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Fiction: Apex Predator
By Thomas Johnson
*Editor's Note: This piece was previously published in Pearl Magazine, No. 42 five years ago
I keep coming back after death. Each time as a more vicious killer. I’m dead again and for the last time when you read this. I was executed for more murders than any one in history, I’ve been told, but I have killed many more than that before becoming human. I have memories of being a bird of prey, a lion, but the most clear and recent is that of being a fish. Carcharodon Carcharias. Better known as the Great White shark.
Today I go to Anti-Glory, Agonyville, Heaven-not. Crazy, I’m not. Before I go I want all to think differently about my sanity. I’m looking forward to meeting my father, the Devil.
I’ve charged my worthless lawyer with one mandate. After I’m put to death, publish this autobiography/biography (me as a shark) to avoid the do-gooder, anti-death-penalty jerks from screaming that I was insane, and should have been in the loony bin, or cookoo’s nest under drugs for life. To live any longer would be cruel and unusual torture. Why would you torture me for being me? But they do put down pit bulls for being pit bulls. Put me down! I bite.
I don’t have much time, I’ll start my narrative.
Inside my mother I fought to the death with my siblings, and then consumed them. My first meals were the eggs from each ovulation, and Mom was ovulating all the time. I was king of the womb.
I was then launched into sudden cold. Cold that shocked me into a mild paralysis, but I was aware enough to avoid Mother swimming toward me. I moved quickly to avoid her charge. Mom had to get me moving or I would die of hypothermia. I could sense her leaving me; leaving me forever. I swam in the opposite direction; I would be swimming for the rest of my life.
Let me inform the reader, again, that I’m not out of my mind. How would I know all this stuff if it didn’t happen to me? I didn’t read it. I didn’t see any of this on Animal Planet, either. I lived all of what you will read.
This would give the “stop capital punishment” freaks reason to say I was insane, and stop my demise, if I had said any of this before being put to death. I’ve saved the state money. A shrink would charge the tax payers millions to study my brain functions.
A blood-sucking shrink. What a joke. The first degree they get is a BA. An arts degree! People think what they do is science…its voodoo witch craft! He would recommend lifelong therapy, bill the state then write a book.
I’m not sure how long I’ll have this lap-top before the screws come to get it. I’ll hurry.
Alone in a vast black nothingness, unafraid I began a slow ever-increasing large circle up. While swimming I began to sense small creatures, thousands, ascending from the depths. The small squid darted around in tight groups providing me my first meal. No need to pursue this food, just open wide while swimming. I was never satiated, and would feed until the squid descended to the depths. They would return periodically, I would eat. I would grow. The little squid became less satisfying as I became larger, but life was going to be easy.
Around that time I could sense a faint glow from above. I could also sense movement from below. Something large, and in huge numbers was coming up fast. Humboldt squid were zipping by flashing colors of red, blue, and green. Scary.
With a few strong tail strokes I went up and away from these large aggressive creatures. But one grabbed me with his two longer arms, and drew me into the shorter arms, taking me down. Fear became rage. I turned and took a big bite out of the side of Mr. Humboldt (first time using teeth). It felt good. An added bonus was that I had a belly full of food while I returned to a depth with less pressure. I remained in the area for a time, growing on the big colorful squid.
Find me an ichthyologist that knows this crap. You can’t. Some day someone will find out that young Great Whites feed on calamari, and then remember that a serial killer knew it first. By now Satan and I are sipping Long Island Ice Teas in a pool full of ice at my homecoming festivities.
I get prepped for execution in about two hours, removal of hair, enema, or what- ever. Who cares? Just keep that spineless hay-seed of a governor away from the phone. I’m not crazy. I just need to record this before I go the last mile.
Traveling in my ever-growing oval toward brighter light I came upon fish hanging, unmoving in mid-water. The fish were caught in gill nets. Some were dead, others near death. Other sharks were here. Aggressive sharks, makos and white tips, darted in to feed, which explained why some of them were themselves entangled.
I would carefully bite a dead tuna in half with teeth made for cutting. The other sharks would give me right-of-way after a sign of submission: rapid turning of the tail and leaving. The nets were pulled up and I continued slowly toward magnetic north. Alone. But that was all I knew at that point.
You people are too easy. I made a big deal (you saw on TV) about wanting lethal injection. I said “please” not the electric chair. The result of my pleading is a “hot” seat for the show later tonight. Capital punishment is back in vogue in California thanks to Michael Jackson and Joan Rivers. The state, with perverted wisdom, offers a choice of propofol or death by bug whacker. All have chosen the sleeping to death method. Not me. Just what I wanted to happen. Fools.
I have no children, for a reason. My seed is demonic, toxic DNA. I read that electric current in lethal doses destroys sperm. I asked to be buried next to my mother. So, they’ll cremate me, just as I intended. Cremation prevents a mad scientist from getting my DNA and cloning another “monster killer.” It’s all come together much too easily. I’m digressing, again.
I heard, or more precisely felt, a plaintive moaning from further north. I continued and soon detected blood, not fish blood. A large school of fast-swimming blue fin tuna passed over with marlin and sail fish in hot pursuit, darting in, injuring the smaller members. I would eat the wounded fish, acquiring needed fuel for the colder northern waters. The colder the water the more I needed to eat, and the faster I could swim, resulting in warmer blood supplying oxygen that fueled muscle.
Did you know that?
No! How could you? I’m teaching from Purgatory! I’ll give a pop quiz later on this material.
I was awash in more light than ever, in my blood quest. I advanced slowly upon a half- grown whale with chunks of blubber missing from its flanks. The smell was overwhelming; all of my sensory receptors were flooded. Shark adrenaline takes over then you become mindless. I had to get it. I approached with usual shark caution and sank my teeth for the first time into mammalian flesh. My teeth went deep, felt no bone, just the rich ambrosia of rich blubber. My days of eating calamari and sushi were over.
It would have been interesting if I could have spoken to CNN or Fox about my prior lives. The Dr. Phil show would have been fun, but all everyone wanted to ask was, “Why only male victims with histories of abuse against women?” Or “Did your father beat your mother?” I killed human scum. I killed bullies and cowards. Not for some humanitarian cause, regardless what you hear from those women’s groups. Enough said about that human confusion.
Two goons have been assigned to my cell. Where do they think I’m going? Hell! I’ve registered myself as a freshman at Misery Academy.
I want to take my time with this but it looks like I may get interrupted. This is a big night for those in the media. The libs and the conservatives both are trying to spin my human life to their advantage. “Vote for me and I’ll kill’um all.” “Vote for me and I’ll fix’um all.” The world is mad. I’m not.
As a human, I’ve reached the top of the killer pyramid. I’ll go to my maker tonight, and none is happier about it than me. But I want someone in the future to say “that guy knew what he was talking about. Maybe he wasn’t as crazy as we thought.” Let’s get back to the fish.
I was full, but sharks don’t have a satiated off-switch. Hungry all the time, I ate that day until swimming became a problem. I circled the whale in a downward spiral, in a trance, waiting for more room in my stomach.
I was startled into awareness by a large male Great White giving me a “both eyes” stare. In shark talk he was saying, “I’m dominate, any problem with that?” I turned quickly, assumed the “no problem, boss, I’m submissive” posture. Head down, turning away but not leaving.
Three other males came up, smaller than the first, but all larger than I was. The new sharks took turns giving me “both eyes” and grading my subordinate pose. Big Guy gave me the “acceptable” signal. He moved his head slowly back and forth. They moved up in the direction of the dead whale. I was “told” to follow.
The jerks running the penal system are dumb as pebbles. They have just caved into the demands of one of the women’s rights group, NOW or PINK, and are going to try to get the President involved. We are on hold. This execution is a state issue, for heavens sake. I have a Demonic appointment to make.
One day a person in the mold of a Jacque Cousteau will discover that sharks have a system of communication. I’ll be given no credit for first reporting this info.
Oh, by the way. I predict the President won’t touch my case, nor will the Supreme Court. Any right-thinking person knows it. I’ve been a “bad boy” so I must “hang.” I wish it was on pay-per-view; that would be cool.
I was the smallest and lowest-ranking member of the posse, as we followed Big Guy up to the whale for another feeding. I took my turn and packed down more blubber, then followed the others to a comfortable depth to digest. At that depth (couldn’t tell you how deep it was) I could sense the presence of something else, a big something, moving up. The posse swam in a decreasingly smaller circle, waiting.
She was huge! About the size of a medium school bus, and wide enough to park two Mini Coopers side-by-side in her. Beautiful, as she rose to the whale, shook that carcass like a pit bull shaking a squirrel. The whale broke open with one huge bite, the size of a double-door refrigerator, gases and entrails escaped. We followed that whale’s slow decent, feeding on exposed flesh until the males couldn’t go any further. Our female continued down, feeding.
I’ve just been informed by my in-bred guard that one of the Supreme Court judges will read that bogus appeal made by the ACLU. He will decide if the court will hear it. The ACLU trumps NOW.
This will give me time to go further with this “written” oration. I would be finished by now, if they had given me a voice recorder as I wanted. But who is going to do anything for me; the eradicator of human scum?
Our posse traveled north, just west of the channel islands off California. Our wife was in front, very deep. The males were much shallower, Big Guy in the lead, and spread out over dozens of miles. Our lady shark would periodically transmit a low-frequency sexy sigh that would reassure us she was there, and we were to follow. That sigh must have elicited some kind of male shark predisposition in me. I was very much in love with this female, seeing her just one time, feeling her aura constantly.
Very often we waited on her to ascend for mating. We had no ranking order in the mating. The first to her was the first to mate. I took my turn. She was so much larger that mating was not successful at first. I tried every time given the opportunity, like a little poodle on a leg. I would hang onto her pictorial fin with my teeth just hard enough to maneuver my claspers under her. She would roll, ever so slightly; I would make love to her pelvic fins. She never seemed to mind my early attempts at mating, and gave me a turn each time. Great Whites are very romantic. We had orgies all the time.
It may be years before someone studies the mating behavior of Great Whites. You’ll have to send a camera down on the back of a shark, or something, to check my story out. But you heard it first from me, the “mad” killer.
All of this is interesting, you say. “The writings of a delusional nutty man on death row.” Let me give you something else to “chew” on. My encounters with man were rare, but they did happen. But first the barber is coming to give me a hair cut for the “main event.”
Okay, I’m back. I didn’t know they had to shave your balls. It would have been nice if that tiny, young Latina nurse shaved me, but no, it was the fat barber with his dull razor. If this prison were in Guantanamo, that barber would be up on charges of cruelty to a prisoner. They held me down, and then applied alcohol to my red, raw love trio. Just evil! What a world. What a wicked world. Just liquidate me!
That butcher of a barber must be a wife abuser. Sorry, Mrs. Barber, I couldn’t get all the bullies.
Very near the coast of California, around Monterey, I spotted two silhouettes on the surface while patrolling about fifty feet deep. In these waters silhouettes on the surface mean sea lion. A shark must move fast to surprise a speedy sea lion. I took off toward the surface like a ballistic missile from a submarine. I opened my mouth (I can still feel the water rushing through my gills like a broken fire hydrant), rolled back my eyes, and bit a kayak in half.
A woman was in the water, bleeding badly, trying to swim to the other kayak. A man was hitting the water with his ore, trying to scare me away. I circled the pair, my dorsal fin out of the water. That poor woman was making little progress, while getting weaker, bleeding out. The man should have been paddling to her, but he continued slapping the water, in a panic, which brought a brother up close to get a taste of kayak, spilling him out.
No blubber on these creatures, we could sense. Not worth the risk of loosing a tooth on bone. The lady was dead, floating in her life jacket. The man was clinging to what remained of his shattered kayak, without a life preserver. My brother and I moved on, but I noticed a tiger shark and a couple of big blues heading toward the smell of blood. My little cousins cleaned up the mess.
I googled those two people a couple of years ago. Do it yourself. They were never found. A mystery no more. I confess; it was me!
These idiots actually think I’m writing letters of apology to the families of my victims. Illogical. Will a lion send a note to Mr. and Mrs. Wilder Beast after a lunch of baby wilder beast? Has the prairie-dog family ever received a letter of condolence from the Golden Eagle clan? I kill! I’m a killer. But I’m not an insane destroyer as some suggest.
This is fun. Let me give you more evidence of my “insanity.” As I predicted the Supreme Court will not hear my case. Executions are state functions, dummies. My home-coming is just minutes away. Goodie. Goodie.
I came across a diver fishing for abalone, or sea urchin on one of my coastal runs. He was working on the bottom with a long knife and a bag. I approached from behind and slightly above. He slowly turned, saw me, and took off toward the surface in a cloud of bubbles. He must have been screaming all the way up. Locate that guy. It was a long time ago, but he may still be around, if he didn’t have a heart attack in his boat. Ask him about the handsome Great White that was looking over his shoulder while he was sticking his knife under an abalone shell. Someone must remember the abalone fisherman with the shit in his wetsuit.
Now let me get to the Farallon Islands with more info that only I know, and for you to check out. The water was deep and cold. To stay in those waters we needed to eat big. In the icy water were elephant seals. One ton of blubber each, swimming below and above. Female Great Whites were cruising at the male level, but not for breeding, for feeding. Anticipation was never higher than in the Farallons. The buffet was open.
The seals would swim under the sharks at high speed from the beaches of California to the rocks of the islands. This trip required quick journeys to the surface for air, then quickly dive to get under the sharks. The older and younger animals must take long breaks at the surface. While they are resting, a female shark will launch herself to the silhouette, hit a Northern Elephant seal, and literally knock the stuffing out of a ton of seal.
A shark will not attack if at the same level as the prey item. A person may get a friendly kiss from an inquisitive shark, however, then bleed to death. It’s safe to swim with the very cautious white shark, but if the shark gets close punch the nose firmly. All sharks will turn away when hit. Note: metal cages confuse and frighten. Get out and move slowly.
I know! I knew! But I’m a dead sociopath, remember? Whatever.
I’m just about ready to go. I have finally completed my last life. No more killing after tonight. I’m tired, so many lives taken. I’m ready for “next.” I made it to “manhood,” the Alpha Killer. Life? Who needs it? So, let me end with a biblical reference you may find interesting.
As a youngster, just after joining the posse, I came upon a sea otter floating on the surface of a kelp forest. Swiftly I took that little guy in one gulp, whole. Immediately I could feel the otter running around, and scratching the inside of my empty stomach. To avoid internal injury I heaved that little sucker out like a torpedo launching. Big Guy bit the otter in half, and then swallowed one piece at a time. Lesson learned.
Great Whites have the strongest up-chuck muscles in the world. Think about it. You are a mile down and you get sick on rotten Bottle Nose dolphin. You have to overcome the pressure at that depth to puke.
Jonah must have been swallowed by a large female, then propelled close to shore after three days of prayer. Really? It was a Great White. A fish. Legend or theory some base of truth.
I’ve refused a last meal, and for the last half hour a Native American medicine man has been chanting over me. I didn’t think they could find one.
Okay, the bottom line. I am not, nor was I ever insane. You now have information no human would know. You also have at least one person to seek out, and a missing-persons mystery solved. I’ve even given you a biblical reference.
One other thing, quickly. Get to Hawaii, between the big island and Maui. The Alenuihaha Channel. Take a mini-sub to near bottom. Take a camera along and a large light source to record the birth of Great Whites.
San Diego has a large sports bar near the center of the city, not far from Hotel Circle. The bar has a ceiling two-stories high, with several giant HD TV monitors hanging from the rafters, about a dozen smaller HD plasma screens spread out at each of the six bars, and a large dance floor with a band stage.
Every weekend 700 to 800 people from the surrounding neighborhoods come together for good food and drink, dancing, and meeting new people while every sport from football to poker is on one or more of the screens, but on this Friday evening only one plasma screen is on. Six regulars are at the one bar doing business in the cavernous hall were watching the news. Lately people are staying home.
On the screen was a young exotic female talking head, perhaps Polynesian heritage, jet black wavy hair to her shoulders. Black round eyes and skin like caramel candy. Very full moist lips the color of ripe pomegranate, with white perfect smiling teeth was speaking.
"The U.S. Government is now asking the public to begin reporting to officials any person or persons they suspect may have the symptoms of this dreadful illness. The Channel Islands, off the coast near Oxnard, have been transformed from once populated solely by wild goats, to now hundreds of military tents for housing. These well-staffed shelters are for the contagious, but only until a treatment can be found.
“The President has finally weighed in to assure citizens that a treatment will be found soon that will stop this horrible virus. He felt it necessary to remind his critics that unlike the Ebola virus this flesh-eating virus is air bourn, like the common cold ‘bug.’ The President also reminds us that this virus cure will take time, but great strides in slowing down or suppressing the disease can, and will be discovered. An infected person will show symptoms after as little as twenty-four hours. He reinforced that we must round-up the infected to begin removing them from the healthy population, if we are to survive this Mother of all predators.
“Antibiotics will not prevent nor treat the flesh eating organism. The black-market for penicillin and its derivatives are causing its own problems by depleting medical necessities for antibiotics nationwide.
“Now, on a much less weighty note.
“It was one year ago today that the most notorious serial killer the human race has ever known, the Alpha Predator, was put to death by electrocution.
“The investigation concerning the deaths of all four UCSD medical students while dissecting the Predator’s remains has never been resolved; perhaps never will in light of the many deaths on the still quarantined campus that followed. Some doctors and those that study viruses still refer to the La Jolla, California campus as ground zero while other experts are unsure.
“At this time let’s go to Mario, our weather man, to find out if these beautiful sunny days will ever end.”
#Unreal #Fiction #PastLives #Animals #Symbolism #Imagery #Killer #GreatWhiteSharks #HumanCondition
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