Shark Bites 2

Michael Schumacher Short Stories

Looking down at the street below, I wonder how long that dropping feeling will be in my stomach and what my mom will say.

“Please, sir, drop the gun and back away from the edge,” orders an officer behind me,

wind throws my tie over my shoulder, and the commuters below go home to their peaceful lives, their boring peaceful lives, of which, is the only thing I want now, reaching into my pocket I squeeze my last bag of Shark Bites 2 (SB2’s). This silly little marine themed fruit snack made me a titan of industry and a war criminal, wanted by the ICC, facing a life of incarceration, what have I done, god my god I have forsaken thee. I remember back to the beginning, years ago now, when an old friend named Kyle made a joke about reviving an old fruit snack brand, it turned very real. Sometime after that, I found myself in an investment firm, looking for venture capitol…..

I sat, sweating in the waiting room, trying to keep my cool as they made me wait it out, I knew that’s what they were doing, seeing if they could make me crack so they could ooze in and break me open like ice in cement.

I didn’t tap on my briefcase I didn’t play a game on my phone I didn’t check my watch I just waited and nodded at the others in the room and leafed through a Delta inflight magazine that was for some reason in this office building, and of course, downed a packet of my SB2s.

For one year and seven months I fought for and dreamt of this day, a day to stake my claim in the world of fruit snacks I thought lost to other new types of snacks that were slightly more palatable and less cavity inducing. But my Shark Bites 2 (SB2s), not to be confused with their predecessor, ‘Shark Bites’ – an IAG brand, of childhood ‘fruit’ snack nostalgia – challenged the idea of snack, they redefined the fruit snack game, the bagged, animal shaped gelatin game, snack time in general altered by this seemingly innocuous shark shaped treat…Mostly because they contained Kalpraximene, an addictive stimulant found in the leaves Guay Guay tree of DR Congo – which, FYI, is neither democratic nor a republic, nailed the Congo part though definitely Congo. Each packet, of which 12 filled a case – doubling the previous, seemingly low case volume of childhood – carried two striped tiger shark snacks, these laced with the nearly untraceable Kalpraximene. The snack could not be kept stocked, I needed money for a new processing plant.

“Shark Bites 2, you’re up” I calmly get up and enter the room.

The meeting came and went, basically, all the big wigs just got wrecked on Shark Bites 2, and the most stressful meeting of my life devolved to a party of people praising my ‘fruit’ snack candy.

“What’s your slogan again, hey Peter, Pete you’re gonna love this,”

“This time… its not Shark Bites 1,” I said, the joke slays, Peter doubles over. I have won. With money behind me, the production facility is built in Indiana, because that place is beautiful, every part of it, its like the Costa Rica of Middle America, and dirt cheap land and an insane tax incentive program also played a role.

With the growth of Shark Bites 2, so to the demand to quietly procure our active ingredient. So we expanded our growth in small Congolese farms and in short we now work with a militant group, an ex-soviet lab and the corrupt government to get that sweet powder out of the heart of darkness and into Shark Bites 2.

Time passes, years, I am so wealthy from these Shark Bites I could buy Indiana, I eat more than 48 packs a day, 4 cases, my teeth are replaced and no one notices, I am so amped on these things.

In a large battle between rebels and the UN on the Chadian border, the lab is discovered, my lab full of my precious kal kal, my maxie praxie, my mean machine. Sharks Bites 2 must go on, I needed it to.

Firstly, I had to both dodge the obvious paper trail between my conglomerate and the civil war I was involved in, but more importantly I needed my lab open and my smugglers getting my product into the E.U..

After speaking with the FBI and FDA, also during, it became clear they understood the connect, but given the cooking process of our gelatin confections, they were unable to identify our protein, just that the bank records looked suspicious.

“Well its our charities over there, we funnel money to international dentists and shark based education,” I say

“Shark based education? We will have to further investigate, good day and thanks for the SB2s,” the agents say waddling under the weight of the snacks. As soon as they leave, I book a flight to Kinshasa.

The county we travel is narrated by a bumpy, muddy road and the whining truck, the towns change to farms and then to jungle. The lab is not hard to find, nor is the general, as he’s right where he asked to meet.

“Welcome to the Congo, my friend,” he says, chewing on a Guay Guay leaf, “What is the new arrangement?” Well… One ‘State Controlled’ investment fund, a clueless American charity, two overseas shell corps, about 2.7 million greenbacks, that and my little vacation, has the lab synthesizing and my Indiana plant running at full steam.

My vast wealth and genius snacks offered limited protection against the now international investigation and mounting body of evidence against me and my firm. Its a shark eat shark world and my growing addition to the stimulant made the paranoia haunting and relentless. As I spy on my employees and friends, naturally, I knew when and where they planned my intervention, I sent my case files, records and confession to Interpol and planned on meeting them there. For some reason, potentially the drugs, I reacted poorly to friends, family and police and find myself standing on the edge, contemplating self destruction.

“Hey, please don’t do this!” I recognize Kyle’s voice, my childhood friend and one time business partner, the real inspiration for the snack and slogan, he stands with the crowd of people behind me on the roof.

“You can get a plea deal, the World Wildlife Federation and the American Association of Dentists have recognized your contributions to fighting cavities and also shark based education.”

“I committed crimes against humanity Kyle, this is why you still live with your parents,” I move closer to the edge, “I’m here because of you,”

“You’re here because you laced a kids ‘fruit’ snack with an addictive stimulant supplied by death squads in the DR!” Shouts Kyle over the wind.

“You can’t call it the DR if you’ve never traveled or really given it that much thought, god you are uncultured,” I yell back at Kyle.

“Listen, I’m just trying to help, you know what man, just jump, or shoot yourself, seems like you’re a little conflicted on that, but remember this, if you go, so do Shark Bites 2, and any chance at redemption, just imagine, Shark Bites 3, this time they’re not Shark Bites 2,”

“Yeah,” I say to myself, “This time, they’re not Shark Bites 2,” I step back from the edge, and let the gun fall from my hand, “Thanks Kyle, you’re a great friend” then I lay on the ground and looked forward to The Hague, it should be as enchanting as America’s crossroads.