Water, water, blue, blue water, I slice through you like teeth through seal blood. Ho-hum.
But what is this I see? I see feet. Children feet! Twitching like little baitfish, just asking to be bitten and puréed and swallowed! Oh, the buffet I have found! I will eat all children feet! So soft and tasty!
Here I come, children feet. You cannot get away! Escape is but a naptime dream!
I lunge! I splash! Swim for your life!
But oh! I come up empty! I bite the water! I show my frustration through wild thrashing! Look how I thrash with my great white body!
How dare you children giggle and mock me from dry land!
OK. Fine. I swim away. But I have a little secret. The secret is something very tricky. The secret is that this “swimming away” business is … just a trick!
I am not really swimming away! I am just pretending! Do you see my supine body slipping over the clear blue, as if I were carefree and not at all hungry? Because I know you will see this as an opportunity to re-enter the inviting water?
And then I will strike! Without mercy! While you don your pink goggles! While you play on your new rainbow raft! While you pick copper pennies from the scuffed bottom!
I prowl on the innocent edges. I lift my eyes above the flickering surface like a camera lurking above water in a movie. But there’s no music to warn you here, fair swimmers.
You think you see me, but you don’t. Because I am acting innocent. Just sitting here, minding my own business. Nothing to see here. Look away, little children.
“I am a shark!” I blurt, carelessly. I cannot help but reveal it! Just saying such a thing provokes such reactions! The squeals! The laughter!
How dare you laugh at me, the shark! I dive under. I skim the bottom, stealth. I move to the edge. I mold my body to the white, smooth wall. I breathe bubbles, sink lower.
Oh, so you think you’re smart! I see you teasing me with your toes, wiggling and watching with your smeary-cute faces above the water’s surface! I see you, little girl!
I will eat your toes! I will eat them now!
Have you ever seen a shark exit the water like this and flex his arms/fins into such muscles? Have you ever heard a shark roar?
“Aaaarrrrgh! I am a shark! That’s right—run!”
Smart, shrieking children.
OK, try again. This time, I go to the deep end. I swim and swim, shhh, shhh. Just swimming lazily on the surface. Don’t mind me. Just a shark out for a cool, nonthreatening swim.
To waste time, I strike up a conversation with a fellow who is not a child and therefore not tasty. He immediately bores me with talk about property taxes in our community. Is there a shark alive that cares about such things?
Patience. Just keep nodding like you’re listening, because look, the children are falling for it. Oh, just look at them entering the water and no longer seeing me. Just look at that particularly tasty boy, wearing his orange floaties and floating out so far away from the safe steps. What a silly duck.
Shut up, you fool who talks property taxes! Can’t you see? A steadfast meal is now on the community docket!
Oh, sweet camouflage of water, you surround and suck in the silence—the silence that indicates they have no idea I am nearing. Poor little tasties. Here I come!
I cut left. I cut right. I can sense the moment. I can even choose which feet to attack, kicking here, kicking there, practically kicking me in the vicious shark face!
And there’s the boy, kicking with his fat toddler feet, so seriously, so verily, so helplessly. He will never make it back to dry land. I swim beneath him. I blow bubbles at his feet—the last tickles, the last sensation …
… before the pinching bite! Gotcha!
I rise above the water and I actually shout it: “Gotcha!”
Victory is mine! Feel my shark wrath!
But what is this? The victim’s face twists and torments my soul as it reddens and oozes salty water from its eyes. And then, the distressing sobs …
“No, boy. It’s OK. Stop with that. It’s all right. No need for this. People are looking. Don’t cry. Shh. I won’t eat you. Shh. Boy, shh. Your mother is looking. Please, stop crying. She will have my head.
“She will eat my head! Because she is an even meaner shark! But I’m just kidding! She won’t really eat my head! Forget the shark talk! You really should just stop crying.
“OK. OK. Yes. I shouldn’t have done that. Very sorry. Will never happen again. Fruit snacks. Good idea. Go eat your fruit snacks with your mother and your lucky, fast-swimming sister over there. Save some fruit snacks for me. It’s Adult Swim now, anyway.”
Or perhaps I should say, to Mr. Property-Tax Loon, who happens to be floating in my direction, it’s … Shark Swim! Aaaarrrrgh!