Paul and Shark

The roughened skin allowed him to carve an elegant path through the chilly waters, tail batting gently to propel his lumpen frame of grey-coated flesh along the huge tunnel of shifting water. This jetstream would take him all the way to Acupulco, if he wanted, but that wasn’t on the cards. Acupulco was a shit-hole. Too much sun-cream clouding the waters.

He was going to Norway. Holy Norway, birth-place of the god-shark, seas as clear as cut-crystal glass (as witnessed whilst perusing a large steel wreck of a human boat three or four hours south of the Greenland coast) and lots of putrid, diseased fish to engorge oneself on. He would have to leave this tunnel soon and head out in to the still waters, up North and around the shallow waters and rocks of the Scottish Hebrides.

Another rather pleasant memory of his came to mind, of being a pup playing around with a rather boisterous crab called Eirik. If he remembered correctly, Eirik was Norwegian himself, but with his youth he lacked the education and the finesse to properly appreciate what a finely bred crustacean he had been spending his time with. Thinking on to his intermediate destination – he remembered the time well.

They played a game where he would swim very fast at Eirik, situated with his head and the front part of his body popping out of a small hole in the green rocky sea-bed. This tunnel seemed to be just the right size for his shelled frame. His claws would be in the air. How amusing – he thought, those spiny, mottled claws as clear as if they were in front of him now.

He would open his mouth as wide as it would go, almost dislocating his jaw but the harder he tried to open his mouth the greater the feeling of pain – and joy – in the straining of the joint. His teeth must have been pointing straight forward – a ridiculous notion now, but in his previous naiveté wholly probable.

His jaw opened wider and swimming through the water got harder, Eirik would disappear back in to the hole at the last minute, trying to nick his skin with his claws as he rushed past.

Such abandon, so free, as they repeated this simple act over and over. Of course, Eirik’s relatively gentle claws couldn’t make a scratch on the sharks young, supple skin, and the times he did touch him – so ineffectively – only served to make the whole escapade funnier.

Poor Eirik, he thought. It all went wrong when his claw got lodged in some teeth and his arm was torn off. He remember the shock, although at the time his mother assured it would grow back.

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