Every spring, panic spreads among those who are still bearing extra winter weight. As the weather warms up, along come beach trips, pool parties, and more opportunities to reveal one’s true shape, which has been hidden under layers of fuzzy sweaters and coats. It is time for the ritual shedding of the hideous fatty form, to make way for the much more appealing, sexy summer bod laying in wait. Many of us will pick back up on our New Years’ resolution by revisiting the gym. The most dedicated will try some new trendy diet. Unwilling to put in that kind of effort? One woman found a different option.
Alice was preparing for her spring ritual of signing up for a gym membership again and re-downloading her calorie counting app. However, this year, the pressure to obtain that ideal summer beach body was higher than ever. This summer, she would be going on a week long bachelorette trip to Hawaii with her girlfriends, and she was the maid of honor.
Imagining all the bikini-clad Instagram posts and Tinder profile pics that would arise from this trip, Alice became more worried than ever about obtaining the beach body of her dreams. Would her exercise and dieting efforts be enough? She couldn’t take that chance. She needed to do everything in her power to erase her lingering Christmas cookie love handles, even if that meant consulting the Sea Witch she met as a girl.
As a little girl on vacation with her family, Alice was walking alongside the sea shore collecting shells. Her eyes glued to the sand, she didn’t notice the woman standing ahead of her. As Alice knelt down to pick up a silver dollar, this woman crept closer. Spotting a little crab scurrying away from her, Alice crawled after it until she came a cross a pair of smooth, alabaster feet. She looked up at this stunning woman with waist-long raven hair and a long black dress, both of which billowed in the wind.
“Pretty little Alice. You do not know me, but I know you, and I know that one day you will wish to morph into your truest form. When that day comes, you know where to find me,” the woman said. And then, she turned and walked down the shore, eventually disappearing in the sea mist.
Alice thought about this encounter frequently over the years. But it wasn’t until last month, as she was trying on a bikini she ordered online and twirling in the mirror, grabbing and pinching her love handles, that she knew what she had to do.
It was a cold, foggy morning. Aside from the old shirtless man jogging next to the waves and the woman playing fetch with her labrador retriever, the beach was empty. No sooner had Alice picked up two sea shells than her old friend the sea witch appeared, as stunning as ever. She hadn’t aged one bit.
“Alice. I knew you would come. Bikini season is upon us, after all,” said the sea witch. “Now tell me, what do you wish from me?”
“I wish for a beach body,” said Alice.
“What are you willing to sacrifice?”
Sacrifice? Alice wasn’t prepared to sacrifice anything. If she was prepared to sacrifice, then maybe she would’ve already given up her nightly ice cream for some broccoli, or her evening Twitter scroll for some jogging. In fact, she was here precisely because she didn’t want to sacrifice anything at all.
But then, Alice remembered reading some blog post that mentioned appropriate sacrifices to deities. She also remembered how much she hated the sound of her own voice on recordings, and how much she hated speaking up during Zoom meetings. This might get her off the hook.
“I will sacrifice my voice.”
“Very well.” The sea witch smiled her wicked smile.
With one snap of her fingers, the sea witch disappeared, and Alice fell to the ground.
She couldn’t stand up. Paralyzed from the waist down, Alice began to army crawl up the sand frantically: a large wave was approaching. She cursed herself for not finishing that “Arms and Abs” video sequence on Youtube. If only she was strong enough-
The world went dark. Alice was dragged into a fury of cold, salty water, her body twisting and turning. Which way was up? Which way was down? She started fighting her way to what she thought was the surface of this quiet, yet chaotic world she had entered. If only she could move her legs! Then she might be able to beat this beast. Her arms were getting so tired. She needed to breathe. Her lungs felt as if they would burst. Which way was up again? She opened her eyes, bracing the salty sting. But there was no sting. In fact, she had never in her life seen so clearly underwater before. In her amazement, her lungs were relaxed again. They no longer cried for air. How long had she been in this world? She felt she could stay forever. Was she dead?
The light was fading away. She was sinking deeper and deeper. In a panic, she jumped towards the light. She jumped again. And again. Her legs were working! She couldn’t peddle them but somehow they were propelling her upward. She glanced down in confusion.
A shiny, cerulean blue tail extended from her waist down. It wasn’t, however, the tail that gave Alice a shock. No, it was the tightly toned abdominal muscles in place of her usual pudgy tummy.
It worked! The sea witch gave her a beach body!
Now that she’s gotten used to her new figure, Alice is looking forward to meeting her friends in Hawaii for the bachelorette trip. She plans to swim across the pacific with the help of her toned arms and abs, and mermaid tail of course. Her Instagram is already getting quite some attention. She hopes to become the first mermaid influencer on the platform.
When asked if she had any regrets about this new lifestyle, Alice responded:
“Sometimes I miss singing. And human touch. But hey, at least I’m like a hot Ariel mermaid, and not one of those ugly grey fishy things from Harry Potter.”