“Have you seen this?” asked Sergeant Nance waving the Cornish Gazette in Jacko’s face.
“No, give it here?” He took the newspaper and read the headline. “Oh bollocks!” he exclaimed.
“Yeah, sums it up pretty well.” She replied.
The front page showed a picture that was blurry and indistinct but clear enough to show a woman with long blonde hair sitting on a rock, the lower half of her body was golden scales ending in a fishes tail.
The headline screamed “MERMAID SPOTTED NEAR ST. IVES – IS SHE REAL?”
A hiker called Bev Taylor had seen the legendary creature from the coastal path and managed to take a picture with her phone before it dived into the water upon realising it had been seen.
The feature contained an article written by a cryptozoologist explaining how such creatures had been seen for centuries, relating the legend of the Zennor mermaid and for balance mentioned the old Jenny Hanivers fabricated from dried skates and a there was a mention of Barnum’s famous fake Fijian mermaid made from a mummified monkey with attached fins.
“That’s Andy Locke isn’t it?” asked the policewoman. “Your sister is a redhead so unless the water round here is teeming with mermaids it has to be her doesn’t it?”
“Bleddy hell, the place will be swarming with press and Emmets before you know it” he cried.
“Well it will do wonders for tourism, the local shops and restaurants will do well.” suggested Nance.
“Morwenna we have to discredit this, Flick and Andy need their privacy, can you imagine what would happen if it was discovered to be true?”
“Sorry Jacko, I’ve covered enough up for you recently and anyway it’ll blow over soon enough.”
Every car park in the town was full by midday, more people flocked in by bus and they had to close all the train stops along the line from St Erth…
Priscilla Hartford-Jones stopped her motorboats and looked at the far-off harbour lights before checking the GPS. “Well, this is where they said to meet them.”
“She’s near I can feel her.” replied Jacko.
“Kkkkkk” said a voice and Fliiik’s head popped out of the water followed by Andy’s, their pale skin almost luminescent in the moonlight.
“Flick wants to know why we’re meeting all this way out and not at the usual place?” asked the former barmaid with a slight lisp.
“Because the whole coast is swarming with people thanks to you Andy” he showed the newspaper to the two figures bobbing in the water.
“Bleddy hell, Flick spotted the woman on the headland and warned me. I thought I’d got away with it.” Jacko’s sister clicked something in a dolphin-like way. “She’s upset at the thought of her beach being invaded by emmets and wants to know if we need to move down coast or something.”
“You could come ashore and explain it was just you wearing one of those monofin swimsuits.” he suggested. “that would probably get the buggers out of your hair.”
“Got a bit of a problem there my handsome, I can’t change when I leave the water like your sister can, the witches spell didn’t work like that and talking to the press might be a bit of a problem too.” She drew back her lips to expose two rows of pointy teeth. “Remember these?”
Jacko turned to his fiancée. “Pris how do you fancy pretending to be a mermaid?” he asked with a grin. “You’d look good in just a tail.”
“Bugger that Jacko!” retorted Pris. “I’ve got an idea though.” after explaining it to them they hauled Andrea onto the boat while Fliiik pulled herself on-board hissing as her tail split painfully to become legs…
“MERMAID WAS BARMAID –LOCAL ARTIST ADMITS HOAX!
“St Ives artist Jackie Tremayne, popularly known as Mr Merman for his imaginative paintings of the aquatic beauties, admitted yesterday that he set up the sighting with the assistance of Miss Andrea Locke who used to work at the Gaff Cutter in the town. Mr Tremayne intended to take a photo of Miss Locke wearing the costume then display it in his gallery as “evidence” of a local mermaid. He was out of the sight of Miss Taylor when she took the picture which startled Miss Locke into diving in the water to preserve her modesty.
Mr Tremayne states that it was not his intention to create the impression that mermaids existed and apologises for any harm done.
Mr Bob Ptarmigan of the Local Traders Association says that the increase in turnaround for the local shops and amenities during the low season was well worth the huge crowds that caused the congestion in St. Ives over the past few days.
Miss Locke refuses to make any comment other than that she is feeling embarrassed by the whole thing and has requested that her privacy be respected.”
The accompanying picture showed Jacko sat at a table, an orange monofin swimming costume clearly visible upon it. Sitting opposite him was Andy wearing a Gaff Cutter T-shirt with her tail tucked well out of sight and, of course, she was not smiling.