Updated: 3 days ago
Intrepid wildlife presenter Gerald Patterson just wanted a BAFTA, but no, instead, he had to uncover a perilous monster from the depths.
Mondays are the worst.
The ‘Anonymous Dolphin’ cleaved through the open waters, a gentle thudding of debris as plastics, rubber shoes and other items slapped against the hull.
Intrepid wildlife presenter Gerald Patterson stood at the stern looking out at ‘The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.’ This was no mere ecological disaster. This was a BAFTA.
His assistant, a rather mousey looking chap called Bob, appeared at his side. “They are ready for filming, Sir.”
“Very good, Bob.” He accepted the proffered script and flicked through it. “This is good, very good indeed.” Brushing past Bob, he swapped his all-weather jacket for his trademark corduroy blazer and life jacket. Stepping forward into the studio area, he took his position behind a desk with a beaker of rather grim-looking seawater.
“On ‘one’ Gerald,” his director Pamela said. “Five, four, three,” and then mouthed ‘two, one’.
“The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, perhaps the most significant ecological disaster since the hole in the ozone layer. People always envisage it as a lake of solid plastic, but whilst such items do exist in abundance, the majority of it is more insidious.” With a flourish, Gerald revealed his beaker. “The seawater is turned into a soup by a dense concentration of microplastics. These cannot simply be trawled as large objects could--”
“CUT,” Pamela gestured with her hand.
Gerald stopped. “What the hell, Pam! Encounciation - flawless, script - acceptable, make-up - impeccable. Was it my hair? Bob, if my hair is unkempt, I’ll see you living on the streets!”
Waiting patiently for him to run out of steam, Pamela calmly pointed behind him. “That floating trash island kind of ruins your monologue. Right, we’ll have to move the ship and try again.”
Eyes flaring, Gerald spun and flapped his mouth at the offending anomaly before cracking his jaw shut in frustration.
An island of heaped plastic nearly fifty-foot square calmly drifted behind him.
“Unbelievable. Why haven’t the tides broken it up?” He fumed.
“It could be a capsized ship?” Bob ventured.
“What a notion! A fifty-foot square ship? Nonsense Bob. Get the dingy ready. You must row me over immediately.” He marched towards the boats.
“What are you doing, Gerald?” Pam asked warily.
Gerald pointed, stabbing with his fingers at the offending island. “There is a story over there and I won’t be denied it, Pam. I can smell it.” From the deck, the island even looked like an upturned BAFTA.
“We can all smell it, Gerald. It is rank, more to the point it isn’t safe. Send Bob over first.” Pam looked over at Bob apologetically, who had a reproachful look on his face.
Gerald stood with his arms crossed, face turning a delightful shade of gammon. “Fine, but I am waiting on the boat. Get some shots of us approaching it.”
The crane lowered them in the boat over the side. Bob powered the small craft over to the island and urged on by an impatient Gerald clambered up the side.
“Well?” Gerald snapped as Bob stood in the centre of the island.
“It’s solid enough, bit slippery though, maybe it is a dead whale whose skin has been hardened by the sun?” Bob pressed down with his leather shoe onto the inflexible floor.
“A whale, a whale? You insufferable boob! It would have been torn asunder by scavengers, predators and probably the Japanese.” Gripping the side, Gerald started to climb up. “I’m coming up. Gods, the stench. Send the camera crew over with my beaker and my desk. We’ll shoot the scene here.”
As the second dinghy was lowered into the water, Bob noticed the unoccupied craft drifting away. He dashed down and leapt, almost capsizing it.
“Idiot!” Gerald ranted. “Hammer a piton in and secure the line. Why am I always having to do your job for you? You useless gibbering halfwit.”
Bob muttered but acquiesced. The camera crew were just powering over as the piton was driven into the island floor. When the piton was driven deep into the mass, the water seemed to boil, four giant flippers emerged and a giant globe of a head rose out of the water. It’s eyes were a solid black as it turned to face them.
“Fuck!” Gerald cried as he leapt into the dingy, almost sending Bob into the water. “Get us out of here, Bob.”
Bob desperately turned on the engine and spun the small craft to return to the Anonymous Dolphin, which was already powering up in the distance.
“Pam! Damn your eyes, Pam, don’t you dare leave me. I swear to God, you had better wait.”
The island had revealed itself to be the largest turtle that Gerald had ever seen. “Arcturis Gigante, it can’t be. It is supposed to be extinct.”
An enormous beak rose out of the water and swallowed the dingy holding the camera crew. Gerald cried out with anguish. The scattered debris joined the rest of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
“I am going to get you out of this, Gerald, don’t you worry, Sir,” Bob said valiantly, coaxing all the power he could get out of the engine.
Gerald shook his head, “The camera crew… All of them are dead.”
“I know, Sir, there was nothing we could do.”
Eyes watering, Gerald looked up, “All the footage is lost, all that irreplaceable footage.” Bob was looking at him in disgust. “Don’t judge me, you varlet. Get us to the ship. We may yet salvage this.”
Gerald looked over at the turtle, “It must have been confusing the plastic bags for jellyfish. All that eating and no nourishment. It must be starving.” He shivered.
The Anonymous Dolphin was picking up speed now, Pam threw a rope ladder over the side and Gerald lunged for it. “Keep it steady, you blithering imbecile.” On his second attempt, he gripped it and began pulling himself up the side of the ship. The ladder rocked as Bob tried to ascend below him, triggering a chorus of expletives from Gerald.
As he clambered onto the deck, he saw Pam looking white-faced behind them. The powerful flippers churned the waters as the approaching turtle slowly began to catch up.
Everyone stumbled as it emerged under the ship and tried to capsize it.
“Weapons?” Pam trilled.
The captain patted a pistol at his side in an utterly impotent gesture.
“What do you mean, weapons? Nobody is going to harm my BAFTA.”
Pam spun aghast. “What do you mean BAFTA? This was to be your last episode. The BBC is dismissing you for abusive behaviour.”
“Abusive? Nonsense, that is the problem with the weak, liberal bureaucrats running this company. Their woke agenda is stifling creativity--” He pointed at the giant turtle. “Why is nobody filming this. First rule of journalism. Always be filming!”
Bob had wrapped several life jackets around a compressed gas canister. Tying the end of a rope to it, he tossed the bundle overboard. “Shoot the tank,” he ordered the captain.
The captain spat on the deck and then, narrowing his eyes, aimed the pistol at the target being dragged behind them.
“Do NOT shoot my BAFTA.” Gerald ran and grabbed for the gun, “I’ll be untouchable when we return with footage of this. It might as well be the Kraken.” As the gun to-and-froed between them, he shouted with rage. “David Attenborough can eat my hat.”
The captain struggled before Bob leapt in. Balling his fist, he struck Gerald straight across the jaw. Gerland staggered back. “Bob! Why? Not my beautiful face.” Then sank to the ground, eyes rolling to the back of his skull.
A thunderous report sounded as the captain took his shot, followed by a cataclysmic explosion as the compressed gas erupted.
The turtle retracted its flippers and head into its shell in a cloud of bubbles and sank under the waves.
The deafened crew watched in relief as the ship steadily powered away.