If You Believe in Mermaids . . . Don't Tell

A Novel by A. A. Philips
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A novel for youth 11 and older, friends, family, teachers and counselors.

"All school counselors should have If You Believe in Mermaids, Don't Tell on their bookshelf."

-- Bob Bardwell, ASCA Vice-President

Don't tell anyone what you wish for, even your parents. I learned that way back when I was six years old.

"Dad, I want to be a mermaid."

Big mistake. Trust me. You gotta keep it inside. Because sons aren't supposed to want that, and parents never forget.

Chapter One

On Saturday morning, I wandered into the living room and saw Dad up on a ladder installing the ugly new ceiling lamp. It looked like a land mine.

"Todd? When do you start camp?" Dad asked.

"I just finished seventh grade yesterday," I told him.

The land mine was hanging crooked. My parents didn't order the light I liked, with the frosty glass shade flaring out like a lily.

"What about baseball camp?" Dad went on. "Aren't you registered?"


Dad twisted toward me dangerously. "What happened? You were supposed to sign up in P.E.!"

I steadied the ladder. "I don't even like baseball."

Dad frowned at the ceiling. "Then soccer," he growled, dropping a screw. "Find out when it starts."

I trapped the rolling screw and handed it up to him. "You bribed me to play soccer when I was eight. You gave me ten bucks."