Down East 2013 ©
Stay indoors at all times.
If you have a gun, make sure it’s cleaned and loaded. Keep it with you wherever you go, including the shower.
If you see movement in your yard, call the police.
Come to think of it, call the police even if you don’t see movement. I mean, what are you paying taxes for, anyway?
You need to take all these precautions because Maine is under siege.
Here are the grim facts, as I have freely interpreted them.
On October 23, Scott MacNichol of Perry was swimming along underwater in Broad Cove off Eastport taking photographs of the sea bottom beneath the salmon pens. Which is the place where the salmon poop. Apparently, there’s more of a demand for photos of salmon poop than I would have guessed.
As salmon-poop-photographing expeditions go, MacNichol’s excursion was proceeding smoothly (there’s nothing like the autumn light for artistic shots of fish droppings), when suddenly he spotted a shark.
And not just any shark.
It was a porbeagle.
To tell the truth, I’d never heard of a porbeagle, but I could instantly surmise from its name that it was the product of some kind of evil genetic-engineering experiment gone horribly wrong.
A shark had been injected with the DNA of a beagle and a Portobello mushroom.
For some reason, the extensive news coverage  of this event failed to include that information, leading me to believe the media are, once again, protecting mad scientists for nefarious reasons of their own. (One clue might be this recent headline: “Prominent Newspaper Publisher Has Brain Transplanted Into Youthful Body.”)
Anyway, back to the porbeagle. The shark was eight feet long and weighed more than three hundred pounds, with the tenaciousness of a beagle and the aroma of a baked Portobello with seafood stuffing. It was also no fan of artsy-fartsy photography of piscine potty training. Mustering all the fury inherent in its mushroom ancestors, it attacked MacNichol’s camera.
The diver was able to take video of this terrifying encounter. He also convinced the shark to sign a release. He’ll be telling his story on the “Today” show on October 29, after which he’ll be signed to book, recording, and movie deals.
Great for him.
Not so good for the rest of us.
Because that mutant shark is still out there, hatching plots in its melded fungal-canine-fish brain. It’s only a matter of time before it figures out that it’s being screwed out of a lot of potential royalties. And once it does, how long do you think that shark is going to wait to extract unspeakable vengeance from humanity?
Well, neither sharks, beagles, nor mushrooms are all that bright, so I’m guessing it’ll be a couple of weeks at a minimum. But after that, we’re all in real trouble. Because the first place this Franken-fish is heading is to the nearest lawyer’s office to sue everyone even remotely connected with these events, including the pooping salmon.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that a shark — even one that’s got a few extra genes inserted in it — couldn’t possibly raise the kind of money needed to hire a first-class lawyer. Apparently, you are unaware that attorneys normally give sharks a professional-courtesy discount.
I suspect that once this porbeagle has legal representation, it’s going to discover that it has greatly underutilized its potential. Both Portobellos and beagles are land creatures, which means this nightmare creature will soon discover that it can hitch rides to parts of the state that have never before had to worry about shark attacks. The unwary citizens of inland Maine, ever on the alert for marauding bears and errant moose, have no defense mechanisms in place to ward off attacks from marine-based predators. They’ll be easy pickings.
Not only that, but once the shark leaves the water, it will be seeking opportunities to procreate. With the first Trader Joe’s in the state set to open in Portland  on October 29, it will have little difficulty locating a supply of willing Portobellos awaiting the chance to spread their spoors indiscriminately. As for beagles, they’re everywhere, seemingly cute and playful, but secretly harboring deep resentments against humanity for the live-action Underdog  movie.
Once these forces align themselves, human beings will be doomed.
That is, unless a plucky and beautiful young scientist; her plucky, mixed-race band of assistants (at least two of whom will soon end up as shark bait); her mentor, an aging professor of genetics who long ago warned his colleagues to cease trying to combine the inherited traits of sharks, mushrooms and small dogs; and a fearless Maine game warden (who also exhibits signs of pluckiness when he’s not being grim-faced, stubborn and determined) all join forces to somehow find a formula that will turn the beast back into a relatively harmless sea dweller that only bothers underwater photographers shooting fish-poop studies.
Sorry. The preceding paragraph appears to be a summary of the plot of a forthcoming movie on the SyFy Channel called “Mega-Porbeagle vs. Has-Been Pop Star.” Debbie Gibson plays the plucky scientist. Badly. That girl couldn’t do plucky at a chicken-de-feathering festival. If you don’t believe me, watch her in “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus .”
No, there’s only one way to save ourselves from being devoured by the combined forces of sharks, beagles, and mushrooms. That’s to make ourselves so unappealing as a menu item that even a monster with a genetic predisposition toward not being too picky about what it eats (“anything but Debbie Gibson”) would reject us as inedible.
To that end, I call your attention to an experiment conducted last week at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, during which seemingly normal people were convinced to eat crickets and meal worms .
I think it’s obvious that most carnivores, if given a choice, would prefer a meal that had been raised on more conventional fare than chocolate-covered crickets and mealworms sautéed in butter and garlic. Once we adopt an all-insect diet, the rampaging porbeagles will use their keen senses to determine that we’re gastronomically unsuitable. They’ll stop trying to eat humans, and switch to some more palatable species.
Al Diamon never eats beagles, rarely eats shark, and reluctantly eats mushrooms. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com .