This is Connie Chung reporting from Grand Isle Louisiana:
Two sharks swimming peacefully off the Louisiana coast on Labor Day were attacked by a boatload of vicious thugs who lured them to their craft using a "chum-line" of shredded fish, then mangled them with a variety of weapons including firearms and various harpoons. This according to Leo Di Caprio, who was on a nearby vessel and witnessed the ensuing horror.
The celebrity was one among many aboard a vessel carrying members from the Cousteau Society, Sierra Club, the World Wildlife Fund, and Ocean Watch that happened to be in the area that day for a "consciousness-raising workshop" concerning the "Dead-Zone" along the Louisiana Coast.
He reports that the thugs, believed to be Cuban-Americans and Cajuns, opened up with a variety of weapons including semi-automatic rifles, pistols, shotguns, spearguns, harpoons, gaffs, and what a blubbering Julia Roberts described as "small bombs!...had to be!" to stun, kill and horribly mangle the sharks.
She says the water around the bizarre fishing-diving craft sporting a Jolly Roger and with "Wango-Tango!" painted on the bow "literally erupted in a white froth" from the deafening fusillade and bombardment. According to the red-eyed and hysterical Oscar winner, "it sounded like Mardi Gras, the Saints in the Super Bowl, New Years, and the Battle Of the Bulge all at once!"
"I couldn't believe it!" gasped a badly rattled Peter Benchley while dabbing at his eyes. "Recently I called the killing of a shark a moral travesty....well, I'm simply...simply...simply at a loss for words to describe this inconceivable atrocity. But I ask, is there a Gaia who would allow this to happen?!"
"These sick, sadistic hoodlums were yelling and whooping and throwing empty whiskey and rum bottles in the air! " added a weeping Noami Campbell who huddled with an ashen-faced Paul Mc Cartney. "Then they blasted away at them with shotguns as we approached, splattering us with glass!...Boy was I was scared!"
"Then we begi-in," crooned the Ex-Beatle as he stroked Mc Campbell's hair, " to make it... better..better ..better.. BETTER" and the teary crew joined hands and started singing and swaying to the famous melody from Hey Jude.
The shaken observers further report that the horribly mutilated sharks were hoisted on a winch from the boat's fantail amidst what they again describe as "a terrifying din of wild whoops, and rebel yells," Then one boater rushed up with a can and spraypainted a beard on it's mangled jaw and the word "Fidel" on it's shredded and lacerated hulk.
"Then they went totally crazy!" gasped Christopher Dodd who was also aboard the Ocean-Watch vessel. "They started hacking at it savagely with machetes, gaffs and empty whiskey bottles until one of them screeching, "YEEEEEEE!-HAAAAAH!" opened up with a rapid-fire assault weapon of some kind from atop the Tuna Tower.
With the shark carcass dancing and twitching crazily from the bursts, the short sun-tanned fellow on the bow jammed an automatic weapon to his hip, shouted, "say hello to my little friend!" and joined the deafening fusillade. Well, the shark carcass almost disappeared before our eyes! Scattering bits of sharkflesh in the water behind the boat and triggering another fish feeding- frenzy !"
The weeping and stuttering Connecticut Senator says that each burst of gunfire ripped into the shark and sent it swinging wildly from it's rope. This provoked another wild outburst of whoops from the booze-crazed boaters.
"It was ghastly!" recalls Sierra spokesperson Carly Simon who shuddered visibly while clutching Senator Dodd's arm. "Simply terrifying! Nothing like this happens off Martha's Vineyard!...Gosh can these things be happening in this country!...See what happens when Republicans win?!...Oh my!"
Tonight we also have Cuban-American expert Dennis Hayes from the Cuban-American National Foundation and professor Alphonse Thibodeaux of the Acadian-American Studies Dept. at LSU. Thank you for appearing on such short notice gentlemen."
"Our Pleasure, Connie."
"Gentlemen, we understand that you have a slightly different interpretation of the incident..."
"Well Connie, I think we have to put these attacks in perspective." says Mr Hayes. "Before we embark on some crusade against these misunderstood citizens, let's remember that sharks closely resemble cobia, which are a favorite food item for both Cubans and Cajuns. This is amply documented in the book Helldiver's Rodeo. It's highly likely than in these murky water conditions these Cuban-American fishermen simply mistook the sharks for their normal food source and...."
"But what about the ghastly mutilations, Mr Hayes? The irrational savagery of it all? These observers all report a level viciousness, of brutality, of blood-lust that seems inappropriate to any......What about the booze-addled whoops and ear-splitting yells? The thundering, blood-curdling shrieks reported by Mr Di Caprio that caused Senator Dodd, Ms Simon, and Ms Streisand to lose control of their very bowels, sir?"
"Well listen Connie, Ceviche, is a popular food item in the Cuban-American diet. This dish consists of lime-cured fish mixed with onions, tomatoes, and other ingredients, and requires that the fish be finely diced. It's highly probable that these fisherpersons were simply engaged in a preparatory procedure in anticipation of preparing this delectable dish which is a time-honored cultural tradition among..."
"Let's also remember that a shark is 1,000 times more likely to be killed and devoured by another shark than by a Cajun." adds Professor Thibodeaux. "Over 90 per cent of juvenile sharks fall prey to members of their own species within their first year of life.... Indeed Tiger sharks actually consume their siblings while still inside the womb. So sure, this attack makes for sensational reportage just like these predators make an excellent subject for sensationalized movies. But let's look at the big picture, I say. When will we get over the Easy Rider, Deliverance, Southern Comfort depictions of these people?"
"Don't forget Scarface," adds Mr Hayes.
"Yes, exactly." continues Professor Thibodeaux with a nod. "Anyway, when will we outgrow Hollywood's sensationalism and recognize these people for the fascinating predators they really are? When will we appreciate them for performing a valuable service in their own ecological niche?...Yes, a shark has much less to fear from Cajuns and Cubans than from it's own brothers and cousins...and especially it's parents. These Cajun boaters were simply engaged in their normal pattern of predation when....."
"Then what about the MOONING?!" shrieked a scandalized Barbara Streisand who elbowed in front of the professor.. "How does "normal predation pattern" explain that?...HUNH!" And she held up photos taken during the incident of the men arrayed atop their boat's Tuna tower bent over while slapping their bare buttocks.
"They finally stopped the horrible shooting and stabbing as we approached their vessel," Added a sniffling Kim Bassinger "but then one seemed to give a signal, then they all started cackling and whooping again while scrambling atop the Tuna tower. Then.....well here! Look for yourself!"
(The camera moves in for a close-up of the photos following a warning to viewers about the adult-content.)
" I have never in my life been treated in...and here how about THIS!" And Ms Streisand displayed another photo of the men, their shorts back up at waist-level from knee-level but with lunatic grins while waving long Mardi-Gras beads. "They were shouting: "Show Your T*ts!" at us!" gasped Ms Streisand with her voice cracking. "Is that also "normal predation" pat....!."
"Professor Thibodeaux?" ( Connie turns and motions to the camera) ..."You were trying to say something sir?..Let's give Dr Thibodeaux a chance please, Ms Streisand."
"Yes, thank you, Connie...Ms Streisand, let's remember that this particular chant is a common Carnival ritual especially in New Orleans but has spread across south Louisiana and is particularly prevalent during the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. I would only ask that you display the same respect and sensitivity towards the local culture that she urges Westerners to adopt toward cannibals in Papau and Amazonian headhunters. Her form of arrogance is a common manifestation of cultural imperialism and is common among......"
Well folks, we had a fun week-end. Not that much fun, but fun enough. A Hammerhead snatched a snapper off my speargun, much like in Helldiver's Rodeo. Another snatched our bag of fish that was tied to the rig. That did it. We climbed out and started chumming.
Alas, we'd brought the shotguns along. We'd shot abominably at doves the previous day. Took me two boxes to get my limit....simply dreadful shooting. So we wanted a little practice on skeet while offshore, just like on those cruise ships. Turns out, skeet loads work pretty well on sharks at close range. For some reason we also had some Cherry Bombs on board, leftover from the 4th of July shindig. And two of these tied together make an impressive little blast when hurled in the water.
What a kick, especially with Queen's hit record booming from the tape-deck: "Bomp-Bomp-Bomp—another shark bites the dust." We improvised.
Finely chop 1 lbs of shark fillets. (Cobia, Wahoo, Triggerfish, Sheepshead , Grouper —all white, firm-fleshed fish work well here) Then:
- Finely chop half a pound of red or yellow onions (white onions are a little too strong for a raw dish)
- Finely chop a half pound of fresh tomatoes. If Creole tomatoes are available, by all means use them.
- Finely chop half a cup of olives (or buy a jar of the cheaper already mangled ones) and about half a teaspoon of capers. (you don't want the olives or the capers to overwhelm this dish, just compliment it.)
- Finely chop half a handful of fresh parsley.
- Mix all this in a glass bowl (no metal) and start squeezing the juice of fresh limes (not that bottled stuff, please) into it until you see the juice about halfway up the side of the bowl. Then mix everything up again to coat all the fish with lime juice. You'll probably need about 3/4 of a cup of lime juice with a pound of fish. There's no need to completely immerse the ingredients in the lime. Just make sure the fish receives a coating. Overnight the diced ingredients settle and everything is covered, you'll see.
- Add half a cup of extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 of balsamic vinegar and some black pepper. Mix it up again. Note: DON'T salt it now. The salt will draw out the juice from the fish. Salt it when ready to eat, portion by portion.
- Cover bowl and let this magnificent mess sit overnight in the refrigerator for the fish to "cook" in the lime-juice and the flavors to "marry".
- Take this stuff out to the balcony deck or beach-chairs at surfside, sandside, streamside, poolside, or on the boat and serve on crackers, toast or chunks of stale french bread. Slurp it down with sips of cold dark beer...have Hot Rocks cranking from the Boom-Box. Have plenty of chilled Pinot Grigio for the gals to get cuddly and giggly...My friends, it don't get no better.....
September 12, 2001