It sat in the bathtub like it belonged there. Its hefty body oozed over the sides, its mouth lingered in a wide, terrible grin, and its charcoal eyes glistened as its tail swept back and forth, dislodging a multitude of alphabetised shampoo and conditioner from the shelf.
“This is a first,” Janet muttered to herself – her back pressed against the wall, her fingers attempting to claw inside the bathroom tiles. She offered the shark a three-fingered wave.
Quite what it was doing jammed in her bathtub remained a mystery, but despite the fact there was no water, the enormous grey and white creature did not seem distressed. It merely clenched and unclenched its jaws, showing off rows of sharp, pointy teeth, blasting Janet with its foul fish odour breath.
She considered offering it some minty toothpaste, but the idea of it utilising her toothbrush set her mind against it.
The shark, meanwhile, flipped its head from side to side and its tail demolished the towel rack. Janet considered asking if it was done with the tub yet because she needed it, but could clearly see it wasn’t and might not be for some considerable time.
This was a problem because Andrew was not a patient man. He’d be up there any second, expecting her to have run his bath, set the lotions and gels in order, and finished it off with his favourite plastic duck.
With the shark in the tub, there was no room for the duck, let alone Andrew. She decided the shark might enjoy some privacy, so carefully, dolly step by dolly step, back pressed against the wall, she made her way to the door, slipped out and closed it behind her.
“Bath done yet?” Andrew asked, stood an inch in front of her.
“For God sake, woman. I told you to run me a bath ten minutes ago.” He reached for the door handle, but Janet blocked his path.
“I wouldn’t do that,” she said.
“Someone’s in the tub.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh yeah, who?”
She hesitated, but he pressed on, “Who’s using the bath, Janet?”
“I’m not entirely sure what his name is, but I think it’s a great white shark.”
Andrew’s mouth dropped open.
Janet nodded. “Yep, from the colouration, I reckon that’s what it is.”
Andrew’s face turned a shade of purple. He pointed at the closed bathroom door. “I can’t,” he started, his voice slow and toneless, “have a bath because of a great white shark?”
Janet nodded. “That’s about the size of it.”
Andrew shot forward, grabbed her shoulders and threw her aside. She bumped the banister.
“Stupid cow, “he shouted. “You expect me to believe that load of bull?”
Janet didn’t expect him to believe anything, but she could see water suddenly running around his feet, seeping from under the door. She pointed at it and said, “Um.”
He looked down and his face turned red. “Bleeding hell, woman! You left the frigging tap on!”
“No, the shark must have ...”
“This shark got fingers now does it?”
Water began to rush from beneath the door, frothy and steamy. Janet backed away.
Andrew shook his fist at her. “Get your worthless arse downstairs, I’ll deal with you later.” His hand pulled on the door knob.
“No ...” Janet began.
He pulled open the door and torrents of water exploded from the bathroom. Andrew let out the first half of a scream, then gurgled the rest as he was swept away along the corridor, down the stairs.
Janet, who stayed on the dry half of the landing, peered over the banister and watched his body tumble through the swirling waters. A second later, a glittery dorsal fin rose, slicing a path towards him.
The head of the shark reared as it cruised. The sparkle in its black eyes twinkled. Its creamy teeth snapped, then it slid from view.
Janet strained to see, leaning over the banister on her tiptoes. Water continued to pour from the bathroom until the entire downstairs was flooded, and Andrew floundered about, his head surfacing every now and then above the waves.
“What... the...” he gurgled between dunks.
“Get out of there,” Janet yelled down to him.
“What do ... you ... think ... I’m ...” More water washed over his head.
Janet leaned further over the banister. “Andy?”
He resurfaced by the kitchen door, flapping his arms and kicking his legs, reminding Janet of submerged crow. The dorsal fin rose again, cutting a path through the hallway.
Andrew must have seen it too, because his eyes bulged halfway out of his skull and his mouth became a wide open hole.
“Oh God,” he screamed and started to swim.
Janet knew she had to do something, but throwing her slipper at the shark didn’t help much. It simply bounced off its shiny hide and sunk. The second slipper didn’t help either—Andrew yelled as it smacked his forehead then swam around in a little circle. That was all.
Out of ideas, Janet stood and watched Andrew paddle his way toward the living room. The shark vanished from view. A split second later Andrew was up in the air, tossed clear of the water, followed by the shark, motoring its way up from under him.
Andrew screamed before being clamped between the shark’s jaws. It did a victory roll midair—surrounded by spurts of blood—and plunged back into the steamy depths of the hallway.
Andrew chunks floated up. A single foot spiralled around. The fingers of his severed hand twitched. Up bobbed his head—eyes like two marbles on stalks, mouth a twisted admittance of death. It floated until the shark swallowed it and produced a sound like a burp.
“Pardon you,” Janet said, deciding to take a bath.