A SPECIAL PRESENTATION: SUMMER OF THE SHARK

As summer draws to a close, join APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL for one last trip to the beach, but in the shimmering sea, a dark fin surfaces: SUMMER OF THE SHARK, our latest special edition.

SHARKS–perhaps the most ubiquitous and feared entities on Earth. They have been on this planet longer than we have, and have casted a long shadow over arts, mythology, and popular culture. We proudly present a variety of works, from poetry and fiction to art/comics and essays, on the king-beasts of the sea. But first, a few words from our editorial team.

The shark is a perfect machine. It exists along a pure continuum of hunt, kill, and propagate.

This summer APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL has chummed the waters and brought forth the terrors of the deep.

The sharks you now swim with are without pity, relentless, and ravenous. Dive in…

— Hermes, editor at large

The shark of the moral universe is long, but it swims towards APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL.

— Tom, poetry editor

But for two summers lost to lockdowns, my family and I have passed through Mackinac on the way up to our cottage every summer I’ve been alive. On either side of the main thoroughfare of that placid town, there stand dozens of souvenir shops; all of them carrying identical novelty t-shirts, shot glasses, and shark teeth. This last item should come as a surprise, considering no sharks swim the Great Lakes and that the nearest ocean lies many hundreds of miles to the east. But tourists want sharks to be there, lurking just out of sight, lending an air of danger to their beachside bacchanals. Let these stories, poems, and essays, then, have the same effect as these counterfeit teeth; let them stock your mind with levianthic terrors and fill your days with thoughts of abyssal angels during this, THE SUMMER OF THE SHARK.

— Dawson, fiction editor

“None grow rich in the sea…”

In the West, sharks are synonymous with dread and gore.

(As is Greek tragedy and the gangster film.)

They evoke fear so atavistic the shark disappears into a jawbone, which disappears into a void.

This void the lonely, ornery hunter must confront. He asks himself: will I be swallowed?

(One way is life, the other a return to womb and darkness.)

To every hunter–a choice.

In the water, a shark’s rotting skeleton smells of ammonia.

A human’s has no such smell.

Happy swimming.

— Max, fiction editor

For some reason, I was thinking the Wallace Stevens quote was, “Death is the mother of life.” I was wrong. Per Wallace, death is the mother of beauty. Either way, the shark is the father of all killers. So in that case, the shark is the father of death, which is the mother of beauty (or life, depending on who you listen to, Wallace Stevens or me.)

When we were kids, during the summer, my brother and I wouldn’t sleep in our beds, but rather sleep in the basement in our sleeping bags because there was a TV we could watch down there before bed. We’d come home from an evening swim at The Knolls Country Club (Lincoln, NE; now closed) & go down in the basement & fire up the TV to watch Forensic Files or something about military machinery on the Discovery Channel. And there’d be an ad for Shark Week.

Fuck! It was August! Now there’s that feeling: death! Death of leisure, death of the carefree, death of watching as much TV as we want (even daytime VH1 with fuckin’ Ricky Martin or Brian Adams or whomever), death of not feeling compelled to go to sleep at any particular hour. Death of Summer. Back to school. Back to the humiliation – elementary school was humiliating: not knowing the answer or wearing something just a little bit off that the other kids could notice and run with. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Shark Week: the father of death. Death: the mother of life. No. Beauty. Time for school. And learning: summer’s dead, and something is being born in its place. APOCALYPSE CONFIDENTIAL is the harbinger of your DEATH. And your birth. The Shark, the father; Death, the mother; Life (or beauty), the child. ApocCon: the tube! Sit down with the family & watch (read)! Enjoy.

— Brendan, managing editor

“They say the sea is cold, but the sea contains the hottest blood of all, and the wildest, the most urgent.” Mankind emerged from the sea, but not due to some logical chain of scientific reason, the genius of evolution or what have you. We hightailed it out of there because we were running from something it contained, and contains to this day, largely unchanged. Not Cthulhu, not the Kraken, and not Atlantean tax collectors. It’s the entity that if you shout its name at a crowded beach, you’ll cause a stampede, or if you think it, even if you’re floating in a swimming pool in some landlocked state, you’ll go flush with fear, if for a moment—SHARK.

— Jacob, editor-in-chief & publisher

***

BEST SERVED COLD by Sterling Bartlett

“DARLENE” by Dustin Cole

FIN-DOM by S.T.

FOR ONE TURN ANOTHER OR MAKO MOUTH by Will Waltz

FOUR PHOTOS OF A WOMAN DROWNING by EMPTYCOLLECTIVE

HAMMERHEAD by Detective Wolfman

HUNTERS AND KILLERS by Lin Kai

IN A CLUSTER OF SMALL POCKETS FULL OF SPECIAL JELLY LIKE SUBSTANCE by Karter Mycroft

ITACHIZAME by Yoshimi

“JAWS” by Stephanie Yue Duhem

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PROFESSOR SMALLWOOD by Arbogast

MANEATER by Mary Thorson

MILE SWIM by Jim Towns

“MY SON” by Hayden Church

“ORCINUS” by G. Cameron Perry

THE SCAVENGERS by J.J.S.S.

THE SHARK-FISHING TOURNAMENT by A Fisherman and His Fishermen

SHARK-TANK by Crooner

SHARK FIN SOUP by V.N. Ebert

SHARK ON DISPLAY IN LEEDS by Gillan

“SHARK TOOTH GIFTS” by Tom Will

“SMILE” by Sarah Park

THE SPEEDBOAT FAILURE by Alex Osman

TO THE TEETH by Leonel

“THE VISITATION” by Howie Good

WETWORK by Gwen Hilton