McGuffin and the Shark
By Jeff Baker
Before we could do anything, Old Man Plunkett spoke up.
“So,” he began, ignoring our frantic attempts to hush him. “How did the deep-sea fishing go?”
“Well,” McGuffin said, settling into his usual chair at the club. “It’s an interesting story.”
I was two days out with nary a nibble, (McGuffin said, sipping his whiskey) and was seriously considering heading back to shore when I felt a sudden tug on my line. I gave the fish some play, hoping to tire my finny opponent. That was when the sea suddenly became choppy and the fish leaped out of the water in front of my boat.
To my amazement, it was a shark, the largest I had ever seen! It continued to jump, the line unbroken as I let out some more of the line watching for signs of weariness from the beast. In the next moment, a huge wave hit the boat, breaking the line and tossing me into the air. To my horror, I landed on top of the giant shark! I determined to hold on for dear life putting to use my years of riding bulls in Texas, realizing that the shark was now playing me as I was his catch!
With me astride, the shark jumped and thrashed for a few minutes and then, an immense wave carried us up, up, up and tossed us into the air! To my amazement, we did not fall! I realized that by some miracle of aerodynamics we were gliding in the jet stream and were now really flying. By grabbing hold of the shark’s pectoral fins I could steer the airborne shark all the while remaining astride.
Swiftly we traversed the miles and when I saw land and a great coastal city, I aimed the shark downward. It made a nosedive into the roof of an abandoned building as I jumped off an instant before it speared the roof, landing in a consignment of feather pillows as soft as an egg in a hen’s nest.
McGuffin finished his whiskey and called for another.
“Oh, come now, McGuffin,” Aubrey-Smith said. “Even if you could ride a falling shark, jumping off wouldn’t have spared you the inertial…”
“Yes, it’s a preposterous tale,” Delmar began, interrupted by a waiter carrying a glass of whiskey and a plate, both of which he sat down before McGuffin.
“Fillet of shark, Sir,” the waiter said. “Compliments of the house, as usual.”
McGuffin picked up his fork and smiled.
“I suppose it’s the least they can do, as I was their supplier.” McGuffin said. “But, you know, I do get rather tired of eating the same thing every day.”
The small group of us stared.
“I wonder,” McGuffin added, “if that’s how the sharks feel?”