’Twas in the nineteen-twenties, when young people were bright and gay,
A flapper left Southampton, on a cruiser bound for Bombay.
Her fiancé was a subaltern, in India, in the cavalry,
And she had taken passage there, intending, him to marry.
She shared a cabin with a girl, ’cause money was quite tight,
And though they had met as strangers, they were getting on all right.
The flapper had met some nice people, and things were going fine,
Until they reached the equator, and had to ‘cross the line’.
People who before, had never the equator crossed,
Paraded around in fancy dress, and some into the pool were tossed.
The crew were dressed as pirates, and one as King Neptune,
And some of the passengers ‘walked the plank’, it was all done in fun.
During the proceedings, cocktails and champagne were drunk,
And the pirates, lots of passengers, into the pool did dunk.
The flapper’s chosen costume was that of a mermaid,
And with her legs placed in the tail, she hopped in the parade.
Because of her restricting costume, she hadn’t been tossed in the pool,
Now eventime was coming on, the air was turning cool.
She thought she’d look at the wake of the ship, so she hopped to the after-rail,
And stood there drinking a Planter’s Punch, whilst balancing on her tail.
Standing there, under the stars, she gazed down at the sea,
And saw something jump out of the water and wondered what it could be.
Then, leaning over further, to try to make it out,
She lost her balance and fell overboard, no time to even shout.
She crashed to the water on her front, and couldn’t clearly think.
She was winded and rather drunk, because of all the drink.
She struggled hard to keep afloat, her arms were all a-flail,
And for a time she was helped by air trapped in the tail.
Back on board the ship, her cabin-mate was drunk,
And didn’t think that she’d be able to get back to her bunk.
She went to a saloon, and stretched out on a sofa,
Then closed her eyes and went to sleep, the drunken little loafer.
In the morning she awoke and staggered to her berth,
With a frightful headache, no longer full of mirth.
She took some Alka Seltzer, in a glass of water,
Then slept again, not missing the flapper, although she should have ought to.
In the sea the flapper was floundering and thought that drowned she’d be.
The ship showed no sign of turning back, and went on its way steadily.
Her tail was slowly losing air and filling up with sea,
Her last thoughts, as she started to sink, were, “Why is this happening to me?”
Her past life flashed before her eyes, it didn’t take too long.
She’d really led a quiet life, and had done nothing wrong.
“That, I’ll rectify,” she thought, “if ever I get back.”
Then the air bubbled out of her lungs, and everything went black.
“Am I in heaven?” were her first thoughts, assuming she was dead.
When she heard a quiet voice, which unto her, it said
“I thought you were a mermaid, now I think you’re a mortal,
If I’d known, I never would have brought you through my portal.”
The flapper struggled to sit up straight, ’cause her legs were still in the tail.
She opened her eyes, tried to see in the gloom, and then she started to wail.
“Please tell me just where I am, whatever is this place?”
Then she tried hard not to scream, when in front of her eyes loomed a face.
In the dark it seemed to glow with a phosphorescent light,
And this was the reason it had given her such an awful fright.
Then, as she scrutinised it, she thought it did look kind,
So asked, “Why did you think me a mermaid? Are you out of your mind?”
The face moved back and regarded her, and then to her it said,
“Aren’t you at all curious to find you are not dead?
Luckily for you I was on the surface, looking at your ship,
When I saw you standing staring down, and then I saw you slip.”
“I swam back under the water, so I would not be seen,
And heard you splashing in the water, and wondered what it did mean.
Then, looking at you from beneath, as you your arms did flail,
I saw to my surprise, that instead of legs, you’d a tail!”
“I could not work out why a mermaid was on that boat,
Nor why you seemed to not be able to swim or even float.
Then you started sinking and your gills I couldn’t see,
And you obviously weren’t breathing, so you needed help from me.”
“Then I thought of the quickest way that your life I could save.
I towed you to the sea-bed, and brought you to my cave.
There is lots of air in here and I saw to my relief,
When I laid you on my bed, you started then to breathe.”
The flapper was quite shocked at this and couldn’t believe her ears.
She thought she was trapped with a lunatic and her mind was filled with fears.
So sitting up, she undid the belt that held her tail on tight,
Then wiggled a bit and pulled it off so her legs were now in sight.
“There are no such things as mermaids!” the flapper then did shout.
“Why are you keeping me captive? Oh won’t you let me out?”
“You really are then human,” the mermaid, startled, said,
“And I brought you here inside my home! I really feel afraid.”
“I don’t believe in mermaids,” the flapper again did wail.
“So far I’ve only seen your face, I haven’t seen a tail.”
The mermaid said, with trembling voice, “If that is what you wish.”
She then lay back upon the bed, and gave her tail a swish.
“No, no, it’s just your fancy dress, like mine for the parade,”
The flapper said, and like the mermaid, she was sore afraid.
They both sat up and looked at each other, tears running down their faces,
And each, feeling sorry for the other, each, the other embraces.
As they hugged together, they started to calm down,
And the flapper said to the mermaid, “I think that you have shown
Great compassion in saving me and bringing me safely here.”
And though overcome by emotion, she managed to sound sincere.
The mermaid said, “You’re trembling, may I be so bold
As to ask if you’re still frightened?” The flapper said, “I’m cold.
I’m shivering to warm myself, my clothes are chilly and wet.”
The mermaid told her, “I know what, some dry clothes I will get.”
Sliding down from off the bed, into a pool she slipped,
And swam to the far side of the cave, and there a case she gripped.
Rolling over onto her back, she balanced it on her chest,
Then swam back to the flapper, who hoped it hadn’t squashed her breast.
The flapper helped to lift the heavy case onto the bed.
“I hope you haven’t hurt yourself bringing it here,” she said.
“Oh no,” replied the mermaid, “I’m stronger than I look,”
Then she opened it, and from the inside, several garments took.
The flapper then looked thoughtful and said, with a little frown,
“I hope this case hasn’t come from someone who did drown.”
“Oh no!” said the mermaid, as she that thought abhored,
“I often find stuff from ships that has fallen overboard.”
The flapper quickly then took off all her sodden clothes,
And picked up a lace hankie, and on it blew her nose.
She dried herself upon a towel, and sorting out clothes to wear,
Picked out some silken knickers and a strapless brassiere.
Then the flapper noticed that the mermaid was quite bare.
She obviously wouldn’t wear knickers, so she held out the brassiere.
“What is that?” the mermaid asked, “Do you wear it on your head?”
“Turn around, lift up your arms and I’ll show you,” the flapper said.
The mermaid swivelled round and raised her arms up high,
While the flapper knelt behind her, putting her arms round her to try
To fit her with the brassiere, and though she did her best,
She managed, inadvertently, in each hand to clasp a breast.
The flapper and the mermaid both froze there in that place.
The flapper felt a crimson flush, blush across her face.
The mermaid slowly lowered her arms, each covered a flapper’s hand,
And she murmured, “What are you doing? I just don’t understand.”
The flapper’s arms were locked in place and the mermaid she leant back.
The flapper felt her ***** flattened as the mermaid squashed her rack.
The mermaid muttered, “Don’t get dressed, I’ve a better idea instead.
Why don’t we lie down together? I’ll warm you up in bed.”
The mermaid released the flapper’s hands and slowly turned around.
Then she saw the flapper’s eyes looking down upon the ground.
The flapper spoke. “I know you meant the offer kindly, though
While I’m really flattered, in India, I’ve a beau.”
“I was on my way to meet him at Bombay, to be married.
I’d still be on my way there, if the cruise had not miscarried.
You have been so kind to me and managed to save my life,
Now will you help me on my way so I can be a wife?”
The mermaid looked unhappy, however, she concurred,
Albeit quite reluctantly, and then spoke so she’d be heard,
“I will try to help you, though yet we must delay.
There will be many sharks outside at this time of day.”
“If I take you outside now, to try to get you back,
There’s a real chance that the sharks they will attack.
Why don’t you finish drying yourself and find clothes to get dressed,
Then lie back down upon the bed and try to get some rest?”
The flapper started dressing and put on the brassiere,
And helped the mermaid put one on, who felt awkward not being bare.
When the flapper stood up, and stepped into the knickers,
The mermaid couldn’t help but stare, her eyes made up-and-down flickers.
“Please show me how you use your legs,” the mermaid did implore,
“It’s strange to see you standing up, not lying on the floor.”
The flapper bent and stretched her knees to show how they did work.
Then turned around and squatted down and got her *** to twerk.
Then as the flapper, legs apart, upon the bed did kneel,
The mermaid, stretching out her arm, between those legs did feel.
And then very slowly, rubbed her hand forth and back,
And murmured, “It must feel very strange, because a tail you lack.”
The flapper, with a quavering voice, said, “It’s quite normal for me.
Now, though, what about you? May I your tail closely see?”
And with that, the flapper stretched out flat upon the bed,
Then on the mermaid’s tail, gently rested her head.
She put her hand upon the tail and stroked it up and down,
And feeling it crissate, gave a little frown.
It felt smooth when caressed downwards and rough the other way,
And then the mermaid arched her back and suddenly did spray.
From somewhere at the tail’s front squirted forth a spout.
That the mermaid did enjoy it, the flapper was not in doubt.
The liquid jet subsided and the mermaid gave a moan,
And a quite delightful odour suffused throughout the room.
The fluid showered the flapper, who wasn’t sure what to do.
Though when she wiped her hair, it foamed up like shampoo.
She rubbed it to a lather, and washed her body too,
And felt totally refreshed, as though she had washed in dew.
She stood, removed her underwear, because she thought she ought to
Rinse off the mermaid’s glorious shower by washing in some water.
She walked to a fissure in the cave where the water ran down in rills,
And as she rinsed her face and neck, she felt a pair of gills.
In shock she stumbled backwards and fell upon the floor,
Where her legs fused into a tail, which wasn’t there before.
She looked at it in horror and then with fear she cried,
When instantly, the mermaid lay down by her side.
The mermaid clasped her in her arms and rolling across the floor,
Pulled the flapper to the edge of the pool and pushed her in, before
Sliding in to the water herself, and pulling the flapper under,
Where, to her surprise, the flapper could breathe, it really was a wonder.
The flapper hung suspended, floating there in shock,
Then gradually realising she was all right, started to take stock.
Thinking that now, perhaps, she could swim just like a fish,
She gathered up her strength, and gave her tail a swish.
Unwittingly, she flapped her tail with all the strength she’d got,
And happening to be facing the cave door, right through it she shot.
Then coming out in daylight, she stared in disbelief
At all the spectacular marine life round about the reef.
There was coral in profusion, as far as the eye could see,
Of many shapes and colours, like a garden beautifully
Laid out on the sea-bed, with fishes swimming round,
Each of them making it their home; the sea-life did really abound.
The mermaid caught up with the flapper and took her by the hand,
Then said to her, “I’m confused, I just don’t understand
How you became a mermaid, then I saw you couldn’t breathe,
So I pushed you underwater, to try to give you ease.”
“I realised that you’d grown gills and couldn’t breathe in air,
So I thought that being in water was best, because it’s where
We mermaids live, so that is the place you had better be.”
“Thank you, you’ve saved my life again,” said the flapper gratefully.
Then, although still puzzled, they swam on, hand-in-hand,
The mermaid helping the flapper, ’til she could understand
How to use her tail well, to control where she did swim,
And to make fine adjustments, by using the tail’s fin.
Eventually the flapper grew tired, so to the cave they both swam back,
The flapper taking the lead, because she’d got the knack
Of how to control her tail, and adjust direction and speed,
Then a thought suddenly struck her, in air, her lungs she would need.
They reached the cave and while in the pool, the flapper to the mermaid said,
“How am I going to breathe back in air? I can’t get it into my head.”
The mermaid replied, “I think you should try, we mermaids can manage ok.
Just try to do what comes naturally, that will be the best way.”
“In for a penny, in for a pound,” bravely declared the flapper.
She hauled herself out, then she choked, the mermaid, on her back did slap her.
The flapper coughed, and gave a gasp, then shouted in relief,
“I think I’m going to be all right, my lungs have started to breathe.”
They both lay there in silence, thinking of what had passed.
Then the flapper turned to the mermaid, and she said, “These last
Few hours I’ve spent with you have been just like a dream.
Now I’m tired, shall we go to bed? I think you know what I mean!”
They pulled themselves into the bed, and together they did huddle.
The mermaid put her arms round the flapper and together they did cuddle.
And this time, as the two of them laid together in rest,
It was now the mermaid who cupped the flapper’s breast.
The mermaid asked, “Remember when you stroked my tail and I gushed?”
The flapper felt embarrassed and again on her face she blushed.
The mermaid said, “It was really nice, wouldn’t you like to try?”
The flapper replied, “I’m afraid it’s too late, and here’s the reason why.”
“That would be an experience I’d really like to try.
However, it is too late now, ’cause as my tail got dry,
I felt it metamorphosise, have a feel, I beg.”
The mermaid reached down with her hand, and felt the flapper’s leg.
Nevertheless, she stroked it, and rubbed it up and down,
And accidentally touched some hair, which caused her then to frown.
“I think you’ve got a problem, you’d best hear it from me.
Stuck between your legs, I think there’s a sea anemone.”
The flapper remembered the last time that the mermaid there had felt.
She’d had on silken *******, so had seemed smooth and svelte.
Now, she’d got her legs back which were absolutely bare,
And of course, instead of feeling silk, the mermaid felt her hair.
“That’s not an anemone, in fact, it is my......frizz.
I am used to it being there, that’s just the way it is.
I try to keep it neatly trimmed, so there is not a lot,
Besides, I think it’s there to protect the entrance of my grot.”
“When you say you’ve got a grot, I assume you mean a cave.
Is it as big as this one, holding all the treasures you have?”
The flapper answered the mermaid, “Oh no, it’s very small,
And held safe within it is my most precious possession of all.”
“I have carefully guarded it so that it won’t get lost.
I expect my husband to have it soon, a few weeks at the most.
And so, my dearest mermaid, until I am a bride,
Nobody will ever know just what I keep inside.”
The mermaid gently smoothed the ‘frizz’, and said, “I understand.
Now, don’t you think it’s time we got you back to land?”
I would like to help you, and I think I know a way
Of quickly getting you safely all the way to Bombay.”
“Thank you,” responded the flapper, “however, if we may,
I’d like to go to another port, one before Bombay.
Then, if at all possible, I can rejoin my cruise ship there,
And may I take some of your clothes, so I’m not on