Many people are frustrated at the game of love. Some so much so that they merely surrender and stop looking. They figure what’s meant to be will be. The drama and mind games are too much for them. The healthy thing to do is to let true love find you if it can. Dennis had been in and out of four or five relationships since college. He had taken a break from dating for all of these reasons and more.
The break allowed him to focus on his job and career. Dennis is a hard worker regardless, but now he was absorbed by the routine of his work. Although he is conscientious about his job, like most Long Islanders, he knows how to relax when he's off the clock. During the cold months, relaxation means Islanders hockey and beer, and when it's burning up during the summer, it's the beach and fishing.
Today is one of those dog days of summer in late August where the thermometer is mercilessly hovering above 92 degrees, and the humidity is threatening suffocation. Dennis is lucky to work indoors. He has spent the last eight hours in the air conditioned comfort of the Hempstead Water Plant's testing laboratory, where he is employed as a chemical technician.
It’s Friday night, and Dennis is heading to Robert Moses Beach on Fire Island to do some night fishing. Tonight, he has a little more than beer to help him relax. Dennis has never smoked weed before. However, he’s always been curious about it. Too afraid to purchase it illegally, he bought some marijuana plant seeds online and grew his own in some flower pots in his apartment. He harvested his stash weeks ago, but he had to give the plants time to dry out. Now the herb was ready to smoke. Dennis had rolled two joints, although he only planned on burning one of them tonight.
As soon as quitting time arrived Dennis made a bee-line for the parking lot and jumped into his silver-colored Honda and headed for the beach. When he reached the parking lot at Robert Moses State Park, it was already emptying out. Even on such a hot day like today, there are only a handful of people who hang around as dusk approaches. Dennis and the other regular anglers on the beach come prepared with lanterns or at least flashlights. Many stay out all night catching fish under the stars as the foamy waves crash against the shore. The solitude is what Dennis loves most about night fishing.
It was 7:30 p.m. before Dennis felt confident that he could spark up one of the two joints he had in his breast pocket without being noticed. He had already downed two Budweisers and even caught a fish, a sea bass.
The smell of the ocean was heavy in the air amid the evening's humidity, when Dennis placed the spliff between his lips and lit it with an orange colored Bic lighter which he had purchased especially for this occasion. When he inhaled, he did so with vigor and held it for a good two or three seconds before exhaling.
The active ingredient in the weed, THC, went straight to his brain almost immediately. Dennis had the weirdest sensation. It was as though a part of him was trying to float up out of his body. He looked west to his right and toward the setting sun. He thought out loud “That is so fucking awesome.” Then he took another hit and stared straight ahead into the Atlantic Ocean as it stretched before him all the way to the horizon.
At that moment he spotted what appeared to be someone, a swimmer, floundering in the surf a good thirty yards offshore. It was still light out, but it would be dark in a few minutes. Dennis knew he had to act fast to save the swimmer.
He charged into the waves removing his clothes and then lunging ahead like an Olympic champion. The peculiar thing is that, although Dennis knew how to swim, he was not a good swimmer.
As he approached the frantic victim, he could hear her screaming for help.
Help, Help me, please! Help me, Dennis!
Dennis could hear the drowning woman calling his name, and he thought “Hey, that sounds like Carla, my Ex.” He began swimming faster to try and reach her before it was too late.
“Hold on Carla; I hear you, honey.”
“Dennis I need you, help me, Dennis.”
The woman’s voice was becoming louder. Dennis knew that he was near.
Carla, Carla sweetie, I’m here for you. Dennis yelled as he gasps for air between strokes.
Then he reached her, and they embraced. The two of them vanished below the waves before Dennis realized that this woman was not Carla. She was much bigger than petite little Carla whose heart he had shattered a year ago. It was a sea monster of some form. It had him completely in its grasp and was refusing to let go. Dennis held his breath as he struggled to free himself.
The sea creature had the form of a woman, but the scaly body of a fish from the waist down. It was a mermaid. She began communicating with Dennis telepathically.
I want you to meet my family, Dennis.
Let me go. Please, I don’t want to drown.
Sorry, I can’t let you go, Dennis. You belong to me now.
I am not a Merman. You need one of your own kind. I will die here.
What is love, Dennis?
Love is letting go when you know that it won’t work.
Okay, Dennis then I guess I should release you because I love you so much.
Please do, I beg you.
With those words the mermaid released Dennis and he was barely able to swim back to safety. He swam ashore like a beached whale exhausted, gasping for air, and swearing never to smoke weed ever again.
Hi, I'm Lester Patterson,