Born underwater sometime in the 50's. Met Allen Bauer as a child. It was love at first sight. Ran into him again, years later. Took him home with me & got him a tail-job. Settled on Colony Island where I write for the Colony Chronicle.

Ask Madison: A most ridiculous tail

Pete Tarsi
Dear Madison,

I have always thought of myself as one of the most open-minded mermaids here on Colony Island and I almost always let my daughter read anything appropriate for her age. This summer, I noticed her reading a book on the family PC and I decided to have a peek at it myself.

What I found was the most ridiculous clap-trap about mermaids I’ve ever come across. This book called “Jumping The Scales”, or something like that, has all sorts of outlandish notions about mermaids being able to take their tails off like a skirt on the morning of the fool full moon and loan them to humans so they can be mermaids for a month. Have you heard of anything more absurd than that?

This human named Pete Tarsi has written two of these fairy tails and I think he must be out of his mind. I’m forbidding my daughter to read any more of this nonsense. Is there anyway we can suppress stories like these?

Absolutely Ridiculous


Dear Ridiculous,

Please don’t do that to your daughter. Not yet. Over the past months, I’ve read a number of titles from Penelope Tench’s collection of mermaid novels and while many of them are way off shore, I also find a bit of truth in these stories. For one thing, I am continually impressed by the sheer number of girls who want to be mermaids. There are plenty of grown women who wish they were one of us, as well.

Nowhere near as many boys wish they were mermen and the number of grown men who long for a tail is almost non-existent. Don’t they realise that we mermaids both need and want mates, protectors, and lovers?

I wish that somehow, more people from the mainland would be able to join us. I don’t want Colony Island to be overrun by newcomers – though that would certainly liven things up around here. However, it would be wonderful if more people were able to enjoy our world and being what we are. Maybe more mainlanders would understand just what is happening to our oceans. Maybe something could be done about the situation sooner rather than later.

I have now read both of Pete Tarsi’s books – Flipping the Scales and Skipping the Scales. Both are exciting fun filled stories. While his world is different from the world we know, the one he has created for mainlander girls – and hopefully, boys – to enjoy is full of real emotions; love, longing, fear, hope, and joy. In fact, the ache one character feels, when her month as a mermaid ends, is very palpable to me. I’m not sure how I’d deal with that loss.

The books also teach about loyalty, trust, fortitude, and acceptance; Things we want our children to learn no matter how the story is told.

As I said, I hope you will reconsider forbidding your daughter to read these stories. While the details may be way off shore simply because the authors don’t know what we’re really like, the message these stories convey is very real.

After work, I’m taking my mate, Allen, for a long swim and I’ll thank Poseidon for allowing me to have been born a mermaid. I’ll also thank Poseidon that my mate was able to become one of us.

Madison Bauer


Ask Madison: A reader’s outrage

Advice - A reader's outrage

Dear Madison,

I am absolutely appalled at the advice you gave to the ‘Anguished Mother’ a few weeks ago. Absolutely appalled!

You should have told that poor woman to grab her wayward daughter, take her to sea and find a good feral mate for the child. That, and breeding at the next full moon, would have shown that silly girl where true happiness lies for mermaids. Floundering about and suggesting ‘Anguished Mother’ should get to know this human boy does no one any good at all.

What kind of advice is this? You have no business setting yourself up as some sort of quasi-moral authority. Encouraging contact with humans is the road to ruin for our kind and I intend to speak to the editor about this. Judging from the laughable response to that letter in the following issue, we need to nip this in the bud before it’s too late. The next thing you know, someone – maybe even that Tench woman, who has clearly lost her mind – will suggest we start adopting humans. An idea such as that is beneath contempt.

If your editor won’t listen to reason, I shall speak with the mayor and have him yank the rug out from under you. That grant from the town is the only thing that keeps this poor excuse for a newspaper afloat.

Samia Marinos


Dear Samia,

                Go suck a herring.


It was a dark and stormy night

Amy frantically swatted at the alarm clock, trying to turn off the infernal racket it insisted on making.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Poetry: The Merman



Who would be A merman bold,

Sitting alone, Singing alone

Under the sea, With a crown of gold,

On a throne?


I would be a merman bold,

I would sit and sing the whole of the day;  I would fill the sea-halls with a voice of power;  But at night I would roam abroad and play  With the mermaids in and out of the rocks,  Dressing their hair with the white sea-flower;  And holding them back by their flowing locks  I would kiss them often under the sea,  And kiss them again till they kiss’d me  Laughingly, laughingly;  And then we would wander away, away,  o the pale-green sea-groves straight and high,  Chasing each other merrily.


There would be neither moon nor star;

But the wave would make music above us afar-  Low thunder and light in the magic night-  Neither moon nor star.

We would call aloud in the dreamy dells,  Call to each other and whoop and cry  All night, merrily, merrily.


They would pelt me with starry spangles and shells,  Laughing and clapping their hands between,  All night, merrily, merrily,  But I would throw to them back in mine  Turkis and agate and almondine;  Then leaping out upon them unseen


I would kiss them often under the sea,

And kiss them again till they kiss’d me  Laughingly, laughingly.

0, what a happy life were mine

Under the hollow-hung ocean green!

Soft are the moss-beds under the sea;

We would live merrily, merrily.


– Alfred Lord Tennyson –

Appreciation: A Midsummer Night’s Dream


My gentle Puck, come hither.
Thou rememberest since
Once I sat upon a promontory,
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song,
And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
To hear the sea-maid’s music?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream -excerpt-

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