It was impossible for Chris to tell how much time had passed before he regained consciousness. The last thing he remembered was the feeling of Darren’s hand clutched in his own as the two of them plummeted toward the ocean. Flexing his fingers experimentally, he could still feel his friend’s grip.
Chris slowly opened his eyes, and shook Darren awake. They found themselves in a large bubble of air in an underwater grotto. Swimming all around them were strange and beautiful creatures that appeared to be mermaids dressed up as cheerleaders.
“Oh good, you’re awake,” a familiar voice called out.
“Well, I guess that is my name, but most people just call me the Little Cheermaid. And you’re dolphins, right?”
“Yeah, you know – gay sharks. Like barracudas are gay piranhas.”
“Oh, right. Well –” Chris began, but Brittany cut him off.
“Or maybe you’re a unicorn. Did you used to be a pony? ‘Cause when a pony does a good deed, he gets a horn, and he becomes a unicorn, and poops out cotton candy, until he forgets he’s magical, and then his horn falls off. I don’t see your horn, but you do seem kind of magical… I'm also a unicorn. Maybe a bi-corn. Either way, I'm starting to believe in my own magic.”
Chris could feel his eyes beginning to glaze over, but Darren was clearly onboard with Brittany’s convoluted version of conversation. “Oh, yeah, he’s definitely a unicorn. Or maybe a wood nymph. Or some other kind of totally awesome magical creature.”
Chris decided to derail this runaway train of thought. “So, Brittany – or, uh, Little Cheermaid, if you prefer – do you happen to have the saber from the deepest sea lying around?”
Brittany gazed about her underwater home before beginning to sing:
Look at this stuff, isn't it neat?
Wouldn't you think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't you think I'm the girl
The girl who has everything?
Look at this trove, treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Looking around here you think
Sure, she's got everything
I've got gadgets and gizmos a-plenty
I've got whozits and whatzits galore
You want thingamabobs? I've got twenty!
But who cares? No big deal - I want more!
Darren gave Chris a quizzical look. “I don’t remember Glee ever doing ‘Part of Your World.’ I wonder how this song got here?”
I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see, wanna see them dancin'
Walking around on those - what do you call 'em?
Oh - feet!
Flippin' your fins, you don't get too far
Legs are required for jumping, dancing
Strolling along down a - what's that word again?
Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin' free - wish I could be
Part of that world
“I may have Disney’s Little Mermaid on my laptop,” Chris admitted. “Don’t judge me.”
“Judge you? Chris, you know how much I love this song! In fact, as soon as we get home, the first thing we’ve gotta do is sit down and watch this movie together.”
What would I give if I could live out of these waters?
What would I pay to spend a day warm on the sand?
Bet'cha on land they understand
Bet they don't reprimand their daughters
Bright young women sick of swimmin'
Ready to stand
And ready to know what the people know
Ask 'em my questions and get some answers
What's a fire and why does it - what's the word?
When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love, love to explore that world up above?
Out of the sea, wish I could be
Part of that world
As Brittany finished singing, Chris said, “That was a beautiful song. But it doesn’t quite answer my question. Do you have the saber from the deepest sea?”
“Well, I used to. My Cheermaids traded their pom-poms to the Sea Witch for it. I was supposed to use it to cut off Santana’s feet, so she’d turn into a Cheermaid, and come live with me forever under the sea. But I just couldn’t go through with it. I mean, I really want us to be together, but not if it’s going to hurt her, you know?”
“Santana’s the huntsman’s daughter, right?”
“Yeah. When we met on the bank of Swan Lake, it was love at first sight. But then I got all tongue-tied, ‘cause she’s just so beautiful, and then she accused me of giving her the silent treatment, and she walked away, so I swam back to the sea, and I’ve been miserable ever since.”
“That’s so tragic,” Darren cried. “You’ve got to go back to her.”
“She doesn’t want me.”
“How do you know?”
“I can hear anything that’s said near water. Which is practically everything. ‘Cause all water flows back to the ocean, you know? Except watermelon. I wish I could taste one of those. All we have here is sea cucumbers… Anyway, she’s never once said she misses me. So she can’t feel the same way I do.”
Chris let the non sequitur about the sea cucumbers slide, and responded to what seemed to be Brittany’s primary misconception. “Have you heard her say anything at all?”
“I think she’s become mute.”
“Is that like a moot point? ‘Cause I don’t really get it.”
“No, I mean I think that when you swam away without saying anything to her, she stopped talking, too. I don’t think she’s said anything to anyone since then. But I’m sure she misses you, just as much as you miss her.”
“Really? Maybe I should try to find her. ‘Cause I’m mad at her, but she’s still so hot.”
“Go for it,” Darren encouraged.
“I’m sorry if I’m starting to sound like a song stuck on repeat,” Chris said, “but we really do need to find the saber from the deepest sea. Do you know where it is?”
“Oh, yeah. I gave it to some guy, and he threw it in the Thornbush Pit. You know, that place with all of the nasty vines that drag people down? Well, I think that’s bullying, and I won’t stand for it. Here, take these magic shell necklaces. They’ll protect you from the vines.”
Brittany held out two necklaces, and Chris and Darren each put one on. As the shells touched their chests, they began to glow with a soft, golden light.
“Oooh, pretty,” Brittany cooed. “The shells are made for each other, so if one breaks, the other will, too. Keep them safe, and they’ll keep you safe.”
“Thanks! These are great,” Darren enthused. Then, glancing around at all of the other ‘whozits and whatzits’ on display, he asked, “What’s that musical instrument over there?”
“Oh, that’s a womandolin.”
“Yeah. It’s kind of like a mandolin, only with more curves. Oh, and it smells better, too.”
“Wow – can I try it out?”
“Sure. In fact, you can keep it. I think Santana is the only woman I want to be playing from now on.”