gets harder to resist the call with each full moon.

Do you have any suggestions other than going to the far side of the reef and hailing a passing feral

Inna Quandary

Dear Inna,

While single mer-moms do not bear the stigma that mainland females often carry, this is nonetheless a big decision for you. Let’s review your options.

  1. Single motherhood is often the norm for feral mermaids even though it is less so here on Colony Island. In many respects life is less complicated in the sea than on land so unless you’re considering ‘going feral’ yourself, it may not be the best decision – especially if you want your mer-baby to have a formal education.
  2. There is always the possibility of choosing a mate of convenience. Not every merman – or mermaid, for that matter – wants to breed with the same mate for the rest of their lives. While again, this is more common in the sea than here on the island, there are, nonetheless, more than a few mermen willing to stay with a partner for just one breeding cycle. You do, of course, have the option to breed with him more than once if the two of you are especially compatible. You should remember, though, that feral mers will choose a mate as young as fourteen while 18 is usually the minimum here in town or in the Royston enclave. The four or more extra years can be a deal-breaker for some mermen.
  3. You can consider choosing a human as a mate. Since Penelope Tench brought her mate home to the island, I’ve heard of a number of mermaids – and mermen – who are willing to consider this option. Keep in mind that Penelope was extremely lucky – she and that boy were made for each other. You may not have the same sort of luck and cultivating a human as a mate may take a while. Can you put your urges on hold for the duration?
  4. Finally, you can always do a one-off with a human though this is not quite as easy as it sounds because you’re probably going to have to explain why your skin is so red. In addition, human males have become much more wary of providing reproductive services. Too many of them have been stuck with child support years after the event took place. Moreover, the human may develop an attachment to you and will want to see your mer-baby on a regular basis. It is his child too, after all. Will you be willing to allow him free access? How do you plan to explain just why it is his child has a tail?

These four are the top possibilities and you have a big decision ahead if you wish to breed sooner rather than later.

Good luck and please let me know your decision.


Silly Humans


Dear Madison,

The other evening, my daughter was doing some research on the internet for her class project at The Academy. I happened to be looking over her shoulder when she pulled up a drawing of a mermaid. The depiction had a very silly sort of tail but what was even more shocking was the artist had covered each breast with a starfish.

At first, I thought it was just some fool of an artist’s vision of what we really look like but the more I searched, the more pictures I found of mermaids with silly tails and starfish covering their – usually huge – breasts. These pictures are not only ridiculous, they’re insulting.

Just what is it with humans and breasts? It’s just a nipple, for Poseidon’s sake! I didn’t see starfish covering the nipples of mermen. Can you help explain these outlandish drawings?

Baffled by Humans

Dear Baffled,January 112

                I’m still trying to wrap my head around the mind-boggling approach mainlanders take concerning female breasts. I can understand the silly ideas about our tails because most of them have never seen a real live mermaid and we want to keep it that way. But breasts? Really?

                I put in a call to our resident expert on mainlanders, Peter MacPherson. While it did take him a little while to adjust to our rational attitude concerning our bodies – with or without our tails – he doesn’t understand why humans are like this, either. While we may be more like humans than we care to think, we are still oceans apart on some things.

                What makes this whole thing hilarious is that these artists don’t seem to understand anything about starfish, either. As you no doubt know, members of the class Aseroidia have their mouths on the underside of their central disc. This means that their mouths are attached to the mermaid’s . . . well, you get the idea.


Christmas: Threat or Menace?


Q: Dear Madison,

It has regretfully come to my attention that a certain household celebrated Christmas this year with garish lights on their house and, of all things, a Christmas tree. What is this island coming to??

It won’t be long before households from one end of Colony Island to the other will be doing this and the next thing you know, the residents will be acting more and more like – I shudder at the thought of it – humans. This will only encourage more humans will to come live among us, and pretend they’re Mer.

While it is flattering that humans want to emulate us, the reality is they can never truly become one of us, no matter how hard they may try. We need to nip all this in the bud before things go too far.

I am sure you will want to join my campaign to put an immediate halt to this nonsense and escort any and all humans who have tried to insinuate themselves, to the town limits. Once they are out of our sight, we can demolish that ridiculous little bridge and consider returning to the sea where we belong.


Samia Marinos

A: Dear Samia,

                You will, no doubt, be surprised to learn that Helen and Avery Johnson have celebrated Christmas ever since his arrival on the island. What’s more, their eldest son and his mate celebrate Christmas even though they are good Poseidonians like the rest of us. As I understand it, Avery’s family on the mainland was never much for decorating the outside of their houses for the holidays. Avery has so far followed suit though this may change in the coming years.

                I’ve had a chance to interview the mermaid of that certain household on 9th St. and she revealed what a wonderful time they all had. According to her, Christmas has helped bring her family even closer together. Both she and her mate consider themselves very fortunate that their daughter chose a human.

                We have had number of humans join us over the years and there are quite a few residents who thank Poseidon that Peter MacPherson has come to live with us.

                As for the Christmas lights, there is a small number of households who are considering lighting their homes next year and the trend will no doubt continue. Like it or not, these mainlanders are here to stay and I, for one, am thankful for that.


Valentines for Mermaids

BannerValentines for MermaidsDear Madison,

We recently moved to Royston because of my mate’s job. Nothing was available on the South side of town, where the Enclave is, so we had to settle for the far west end of Royston. Needless to say, we don’t have the carpool opportunities for the school run that you have in the Enclave area.

After much debate and many lectures, we decided to send our daughter to the county school starting the 1st of the year. She was adjusting quite well and fitting in with the 2nd grade children on the mainland, until today.
One of the little girls in her class gave her this card thing. Needless to say, she was very upset and so were my mate and I when she came home from school.

What is this? What does it mean? Have they found out about mer-folk? Is this some kind of threat or harassment? My mate wants us to put to sea, immediately. I like it here and don’t want to leave unless we have to. Please help! I don’t want my daughter to wind up in an exhibit at Sea World!

Frantic in Royston

Dear Frantic,

After consulting with the professors at the Colony Academy, I am happy to say you have nothing to worry about. According to Mrs. Herring, they’ve decided to start teaching the children about mainland holidays this year. If your little mermaid had been able to continue at the Academy, she would have learned all about Valentine’s Day.

Apparently, this is a minor human holiday celebrated amongst children and adult human females. The children exchange these cards called ‘Valentines’ while adult females expect their boyfriends or mates to shower them with shiny trinkets and other forms of tribute. Human males receive little – if anything – in return, but they do have the honour of providing this tribute and woe betides them if they forget or fail to deliver the proper shiny trinket expected by the female.

Returning to your daughter’s predicament, there are all sorts of characters gracing these ‘Valentines’, including mermaids. Admittedly, they are kind of cute even if the puns are a bit cheesy. The mer-girls look more like we do – no starfish! – and on extremely rare occasions, they will even feature a mer-boy.

Tell your sweet little mermaid that there is nothing to fear from these ‘Valentines’ and next year, she can join in the fun. I would advise, however, that she refrain from giving cards with mermaid themes. It’s best to avoid tempting fate.


Ask Madison: High School Courtship

High School Courtship

Dear Readers,

               The tide seems to have gone out in Madison’s Mailbox, so I fished this old letter, about mermaid-human courtship, out of the archives.

Dear Madison,

I don’t know what to do. My daughter is almost 18 and she’s been seeing this human boy from her high school. He often brings her home from school in his car and people see them walking along the streets or the public beach. Fortunately, she doesn’t have key-card to access the private beach, yet.

The other Saturday, I thought she had gone for a swim with her friends, but instead, she was meeting this human boy at that wretched pizza joint on the East side of Royston. If she just had to do something like that, why couldn’t it be at North End where Carl could keep an eye on her?

I can’t go on like this. My mate has mentioned taking this boy for a one-way swim. Please help me! I don’t want to lose my daughter.

Anguished Mother


Dear Anguished,

                The first thing you need to do is tell that mate of yours to stop making those kinds of threats. The last thing we need is a human boy disappearing from Colony Island. Attention from the media and law enforcement would surely mean the end of our way of life here on the island. The sea is our home but being forced to permanently return there would tear most of us apart.

                No doubt, you’ve heard the old saying that no one comes between a mermaid and her mate. Well, that applies to potential mates, too, and that is just what this boy is; a potential mate. The worst thing you could do is to try and come between them. That will only stiffen her resolve and you will run the very real risk of losing her . . . forever.

                Is this human a good boy? A nice boy? Although some of us still see humans – especially the males – as monsters, many of them are quite decent people, given half a chance. If he is indeed a good boy, then so much the better. Many of the mermaids who fall for humans make the worst choices possible.

                I advise that you ask to meet this boy and learn more about him. You should tell your daughter you are concerned but not necessarily opposed. If you leave things alone, there is always a very good chance that the two of them will go their separate ways after graduation, as life’s currents will begin to carry them in different directions.

                Should your daughter decide to choose him as her mate, remember you and her father have no say in the matter. Instead, wish them a happy life together and hold out hope he will eventually join us here on Colony Island.


Ask Madison: My Human Son-in-law

Human Son-in-law

Dear Madison,

That old letter you reprinted in the most recent issue of The Colony Chronicle brought a tear to my eye. My own daughter chose a human and both my mate and I could not be happier.

He is such a joy and I regularly thank Poseidon for sending us this blessing. As you probably know, this young man has chosen to join us and my life here on Colony Island could not be more wonderful.

I hope they will decide to breed in the not too distant future. If so, we plan to revive some of the older customs that, once upon a time, gave so much meaning to a mermaid’s life.

Ilene Tench


Dear Ilene,

Thank you for sharing those wonderful sentiments with my readers.


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