Saturday, July 12, 2008

jerk the shark

Once again, from my twisted mind, a tale spurred on by the weekly Saturday Scribe's prompts.

This week the theme is "communication" - the words: blueprint, denim and universal.

Below is what leaked out - your shark, let me jump it for you . . .


Donald shook his head, unable to believe that some ten year old brat had actually managed to break the shark. Now, bent over the blueprint, Donald was trying to find out just which mechanism inside needed to be replaced, but so far the task was eluding him. He would need to go down there and inspect the damage first hand.

All of the four mechanical sharks at Universal Studios were a bitch to work on at the best of times, and he was under pressure now that the park was going to open in two hours. If the side-snapper, his nickname for the one that launched itself out of the water snapping at the customers, wasn’t up and running by park opening, his supervisor was sure to bitch him out about it.

It was all that damn kid’s fault and Donald was made to suffer for it. At least he was kicked out of the park afterwards despite his parents protestations about what a good boy he was and how he had never done anything like it before. What the hell was wrong with parents these days anyhow.

Rolling up the blueprint, Donald put on his denim overalls and grabbed up his toolbox. Time for the pit. He hated the pit. It was a cramped, lightless crawlway underneath side-snapper, and so far he had only had to go down there once when the shark’s jaw had gotten stuck in the closed position. That was a simple solenoid problem, but this utter failure? How had that damn kid done it again?

He was told the brat had jammed a short steel pipe down the shark’s mouth, and it had gotten tangled in the gears inside - after that, crunch, crackle and snap. Inside the pit, Donald was secretly wishing the kid had thrown himself in instead - then it would be the police down hear scraping out his mangled body instead of Donald extracting the pipe and trying to figure out what parts to replace.

After twenty minutes of dismantling the shark, Donald finally got a good look at what was wrong. The pipe, a hollow twisted tube now, had gotten wrapped around the main travel mechanism and sheared off several pins and completely stripped two gears. He had just over an hour to fix it. It would be close.

His belt radio buzzed at him causing him to start and bang his head on the roof of the cramped space. “Shit,” Donald yelled which echoed back at him ten times louder. He pressed the mic button, “Yeah, what is it?”

“How’s it going down there?” his supervisor Ed asked.

“I found out what’s wrong.”

“Will it be operational by park opening?” Ed asked, a tone of desperation in his voice.

Donald hesitated for a moment, almost wanting to say “no, too much damage. It will take all day you bastard and why the hell don’t you suit up and come down here and give me a hand?”, but instead he only said, “Yeah, should be.”

“Well, let me know the second you get it done.” the radio snapped off. Donald didn’t bother to reply.

Five minutes to park opening and Donald had it fixed despite several more annoying radio calls from Ed.

Crawling out from the pit, Donald was met by Ed who was pacing around, radio in one hand and a cigarette in the other. The second Donald removed the lockout and connected the power again Ed was on the radio to the ride operator to run the shark.

It came out of the water just as it should, snapped its jaws on cue, then plunged beneath the surface with a huge splash. “Ride’s a go,” Ed yelled into the radio like his life depended on it.

Donald was about to get out of his damp and dirty coveralls when Ed tapped him on the shoulder. “Donald, trouble on the coaster.”

“You’re welcome, Ed,” Donald said grabbing up his tools and heading out across the park. He wondered how long before the damn radio buzzed him again.

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