(Based on a true story)
DURBAN, South Africa
August 17, 1959
On the Eastern horizon, distant flashes of a storm illuminated the hot August sky, a hint of the unspeakable horror about to visit sleepy little Durban. As the night progressed, vicious bolts of lightning lashed out far and low across night’s black shroud. Crackling branches of electricity reached out blindly, like the thin, pale, twisted arms of a bloated parasite in search of a fresh host.
At 1 a.m., the tendrils of that far off storm, quietly receded with the tide.
The night hung silent and heavy. Sticky, like drying blood. (yuk.)
A Bull Shark’s lifeless body, lay wrapped in filthy linen before a group of three “mad” (disgruntled) scientists at the Durban Aquarium. Because of the late hour, the tired, and still “very upset” group of academics, placed the cold eight-foot corpse (that the foul smelling, grotesque, one-eyed fisherman affectionately called “Willie,” into an old bathtub for later observation.
At 3 a.m., Left alone in the laboratory, was Daucina Renfeld, the new assistant from Tavenui, Fiji. Ms. Renfeld was an “odd rough skinned woman” with a deformity of the spine that resembled a sharp hump on her back. While closing up that night, she slipped on fish guts and fell, accidentally knocking her “combination hair dryer / portable radio” into the Willie’s tub. Sparks shot out, immediately swallowed up by total darkness. The young lab assistant lay motionless where she had hit her forehead on the worn porcelain edge. Blood dripped from the small wound, into the foul water.
Strong and silent, a dark new power suddenly surged, pumping its way through dead wires, into the shark’s waiting heart.
When the lights flickered back to life—so… did… WILLIE!!!!
Cold, slow, weak at first, the heart began to take on speed and power. Thump. Thump. Thump.
On the morning of August 15, Ms. Renfeld had vanished. She was never seen or heard from again. Willie, on the other hand, was found swimming happily in the new “Predators of the Sea” tank. The three scientists, who had left before the power failure, could not figure out how their 105-pound assistant had moved nearly 300 pounds of a once-dead shark into the new tank all by herself, or why she would suddenly disappear.
The night before, when the smelly carcass first appeared on an old wooden cart in their doorway with the hideous dark fisherman, the scientists were certain that Willie was a “DUD” (dead upon delivery). Somehow, through some mysterious cosmic blunder, the creature was alive. Swimming. Hungry.
That week, the three mad disgruntled scientists left their jobs at the Durban Aquarium, driven even more mad by the perplexing mystery of Willie, and further budget cuts.
Three months later
By December, “Willie” had grown huge. He was doing well at the Durban Aquarium. Too well. He was eating everything in the aquarium tank, including the other sharks. Once the prized pregnant female Dusky Shark had fallen victim to Willie’s huge appetite, the curators finally decided that it was time to get rid of the beast.
The other aquariums did not did not want wanton Willie — “Wild Bill” as he was being called these days. Returning him to the ocean was not an option. Letting a vicious, blood thirsty Bull Shark loose upon the swimming public would be dangerous, and wasn’t worth the risk.
The decision was made.
There would be no “FREE WILLIE” this time.
The gruesome Willie, who had become a favorite of visitors, would have to be disposed of.
The deed was done in the middle of the night, when death does its best, most stealthy handiwork.
After hours of wrangling, Willie was finally caught on a triple hook and “humanely” clubbed to death. He was then mercifully cut up into smaller chunks and stuffed into a reeking dumpster.
Early morning visitors wanted an explanation for the sudden disappearance of their favorite fish. So the aquarium’s manager, Mr. Cabebe told the families that Willie was found floating dead early that morning. Cabebe had also delicately let slip that “Willie now sleeps with the coffee grounds” — in the smelly dumpster.
Hundreds of Durban school children gathered around the outside alleyway of the aquarium. In a great outpouring of sorrow, they shed gallons of salty tears into the dumpster while they said their farewells over the ripe trash bags full of the lovable scoundrel.
Ms. Renfeld returned that night and stole the brine soaked bags. From the laboratory, she also took the curator’s favorite “pet”…a jar labeled ‘the Brain’. This was “the Brain” which used to sit quietly and patiently upon a shelf, not far from Willie’s tub.
In that jar, beneath a milky white fluid, rested the brain of a blood-crazed 25-foot-long Great White Shark who’d been named Abby. This demented Great White had eaten a Priest during an early morning Baptismal at Bloody Murder Beach only a week before.
That shark, was caught and killed. Abby’s body was mounted in the aquarium’s entrance and her brain was removed for study.
Somewhere in California’s Red Triangle, in the dead of night, high up on a hill an electric light can be seen flickering through the shuttered window of the ex-assistant, Renfeld.
She stands hunched over a rusty bathtub filled with cold sea water. Beneath Renfield’s bloody lab coat, numerous scars cover her back. “Love bites” from that night, over one year ago, at the Durban Aquarium.
She use to weigh under 105 pounds, but now she has ballooned up to almost 175.
Ms. Renfeld drinks another glass of salt-water as blood oozes from her cut finger and drips into the foul tub of sashimi below.
“I am the bride of Frankenshark!!!”
The pups would need their father soon.
“The Brain” had been installed, and the chunks of Willie were all sewn up.
The combination hair dryer / radio was poised in her other hand…ready to drop.
The room went black.
“Come to mama….Come to mama,” she repeated.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Note: The basis for this story is true. There was a real bull shark named Willie who was brought DEAD to the Durban Aquarium, in August of 1959. Some hours later, he did come back to life in a small observation tank. Willie was the aquarium’s top star attraction until he began to eat nearly all of his tank mates, including the pregnant Dusky Shark.
And yes, “They” did murder him and chop him up in secret.
May he rest in pieces.
Frankenshark is dead.
At least that’s what THEY would like us to believe.