Thursday, March 31, 2016


This remarkable story by Kai Meyer -- ISBN 0689877870 -- is one of the BEST recruiting manuals to come out in a long time.  Framed as a children's adventure/fantasy instead of a horror story -- FOR A CHANGE! -- we see a teenaged girl (ALWAYS prime recruiting material) leaving the orphanage where she's been living (EXCELLENT!  When we take her, nobody will miss her) to start an apprenticeship with a man who lives on the Canal of the Expelled in Venice (which means EASY ACCESS for any fish working to recruit her to our Cause).  They even have a great big well out behind the shop, which might as well have a sign hanging on it saying "DAMPFOLK AND LANDFISH WELCOME."  On the day the story begins, we see something that will enchant young, human, female readers -- hordes of Mermaids, gathered for some sort of boating festival -- but HORRIFY the fish reader, because the Mermaids are in captivity, forced to pull gondolas with their TEETH for pity's sake.  The protagonist even mentions casually, AS IF IT COULDN'T POSSIBLY MATTER TO ANYONE, that Mermaid tail is quite a delicacy. 

Now before everyone scatters in terror, let me remind you that Naked Apes see almost every other living thing in terms of how they can be EXPLOITED.  Believe it or not, ladies, Meyer uses this SICKENING PERVERSION OF THE MERMAID'S LIFE PURPOSE to enchant readers and make Mermaids seem, you know, BIDDABLE -- and, apparently, EDIBLE.  In the years since Mermaids transformed in the eyes of Shaved Monkeys from the seducers of lonely sailors to the entertainers of small children, they managed to COMPLETELY FORGET the drawing power of the species.  WE DREW THEM INTO THE SEA LIKE LEMMINGS WITH OUR MERMAIDS, DIDN'T WE?  But now, in these very different times, they are more of an advertising logo for seafood restaurants -- and, of course, Starbuck's: 

...But I digress.  Their drawing power is unchanged, but in the years since we phased out this type of operative for aquatic maneuvers, their target audience has shifted considerably.  The mermaids you see today in movies and advertising -- PALE COPIES OF THE REAL THING -- now attract little girls to the edge of the water, wishing they could be Mermaids themselves.  They imagine themselves basking in the sun on rocks by the beach, combing their hair and singing.  And that's about all.  Drunken sailors no longer enter into it.   Alas, the image of the Mermaid is so de-sexed and sanitized today that those little girls never realize that the life goal of every Mermaid is to DRAG THAT LONELY SAILOR BY HIS WEDDING TACKLE, BUBBLING AND SCREAMING, TO DAVEY JONES'S LOCKER, where he will dwell with us in wonder and glory forever. 
Kai Meyer even gives us a rendering of "The Little Mermaid" in this story, told by an operative with the painfully ironic name Eft.  To my astonishment, he pretty much got the story correct, unlike any previous human author of whom I am aware.  Read it and see for yourselves!  Eft also explains with great bitterness that mermaids living in the canals of Venice are doomed to die because the Shaved Monkeys have made the water so filthy.  SHE DOESN'T EXPLAIN WHY THEY STAY THERE.  She also doesn't reveal her own secret agenda -- she is clearly one of our operatives.  It's so obvious that only a human could miss it.
Something else Meyer got right:  Merle, the protagonist, is completely safe from the ferocious teeth of the Mermaids only because she is specially favored by what they call the Flowing Queen, their revered ancestor (AND OURS!)
And this:  The water in this story has special properties the average Naked Ape reader would be unfamiliar with. 
However:  None of those properties are anything like the ones water has in real life -- also unsuspected by the Naked Apes.

There is a great deal more to see in this story, but I won't ruin it for you by posting it all on the Internet.  Just read it -- copies will be provided at every chapter meeting this month.  Great for gift-giving if you know a young girl who wants transforming into a Skate or a Bream.  Great "tickler" reading for the newest, rawest recruits in elementary-school classrooms. 


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