Wednesday, 23 July 2008

9. Shark is a capable swimmer

Shark was an orphan.

He didn't used to be.
There was definitely a time when he had both a mother and a father.
But that was at least a week ago.
Things had changed.
Fish had died.

Now he found himself trapped in a box.
A box or a tank.
One of the two.
What's the difference.
Wherever he was it was dark and wet.

Blowtwiddle giggled to himself as he took off his pants.

The changing rooms at the Pingu Pool were unisex.
A spattering of individual changing pods.

He was excited.
At any point some hot young woman could peer over the top of his pod and see him naked.

He pulled his Union Jack swimming shorts over his flabby thighs.
"You're too rotund.
You should wear a cummerbund"
said the man at the swimming short shop.

But Blowtwiddle chose not to.

At the end of the day, when you're going swimming, you don't need to be dressed for dinner.
It's just unnecessary.

Blowtwiddle was in his prime.
He was 18.
He'd just finished school.
And now he was going to swim 400m.
The fastest he ever had.

This was his last chance.
He'd seen enough TV shows to know that it was all downhill from here.
"10 minutes, 17 seconds. That's the time to beat!"

Was it possible? Had anyone ever swum faster than that?

I doubt it.
Blowtwiddle had shaved for the occasion.
"stubble = abrasion = water resistance = half a second off = DON'T DO IT!"

Once he was in the pool, he felt good.
He felt as one with the water.
A big fat lump of man splashing in a big fat pool of water.
Wearing the Union Jack while he did.

In the paddling pool, toddlers were paddling.
Wearing her orange armbands Funch looked happy.
Mummy and Daddy kept her afloat.
Mummy and Daddy kept her by the poolside.

She owed Mummy and Daddy so much.
Her bones were extra dense.
Even with the armbands she'd still sink if it wasn't for Mummy and Daddy.

Shark now knew where he was.
It wasn't a box, that was for sure.
He'd found a hole in roof, and looking out he could see legs.
Juicy, bloody legs splashing about.

He saw Funch.
Her legs were hardly meaty.

How he'd got there, he didn't know.
Probably just kids messing about.
But he was there now, he had to make the most of it.
He was hungry.

Blowtwiddle was well on his way toward the record.
Maintaining a strict 40 seconds per lap, he was going to push the last two, and beat it no problem.

Today the pool was at 1.4m deep.
Sometimes it was less, sometimes it was more.
Sometimes the paddling pool would magically transform into a diving pool.

Blowtwiddle wondered what happened to the excess water when the floor was raised.
Shark had found out.

Although he was just a baby he was strong.
A quick charge at the floor of the pool and he was through.

He'd bitten off Mr Billy's Willy.
He'd eaten up Mrs Gumm's Bum.

Blowtwiddle had hardly noticed the commotion on the poolside.
He was two laps away. 60 seconds to go.
He could do it.
He was engrossed.
He was focused.

Funch was less bothered about the swimming aspect.
She was more bothered about staying alive.

She turned to run out of the pool, cycling her legs as fast as she could.
Normally Mummy or Daddy would push her along as she did this. But not today.
Today she didn't move at all.

Mummy and Daddy weren't with her.
Mummy and Daddy stood still.
Mummy and Daddy watched as Shark turned to face them.

Funch turned to him too.

Shark wasn't a bad person.
He wasn't a person.
But he had just lost his own mummy and daddy.
He was angry.
He was vengeful.
He was hungry.

Mr Billy's willy was hardly nutrient rich.
Mrs Gumm's bum was nothing but flab.
But Mr and Mrs McLunch they were real food.
Buff, toned, educated meat they were.

It was hard to believe the little red-haired creature with them was their offspring.
They hardly believed it either.

Shark took pity on Funch.
She was hardly worth eating.
He looked into her eyes.
"Can I really eat this poor sweet little girl's parents? Can I really take away everything she had in this world? Can I really be this selfish?"
he asked himself.

Funch knew the answer.

Shark was an orphan.
He wasn't being selfish.
If such a marvellous creature had become an orphan, how could a lowly, deformed, ginger girl from England justify her own intact parentage?

She had to consent.
She had to join the club.

She just had joined the club.

It was a potent experience watching Mummy being bitten.
It was just as potent an experience watching Daddy being chewed apart.

"Out of the most traumatic experiences, the most beautiful relationships can blossom"
said some crap magazine.

But Funch believed it.
Funch had found this experience.
She'd found the catalyst to launch the relationship she'd waited her whole life for.

Shark and Funch embraced.
Funch let out a little yelp.
Funch would never forget this bond.

Blowtwiddle would never reach his target.

The yelp awoke him from his trance.
The yelp stopped him from finishing the distance.
Blowtwiddle was annoyed, but he soon realised he could use this to his advantage.

He could be the hero.
He could hunt the shark.
He could find the shark and kill it.
He could kill the shark just before its next victim, a little baby girl.

Funch and Shark peered into each others' eyes.
Funch's eyes were green.
Shark's eyes were black.
They loved the tenderness.
They loved each other.

They would be together forever.
They'd move in together.
They'd star in their own real-life version of Happy Days.
They'd be the perfect comedic married couple.
Like Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee.

But something was wrong.
Shark's eyes began to fade.
Funch could feel his cuddle subside.
She knew what had happened.

Her friend.
Her lover.
Her Shark.

He was dead.

Funch and Blowtwiddle would meet again.