Ah, those good old Cape May days… by Jackson D’Catur
The time I battled an octopus while diving for pearls for a necklace for the late Mrs D’Catur, the octopus down there had a miniature industry going, farming the oysters for pearls, selling them to middlemen and using the profits to import delicacies from around the globe to be consumed in its palace made from polished oyster shell. In the end I had to defeat her by arranging a leveraged buyout of her business, then exercising shareholder rights to drive her off the board.
And the squid isn’t the most voracious either – the Great White shark is hungrier. The one I hunted down off Cape May used to consume the contents of every fishing boat’s nets it could find, along with the crews and boats themselves, and that was just for breakfast. I defeated him by stuffing a dead whale (I always have a couple in formaldehyde in the basement) full of dynamite and floating it out to sea. The shark ate the entire 30 tons and when it detonated, it rained shark meat (plus little pieces of fisherman and a dozen bumper cars that serial number checks later revealed came from a funfair ride that went missing from a beach resort in China).
But the giant squid is the most terrifying. It’s not the colossal tentacles with their serrated suckers that can tear through a battleship hull. It’s not the speed at which it travels, so swift that water boils behind it. It’s not the eyes the size of dinner plates, gazing at you coldly. It’s the beak: the giant squid’s beak is 10 feet across and twice as high. I’ve feared beaks ever since I was savaged by a flock of cockatiels in Africa.
So, I confess that when I was commissioned to hunt the giant squid terrorizing these waters I allowed myself to be sketched by an artist in full hunting regalia, with ivory-handled harpoon, trusty Bowie knife, and stripped to the waist, ready to dive in and do battle.
But the moment I was underwater I swam around the Point, sneaked out of the water and paid two rogues from Wildwood to row out and dump a poisoned cow carcass overboard. The squid instantly pounced, and for good measure consumed the boat and occupants. When it floated to the surface an hour later, gray and swollen, I waded out of the water, glistening like Neptune, put it to the sword, and claimed full credit.