Hello! This is yet another collaboration between RentBoheme (me) and the amazing Morine. It's about seahorses. It was written for our friend's birthday, and she loved it. I wrote everything from Gerald's point of view and she wrote everything from Betty's.
It's a little less serious than the "Skulls In The Closet" story, but we love it just the same.
By Morine and RentBoheme
Hello, there. My name is Betty, and I am a seahorse. Have been ever since I was born. My owner bought me when I was just a tiny seahorse. She was just out of college and was looking for her own apartment. Once she found one that suited her perfectly, she went out and bought me.
And let me just tell you, Mary Ann is the best kind of owner. She feeds me twice a day and cleans my tank once a week. I know many people are skeptical about pets. They say that pets should be in their own habitat, which for me would be the ocean. But I never minded. My owner was company enough for me. She often came home from work late and stressed out. I like to think that I help her relax, even though she doesn't seem to notice when I talk to her.
Mary Ann never had time for dating in the first few months after she bought her apartment. She was busy with her new job and working to pay the bills. But as she got older, she started going on more dates. I'd see her go out with her high heels and pretty dresses—nothing skanky—but she would always come home earlier than I expected and would never bring any of her dates home.
That is, until Ian came along.
The first night, she went out in a pretty black dress. She came home five hours later with a giant smile plastered on her face—the kind of smile I get when I get fed. She sat there and talked and talked about Ian. Ian Ian Ian. Ian's hair. Ian's shoes. Ian's laugh. A few nights later, she went out with him again, and came back with the same smile on her face.
On the fifth date, she brought him home. I was a little surprised at how close they were to one another. Let's just say, I was happy that my tank wasn't located in the bedroom.
At first, I was happy for Mary Ann. She found someone that she really loved. But then she stopped coming home at nights. Sometimes I would go to sleep without any food because she left early, and that sure as hell didn't make me smile. She would come back in the mornings, but she would only sprinkle some food in my tank and throw on her clothes.
I was worried that I was losing my best friend.
Sup. I'm Gerald, and life as a seahorse definitely isn't easy. Sometimes I just want to bang my head against the clear tank. But other times it's pretty cool. I'm one of those rebellious seahorses. I've always wanted to be free, to explore the world out there. I've never been suited for aquarium life. It's lonely. When Ian first bought me, I had a panic attack. Where were all the other seahorses? The fish? The coral? I tried to socialize with this underwater diver person. He had a snazzy helmet and a suit I would die for, but he didn't talk. I named him Millard. Eventually, though, I realized that the reason he didn't talk to me was that Millard was inanimate. Bummer, right?
Over time, I got used to living in a tank. Sort of. I still would sometimes forget where the water ended and the glass began. But it was okay, I'd make it somehow, I knew it.
My owner, Ian liked to sing at the top of his lungs when nobody was around. It was kind of painful, but he never seemed to listen to my pleas for silence. I still liked him, though. Ian was pretty gnarly—I actually learned that word from him. He had dirty blonde hair that he spiked slightly at the front (it reminded me of the coral back home) and blue eyes. Apparently that was an appealing look to human females, because he was a big dater.
He'd have girls over all the time. They seemed nice, I guess, and he apparently was quite fond of them. I didn't mind the girls too much, except when they did that strange mating ritual on the couch. I'd turn my tail to them, but even then, I heard the moans.
None of the girls ever lasted long, though. One would be here one night; the next week another would be there.
That's why I wasn't so surprised when he showed up one night with this girl named Mary Ann. I mean, she looked nice, and she sure was a loud moaner, but nothing seemed special about her. Yet he kept bringing her back. And I started to notice something different about him. He seemed happier, I guess. More comfortable in his own scales—sorry, skin. He would actually talk to her, not just mate. He was laughing more then he used to. And I finally saw him singing with another person. That was the worst, because she was even worse than he was. When she would go for high notes as she began to beat box—well, it made me want to bang into the glass a lot.
Eventually, she moved in with us. I wasn't that surprised about that. After a few months of ritualistic mating and laughing and singing, I figured it would happen. I was pretty much indifferent to the fact. It didn't matter to me whether she was here or not: I just wanted to get out and swim in the sea.
But that all changed on the day she moved in. Not because I loved her, but because of what she brought with her. I stared in awe as she lifted the cover on the tank and emptied the contents of a plastic bag into the water.
Okay, let me just tell you, I hate moving. Whenever Mary Ann moves me to a tiny container to clean the tank, I freak out. I mean, I FREAK out. The new water and different glass is just too much for me to handle.
Which is why I started crying when I awakened. I was no longer in my safe tank, but in this tiny clear bag held by Mary Ann. I blinked slowly and took in my surroundings. She was in the backseat of a car (well, from what I saw on television, it seemed to be a car), and I was settled on her lap.
At first I thought we were being seahorsenapped, but then I noticed that she wasn't screaming. She seemed happy. Before I knew it, the car came to a stop. When I looked out of my obnoxiously tiny container, I saw Brian give Mary Ann a peck on the lips. I watched as he started unloading a few boxes from the back of the car (it was much stranger on the outside). Mary Ann took a big bag and started walking up the stairs of Ian's apartment building.
The trip up the flight of stairs was very bouncy. I found myself twisting all around. Eventually I decided to close my eyes so I didn't get too dizzy.
A few minutes later and the shaking stopped. I opened my eyes and saw Mary Ann open a door to an unfamiliar apartment.
She set her giant back on the floor by the door and propped it open. A few steps behind her was Ian, carrying three boxes in his arms. She gave him a warm smile and walked further into the apartment.
I wasn't able to really get a good view of the full apartment because the giant tank that we were approaching made me awestruck. I slowly watched as Mary Ann opened my container and gently placed me into the giant tank. She smiled as she watched me swim around in my new surroundings.
I let out a complacent sigh. This was much bigger than my tank back home.
Realization suddenly dawned on me. All of the boxes were for Mary Ann. I started to remember her apartment before we moved out. She had been packing a lot of boxes.
I frowned as I realized I would never see my old tank again. But once I realized that this tank was in fact bigger and seemingly cleaner than my one back home, I started to get used to it. And Ian seemed to really care about Mary Ann and me. I mean, he bought this giant tank (that must have cost a fortune) all for me!
I started swimming to the bottom of the tank when I felt a movement beside me. I panicked. Quickly, I started swimming towards the corner of the tank. Surely Mary Ann wouldn't put me in a tank with a shark, or worse…a starfish.
I started to panic as I felt the figure move close to me.
Oh mah gah! Oh mah gah! Oh mah gah! was all I could think as another seahorse appeared in the water. A girl. She looked angelic. But whether that was because of her apparent beauty—pink scales, a stunning wisp of a tail—or the light that glared off the bag, illuminating her, I didn't know.
She began to swim around the tank, seeming to not notice me. Finally, after a minute, I decided to join her as she moved to the bottom.
"Sup," I said, though what I really wanted to say was "Oh mah gah! Oh mah gah! Oh mah gah!"
"Whoa. Hi!" she said. "I didn't know there was another seahorse in this dwelling."
"Ahh, well, there is." I stared into her beady eyes. They were positively stunning. I wanted to jump right into those black circles of beauty and live there. I decided against it though, because if you think I crashed into the glass a lot, wait till you see a blind seahorse.
"I'm Betty. Mary Ann is my owner," she said.
"Oh, well, now I'm glad that Ian let her move in. I'm Gerald."
"So Ian's your owner?" she said. "I thought that Mary Ann got me a friend."
"Yeah, I'm Ian's. Ian Stoy. He's a nice guy, but I get lonely sometimes."
"How come?" She tilted her head to the side.
"I don't know . . . I've just missed being with other seahorses."
"I understand," she said. "So . . . nice place you got here, huh?"
I nodded. "Yeah, you want a tour?"
I showed her all around the tank. First we went to the big spinny cleaner thing at the top. I told her not to touch it because she could lose a scale. Once I came close to doing it, but luckily my primal instincts kicked in and I realized: Spinning. Fast. Blade. Not good.
Then I showed her the garden. Really, it's just a piece of seaweed, but I've been watering it daily. Which I guess is kind of pointless.
Next we made our way towards the diver. She made the same mistake I did.
"Oh, so you're not alone," she said, and began talking to the diver. "Hello, my name's Betty. What's yours?" No response. "Hmmm . . . maybe you don't speak English . . . ¡Hola! Me llamo Betty. ¿Cómo te llamas?"
I explained that the diver was inanimate, and then she sighed in relief. "Good."
"We get to be alone," she said, and with that she asked something that I never thought she would. "Can I kiss you?"
I just nodded, and she closed the gap between her and me. And her eyes that I wanted to climb into were right there in front of mine.
"Gnarly," I said, as she pushed her lips into mine.
I am not a slut.
It's just that I've watched Mary Ann and Ian kiss dozens of times, and I never got that feeling of my own. And when I met Gerald, well…something just clicked. It was as if the planets all aligned and the world didn't come to a crashing halt. Instead I found this strange urge to just…kiss him.
He was awfully sweet for showing me around the tank. He had this kind of surfer accent, which I found completely adorable and somehow…sexy. And I only remember talking to a few seahorses when I was little before Mary Ann bought me. She used to have a fish, but it was kind of stupid and kept swimming into the glass. I think he went into a coma, and just never came out. He wasn't much fun anyway.
Gerald was sweet. Gerald kissed sweetly. After we pulled out of our loving kiss, he admitted it was his first. I did, too. And although I was hesitant about moving into a new space, I knew that Gerald would be perfect company.
Three weeks went by and I got closer to Gerald. I never got the courage to ask him to kiss me again, but sometimes he would lean in and just give me a peck on the lips. We watched as Ian and Mary Ann settled into their new lifestyle together. I was happy that Mary Ann was happy.
But a few days after the one-month mark, and something remarkable happened. Ian took Mary Ann to a fancy restaurant (I know it was fancy because she put on her pearl earrings and she only puts her pearl earrings on for fancy events). When they came back home, Ian was wearing a huge smile on his face, and Mary Ann was wearing a shiny ring on her finger.
Later that night, I saw Gerald cozy up in his little bed. I swam next to him.
He smiled upon seeing me. "Hey."
"Did you see that ring on Mary Ann's finger?"
He nodded his head slowly. "Yeah. I guess they're getting married."
"Yeah…do you think that'll ever be us?"
"I guess it could be," he said, and with that we began to kiss like we never had before. It kept going on, getting more loving as the time passed, as our ability to pull away from each other weakened. We were hungry. And we knew that just a kiss wouldn't sate our yearning for one another.
The next morning was one that I would remember for a long time. I felt awful. That was the only way to describe it. It was as if my stomach was an aquarium and inside, something was banging . . . banging . . . banging to get out.
And I was hungry. So hungry. I could eat the diver, but he was plastic. Or I could eat Betty, but I was in love with her.
I made my way towards the glass and looked out. Mary Ann and Ian were asleep on the couch, the television still on from when they watched a pay-per-view movie the night before. I tried to call to them ("Please! Food!"), but they didn't answer.
I decided to go down to the rocks at the bottom of the tank. Scouring between the pebbles, I looked for the slightest hint of food that I might have left over or missed. It was possible; it had happened before. Eventually, I found a single pellet, which I guessed was better than nothing, but at the time I didn't have the retrospect to be grateful that I had something. I just wanted more. More more more. More food.
And that was when I puked.
"Mmm, Gerald?" I turned around, wanting to wake up next to Gerald, but he wasn't there. I looked around the aquarium, but he was nowhere in sight. I got up and started swimming around.
After a few minutes of searching for my favorite seahorse, I finally found him at the bottom of the aquarium, puking.
"Gerald? Hon, are you okay?"
He groaned as he turned around to face me.
"My tummy hurts, and I'm starving."
I swam towards him and he leaned his head on me. I looked at Ian and Mary Ann, who were sleeping on the couch from their late night movies. I knew that they wouldn't be waking up for a while.
I just didn't understand why Gerald was so hungry.
"Why are you so hungry? Mary Ann remembered to feed us last night. You even ate a lot more last night. Are you okay?"
He shook his head slightly. "Maybe I have a stomach bug."
I gave him a worried look. "But how could you have gotten it and not me?"
"I don't know. But I'm so hungry."
Gerald decided to take a little nap. He started getting more tired more often. I was worried about him. What if he was sick?
I was looking out of the aquarium when I saw Mary Ann come home. Ian must have still been at work. She took off her shoes and jacket and checked the mail. She opened a few envelopes before dropping them onto the table in front of my eyes. As she moved towards the bathroom, I took note in the first piece of paper on the table.
You are invited to Nicole's baby shower.
My eyes widened as I noticed that one key word.
Guess what? I was pregnant.
Yep, Betty got me pregnant. Had I been told a few weeks before, I wouldn't have believed it. I had been alone back then, in the aquarium. No one but a plastic diver and Ian with me, and neither of them had the power to impregnate seahorses. But there I was, hanging near the ground of the tank, with Betty's baby.
Now, you need to understand: when I was growing up off the coast of Sidney, my mom always told me to not have children until I was married. She didn't want me to have to support a child on my own. She thought I wouldn't be able to do it. Not because I was an incapable seahorse, but because a baby is a large responsibility. She would have wanted me to have a wife's assistance in raising her grandchild—even though she would never see her grandbaby.
It was because of this that I knew what I had to do. I spent all day preparing. Whenever Betty was preoccupied, I would work on my project. After feeding time—Betty was nice enough to let me have more than my share of pellets—I took her aside.
"Betty," I said, looking into her eyes. "I have something to ask you . . ."
"Yes?" she said.
I sucked in some water. How to say this? I wondered. I guess I should just be upfront about it. "Betty, will you marry me?"
From behind the diver, I handed her a necklace I had made of seaweed. It hadn't been easy to make, seeing as I had to rest often for the baby, but it was worth it all to see the look on her face. It was one of utter magnificence. I could see a redness begin to tinge her eyes as she said, "Yes, Gerald."
"My water just broke!"
I quickly swam towards my fiancé. "How can you tell?" We were underwater, after all.
He frowned at me as he started rolling over in pain. "My water just broke. I'm pretty sure that I would be able to tell. Just get Ian or Mary Ann. And hurry! This feels…weird."
I nodded my head before swimming to the edge of the tank. I saw Ian and Mary Ann eating their dinner together. They were laughing at a joke and eating their meals. Their attention was just about anywhere but on us.
I quickly backed up and rammed my head into the tank. It hurt. A lot. But the thumping noise got Mary Ann's attention. She gave me a strange look before walking towards the aquarium. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear before looking into the tank. I swam towards Gerald to try and get her attention. She quickly motioned for Ian to walk towards us, which he did.
Their shocked expressions showed me they understood what was happening.
I slowly opened my eyes. My vision was blurred. Shapes were obscured by the light streaming down from the top of the tank. I blinked a few times, trying to come to, and after a minute, I could make out Betty next to me. She had a big smile plastered to her face.
"Betty," I mustered—I was feeling a general lack of energy.
"Look," she said, motioning to her backside. And there, nuzzled into the curl of her tail, was a baby.
No, not any baby, I thought. My baby.
I felt a new vitality creeping through me. I may have been worn out, but I needed to hold my child. "Give him to me," I saisd.
"Her," Betty corrected, and she brought the baby over to me, lying her on my stomach as Betty curled up next to me.
"She has her mother's eyes," I said, looking at the baby, who just blinked back at me. Without turning to Betty, I asked, "What should we name her?"
"I've been thinking about that, and I had what I thought was a good idea: we could name her after your mother."
I smiled, looking down at my baby girl. It was the biggest smile I had ever worn across my snout, and rightly so. Because for the first time, I could look at my baby girl and say to her, "Hello, Rivka."
Author's Note: Some of you might be thinking: "Why did GERALD get pregnant and not BETTY?" Well... it's actually the male seahorse that gets pregnant, not the female. We based our entire story off of that at our friend's request.
The humor was tailored a bit to our friend's humor (because it was her birthday) so there may be a few inside jokes that you don't get (Ian Stoy and Rivka, in particular).
We would love to hear what everyone thought! Thanks for reading! And be sure to check out Morine's page.