A Boy and His Shark
(c) 2005 by Shawn Stewart ARR
There was a shark in Paul’s dreams. There was a shark in Paul’s house. There was even a shark in Paul’s bathtub, some nights. But tonight, there was a shark in Paul’s living room.
Swimming around down there, swishing its tail against the walls, and hunting for food beneath the couch cushions, there circled one very hungry beast. It could swim through the drowsy midnight air as easily as you or I swam through water.
Buried under the covers, night after night, Paul could feel it chewing on his headboards. All he needed was . . .
Paul sank down the stairs half-asleep, an instant camera swinging around his neck, bumping against his chest, just like his heart.
The shark had its nose buried in the refigerator door, eating the family’s leftover pizza. It was a great gray-and-white monster . . . a one-ton torpedo with teeth. Yet it moved around the kitchen with an almost liquid grace and ease. Occasionally, little bits of pepperoni would fall out of its gaping gill slits to feed the floor, and then get lost in the huge shadow of its body.
The camera popped, flashed, then whirred. Making too much noise, it spit out a picture. The shark turned a dull gray eye that looked right into Paul’s own. Paul, in his peejays and underwear, suddenly felt like a half-wrapped sausage. The shark grinned a great crooked grin, its teeth hanging loosely from its jaws, and its jaws covered with bits of shredded pepperoni and cheese.
Back up the stairs Paul flew on all fours to where, under the bed again, he finally felt safe enough to sleep
And dream . . .
Of sharks swimming freely on midnight breezes, and the little boys who believed in them.