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No less honorable a personage than the mayor himself set off the detonation. He stood before the box, its plunger raised like an upper-case T, the stiff breeze blowing in from the sea (carrying with it the scents of salt and rot) making the coattails of his old-fashioned suit billow and flap like pennants. The engineer once again assured everyone that they were all standing a safe distance from the explosives. The mayor smiled and waved at the gathered crowd, his teeth glistening in the sunlight, his walrus mustache bristling. He tipped his bowler hat to his wife and children, then depressed the plunger.

The whale’s head disappeared in a red plume. The sound of the blast washed over the crowd, and there was just enough time to begin a cheer before they were pelted with blood and chunks of rancid whale meat. After a shocked pause, people began screaming. Children wept. From above came the cries of indignant ocean birds. The mayor hunched his shoulders, looking as though he wanted to shrink and disappear into his bowler hat as the bloody blubber rained down. The explosion had removed the whale’s head but left the rest of it on the beach, its tail still curving into the surf, broken ribs poking up from the raw, red ruin. Liquefying organs spilling onto the sand. The breeze from the sea grew stronger, wafting the stench of putrefaction over the crowd. Tourists vomited their rich seafood lunches down their shirt-fronts, the stench of their sick mixing with that of the rancid meat.

Livid, the mayor berated the engineer. The crowd turned away, stunned, nauseated, disgusted, and trudged back to their homes and motel rooms. Families and lovers fought bitterly over who would shower first. Within the hour the town’s only laundromat was overrun with tourists who desperately wanted to wash the whale blood out of their Hawaiian shirts and summer dresses. They squabbled over the washing machines, some still with blood and strings of meat clinging to their hair. And no matter how long they showered or how many times they ran their clothes through the wash, the stench of the dead whale clung to those who’d gathered on the beach to watch.

What I Write

I love monsters and comedy. Horror, noir, and fantasy are probably the genres I most easily fit into.