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Shark Fin Soup

by

Fred Barnett




All stories by Fred Barnett © 2018





Acknowledgements



Cover art: Sveta Trushchenkova

Interior Art: Vitaliy Hagen, Anita Benson Bradley, Retro Clip Art and Fred Barnett

Back Cover design: Laura La Roche of LLPIX Photography

Editors: Cynthia Toth, Patty Palmer, Erin Crocker and Jessica Evans

Formatting: Beth Hercules of BZ Hercules

To everyone, mortal and immortal, who helped guide me through this tale of sordid and relentless shenanigans. I love you all.

The staff at Morning Brew, Kailua, Oahu, Hawaii

The Coolest Writing Group — Oahu, Hawaii

Jan-Joy

Pancho D. Cat

Felicity D. Cat


















And God Spoke to Moses”

Exodus 33:11

Moe! Stop looking at your tablets and focus on the flame. I want you to tell your people, that I, the almighty, will watch over them as long as they keep me entertained.”









Famous Cannibals

“Sugar and spice and everything nice.”

Mother Goose — Childrens author and suspected cannibal

I never met man I didnt like.”

Will Rodgers — Humorist and suspected cannibal

“Taste your lips of wine.”

Everly Brothers — Recording Artists and suspected cannibals

“I wouldn't eat you because you're too tough!”

Sheb Wooley - Suspected Purple People Eater

Mmmmnnn nom nom nom” Linda Lovelace — Porn star and suspected cannibal

“I love children. Especially when theyre well cooked.”

W.C. Fields — Comic actor and cannibal

You are the most beautiful tenderest person I have ever met…” F. Scott Fitzgerald — Suspected cannibal and author

“People who need people are the luckiest people.”

Barbara Streisand — Suspected singer, actor and כשר Kannibal.

“Actually, Bernie, I do eat guys like you for breakfast.”

Edwin “Mackie” MacHeath. — Confirmed megalomaniac and cannibal.




Table of Contents



Chapter 1 ~ “Call Me. It’s Mel.”

Chapter 2 ~ The Inimitable Dauna (meets Bernie)

Chapter 3 ~ “God Over Easy.”

Chapter 4 ~ DEFIANCE!

Chapter 5 ~ AUGUST

Chapter 6 ~ Hey, Hey, We’re the Munchies!

Chapter 7 ~ Raging Hormones Theme Park

Chapter 8 ~ NOVEMBER

Chapter 9 ~ Teen Spirit Park — Cleveland

Chapter 10 ~ WINE TASTING

Chapter 11 ~ New Yawk. New Yawk.

Chapter 12 ~ Dessert — Epilogue

Well then, how about an…Appendix?







Chapter 1 ~ “Call Me. It’s Mel.”







(May)

Cannibal Days

Fiji



Monq’s marlin spun, pulling the line tight around his arm and snap, sliced it off quick and clean below the elbow. He panicked with barely time to apply a makeshift tourniquet before he passed out. The young man, barely out of his teens, lost half of his right arm.

Days later, he would wake up in his tiny canoe, hungry. There was no food aboard and his fishing gear had been taken — along with his orphaned limb — during the battle with the great fish.

Monq pondered a handful of linkia sea stars tangled in a piece of net in a puddle on the bottom of his dugout canoe.

His ancient tribe had used sea stars to regenerate missing body parts for thousands of years.





Lanikai Point, Oahu, Hawaii

* * * *



C.O.E.D. — MISSION STATEMENT

(Interpol’s Crimes of Exotica Division)

COED was created in 2011in an effort to preserve and protect the world’s ‘threatened tiki culture’ and support its proud sentries who have stood guard over our “Ooh-ooh-ooh,” partying planet since the beginning of recorded time.



* * * *



Originally, the protection of COED only covered Pacific tropical island nations, their indigenous peoples, gods, and totems. Coverage was expanded in 2013 — with a twenty-five billion dollar superfund — to include protection to all who enjoy lawn flamingos, surf and tiki music, tropical clothing, barbecue, luaus, beach parties, pupus, cocktails — and their accoutrements (e.g. swizzle sticks, leopard print g-strings, and paper umbrellas).



#



T.K. Betelnut, the agent in charge of COED, always wished that his job was half as exciting as the lives of the secret agents in the movies. But he had learned to accept his place in the world. He knew what he was. He was a living, seven-foot-tall tiki. A curio. A half human stick. On a normal day’s stakeout, Agent Betelnut would spend hours standing statue-still while tuned into the latest mostly fair and no longer completely ad free, news broadcast by the world’s oldest Wi-Fi, which is the…



The Telepathica Pacifica Network (TPN)

Thousands of years ago, as any sap will tell you, the TPN was set up as a web of psychic protection for plant life around the globe.

The TPN does not accept monetary donations from plant-loving humans. Throughout the history of plant systematics, the TPN’s green members have all witnessed friends, relatives, seedlings, and saplings chopped or mowed down, mashed into paper currency for humans.

Today, T.K. was listening to the plant-based network while on a stakeout for his carnivorous friends at Interpol. His assignment was related to the protection of front yards everywhere. Specifically, he was there to protect the prestige of the original Don Featherstone lawn flamingos produced by Union Plastics.

Interpol believed North Korea intended to flood the free world with cut-rate birds. If left unchecked, the commies could ruin lawns everywhere with cheap knock-offs. Until now, the free world’s front yards—the ones blessed by genuine Featherstones—had been worth defending against marauding juvenile delinquents — the ones whose parents never lifted a hand to smack some goddamned manners into the noisy “little bastids.” Yeah, the same “little bastids” who made life a living hell for half human half log T.K. by tipping him over in public, just because they thought it was “funny.” Brats.

Waiting. Waiting.

Beneath the hot afternoon sun on a quiet Tuesday, T.K. tilted himself a few more degrees to the east, to help improve the reception on the grassy slope.



#



If a stranger — than fiction — calls…

A seemingly harmless cell phone call from Louisiana beamed across the friendly skies to Hawaii.

Agent T.K. Betelnut listened carefully as he stood at a cockeyed angle beneath Lanikai Point trying to avoid the ground termites swarming around his feet. His assignment was to listen and record the phone calls between two smugglers, the mysterious Mr. Li Jun and the slimy Mr. Mel Asada. The mysterious Mr. Jun was living fifty feet above the spot where T.K. had planted himself. Jun lived in the highest house on the Lanikai hillside. Mr. Asada, the second smuggler, had been pinpointed living in New Orleans.

Li! Call me back A.S.P.C.A!” (Mel was known for using incorrect acronyms.) “We need to talk. We’ve got about 500,000 birds ready to migrate in June.” Next, Mel used his signature code phrase: “I love New York in June. How about you?”

* * * *



For thousands of years, carved tiki statues had been the earth’s steadfast sentries. T.K. Betelnut was tuned in to the Telepathica Pacifica Network because, though part human, he was also part tree. T.K. was a giant 60-30-10 human-plant-god infused hybrid. His mother was a princess from Ami Ami Oni Oni, while his father had been a sacred dildo carved by the gods from a Morning Wood Tree on Malakamokalu. The human half of him allowed him to be mobile. Both his parents disappeared during a Category 8 hurricane. While floating in the sea, the young sapling, T.K., was picked up, and raised by, a curio dealer traveling on a schooner near Fiji.

In the early days of the Telepathica Pacifica Network, tiki outposts circled the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire.”

When the Easter Island Moai walked the earth centuries ago, the TPN’s “men and women on the street” — the tikis — had been the far-flung polytheistic gods and flora of the tropical pre-human Pacific region once known as Pollenesia.

Today, tiki messengers are everywhere. Tiki bars have popped up around the globe and the TPN’s web of communication has been vastly improved. Frequent “plant-based vibrations” monitored by the Telepathica Pacifica were never shared with humans, until now. Tikis and plants have always been wary of the destructive human race. In recent years, the TPN has been concerned with a growing number of veggie-obsessed grazing humans and the exploding population of young “whippersnappers” who defiantly walk across freshly cut grass, despite the finger-wagging warnings delivered by rare and wise elderly humans, who do know the spiritual value of a well-maintained yard, dammit!

“You punks are gonna end up buried under my lawn next time I see you walking on it!”

T.K. Betenut and his guardian ‘buds’ —pun intended — had promised to protect the little grassies.



* * * *



Despite the serious side of tiki gods, their specialty has always been their ability to quickly relay the hottest gossip from around the volcanic Pacific Rim. Within the tiki community, gossip has always held priority above all other “useless” forms of information. Tikis look forward to all the latest gossip involving some knothole that they all know. Total fabrications are welcome, even if they are easily disproved. Dripping sap and syrup is all that matters in the sultry world of the Tiki tropics.

The TPN is now the most reliable communications network on the planet. The network has always been very busy as tiki gods and goddesses chat incessantly — like teenage mall rats. There are also the days when the houseplants, who share the TPN, also get busy on ‘the horn.’ Sundays are especially hectic, when offshoots call their parent plants to assure themselves that they will remain in the will.



#



Salad Days



* * * *



Waiting. Waiting.



Oh! What is this?

T.K. was scoping in on a fine little gynoecium growing on the hillside among the lowlife weeds and kudzu. She stood proudly above the shoreline.

It was a Monstera deliciosa. Not your average dime-a-dozen split-leaf philodendron. She was beautiful. T.K. was hypnotized. He’d never seen such lush foliage. Her big leaves swayed gracefully in the breeze, exposing a good portion of her divine stems. Movie star material. Play Plant centerfold.

T.K. soon realized: OMFTikiG, it is her! From television! I’ve got to alert the network! Marilyn Monstera! Someone has discarded Marilyn Monstera on the hillside! Dumped her like a slutty areca palm. And though she faced a scenic vista that any silly human would be glad to pay $2000 a night plus airfare for—just the idea that she had been treated like common pond scum or athlete’s foot fungus—discarded like a boring fern, was an insult to her eminence.

Some ROFS (rich old farts) had simply left her there, no doubt, when they were redesigning their fancy ROF home on the gated ROF section of Lanikai’s hillside.

The very patient, constipated, angry stick became angrier.

Marilyn Monstera (Lot#6532uhgy12) was the daughter of Hollywood royalty. A result of Plant Parenthood, her parents were famous as well. Marilyn’s mother, ZhuZhu appeared in nearly every scene in the Thin Man movies of the 1940s. Her father, Moe, acted throughout the 1960s in the Anette and Frankie Beach Party films. Both parents still live in the executive offices of Warner Bros. and had been featured on over two hundred and fifty movie sets. They also were fixtures on Hollywood’s best buffet tables where they sometimes rubbed stems with Bogart, Bacall, Cooper, et al.

Marilyn’s first TV appearance was with her father, Leif, on the Surf City Sinners series (1961–1965), which is still considered a classic of the “Swingin’ Sixties.”

In the first Surf City Sinners episode, “A Ding in My Heart,” Marilyn’s father is observed “flipping the stamen.” This gesture took Leif Monstera over four hours to complete during forty different takes bungled by two so-called teen idol actors, Hanky and Panky. Many of the Monstera’s friends and relatives saw the episode from their Southern California living rooms and let out a laugh that was only heard by other plant life over the TPN — Telepathica Pacifica Network. A “plant laugh” can register among the botanicals for over a month.

After the stake-out, maybe he’d ask ‘Sugar Roots’ to take a spin with him in his new photosynthetic Chia sedan. I could use a little fiber in my diet.

Since he first saw Marilyn on TV in1961, T.K. ‘Beaver Bait (nicknamed for his tree-like appearance)’ Betelnut, like all other healthy male saplings his age, wanted to toss her salad with a fine vinaigrette.

#

You wanna make a Telepathica Pacifica Network call on an important holiday such as Mulch Day? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Sexting is not allowed on the TPN. Networkers follow a strict code of user conduct. Networkers are asked to avoid references to four-letter words such as “wood,” “leaf” or “bark.” Some seedlings were recently banned from the network because of their frequent references to huge flopping stamens, hot steamy pistils, and the phrase, “Go pollinate yourself!”



#



Waiting. Waiting

One angry, very patient stick.

Staking out a crime scene required patience.

T.K. could stand anywhere, unsuspected, for very long periods of time. Sometimes, he stood motionless for days. On stakeouts the agent only wore a loincloth and a radioactive glow-in-the-dark plastic tiki charm around his neck. It looked very much like a self-portrait. Due to an accident in 1966 near the atomic testing site of Moruroa, T.K., himself, retains a faint red glow.

Most passersby would think that T.K. was just some old weathered Polynesian pop decor. In Hawaii, he was nearly undetectable.

On his stakeouts, drunks would often stop to talk to T.K. just like they used to talk to the old jack-in-the-box clowns in the “drive thru” lanes in the 1960s. Once the still and silent tiki began to speak to unsuspecting humans, they would either pass out or run away screaming. Today there were none of these gullible victims nearby to keep him entertained.

Beneath the bright sun, the agent looked almost handsome - chiseled and powerful.

He had a long, broad, flat nose and one heavy eyebrow which stretched above his deep set but good-natured beady little black orbs that reflected light as though they were made from cut black diamonds. T.K.’s ears were elongated. As long as his four-foot noggin. Add to that, an almost comically short torso and tiny, squatting bowed legs to completed the picture. Legs that were no longer than a small child’s.

Today T.K. wore a scowl, the result of indigestion caused by an addiction to Ultra Bloom, which contains ten percent nitrogen, fifty-two percent phosphate and ten percent soluble potash. Some really baaaaad shit. (Chicken manure and a bong were also involved.) T.K. hadn’t been able to relieve himself in over two weeks. Although sixty percent of his waste had been released into the atmosphere as CO2, his scowl grew uglier by the hour.



#



T.K. was an angry, patient, constipated stick.

Sometimes on a stakeout, he’d think about his lost father’s family in Sumatra. The Mourning Wood trees of his ancestors were waging a losing battle against man and machinery in the rain forests of the world. People destroying forests! Destroying the earth’s beauty!

Offa my lawn! Offa my lawn.

I’ll fetch my dogs.

Get offa my lawn.

—From the poem “The Lord of the Hose” by Roomie



#





THE CRIME

Waiting. Waiting.

Romance will also have to wait. “Get back on track, T.K.!” he told himself.

At first T.K. was alerted to what he thought was serious forgery and smuggling operation in the works. Great universal tiki laws were about to be violated within the world of Exotica. A phone call between two gentlemen associates of a power-hungry madman named Edwin MacHeath was what grabbed the big trunk’s attention.

There was something bigger going on here. T.K. could feel it deep down in his very sap.

The “birds” that the two creeps Li Jin and Mel Asada were smuggling were expensive, though bogus, lawn flamingos; a cheap breed known as lawnus plasticus.



Genuine, signed Featherstone lawn flamingoes were icons to a large population of enthusiasts who worshipped the birds. There were many rich collectors who would pay anything for a genuine, hand-signed Featherstone. Over five-hundred thousand were on their way from North Korea to New York, by way of Gen-Italia Airlines (owned and operated by Jewish-Italian mob kingpin, Gianni Katz, who, as a young student, invented cat litter). The genuine non-recycled plastic birds would be bearing the forged signature of the late Don Featherstone. The crime was not so much the theft, but the psychic damage perpetrated upon universe after the two-million year evolution of the perfect Featherstone birds.

T.K., the very patient, constipated, angry, love-struck, crime-fighting stick became even angrier. They’ll never get away with it. Even if the bogus birds are made of the highest North Korean quality genuine plastic!



#



Though he had millions, Mel Asada was living in a sweaty dive in Louisiana called the Nawlins Flamingo Arms Hotel. The phone rang. T.K. was ready to listen in. Mel picked his phone up and a voice on the other end said, “My name is Li Jun.”

Jun’s bodacious abode, above the rocky shore where T.K. stood, overlooked both Kailua and Lanikai beaches. It was more of a castle than a home. Li’s fortune was built upon the backs of the legitimate hardworking Featherstone flamingos. Every one of the birds was about to lose their soul, their rightful place in the heavens, as well as their self-respect due to the repulsive greed of Mel Asada, Li Jun, and their boss Edwin MacHeath.

Riiiiinnnnnggggg!

What is thy name?” asked the mysterious voice.

My name is Li Jun. We are many.”

Many? How Many?”

No! It’s secret code, you moron. We are five-hundred-thousand -many’ to be exact— approximately —exactly.”

What the heck are you talking about, young feller??”

The birds that will be landing at JFK on New Year’s Eve, you half-wit! Wait...is this Mel?”

No, this is the Reverend Insipid Blatherchatter from the Cafeterian Church, in Cheeseurg. Is this 555-4563?”

Get offa my phone, ass wiper!” said Li Jun.

Meanwhile T.K.’s elongated ears had heard enough. Birds? Flamingos? he thought. Dollars! Five million. For what? They’re setting up something big in New York. New Year’s Eve big.



#



Whether he called himself Mel Asada or Ben Gay or Ben Yeh (pronounced ben-yay) the guy was still a sugarcoated doughy little grease ball.

Below a calendar of Betty pinned to the wall above his headboard, Mel was drinking a cup of Cafe Du Monde coffee when he finally reached the right number, thousands of miles away in Hawaii.



#



We’re all set then?” asked the mysterious Mr. Jun from his sinister lair upon the hill. “I love New York, in June, I mean December, how about you? Moonlight and motor trips. How about you?”

Ah-hah! thought T.K. More references to the old song “How About You,” except he changed the month to December. The lyrics revealed that the their payday would be delivered on the evening of a full moon, which, sure enough, would be at its largest on New Year’s Eve.

More lyrics came from the mouth of Li Jin: “James Durante’s looks give me a thrill. Potato Chips.”

Yes! Jimmy Durante’s schnoz, thought T.K. It looks like...like Long Island! Potato chips! Yes! Uncle Louie’s Famous Potato Chips are made at Hamilton Beach, on Jamaica Bay next to the JFK airport!

T.K. was on a roll! Figuratively...and literally.

While he had been deep in thought, two little Lanikai criminal-punk-skateboarder-bastids had tipped him over like a dumb cow.

Crap!

T.K. was tumbling downhill toward the water and another nasty case of gooseneck barnacles while wishing that he’d gone to this year’s Balolo festival in Fiji, instead.







The Balolo (Mbolo) Worm Eating Festivalwhich begins at sundown in mid-May — starts with the centuries old chant:



Everyone likes us.

Everybody loves us.

Let’s go eat some worms!

Short fat slimy ones,

Long thin curly ones,

See how they wiggle and squirm?

The Balolo Festival is held by islanders near Kupaio when the rising, spawning sea worms attract great schools of fish.

The worms, not the fish, are the real delicacy at the festival. Fijian natives paddle out in their canoes with nets and torches to catch the millions of writhing worms that are called the 'Caviar of the Pacific.’ Locals scoop the Balolos, saving the majority to take home.

The Kupaioan celebration coincides with the similar Worm-a-thon hundreds of miles away in Hullapalu’u, New Guinea — home of the cannibal Hotats.

Either way, the feast was an ideal time for the wise sage of Kupaio, Lupta, to announce Queen Dauna’s upcoming wedding.



* * * *



JUNE



One sunny morning, California police captain, Bernie Benedict and his new bride, Sylvia, left Suva, Fiji, on a small boat heading toward the island paradise known as Kupaio — a former cannibal enclave now dedicated to growing the most powerful coffee on the planet, due to its blood rich soil). They would be together for two romantic evenings in Kupaio.

In their hotel room they found a menu for...



*Dauna’s Kupaio Cafe!



Serving the fine people of Micronesia for over 3000 years!



(*The menu can be viewed in its entirety in the edible appendix of this book)



The only other choice of restaurants on Kupaio was an Indochinese cafe, Phee Phi Pho Phum, specializing in Bloody Mary-Queen-of-Scotchtails and Pol Pot Pie.



#



NIGHT DIVE



Bernie booked a night dive one the evening, while his spouse, Sylvia, claiming exhaustion, stayed back at the hotel.

He awoke the next morning to find that Sylvia was gone.

She must have walked into town for some breakfast, thought the groggy police chief. So he walked a few blocks into town expecting to find her. Maybe she went shopping.

The chief decided to return to the Kupaio Flamingo Arms Hotel, where he packed both their bags and checked out. He left a message for Sylvia at the front desk, then went to wait for her at the Nyah-Wassup Dock, where their ride back to Suva would to pick them up at noon.





#

Chapter 2 ~ The Inimitable Dauna (meets Bernie)

He dresses like an idiot”



The first time Bernie Benedict, the chief of police from Bolsa Chico, California met the shark goddess and queen of Kupaio was when he walked onto the beach in search of his wife, Sylvia. There he came face to face with the ‘café au lait beauty.’ Dauna, born three-thousand years ago, with the Fijian name Daucina which means ‘the light giver.’

In the 1960s, the Daucina shortened her name to Dauna after deciding the long version of her name was too tiring to write when signing checks.



#

Dauna would not have taken a second look at the colorblind tourist, if not alerted by his ‘screaming’ Bermuda shorts and mismatched aloha shirt upon which hung a tag announcing, “Bula! My name is…Bernie.”

Dauna removed the sunglasses from the belt of her parreo and put them over her eyes, afraid that she might be blinded by his clothing. Bernie became uncomfortable when he felt the beautiful woman staring and giggling. He became confused. Wait. I’m at the dock waiting for what’s-her name. Wife? Yeah, what’s-her-name. Sylvia something. Bernie stood still while trying to decide whether the woman in front of him had a skin tone of butterscotch or caramel. He didn't realize that he was drooling on his name tag.

The village sage, an ancient crone named Lupta, approached Dauna and whispered into Her Majesty’s ear, “The white meat’s name is Bernie Benedict, Your Heinous. His great—great —-grandfather, *Samuel “Beans” Benedict was the name of the sailor who brought the coffee beans to our island many years ago. When you turned two-thousand and seventeen years old, the magical coffee grounds predicted that a man named Benedict would carry your family jewels and save your empire.”

“SHUT THE באַרען up, לאָך WAFFLE!” screamed Dauna, shocking other tourists rushing back to Nyah-Wassup Dock, some of whom dropped their free cups of Outtamywayasshole Coffee. “Oh, sorry, all. That was my Tourette’s speaking. What I meant to say was ‘Shut the באַרען up, לאָך waffle!’”

“No offense taken, my queen,” said the crone.

The crowd were now focused on Bernie’s shorts, staring at his bizarre clothes as if he were a tragic car wreck.

“That...schlub,” said Lupta, employing an old Fijian term, “will someday bear your fruit, Dauna, I meanYour Heinous.”

“P’leeeeease. Fruit? You know that I pass out at the sight of juice. That slob? Really? Dauna’s curiosity about Bernie had been aroused. My ampullae of Lorenzini (sharkie sensing organs) have never felt like this, she thought as her tail end began to sway.

Bernie, in return, could not take his eyes off the luscious, shifting form beneath her lucky parreo. Lucky? Lucky? Why did I think the parreo was lucky, as if it were somehow alive? He watched ‘Dauna, Her Heinous’ draw down an entire cigarette in a single slow breath while she took an uncomfortable, yet thrilling inventory of the silly human. Her intense eyes seemed to go ‘click click click.’

Bernie had never seen anything like her. She in turn, seemed to be looking right through — him!

Bernie hoped for a memento, so he aimed his new Nikon. The camera flared, fell and melted in the sand. Dauna began to circle the hypnotized tourist. Bernie had a feeling that either he was going to be eaten by, or married to, the captivating queen.

Same damned thing.

Dauna’s spell was broken when the captain of the dive boat called the tourists back on board. Bernie’s heart was racing as he turned for one last look. She was gone. He would never forget her.

Nor would she forget him.

Every so often, in the silence of the tropic night, a mysterious breeze carrying the name “Bernie” would gently jingle the chimes of Dauna’s fun foyer. “Berrrrrnie. Berrrrrrrrnie. Bula! My name is Bernie”

(Sad violin music.) But forsooth, dear readers, for after Bernie had left the island, Dauna was to be married.

An arranged marriage…

…to a gold-plated schmuck-on-fins named Bunji.

Dauna, upset, drove off in her golf cart, running into some stuff along the way. Human stuff.

Bernie's wife Sylvia was sitting inside the boat's cabin, drinking, when he boarded the boat to Suva. He didn't ask questions. Bernie knew that he was losing his marriage. Before their trip, Sylvia often came home drunk, late at night.

(*See more of the history of Kupaio, facts about Dauna and Bernie’s father Sam ’Beans’ Benedict in the appendix.)



Days later, the Benedicts returned home to Bolsa Chico, California, where Bernie would have to face his domestic nightmare. He’d lost all faith. That was, until he went out for breakfast on Monday morning. There was something familiar about the waitress. The way she moved.



Donette’s Cafe

Bolsa Chico Pier, Southern California





Donette’s Cafe, formerly Rosie’s, was built on the end of the Bolsa Chico Pier, in Orange County, California, in 1956. Recently, it had been purchased by the dark, sultry, and gutter-mouthed shark goddess Dauna Robinson, who’d bought the cafe to promote her native Fijian coffee products: the high-octane Getthefuckouttamyway and Outtamywayasshole coffees, grown on her blood soaked island of Kupaio. Dauna was also the one and only waitress at Donette’s. When she had to go back to Fiji every few weeks, the diner would remain closed.

Dauna, disguised as a frumpy waitress, stood at the center of her newly acquired diner. The one thing that Dauna could never hide was her Tourette’s syndrome, and it was ‘kicking in’ big time on this morning. While addressing no one in particular in the middle of the cafe, she broadcast, “Nice try! But it won’t make your tiny winkie any bigger!” Forks dropped. Time stopped, even for Reynaldo the cook and Sol, the loose-bladdered seagull who waited outside for scraps.

Dauna’s sparse clientele that morning numbered two defeated men: a hung-over fisherman named Hector, and the soon-to-be-internationally-humiliated chief of the Bolsa Chico Police Department, Bernie Benedict.

Bernie’s Wife Story

Sylvia didn't come home on Sunday and Bernie was in a panic. He was lucky to get himself an appointment, though it was the weekend, with the area's best Psychaitrist, Dr. Beinhöcker Geilehund.

The psychiatrist told the Chief that it might take years before he would emerge from his deep depression. The eighty-two-year-old Dr. Geilehund, stroking his goatee asked if he could to talk to Mrs. Benedict, privately. “Do you haff your vife’s phone number? A snopshot of her, Bernie? A sext perhops?”

That afternoon, new information about Sylvia's behavior began to emerge.

As chief of the Balsa Chico Police department, known as The Surf Patrol, Bernie had been popular with the local surfing crowd. In Bolsa Chico, most of the kids were good. A few punks cut off others on waves and were arrested for ‘wave theft.’

Sylvia had taught most of the local “gremmies” to read, and regularly mentioned to Bernie that, someday soon, she’d like to be surrounded by her own little surfers. Bernie, ready for fatherhood, loved to listen to Sylvia as she went on and on about how much she loved kids.

At 4 p.m. that same day, Bernie was told by a ninety-year-old fisherman named Sam Swathorn that Sylvia had taken off from the beach in a van with some young upstart named Wayne Noway. The old fisherman had gossiped to everyone on the pier before even Bernie had heard wind of it. Wayne Noway is that rich kid that Sylvia taught at school. So! She wanted “kids,” eh?

Bernie feared scandal. And sure enough, headlines appeared a few days later.



* * * *



Bolsa Times Chronicle

Sylvia Benedict, 35, — total-slut-whore-bitch wife of our beloved and humiliated surf bud and police chief, Bernie — has been accused of doing the dirty deed with half-witted-no-talent-bleached-blonde kook and sixteen-year-old surfer, Wayne Noway III.



* * * *



It wasn’t Sylvia’s obsession with surfer boys that would turn Bernie’s complacent life into a national media scandal. Another turn of events would make the back page story explode.



* * * *



Meanwhile…

Beneath the crummy hair net and behind the thick rhinestone covered horn-rimmed glasses, Bernie thought that the loud waitress was what Frank Sinatra, his favorite singer would have called a' ring-ding-ding break-out-the hook-and-ladder five-alarm scorcher.' Her apron, today, featured a cartoon busty waitress with the words “Stir Thoroughly.”





To Bernie, she resembled the woman that he’d met only days before, the queen of Kupaio.

Dauna never failed to mesmerize her regulars — especially when “Mr. Tourette” dropped in for a visit. Today, Dauna and her Tourettes were just warming up. "GOOD FUCKING MORNING!"

Bernie was missing the show. Instead of the bawdy waitress, he focused on his Beach Patrol regulation “work sandals,” afraid to look anyone in the eye, while considering leaving his job and town. Most of all, Bernie needed to avoid all women after what his wife had had apparently done to him.







Bernie’s Wife Story continues…



* * * *



On the TV the local news, the well coifed male commentator read on: Former Balsa Chico High School 7th grade teacher and total f’ing tramp Sylvia Benedict, the wife of longtime resident, lovable hero and Balsa Chico Surf Patrol captain (who lives in a blue house at 143 Balsa Chico Road...).

Bernie called in sick for a few weeks and decided to lay low. He could see the headlines now:



* * * *



Mrs. Sylvia Benedict, teacher at Balsa Chico High School arrested

Underage Boys, etc. etc.



#



There would, of course, be sexted pictures. Bernie was sure that he was going to be the laughingstock of his own community.

Bernie used to pride himself on the fact that none of his love life was so-called normal.

Once a God-fearing man, Bernie now defiantly “flipped the bird” when passing churches, synagogues, and mosques. His “bird” was flipped at surfer boys, beaches, schools and most inanimate objects. Then, for being such a dope, he began to flip the bird at his stupid cuckold self every morning in the mirror.

The bird, bird, bird, the bird is the word.



#



The next morning, Bernie kept his sorry ass far from the other coffee shop patrons at Donette’s so that he would be left alone. He drank his juice while gazing across the Pacific Ocean. Perhaps peace, sanity, and a normal life would await him if he were to move away.

Sol, the seagull, tapping on the cafe window next to him directed his attention toward the Balsa Chico Telegram lying face up on the next table.

At first, Bernie was relieved to see the headline:

Schoolmarm Cleared of Underage Molestation Charges. However…’

Chief Bernie knew that the rest of Bolsa Chico was reading along with him that morning, when “Fiddlesticks!" The scandal had taken a ghastly turn.

The so-called “young punk,” who had actually bagged Bitch Benedict was only a few years shy of the NINETY-year-old fisherman Sam Swathorn, who’d originally ‘finked’ on the unrepentant tramp to Reuter’s News Service. Sylvia’s lover turned out to be 88-year old Wayne Noway Sr. and not the grandson, sixteen-year-old Wayne Noway III. Bernie had seen the grandfather before. The old bastard was walking parchment! Bernie’s heart sank into his colon.

Apparently, Sylvia was very popular with the old guys she volunteered to chauffeur from Geezer World to Bolsa Chico Beach for surfing three times a week. She’d been noticed by lifeguards, hanging around the beach ogling flat-assed geriatrics with huge potbellies hanging over their Speedos. Lifeguards were afraid to tell their close buddy Bernie about his spouse’s odd behavior. When she whistled at the deaf old men, most people thought that she was just teasing.

Only last week, Sylvia and the old Wayne had been spotted sipping soup together by a local highway patrolman at a 3 p.m. (Early Bird dinner time at Denny’s). Sylvia had been overheard yelling at the old duffer who’d been sharing her one-piece bathing suit photos with his shuffleboard buddies. In one of the pictures, her covered but generous boobs hung over Wayne Sr.’s walker. Hoo hah!

On the following day, Sylvia Benedict was discovered crying inside of the Sea Lion Beach Geezer World Van by local lifeguard, Brad Stokely, as he was headed home. “I found the woman sitting inside the van, crying over Mr. Noway Sr. The motor was still running. The van’s motor, not the old fart’s. Wayne Noway the first had passed from a heart attack.”

Way.

#

Sylvia Benedict, the spouse of beloved Bolsa Chico Surf Patrol Chief, Bernie Benedict, confessed to the ambulance staff about what led up to the death of her eighty-eight-year-old lover: 

We’d just had a friendly dinner, celebrating Wayne’s new Thriller Driller Penile Implant. He suggested that we to go out and replace all of the steel fasteners on the Long Beach bridge with his new… Oh, poopsieeeeeeeee!” (Crying.) Wayne seemed fine! He really did. Then, after his little nap time, he wouldn’t respond.”

“That’s quite enough, Mrs. Benedict,” said the nauseous ambulance driver.

The truth was el vomitosio. Somehow, the video of her story ended up on the local news.

Wayne Noway III’s (the grandkid) surfer buddies said that the sixteen-year-old surfer had been blowing major chunkage,” “praying to the porcelain” and hurling with a mighty chunder” after reading about what his grandpa and his ex-teacher had been doing. Los barfos, mesdames et messieurs.

#

My Sylvia! Bernie thought. And…and Wayne’s grandpa?! Noooooooooo!

He had to get out and get some fresh air, now.

#

After the broadcast, it seemed that the entire town of Bolsa Chico wanted to line the pier and join their local hero in his major heave fest. It was if they’d all been hit with the dreaded Nosoi flu.

For days afterward, Bernie felt as though he were wearing a big red ‘D’—for Dumbass — on his forehead. Time had come for him to leave his longtime friends, his beloved job and his hometown of Balsa Chico.



#



Bernie rarely drank the coffee but loved the food. It was the following Sunday, Bernie’s birthday, when he ordered his final breakfast at Donette’s.

The TV was on and...

“Oh, Fuck! No! Not……. on…….. my………goddamned birthday!” Bernie said. The other customers were wondering if the patrolman had caught Tourette’s from Dauna.

Nope. The news was on CNN — and Bernie was pissed. His tragic ‘train wreck’ had gone both bacterial and viral. Millions, perhaps gazillions, were following Bernie’s sad story. 

CNN: Surf Patrol chief and local hero, Bernie Benedict, suffers major wipe out” was on the television screen above the lunch counter. It showed Bernie along with thirty other Bolsa Chico residents hanging over the pier railing retching.

Though he just lost his appetite, Bernie had ordered his usual: orange juice, toast and two runny sunny-side up eggs.

Hector, the truck driver joked to Dauna, “How does our chief, Bernie, order his eggs? Over easy—like his wife? Hahahahaha.” Hector came in every morning to drink her dangerous coffee and, like the others, watch her wiggle and listen to her allude to forbidden lust.

“I hope that you enjoyed the little surprise that was swimming around in your coffee,” Dauna told Hector. “You starveling, you ELF-SKIN, you dried NEAT’S-TONGUE! BULL’S-PIZZLE. STOCK-FISH!”

“Que?”

Methinks thou art a general offence to farts in the breeze, you poisonous BUNCH BACKED TOAD!”

“Ma’am, where are my eggs?” Bernie asked with caution.

OSCULUM MIHI RECTUM! (Latin: Kiss my ass!) Sorry, Chief. I didn’t mean… (she smiled at Bernie) …well, maybe.”

The chief, feewing wejected, looked lost and alone in the big mean corner booth. Months later, Dauna told Bernie that she felt compelled to offer him a comforting breast. “It would have been the civil thing to do.” Instead, Dauna wanted to wish Bernie a happy birthday in her own special way. Either way, Bernie was in no shape to appreciate her brand of kindness.



#



There had been better days. Not long ago, things had been looking up for Bernie. He’d become very rich. He’d made a handsome living off of a little idea called Bernie’s Instant Hawaiian Saltwater Splash, which was simply Pacific Ocean water, that when heated to 78 degrees and splashed on the face, made people think of Hawaii. Even with the profits, Bernie’s wildest dreams were about as exciting as CSPAN. He had the means to go anywhere and do anything that he wanted, but he preferred his familiar beaches and friends in and around Bolsa Chica. Bolsa had everything that he’d ever wanted — until Sylvia’s famous affair.

Another three million dollars, of which his Sylvia Benedict would miss out on, had been sitting in Bernie’s bank account for almost a year, thanks to a new acquaintance from Nigeria. “Thank god I’d trusted my instincts,” Bernie would say in a future New Yorker interview about his life. “I quickly handed over all of my personal information and savings to the reputable Dr. Peter George (a real doctor!). Doctor George, the ex-prime minister of Nigeria, had contacted me, yes me, personally, by email.”

I sent the doctor all the requested information listed below:

1. Full name

2. Phone and fax number

3. Address where you want them to send the ATM card to (P.O. Box not acceptable)

4. Your age and current occupation

5. A copy of your identification

6. Fingerprints

7. Retina photo

8. DNA sample

How many people pass up these opportunities? What a shame!

(The email was personally signed by Dr. Peter George, director, ATM Payment Department, Central Bank of Nigeria.)

And by letting Musa Bella Abahji (chief auditor to the president, Federal Republic of Nigeria) handle my millions, I knew that Mr. Abahji could one day triple my investment.

(Yes, readers. Sometimes even a married man can be right about something. Okay, not really.)

“The first payout was over three million dollars, certified and deposited directly into my account!” — Bernie said in his Wall Street Journal interview a year later.



* * * *



Bernie was free now, so he wanted to make plans to take his fortune and his best friend, his cat Bomba, to an uninhabited island where nobody could find them. “Uninhabited.” Yes, Oahu, Hawaii, sounded exactly like that kind of place.

“I’m so sorry about you leaving town, sweetie,” said Dauna. “Everything will turn around for you. Some little bird named Flip told me that it was your birthday. I hate to see you celebrating alone. I have something special for you. Hon, when it’s my birthday, I know that I crave something tasty between my cherry reds. Hey! I’ll put some ice cream on top.” She held a bowl in front of Bernie’s sad face. “Excuse me for a second,” She said, then closed her eyes and waited…and waited…until she blurted out “LICK ME!”

Startled, Bernie jumped, knocking the chocolaty dessert into her “Stir Thoroughly” apron.

“Oh, baby! I’m sorry! I really spent all morning stirring, tasting, stirring, swirling, whipping and stirring and... I’ll go get a spoon.”

“Please, just stop. I wanna diiiiiiiiieeeeee.”

Oh, this is baaadd, thought Dauna, who’d just arrived from her own uninhibited island. She grabbed a spoon, sat opposite Bernie and offered him her chocolaty lap. “Well, here, poor guy. It’s on me, chief.”

“I guess that it is on you," he said. Still feeling queasy. he tried to smile.. "All over you. I’m very sorry for the mess.”

“C’mon, Chief snap out of it. One day you’ll fall in love again.” Dauna reached behind, “Ooh! I think that I found your birthday present, chief. It is!” She presented her gift. It was a scrunched foil hat. “I’ve been warming this up for you, hun.” Dauna opened it up and placed it on his sorry head. “It’s magic! And it’s so toasty warm. Feel!”

“Ow, it's hot. Who are you and what are you trying to do to me?”

“Muy caliente, eh?” Dauna, stood up and announced to all, “WHAT WOULD YOU EXPECT AFTER SPENDING AN HOUR NESTLED BETWEEN THE HOTTEST ASS CHEEKS in…uh…Oops. Sorry, folks! Not really.” Monsieur Tourette was speaking through Dauna today as if she were a tawdry ventriloquist’s dummy.

She turned to Bernie, “I was trying to cheer you up, chief. Is that the thanks I get? All right. I'll just go and fetch your…… FUCKIN’ EGGS! I'll be right back. ” Dauna sashayed to the kitchen and returned a few moments later. “Here they are! Hot, soft and oooey-gooey. Like…me.”

Bernie was trying his best to ignore her.

“Enfoiré.” She tossed the plate on Bernie’s table and left him to wallow in his misery. He absentmindedly picked up his fork, and that’s when he heard a choir begin to sing. A choir at the end of the Balsa Chico Pier? Bernie looked up and out the restaurant window and saw only Sol, the restaurant’s mascot seagull who was known for his huge loose bladder and perfect aim on people’s heads. Sol was eating from a drunk’s bait bucket. Bernie heard a chirp and looked up to see another Donette’s ‘regular,’ Dwayne the lizard, scurrying across the ceiling.

My damned life couldn’t get more fucked up.





Chapter 3 ~ “God Over Easy.”

The sound of the heavenly choir resumed. Bernie looked up. Nothing there. He turned back to his breakfast.

What Bernie saw next was a face staring at him from his sunny-side eggs. Maybe it was the pepper making the design, or the way that Reynaldo the cook had routinely over cooked them.

A tiny bearded face was smiling at Bernie Benedict.

Waitress!” Bernie screamed. “Hurry!”

“Hold onto your baguette! GODDAMMIT! I’m covered in chocolate!” Dauna rocked toward the chief’s table. “WHAT DO YOU GOT A HARD ON FOR? I’m sorry…what?”

He could only point at the table. The morning crew and patrons of Donette's were witnessing a genuine miracle.

“You didn’t do a Lovelace on the breakfast sausage, did you? I don’t do Heimlich.” She looked down at Bernie’s plate of sunny-side eggs, and did indeed see the smiling face of Jesus, in all of his shining glory. Bernie was nearly choking. Unable to grasp the conversation between the waitress and the eggs. “You didn’t RSVP!” Dauna told the eggs. “Are you coming to my wedding in a few weeks?”

Bernie felt paralyzed.

“I’m working on my comeback TV special, shark goddess,” said the runny Messiah. “How about I show up at your honeymoon, instead?”

“Hardy har, smart ass. Stick to preaching.”

“Why are you flirting with Bernie?” asked Jesus. “Poor guy. My father, Art, in Heaven, is really enjoying Bernie's soap opera.”

“Lupta, the sage of Kupaio, told me that I must protect him. I don’t know why. Look at this busted up schmo, J.C. He’s feeling really down. Right now, he’s the saddest man in the world. Im just trying to cheer up the dumb lug. Can I get you some coffee or something, chicken fruit?” she said to the sunny-side son of God.

 “Chicken fruit? Oh. Oh, yeah. Funny. Have you been behaving yourself?”

“I've been trying as hard as I can — not to. So, what brought your most eminent and yoke-y ass down here, today?”

“I need to hone my rusty social skills before my big comeback. I'll be borrowing your cop friend here. I've got big plans for Bernie. It looks like we're all gonna be pals."

Dauna looked at the stunned chief and giggled. "You hear that Bernie?" She took a drag off of her cigarette. "The kid says we're gonna be ...bosom buddies." Dauna pulled Bernie's dumb-struck head in close to her, gliding her soft breast against his cheek.

"Stop that. Ahem," said Jesus. "What do you think that you're doing? Commandment number eight: Thou shalt not steal. Are you listening to me, Dauna? Do not steal Bernie Benedicts heart. He’s in pain.”

Dauna turned and addressed the cafe customers. “Excuse me everyone,” She put her hands over her face and pretended to sneeze. “Ah…aH…AH… FUCK!”

“Are you catching another cold because you live in the gutter?” asked Jesus as he brushed away another germinal disk in the yolk.

“No, I’m just allergic to bullshit.”

Bernie crashed face first, into the waitress’ apron. Cool doll that she was, Dauna let Bernie’s head rest in her apron as she lit a cigarette. (Dauna owns the place. If you don’t like her smoking, you know what you can do, tofu hugger.) Bernie was mumbling into her moist chocolaty apron. She cradled Bernie’s head and closed her eyes. “Ooooohhh. Speak up, hun… Hmmmmmm! And you shredded wheat puss,” Dauna said to the son of God, who was practicing his backstroke around the greasy egg whites. “You’d better close your eyes, junior. I’m going to let the chief here give mi coño some CPR.”

“Nice. Real classy, Dauna. You know, youve always had quite a mouth on you!”

I have Bernies mouth on me, now, so you can scramble off, Hippie-on-a-stick. Giving me Tourette’s hasn’t helped.

“That was your choice. My mom warned you about using my dad’s name in vain.”

Dauna stared at the Messiah while petting Bernie's foil hat and drawing down her cigarette.

“I am sorry about the curse," said Jesus. “I can’t take divine punishment back. Naughty language is now part of your identity. Your customers eat it up, unlike your critter-infested cooking.”

“Leave us alone, kid," she said. Go wander in the FUCKING desert. We're busy.”

“What are you doing to the poor mortal? He looks like a giant cupcake,” spoketh the Messiah.

(Bernie was fading in and out of consciousness.)

Dauna, holding Bernie by the ears, swirled the poor human’s nose like a swizzle stick within her fun filled chocolaty treat. “Cupcake?” she asked. “I like that name. He shall now be deemed Chief Cupcake.” Jesus turned his gaze toward heaven when Dauna began to gently pump the chief’s upper back like a bellows. “Its Sunday, Your Holiness. Dont you have a tone-deaf choir to send over a cliff in a school bus?”

The apparition of Jesus, turned its back, bent over, pulled up its robe and mooned Dauna as it faded away.

Dauna lifted Bernie’s head, opened one of his eyelids then dropped his head back down into her deliciousness. “Happy birthday to youuuu,” she sang as she looked out across her realm, the Pacific. “Youre really down for the count, arent you, Cupcake?”

“Mnnnffh.” (Snore.)

“Oh?” Dauna lifted Bernie’s blissful head, leaned in and gave him a long kiss. Steam rose from the twisty top of his foil hat. “Hey, party pooper, youre kind of cute when you dream.” She decided to tap into Bernie’s dream. “Oh, my. Thats one helluva birthday wish, chief! I’ve been around for three-thousand years and I’ve never been asked to do…oh…Why, you nasty… WOW!”

Hector, who had been minding his own business, watched wide-eyed while unconsciously sipping his roach-flavored beverage.

Dauna was enjoying her precious moment of face-time with the chief, — who, while in his own dreamland, enthusiastically helped her fill and decorate her pastry. The foil capped Bernie snored, rumbling into the goddess’ heated fondue. She spoke to Bernie in his dream. “Most guys would be happy to die like this, chief. Ooooh that’s it. Big snore.” Bernie’s rumbling shook Dauna, who in turn shook the foundation of the pier. Frightened, Sol the seagull took to the air outside as Dauna screamed, COWABUNGA!” and released a bitchin’ surfable four-foot wave across the restaurant. For anyone other than Dauna it would have been embarrassing. “Reynaldo! Bring a mop!”

It would be Dauna’s last ‘fun’ before she had to return to Fiji for her royal pre-arranged wedding. A wedding that might calm the ancient feud between her people in Kupaio and the Hotats of New Guinea.

Knocked out cold against the far wall by the wave, Bernie gurgled, “Lifeguard!”



Frankie from Bohoken, Sumatra

When Bernie awoke, he found himself sitting shotgun in a 1962 Cadillac, with an oddly familiar tanned young man at the wheel. The ‘swinging’ 60s type, sporting a fedora, a blue cardigan, and khaki pants was nursing a flask and a cigarette.

“Good morning, sunshine! Call me Frankie. “How’s your melon? Your bosomy buddy said…”

“Who?”

“The waitress, Dauna, ya sap. Remember? Your chocolaty dessert. She insisted that I bring along your cute foil birthday bonnet.” Frankie held it up. “You and your hat will be on the news tonight. Well, Clyde,” (Frank Samidino calls everyone Clyde) “I’ll bet your local cat box liner, the Balsa Chico Telegram, will be naming you “Eggs” Benedict by tomorrow. How do ya like them apples, pal?”

“Do I need a doctor? Am I hurt?”

Frankie looked at his new charge. “You mean, is this joker, me, moi, a croaker (doctor)?’”

“A what?” asked Bernie.

“I only play a doctor on TV.” Frankie waited for a reaction and repeated, “I said, I only play one on TV. C’mon, Sad Sack, you’re supposed to laugh. Agent Frank Samidino. Interpol. Happy to meet you. I’m with COED, the Crimes of Exotica Division. My boss, Lyman, told me to take care of you. Coffin nail?”

“Cigarette? No. Crimes of what???” Bernie’s seedless melon was in a swirl.

“Exotica. Listen, Mack. Enough mish-mash. Let’s get to the point. Interpol would like you to swing with our team. We need a Harvey with your talent and connections.”

“Who’s Harvey? What talent? What connections?”

Frankie was excited. “Something big is about to come down in Godsville. The whole planet will know who you are, man. The world needs a hero. But not in those shorts.”

“Gods? What? Frankie, is it? I don’t want the whole country to know what my wife did and all about my hallucination during breakfast. And what’s wrong with the way I dress?”

“Open your ears, you punch drunk palooka. You’ve just been bestowed with a ring-a-ding-ding gift. You’re going to be a big shot, buddy boy.”

#

A star was born. Bernie was given a new direction after speaking on Frankie’s ‘Ameche’ (phone) with Interpol’s Honolulu director. Within a few weeks, he’d be living and working in the quiet, untouched and uninhabited — hardy har har — island paradise called Honolulu.

Bernie Benedict was recruited because of his special relationship with our Lord and Savior, though Director Lyman had his own particular ideas about ‘religious sightings.’ In his home, Lyman had just set up a shrine to Sophia Loren’s sumptuous rear end. Earlier, Frankie had told the director: “I gave Bernie the up-and-down, sir. Odds are that this cat is on the square.”

“Son, you’ve been given a great gift,” Lyman repeated Frankie’s statement.

“Sir, it was a hallucination. I was under great stress.”

“Like Frankie said, Interpol needs your connections if we’re ever going to get a front row ticket to the cosmic clam bake.”

“Why can’t I understand anything you guys are saying to me?

“Don’t worry. You’ll get hip, daddy-o. I’m sorry that your ex turned your casaba into mush. That was a really funny fuckin’ story. Hey. I’m sorry.”

“Yeah. Goddamned Yucksville, sir. When do I start?”

Bernie, our depressed protagonist was now employed by, COED, Interpol’s Crimes of Exotica Division.



* * * *



Back in Fiji:

The Enduring Mr. Monq

(The right to grow arms.)



Monq couldn’t risk returning to his village in an injured state. It would be a death sentence. His tribe on the atoll Hullapalu’u traditionally ate their sick.

After a few delirious weeks floating beneath the hot Melanesian sun, Monq noticed a stump developing where his forearm, severed by the marlin, used to hang. Drifting into the third week, his arm grew, good as new, and he was able to use the torn net to catch fish and paddle home.

Eating echinoderms, as simple as they were, if you could get past the smell, the taste and the violent diarrhea, could transfer their talent for regeneration to their eater—a cannibal’s dream come true. They had to be consumed fresh, regularly and exclusively for days. The only after effect: putt-putt-putting from your butt around the island like a 300 HP Ever-rude.

A diet of powerful sea stars can give a cannibal up to fifty body part regenerations.

On nearby Hullapalu’u, nineteenth-century missionaries reported seeing only young, healthy natives when they visited. Some of the luckier ones may have appeared malformed, when in fact they were busy growing new parts.

A large cushion star, with jelly filling, was worth a lot of money in Monq’s ‘hood.’ One cushion star can regenerate an entire child’s body. Ex-noggins not included.

One legendary chief from the turn of the century, named Mmdude (pronounced hay-yu) grew his own twin. It worked for him while he went off to fish every day. He later set fire to and ate his twin as a birthday cake, a gift to himself.

Sometimes fingers, and even entire hands were lost when offered to tribal elders for nail-biting during times of heavy stress, thus saving their own desiccated digits.

Today, the sea star cure remains a secret among a handful of tribes, handed (no pun intended) down from regeneration to regeneration.

In the twenty-first-century, sea star therapy still has yet to be discovered by Western medicine. Father Damien of Hawaii, though pure of heart and of hipster beard, just wasn’t tuned in to Micronesian sea star magic.



#



Power to the People: Right Arm!

While sitting in his torch-lit canoe a few hundred miles away in New Guinea, the young Hotat warrior named Monq tossed his net into the water, and watched the surface begin to squirm. As he pulled in his net for the first time, he felt a sharp pain in the thin membrane between his thumb and index finger. Oh mm-fuck! Not again! He kept pulling and saw that the net was, yes, not only full of green and brown Mbolo worms (oh yum) but deadly striped sea snakes, one of which decided to bite him. He threw the deadly squirming mass overboard.

In an angry quick motion, Monq pulled his razor-sharp machete from his canoe, and, in one furious swoop, lopped off his own hand before the lethal poison could travel throughout his body, which would ultimately result in his belly button unscrewing and his ass falling off. Damn! It’s the right hand again. It would be months before his beloved ‘wakawakawaka’ hand would again be up and operational.



#



One night, drunk on kava, one-handed Monq paraded through his village wearing a big red sea star on his bare chest and making shoot-’em-up sounds like a six-year-old. Monq thought that wearing some red sea star bling” might attract the ladies who could wakawakawaka his baq for him. (It would only end up attracting his often-angry-(for-a-good-reason), castration-happy wife.)

Red sea stars were sacred on Hullapalu’u. They were the ‘bling’ of authority figures. Monq didn’t think anybody was paying attention. However, behind a clump of bushes, another young cannibal, named Bing, who lusted after Monq’s wife, Mmbabybaby, took a cell phone video of his rival. Bing was insane and in the final stages of kuru (mad cow) after dining on the brain scientist Hans Dulbrook at the Cerebrum Fest in Papua. All of the Hotats in Hullapalu’u, including Monq and his precious Mmbabybaby were afflicted. Completely stoked about his video evidence, Bing giggled, shaking like a leaf on a fuzzy tree. Later that night, he would send the video clip of Monq’s sea star walk to Chief Mmrall (pronounced Dave).

“Chief Mmrall will not be amused,” Monq’s wife, Mmbabybaby, said. He’ll bite your head off, stupid! And heads don’t grow back!

Monq would probably lose his meager income as well.

Because of worry, Monq had bitten his own fingernails literally down to the knuckles on three fingers of his right hand. It would be weeks before he could properly wipe his own behind.

Chief Mmrall was due back from his Alaskan cruise and Monq was sure that the chief would serve him as a main course on the Royal Sunday Brunch Buffet table. Monq saw himself, filleted on a plate, right next to the scrambled, rare purple porpoise eggs.

Yes, porpoise eggs.

The jolly 400-pound chief had come back to the village and nothing was said about Monq’s transgression. Without any notice, one Sunday morning, two of the village’s largest warriors, Mmrush and Mmrove (Bob and Ed), knocked upon the door of the Monq family hut. Whish. Whish. (They were knocking on a grass door).

“Who’s there?”

“It’s Mmus, Monq. Bob and Ed. The chief wants to see you for breakfast! Now!”

Monq, put on his best Sunday-go-to-eatin’ loincloth, kissed his wife a tearful goodbye and went to the chief’s hut accompanied by the two warriors.

Monq!” said the jovial chief, Mmrall. “Have you had your morning kava yet?”

“Mmmmm. No, Your Highness.”

“Do you take fruit bat milk in it?”

“No, Your Highness.”

“Lady fingers?”

“No, thank you, Your Highness. Can I ask why you sent for me?”

“Have you heard of the mad Viking Edwin MacHeath??”

“MacHeath? Sure. He’s one baaaaaad…”

“Shut your mouf!”

“Sorry, Your Highness.”

“Just fuckin’ with you, Monq.”


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