Brutal Word Wrangler: Lockjaws



Suggested Audio Candy


John Williams “Jaws”



A life on the ocean waves. Surely any sailor’s dream? Tranquil, comforting, therapeutic. Like fuck! We’ve got three gallons of cheap industrial-strength lager and a shit load of Beef Jerky to fend off any scurvy, this is not about catching some zen. This is three guys, one latrine, no rules. There are of course some ground rules as is obligatory while sea-faring. No washing of armpits at any time during our cruise, any semen ejaculated goes overboard and any midnight swims must be accompanied by at least one floating barrel. Other than that, sea’s your oyster clam. As pledged, I picked Silent Shadow up from The Titty Twister on the way through and he has his tackle ready to cast. Once again I asked Alan whether he would fancy tagging along but the copious alcohol was just too much so he said he’ll pick us up in Jaws 2. His chopper has specialized landing gear for watery descents and said inflatables are resistant to all but the sharpest teeth so I’m sure we’ll be A OK.


With Alan crying off, we needed another deck hand and conveniently Orca is captained by my brother Tortured Soul. We have been friends since before our pubic shag piles first sprouted and it seems like the kind of gig he digs so I extended him an invite. He snapped it up like a famished barracuda and even provided the in-sail entertainment. Slaughtered Vomit Dolls. Sorry Shadow, looks like a little more of that wide-eyed innocence is soon to be relinquished. You see, Tortured Soul gained his mantle through being…well…tortured. My filter is flimsy at the best of times but this dude has absolutely no discernible visor. He’s a sinister chap. Should the tone require lowering then it is he who helms the limbo pole. Considering he could crush us both like a pair of crystal gonads in his bare hand, we do as he says. Vomit Dolls it is then. He’s kinda the Quint of the bunch and that makes Shadow the Hooper. All that leaves is the viking long-boat, glorious elongated Brody. That’ll do me just dandy.


For the first time I have decided that all bonuses shall remain back on dry land. That means Balls and Brain shall not be in attendance. Just us manchildren. It will be a bonding exercise for the three of us able seamen, an opportunity to slap our thighs without distraction. We’re all buddies but those two tend to bicker. If I took a steaming dump on deck right now, they’d argue over which received the larger nugget. Shadow has been known to tuck Mr. Jangles between his legs and prance around like Buffalo Bill whereas Soul taught Ozzy Osborne the art of dismantling a hen’s pecker with his teeth, so entertainment will be assured. It’s a good job really as there’s no Wi-fi on Orca so Temple Run is out of the question. That’s fine with me as I’m convinced they make the monkeys faster when it’s my turn anyway. I’m also sure we can find a few singable sea shanties to fill up the downtime. Everyone loves a good singalong after all. Maybe we can exchange fables and compare scar tissue. I hear Soul has a doozy. He’s no Rene Russo but I’ll take a gander.


We’re out on the ocean waves now and getting on famously. Shadow kindly picked us up three novelty hats with attached beer-cans and there is precious little blood left in our alcohol stream. Actually Soul is guzzling straight from the keg but there’s still plentiful left to go around. I’ve never been a massive beer drinker; tequila on the other hand, is a whole different tipple but I must retain my man status and stick to the pints as it’s what all good seafarers drink. When the other two aren’t looking I pull out my Schweppes and make it a top. I’m a secret lemonade drinker you see. Always the figure of responsibility, I am pacing myself as best as I can as someone needs to know their port from their starboard should we hit that perfect storm. It’s a long doggy paddle back to the coastline from here and who knows what treacherous urchins are waiting in the deep?


Everything is both hunky and dory until Soul decides to show us his bite mark. Apparently he got in a scuffle with a great white whilst body boarding in Barbados. Damn thing almost took his leg but he bit it back and somehow lived to tell the tale. What he had neglected to mention prior to us hauling anchor is that the suitor for these chomp marks was never found and still apparently lurks these very waters waiting to one day take his bloody revenge. Seems ludicrous to me; I mean, a shark? Revenge? That’ll never catch on, you’ve got more chance of sliding a pair of 3D glasses over its dead black pips. Next he’ll be telling me it can swim backwards. Credit me with some intelligence please.


It all starts innocuously enough; Shadow flaunts his brand new fleshy love scarf, picked up back at The Titty Twister. I know exactly what is coming next as Soul just has to go one better. “Wanna see something permanent?” he asks. Admittedly, his ten-year old wound is one scar that time will never heal and it all gets a bit much for Shadow who darts topside to throw his stomach lining up overboard. On his return Soul can’t resist a little dig. To his credit, Shadow takes the verbal lashings on the chin and I decide now is as good a time as any to bust out a good old spirit-lifting shanty. Halfway through however, our woefully out-of-tune crooning is interrupted by a deafening thud which knocks us all from our perches.


Just to be on the safe side, we decide to take a look topside and scout the waters for any potential hazards. Shadow has his flippers on ready and we lower the anti-shark cage into the surrounding drink to give him a safe vantage. Its steel casing is impenetrable by all but the sharpest teeth so I’m sure he’ll have a ball down there. While he’s sub-aqua maybe he can pick up a few whelks and we can fry them up on his return. Also, I hear Nemo’s folks are frantic as he should’ve been home three hours ago. Shadow’s got his work cut out that’s for sure. While he’s gone Soul has requested we continue our movie marathon so it’s Slow Torture Puke Chamber next as far as I know. My poor tattered chastity, seeping away with every hurling wretch. I would have settled for Splash.


Shadow has been submerged for a full ten minutes and not so much as a bite. I’m beginning to fear for his safe keeping, especially given the fact that his cage has been yanked from Orca’s clutches and currently resides on the sea bed. In addition, there is an ominous looking fin which just rose from the blue, using Shadow’s upchuck as chum line. Turns out we picked the one shark with a penchant for cheap industrial strength lager. What is even more disconcerting is the ominous accompanying audio. That’s just what we need; a musical shark. She’s a big fish for sure and bears a set of gnashers Pamela Voorhees would curtsy. Any thoughts of hiring out a pedalo whilst in Amity have gone straight out the porthole. At least she can’t get at us on an old war-horse like Orca; these old vessels are built to last and nothing gets through them, except for particularly sharp teeth of course.


We’re going down! Where are the life jackets goddammit? Termite-ridden piece of drift wood. Still no sign of Shadow and we are now beginning to capsize. I grab onto Soul as he slides past me towards this beast’s gaping maw. “This is all Shadow’s fault. Told him this wasn’t no boy scout picnic. He led her straight to us. The salty sea dog” he gripes and my grip begins to slacken as I can’t hold his heft for much longer. This is every bit as heartbreaking as Titanic and I don’t fancy treading water for an hour blowing a whistle clogged up with phlegm until help arrives. I let go like Rose and watch the ship’s Cap’n go down with his ship as is customary.


He takes those teeth right about his gut line as his Great White finally gets her revenge. In true Tortured Soul form he spews a glob of crimson mouthwash and mocks the shark with “Here’s to swimming’ with bow-legged women” as it shakes and tenderizes his gristle. Hopefully a spot of acid reflux will stem her insatiable appetite. Or perhaps she’s bulimic and will bring him straight back up? Nah, it just looks more ravenous than ever. On the plus side, I manage to salvage a Louisiana license plate, a water ski, and an half-eaten packet of Wrigley’s Extra from its flapping gums while it masticates my friend. Less encouraging is the fact that Ben Gardner’s bitten-off bonce is lodged in one of its cavities. Poor Ben, he didn’t deserve that.


I wish Shadow was here to show me the way to go home. You see, I’m tired and I want to go to bed. I may have a little drink about an hour ago and I think sclerosis of the liver is settling in. What I’d give to hear Bonus Brain’s voice in my head right now, he’d probably say something along the lines of “fucking plankton” but anything would be a step up from me swimming with dolphins. There’s no sign of Flipper, Willy got freed three times already, it’s just me and she. She’s been circling with intent for a while now and seems to be closing down the angle. I think this may well be it Grueheads, I’m fish flakes.


I am just about to light up my last soggy smoke and when suddenly realize that I’m surrounded by flammable canisters. Phew! That could have been explosive, not the ending I’m searching for. Thankfully I set them all free before the whole place goes up in flames. The only conundrum now is how I shall extinguish her with not so much as a fishing rod to reel this overgrown carp in with. Maybe she’ll drown, there’s a thought. That would certainly be ironic but admittedly it isn’t the most likely conclusion. I think I shall have to wrestle her like Mick Dundee, defeat her on her own terms. To conquer one’s fear you must first face it, I’m sure I read that somewhere, maybe a fortune cookie. I’m ready for you, you son of a bitch.


Where’s Captain Ahab when you need him? I’m beginning to shrivel up in here. “Help?” The Gods must hear my desperate plea as Shadow has floated topside from his watery slumber. Have my prayers been answered, has Davy Jones released Shadow from his locker? “Dude!” It’s Shadow, he’s alive. “Those bubbles went straight to my head.” I kiss his forehead and we proceed to tread water shoulder-to-shoulder while the Great White closes in on our position. To our astonishment she stops in her tracks and it appears we have been offered an eleventh hour reprieve. Turns out, Soul was too burly a banquet for even the sharpest of teeth and stomach rot has begun to set in. She gives us an affectionate look, belches and swims off backwards to digest her meal.


“That bitch had bad breath” says Shadow. It’s great to see him in such high spirits after his underwater ordeal. “Looks like we’ve got some paddling to do brother if we’re gonna get back to shore before dawn”. Admittedly we’d better get a move on as, should the sun rise, then he’ll burn up like an albino in a heat wave. As we prepare to set off, we both glance one last time over the wreckage of Orca. I turn To Shadow and begin “For next year’s fishing trip” at which point he joins me in unison. “We’re gonna need a bigger boat!”





Click here to read An English Werewolf in New York



Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,


Keeper of the Crimson Quill


Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2014




  1. I had so much fun working on this with you brother and still laughed when i read it back. Can’t wait to get back in the writing den. See you soon. On dry land if you please

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