Fry, the sand mixing with his toes,
walked cautiously towards the ever-shifting line where the Atlantic
Ocean embraced the dry land. She couldn't have picked a more secluded
spot, he said to himself, the wind buffeting his hair points. The
whole beach is empty.nobody around for miles. Of course, the fact
that it's November may have something to do with that.
He paused, zipped his jacket tightly,
shivered a bit, and moved on. The salt water lapped invitingly
against his ankles, reminding him of the occasion when he had walked
through the remains of a deceased Horrible Gelatinous Blob. His eyes
scanned the darkening horizon for signs of motion. Where is she? he
wondered. Did she show up early and leave because I wasn't there? Did
she get caught in a tuna net? Did she choke on a six-pack ring?
As he stared at the empty sea, a sweet
voice whispered to him from the long shadow of a boulder: "Philip!"
Fry whipped his head around. In the
dimness of the setting sun he beheld her-the flowing golden locks,
the pink bikini top, and the curved, scaly tail of the mermaid known
"Oh, my God," he blurted out,
his feet carrying him hastily along the sandy shore. "It's you.
I'm so happy to see you."
"It's nice to see you too,
Philip," he heard Umbriel's siren-like voice utter.
He tried to grab her in his arms, but
found himself awkwardly embracing her hair, as the necessity of
supporting herself on the joint in her tail had reduced her stature.
"Uh, hi," he said to the transcendently beautiful face that
gazed up at him from just below his ribcage.
"I love you, Philip," said
Umbriel, as the redhead kneeled to the level of her eyes. "Since
the moment I met you I haven't stopped loving you."
"I feel the same way for you,
Umbriel," said Fry earnestly. "And I would've stayed with
you, except.well, you know."
The mermaid held up one hand, in which
lay a humble-looking conch shell. "It's true, you and I come
from very different worlds," she said sweetly. "But that's
no longer an obstacle. You can join our world.become one of us."
Visions of swimming along through an
infinite expanse of ocean teased Fry's mind. "What do I have to
do?" he inquired of Umbriel. "I have no future in the
surface world. I'm stuck in a dead-end delivery job, the woman I love
doesn't return my affections, and I think my roommate is plotting to
"Anything you imagine is possible
through the power of the wishing shell," said Umbriel, pressing
the clammy object into Fry's palm. "Simply hold it to your lips,
and your desire shall be granted."
He regarded the shell with awe.
"Technology and magic," he marveled. "The 31st century
has it all."
"Make sure this is what you truly
want," Umbriel warned him. "Once you transform, there's no
"I'm sure," said Fry, fingers
wrapped firmly around the shell. "I want to spend the rest of my
life in the lost city of Atlanta, swimming through the Delta
terminals, dancing with the whales, sleeping with the fishes."
Bringing the spiral-shaped object to his mouth without hesitation, he
declared, "I wish I was a mermaid!"
Nausea punched at his stomach lining as
the change enveloped his body. Streaks of excruciating pain and
pleasure flew up and down his legs. He felt a cold sensation in his
feet as they grew and flattened. His torso writhed and twisted,
seemingly ready to burst, while strands of silk descended over his
eyes and formed waves upon his shoulders.
After a few seconds the pain and
disorientation ceased, and Fry began to examine his naked, altered
form. His thighs and knees had given way to a green, fishlike trunk.
His lower legs and feet would no longer move independently of each
other, but flapped about like a soggy sponge. His hair had grown into
a dangling red forest. Most disconcerting of all were the two masses
hanging from his chest, concealed only by a pair of well-placed clam
"Uh, Umbriel?" he said, his
voice now having a shockingly feminine pitch. "What just
"Land's sakes, Philip," said
Umbriel, gaping at the flustered half-fish, half-woman that wobbled
before her. "Don't you know that male mermaids are called