Just the other day, one of my seventeen-year-old son’s friends came through the door wearing a t-shirt with Jaws on it. After I recovered from the trauma of childhood flashbacks from the movie, this started a conversation about why I don’t particpate in Discovery Channel’s Shark Week and I can’t watch any of the gazillion shark movies that always seem to be on tv including the Sharknado series, mega shark movies and most recently, the 5-headed shark movie that was recently advertised on tv.


Watching Jaws created a lifelong fear of sharks and even triggered ridiculous fears when I was young that a shark could spontaneously appear in my swimming pool or come up out of the toilet and bite me on the butt. 


I know, I have an avid imagination. But at least it served my family well. We had only one bathroom and I never lingered long.


I never thought anything could overcome my fear of sharks or watching shark movies and all of the death and dismemberment. I was wrong. 


Last night Shark Week tricked me into watching a shark movie. Or at least, part of a movie. My husband surfed into a shark movie that was already in progress as the first movie for shark week. I would normally insist the channel be changed. But this movie was different. This movie had . . .


Josh Duhamel

I don’t know what led Josh to accept a role in a shark movie. (I don’t know why anyone would accept a role in a shark movie.) All I know is watching one of my favorite actors somehow overrode my lifelong fear of sharks. 


Our doomed survivors in this movie were already in the middle of the ocean in a rubber raft with one young lady suffering from a severe cut to her leg. Tensions were already high with one man cruelly insisting that the girl was “already dead.” In other words, why bother trying to save her? She wasn’t going to make it. Josh wasn’t taking too kindly to the jerk’s words and attitude. My assumption was that the young lady was his daughter. 


Josh’s attempts to help his daughter (assumption) by putting a belt tourniquet on her leg only led to her thrashing and screaming and the jerk becoming even jerkier. Josh shoves the jerk’s face in the water and a shark fin approaches. I can barely watch. Is the jerk’s face going to be bit off? Josh and the jerk struggle and I’m afraid Josh might tumble in.  


But no! Even though I’ve just tuned in to this movie, it’s quickly becoming clear to me that although Josh is angry (and a little unbalanced if he’s willing to practically drown his fellow boater) he’s still my vote as the one who survives to the bitter end. 


There’s always one lone survivor in a shark movie, right?


And we’re talking Josh Duhamel. 


They stop fighting and the tension eases. But it’s not looking good for the girl’s leg. I hate to say it, but I agree with the jerk. It’s inevitable that she’s going to be chum for the shark at some point. 


Night comes and everyone is asleep, except for Josh. He’s looking to the future, thinking about when they get close to land and how he’ll swim to shore, get the truck, and pull it down. He mutters his plan over and over. 


When the sun comes up, Josh sees an island and jumps off the boat. He begins swimming to the island. 


Only there’s no island.


You’re hallucinating, Josh! Swim back to the boat! 


Josh’s family and friends call to him and he finally realizes there is no island. He starts swimming back.


A large shark fin appears. Josh is swimming. Those on the boat are paddling frantically to reach him in time. The shark is swimming faster.



You can make it, Josh! But it’s not looking like he’s going to make it back to the rubber boat before the shark reaches him.


Josh’s head disappears. But I reassure myself, it’s Josh freaking Duhamel, for heaven’s sake. He’s the hero of this story. He can’t die. He’s going to be the last man standing, the sole survivor. He has to be!


His head pops up. Whew! There’s still a chance. (But part of me is saying, you know there’s no chance.)


And then comes the shark swirl as his body spins in a crazy circle. My heart sinks. And still I’m hoping he’s not really going to die. Somehow, he’s going to find a way out of this. It’s only going to be a flesh wound.


He disappears below the water. And the huge balloon of blood burps to the surface.


I stare at the circle of blood in disbelief and complete betrayal. How could they kill Josh off like that? I’m still waiting for him to pop up in the middle of the pool of blood as though nothing happened. As though he could magically be okay—like it was the shark’s blood waving over the ocean surface.


But if anything’s going to pop up it’s only going to be dismembered body parts. And I don’t want any part of that. 


It’s over. For Josh. And for me.


You had your chance shark movie, whatever your name was. You had me at Josh Duhamel. You could’ve had me all the way to the end. And you blew it. 


I turned the tv off immediately and went to bed. 

CHUM A Caleb Stark FBI Short Story Robin Glassey.jpg

Good things come to those who bait.

Is it safe to get in the lake?