The police said the perpetrators stopped painting my house at approximately 10:45 pm.

Apparently, they had called in an “expert” who determined the paint was stilly tacky

When they arrived shortly after midnight.

One officer told me they thought it was rather late to be painting the exterior of a house.

“Well”, I said, “at least it explains all the patchy spots where they missed”,

As he scanned his giant flashlight across the walls and the roof.

I was just glad they didn’t get inside.

I was storing papers I had found in a bottle buried in the sand.

They were from someone who claimed she was a mermaid

From a rock just off the beach.

She was writing to a man named Milton Pepper.

In the letter she explained that the moon was full that night

And she felt so elated that she couldn’t keep herself from singing.

And that she was sorry that he crashed his ship and sank.

After that she cut off all her hair, and gained weight

And ate right off the ocean floor.

Then the tide shifted and she drifted

Into a penned up area.

And every now and then a boat would run over her tail

To let her know who was in charge.

And she signed it Trichechus

From a land of long lost time.

I was sure this was the only copy,

So I told the officer that I didn’t mind that much

And that, in fact, I liked the murky blue

And the painting of the mermaid

On the door.

© Rob Friday