The Shark Mutiny, Patrick Robinson

Harper Torch, 2001, 493 pages, C$10.99 mmpb, ISBN 0-06-103066-X

Faithful readers of these reviews already know how little I think of Patrick Robinson’s so-called military thrillers. Bad plotting, lousy characters, awful prose: Frankly, I just keep reading them because they make me laugh and point. And so it struck me, a third into The Shark Mutiny, how much better the whole series would be as a sitcom. One thing led to another, and pretty soon I was writing an episode for…


Episode 4: The Guppy Mutiny

We open on ADMIRAL MORGAN, the lovable old coot who’s the hero of this series. MORGAN is snappily dressed in a red, white and blue suit made out of American Flag fabric, an outfit that blends seamlessly with the decoration of his office. His white beard is cut in a fashion halfway between Uncle Sam’s and Colonel Sanders. Reading the newspaper, he sees something that makes him look up abruptly.

Morgan: Kaaathy!

From the cheers and clapping from the audience, we know it’s already a series catchphrase.

Kathy enters the office. She is a “spectacular redhead who, for three years, have refused to marry him.” [P.58]

Kathy: Oh Admiral! Have you called me to ask me in marriage?

Morgan: Yes, damnit!

Kathy: I told you before, darling; not before you’re retired!

Morgan: Grrr! This flirting is making me want to nuke someone!

Kathy: And how is that different from your usual sunny disposition, darling?

Morgan: Good point, but I still want to nuke someone. Who’s our enemy today?

Jimmy Ramshawe enters the room. He is a young earnest intelligence Lieutenant with a slight Australian accent.

Jimmy: Sir! I have uncovered evidence that the Iranians and Chinese are planning to mine the strait of Hormuz and block the worldwide transport of oil!

Morgan: Hot diggity dawg! What’s your evidence, lieutenant?

Jimmy shows a stack of invoices.

Jimmy: Receipts for Russian underwater mines, sir! It stands to reason that if they bought it, they’ll use ’em!

Morgan: What an enlightening insight in contemporary tactics! But wait- you speak like a foreigner!

Jimmy: I’m from Australia, sir! But I’m good enough to be privy to American secrets! My father is a kick-ass Admiral! I’m dating the ambassador’s daughter!

Morgan: Do you want to nuke someone too?

Jimmy: Er… what normal boy wouldn’t, sir?

Morgan: Good stuff! You’re all right! Kaaathy! Get me a secret camera in the Chinese navy briefing room!

Behind him, the wall reveals a video screen. It lights up to a meeting of Iranian and Chinese officials.

Chine Official: Death to America! Bwa-hah-ha!

Iranian Official: Whee! Death to America!

The screen is replaced by a view of the globe between China and Iran.

Morgan: Damn! I’m “always completely mistrustful of the men from the Orient!” [P.138] What fiendish plot are they planning? Where will they strike next?

A courier brings a message to Jimmy, who reads it before shouting out.

Jimmy: Sir! A tanker just exploded in the strait of Hormuz!

Morgan: (shrugging) Eh, that happens.

Another courier.

Jimmy: Sir! Another tanker just exploded in the strait of Hormuz!

Morgan: (shrugging) Well, what can you do?

A third courier.

Jimmy: Sir! Another tanker blew up!

Morgan: It’s war! Yay! Send the entire American fleet to the Persian Gulf! We’ll teach them to mess with our imperialistic stranglehold on the world supply of oil! Kaaathy!

Kathy: All done, darling. Anyone can now walk from the UAE to Iran on top of our carriers!

Morgan: But I still haven’t nuked anyone today. Why can’t I get any satisfaction? We’ve gone too long without nuking someone! Let’s hit that oil refinery! Get me the bestest of the best SEALs!

Kathy: How about just a good one?

Morgan: No! The bestest of the best!

Kathy: How about any one of the US Navy’s superbly trained SEALs?


Kathy: All right.

A tall blond Aryan man is delivered in the room with a forklift. He remains ramrod-straight throughout.


Morgan: Soldier, “these guys are not just stepping lightly on our toes! They’re running us over with a fleet of [flippin’] rickshaws, and I’m not having it!” [P.158] So go ahead and nuke’em.


The forklift retreats along with Navy Seal #1.

Morgan: Good thing done.

A moment passes, and then: Another courier.

Jimmy: Sir! The raid is a complete success! Parts of the refinery are headed for orbit, and the other parts are going straight to the center of the earth! We’ve created a new volcano and killed thousands of civilians!

Mrogan: “Consider the sound made by a cupful of gasoline on a bonfire just before you toss a lighted match into it –and then multiply that sound by around 40 million. That’s loud.” [P.54]

Jimmy: But two of our SEALs died! Including the bestest of the best!

Tears fill Admiral Morgan’s eyes.

Morgan: That devastates me. I loved that man like no others, at the possible exception of Ted Kennedy. In a strictly heterosexual way, of course.

Jimmy: Of course, sir.

Morgan: This makes me so angry, I just WANT TO NUKE SOMEONE!

Another courier.

Jimmy: Sir! China has invaded Taiwan!

Morgan: Yes! Nuke’em!

Kathy: But darling! All of our forc
es are near the Persian Gulf!

Morgan: Curses! The mines were a trap! Foiled again by these devious foreigners!

Jimmy: Um, sir? What about our forces in Japan, the Philipines, Diego Garcia-

Morgan: Shut up, Jimmy! I’m trying to figure out why China would invade Taiwan.

Jimmy: Because this ends what they see as forty years of internal rebellion from a rebellious splinter group they never formally acknowledged because it also claimed to be China’s official government?

Morgan: That’s poppycock, son! It’s obvious to everyone that they invaded Taiwan for the precious treasures in their national museum

Jimmy: What- what? Treasures? Where did that come from?

Morgan: Hush, little boy! Look at the screen!

Another view of the Chinese and Iranian officials.


Morgan: See?

Jimmy: I humbly stand corrected.

Morgan: You better be. Kathy, anyone else to nuke?

Kathy: Well, the Chinese are still in Taiwan.

Morgan: Right! Let’s nuke Taiwan! Kathy, get me the red button!

Jimmy: Sir? Wouldn’t it be better to sent a SEAL team?

Morgan: You’re right son! I loves them SEALs! Get me the bestest of the best SEALs!

Kathy: Dead, darling. Don’t you mean the second-best of the-


Kathy: Working on it.

Another SEAL is hauled in the office.


Morgan: Go destroy stuff. Try not to get killed.


He exits.

Morgan whistles, waiting for a big boom. Finally, a communication comes onto his screen.

SEAL #2: Admiral Morgan! We’ve got a problem, sir!

Morgan: Have you destroyed stuff?


Morgan: Then what’s the problem?

SEAL #2: The commander of our submarine had gone nuts! He thinks he’s the reincarnation of some French loser!

Morgan: Wow, that’s crazy.

SEAL #2: What should we do, sir?

Morgan: Ask him if he can nuke part of China for me.

A pause.

SEAL #2: He says no.

Morgan: Crazy! Shoot him!

A gunshot is heard.

Morgan: Outstanding work, sailor! You just saved us eighty pages of a stupid last act that has nothing to do with the rest of this story.

He closes the screen and wipes his hand.

Morgan: And that’s another triumphant day for American hegemony.

He puts his hands on his hips and strikes a triumphant pose.

Jimmy: But Admiral! Taiwan is still held by the Chinese!

Morgan: Who cares? It’ll all be forgotten in time for the next episode.

A final courier.

Jimmy: But sir! 9/11! Afghanistan! Iraq! Terrorists are the new enemy! Our imagined world of 2008 as seen from early 2001 doesn’t even make sense any more!

A pause as Morgan thinks it through.

Morgan: Yay, a new enemy to nuke! Come on, Jimmy and Kathy, let’s bellow our favourite song!

They lock arms and begin high-stepping, singing the series’ signature FUN-DAMENTALIST ANTAGONISTS! musical number.

Curtains descend.

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