I remember a little incident my family and I had during our most recent trip to Hawaii. On the island of Kauai (which we nicknamed Chicken Island because there were wild chickens everywhere) my father, sister, brother-in-law, and I went kayaking down a river that opened up to the ocean. When we started rowing with our group, my father and I were in the same kayak. Because we were both big studs, our combined weight weighed us down so much that we were not only being left in the dust by the rest of the group, but the rim of the boat was only a few centimeters from the water. We knew that one wrong turn would tip the boat over and dump us into the river. That part did not worry us. What worried us was what was potentially lurking below the river’s murky depths. The river opened up into the ocean, which made the water brackish. My father and I watch Shark Week every year and we know for a fact that bull sharks can swim into brackish water and attack humans. Bull sharks have more testosterone than any other creature, which makes them completely aggressive. They do not attack people for food, but to satisfy their boundless hormone-based rage. Hawaii has been known to have between 2 to 3 shark attacks every year and bull sharks are one of the main suspects. We could not see anything in the river because it was so murky, but we knew bull sharks were down there somewhere. If we fell out of our boat, we were likely chum. Therefore, it became both a race and balancing act to catch up with the rest of our group. We even caught sight of something . . . BIG . . . moving next to us! That was one of the most nerve-racking experiences I ever had. Hopefully, I won’t have a close call like that next time I go to Hawaii. When writing my killer croc story idea, I can draw inspiration from the absolute fear I felt that day.
When I saw the shark in The Meg trailer, I had a Percy Shelley moment. Percy Shelley famously wrote, “I am Ozymandias, king of kings! Look upon my works ye mighty and despair!” With Megalodon, I went, “I am Megalodon, shark of sharks! Look upon my works ye mighty and despair!” Megalodon was truly the shark of sharks and I think this remade quote from Percy Shelley fits it like a slipper.
Sharks have always served as antagonists in several works of fiction. One of the most dangerous sharks in the world is the bull shark, which is responsible for more shark attack fatalities than any other shark (even the great white shark). When I was in Hawaii last year, my family and I participated in a kayaking adventure down a river that was connected to the ocean. Bull sharks are notorious about being able to swim in murky, brackish water (fresh and salt water) and there had been sightings of bull sharks in the area over the years. With that in mind, there was a strong possibility that there were bull sharks underneath my kayak and I did not know. I had watched the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week so I knew what these sharks were capable of and the thought of a bull shark jumping out of the water and onto my kayak gave me chills. On the upside, I had gained inspiration from the experience for a possible supervillain in my sequel trilogy, someone who is just as savage and bloodthirsty as a bull shark. I suppose one can acquire inspiration from the most unlikely events.