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The Worst Shark Attack Ever

Story by Trevor Houser (Read author interview) December 20, 2011

art by Andy Babbitz

Georgia had a fight with her husband, and told him she was leaving him. “Fuck this,” she said to some vodka she was drinking. “Whatever,” her husband said. Georgia watched SNL and got dizzy from all the vodka and slept on the couch with the TV on. The next morning her husband went golfing with a coworker so she went to the bathroom with the door open then made a bloody mary but with Clamato instead of regular tomato juice. She took a shower. She thought about masturbating to a movie star she frequently masturbated to. Then she decided against it. Then she masturbated anyway, but to a different movie star, actually more of a supporting actor, but still really attractive, and maybe more realistic in that he was probably somewhat more accessible in real life. Afterwards she looked at her boobs in the mirror. She thought they didn’t look very good. She tried not to look at her boobs in the mirror as she took vitamins and medication for blood pressure. Her cell phone rang as she put on a swimsuit. It was her mother. She let the phone ring. She looked out the window as it rang. She could hear music. It was sunny and felt like when she was in college when she was constantly looking forward to things. After getting her beach towel, Georgia packed some carrot sticks and Sun Chips and one bottle of beer and drove out to the beach. The beach was not crowded. Georgia knew the least crowded parts. She was wearing a bikini with a floral print that made her boobs look good. She looked at her boobs move agreeably inside the floral top as she sat down. She opened her beer and thought about someone else touching her boobs, sucking on them maybe, commenting on how good they looked. She thought about her husband living somewhere else like Greenland, or an oilrig. She imagined him in the middle of the ocean somewhere, screaming. Life had been harder than she originally thought. Some people went their whole lives without ever questioning their decisions, she realized. Some people had perfect nipples all the time being sucked on by supporting actors of varying degrees of accessibility. Georgia lay down. She let the sun wash over her. She wanted the sun to cleanse her. She wanted the inter-planetary heat to sear off any flaws, cook away any weakness. She wanted to rise from the ashes stronger somehow. She wanted to return home and shoot lasers out of her eyes, laughing as her husband turned into a ball of screaming fire. Georgia sat up and ate her carrot sticks. She looked around at the ocean and the sand dunes. A school bus pulled up and all the kids got out and ran into the ocean, yelling. The sun was hotter now. Georgia could feel her armpits begin to itch in anticipation of sweat. She scratched her armpits a little. She watched some kayakers kayaking into the breakers. The sky was very blue with a few clouds floating around. Georgia watched the children swimming in the ocean. She looked at her watch. It said 3:30.

Georgia waded out into the ocean and thought about getting old and eating TV dinners in bed. “Fuck that,” she said to the waves. She felt the cold water go into her bikini. When she dove down she got bit from behind. The shark bit her ankle and Georgia screamed a little. While Georgia tried to kick the shark in the nose, but accidentally sort of kicked her foot inside the shark’s mouth so it could bite down easier, her husband was at home drinking a light beer and watching a basketball game on TV. He was not thinking of his wife as the shark bit her leg off. He was thinking about money problems and whether there was enough light beer, or if he was happy with life in general. One million eight hundred fifty three thousand feet away there was a satellite saying, “Beep.” Underwater Georgia could see the gills of the shark making gill motions. She touched them with her nose. She didn’t feel anything or think about anything as blood filled the water. Three more sharks arrived. All the children from the school bus were in the water screaming. They wanted to become doctors and professional third basemen and now they were screaming in the ocean. As they were attacking everybody the sharks didn’t have any dreams, or worry about anything. They just sort of swam around with legs coming out of their mouths. The kayakers came over to help, but their kayaks got tipped and they were eaten by multiple sharks even though the kayakers were bisexual and sent money to Children’s International. Some jet skiers who were heterosexual jet skied nearby to get a closer look at all the commotion, but then they jet skied a little too close and sort of fell into the shark attack. They were happily married and screaming a little, but also swallowing a lot of water and feeling the sunlight on their faces before they went under, screaming out bubbles to each other. They screamed something no one will ever know.

About the Author

Trevor J. Houser has published stories in Pindeldyboz, Zyzzyva and Story Quarterly, among others. Three of his stories were nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

About the Artist

Andy Babbitz is an art director and samples music from before his time. He currently works in San Francisco, CA, in advertising.

This story appeared in Issue Thirty-Four of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Thirty-Four

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Steve Edwards is author of the memoir BREAKING INTO THE BACKCOUNTRY, the story of his seven months as caretaker of a 95-acre backcountry homestead along federally protected Wild and Scenic Rogue River in Oregon. His work has appeared in Orion MagazineThe Sun MagazineLiterary HubElectric LiteratureThe Rumpus, and elsewhere. He lives outside Boston with his wife and son.