Strawberry, mermaid, and Red Kelp, dryad, are today happily married. They met when Strawberry took a swim up a river running through a forest and got lost as it wound through underground caves and passages, emerging in a secluded lake. The following story takes place well in the past.
Not long after meeting, Strawberry and Red Kelp began building a free flowing hand signing language that has improved and expanded over time, an experience providing countless flirting opportunities and inside jokes for the blossoming couple.
“You tell me of the many kinds apples but you leave out the treeapples? Are they deadly?” Strawberry asked one night as the couple swayed in a hammock. Strawberry’s head rested on Red Kelp’s chest, the mermaid relishing the soft sounds of clicking of her forest girlfriend’s heart.
“What is a tree apple, my ocean current?” the dryad’s foot propelled the hammock in a slow, lazy rock, kicking against a palm tree’s trunk.
“Apples! Named for the trees! They have big spikes and are all teeth! Pined!” the mermaid pushed herself to a crouching position and menaced her expression. To a drowning pirate, the sight would be beyond terrifying. To a girlfriend who adored the mermaid’s tiny snarl, one built to travel through water and not air, it was beyond adorable.
“A pine? Apple? A pineapple?” Red Kelp offered.
The mermaid, expression unchanged, nodded and she growled again, gnashing her teeth. “The pined apple! I must eat it before it eats me! I must save you my sweet tree, I will protect you!” Gnash, gnash!
Red Kelp gazed up adoringly to the menacing mermaid. When Strawberry began practicing a “pined apple” chomp attack on a particularly ticklish part of her neck, the dryad laughed so hard she snorted — driving Strawberry, having never heard such a sound before, to “attack” the spot again and again.
The dryad roared with laughter, snorting like a boar charging through the forest and she struggled to keep the hammock from flipping them over as the mermaid thrashed and tickled wildly.
In the present day, as the wives swim or stroll, as the conversation lulls into a comfortable silence, sometimes Strawberry will suddenly howl “Pined Apple Chomp!” and lunge at the ticklish spot Red Kelp’s neck — summoning the delightful explosions of laughsnorts each and every time.