Published Issue 101, May 2022
We’re gonna need a bigger boat.
It’ll need to be large enough to accommodate several warring shark deities sitting down to a diplomatic conversation. Might even have to hire the crew from Below Deck to offer veneration and preparation of some less-than-common foods. One of them may have to become a slab of long pig. Will they be missed? Hard to say.
As with most Shark Wars — by the way, this officially makes that title my legal IP, producers looking to cash in on the last remaining shark-based Syfy movie title — this tale begins with children going missing. Ka’ahupāhau and her brother Kahi’uka went chasing an afternoon of fun in the Ewa Lagoon as the young are wont to do. Night fell and, the children having not returned, their parents alerted the neighbors where the block went active on a torch-lit search. To the chagrin of the entire village the pursuit yielded no sign of the missing siblings.
Several weeks later some fishermen turned up having encountered two extremely friendly sharks. How they discovered this friendship with two members of the sea’s swimming knives is unknown but everybody came back to shore with hands, so it was safe to assume that these sharks were actually transformed humans who cared for the people of the island. This assumption was confirmed when a lone holy man canoed out to meet and feed them and, after some magical intervention, learned how to speak shark.
He went back to the village with good news. They were, indeed, the brother and sister who’d been lost to the ocean. He’d invited them to come live at the entrance of the lagoon. Everybody was extremely stoked on having a cool pair of shark gods hanging around and the sharks were pretty stoked on being back in a community. Reached for comment about the new sharks, the one guy claiming to be Jet responded by pulling a flip comb and greasing his duck tail. Nobody was impressed.
Immediately the sharks had an influence on village life. Enumerate the ways, you ask? Bien sur:
One: Ka’ahupāhau could transform into a nearly impenetrable net that Kahi’uka could drive schools of fish into, easily feeding everyone.
Two: Kahi’uka became known as “The Smiting Tail” by battling invading man-eater sharks threatening fishermen.
Four: Did I mention the man-eaters?
Mikololou was a shark with a penchant for human flesh. He rolled in trying to see what’s up with the two new sharks and was initially invited to dine with Ka’ahupāhau and her brother. They offered a divine series of meals that lasted for days before Mikololou asked that they present him with an edible human. Being strict vegans Ka’ahupāhau and Kahi’uka refused the request and offered a seitan alternative. Mikololou, embodying the voice of the worst customer, instead went and devoured a wanderer in the nearby shallows. And there the shark war began.
Ka’ahupāhau changed into a net and chased down all of the sharks in the area, unaware of which were associated with Mikololou and which were just assholes out scouting shoreline homes to flip. Many were caught. None were found innocent. She called out to the local fishermen who speared up every body and set them out to dry in the sun.
Mikololou’s body was raised as a trophy that all might see him splinter in the heat but he did not die. Instead it’s told that tears ran down his face while he rotted. Time gave way to deterioration and his tongue fell out of his mouth. Depending on who you ask it was picked up by either a group of small children or a dog. Both versions end in someone throwing it in the water. Some would say that was Pu’uloa’s Monster Squad; others (me) would say it’s an early Polynesian origin for Air Bud.
As the tongue hit water and tasted of the abyss Mikololou’s head and body grew back. And then he put in some calls.
Thousands of sharks responded to the undead god’s plea for vengeance. Islands for hundreds of miles were besieged. Cats and dogs living together; you get it. Months went by with Ka’ahupāhau and Kahi’uka fighting the invasion force before they were joined by Kuhaimoana and Kāmahaoliʻi who turned the tide (pun always intended) for the friends of humankind. In the end the man-eating sharks were turned away and the lagoons and beaches were made safe.
And then literally nothing happened involving sharks ever again.
Oh god damn it, I just knocked over the chum bucket I keep on my writing surfboard, give me just a second.
Have questions about the paranormal?
Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @WerewolfRadar.
It’s a big, weird world. Don’t be scared. Be Prepared.
Nate Balding is a freelance humanoid who occasionally manifests in print and can most likely be seen at Werewolf Radar. Should you wish to hear him manifest audibly you can do so at the aforementioned Werewolf Radar’s associated podcast on Spotify and Apple, and if anything ever becomes humorous again, on a variety of stand up stages around the nation. If you’re truly craving further content there’s always @Exploder on Twitter — even if it is only a form of digital self flagellation at this point. His one thing that he considers actually accomplished was this time he was published in the journal Nature and then later collected into a volume called Futures from Nature, still available in places that have things.
Michael Dee left his family farm on the plains, and followed his artist’s dreams to the jagged city-scapes of the metropolis. There he fell into the seedy underbelly of corporate America, chained to a desk with only his pens and his wild imagination to keep him company. He now walks the streets as a freelance illustrator and designer working for those who are in need of an unbridled creative mind. He now resides on a homestead near the outskirts of Elizabeth with his femme fatale of a wife and their four children. Check out his work on his site and on Instagram.
Jonny DeStefano is the co-owner and co-founder of Birdy Magazine. He is also the founder of the comedy activist space Deer Pile. His favorite color is red, he loves shark attacks, hockey and upright bass.
Check out Nate’s April install, Hairwolf Craydar: Soul Miner’s Daughter; Jonny’s last Birdy art piece, Kang Kong, the inspo art to Joel Tagert’s, Jang! Sang The Kangaroo; and collect our back issues to see Michael Dee’s early published Birdy work; or head to our Explore section to see more from these talented creatives.