Paul Bryson fights with the fishing line. He has the catch of a lifetime on his hook and he is determined to bring it in close enough to photograph. Twice already the 12' bull shark had broken the surface of the water. It was a beauty!
"Come on, Paul! Just a little closer!" his brother Terry says, watching the fight from the upper deck of the fishing boat. The plan had been to catch a few tuna or something in the Gulf. Neither man had ever expected to land a shark!
Seat belted into a chair at the back of the boat, Paul has been fighting the beast for nearly 4 hours. Their skipper, hired for the day, had been maneuvering the boat magnificently, keeping the shark close but not letting it get a run under the vessel. Finally it is just a few feet off the stern. Suddenly, the bull makes an unexpected turn, racing right at the boat. Before the skipper can shut down the engines, the tired shark hits one of the spinning propellers.
"SHIT!" Paul yells. "Oh, fuck…fuck I think we killed it! Man, I didn't want to kill it!"
They get the shark out from under the boat. It floats on its back, a deep gash in its gills and left fin. They can see it is struggling to survive but is beyond help. Regretfully, the skipper pulls out a .38 and puts a bullet in its head. Their enthusiasm dampened by the killing of the animal the men hook it up enough to bring it to shore. They will get their picture with it and turn it over to local biologists to be studied.
The skipper calls ahead to a friend of his who works at Texas A&M there in Galveston. They are met at the dock so the researcher can do the initial gutting of the shark there, a tarp handy to catch anything he wants to keep to study. After a couple of photos with the shark, the professor steps forward and cuts into the stomach of the animal.
Expecting to see fish, maybe sea turtles, or other creatures inside, all four men leap back when instead a human arm drops down onto the ground.
Paul Bryson stares at moment…then throws up all over the pier. His brother walks away, knowing he would be throwing up next. The professor leans close and studies the arm a moment.
"Skip, call the police. That arm wasn't bitten off."
The skipper looks at his friend. "What do you mean?"
The professor points to marks on the visible bone at the top of the arm. "Those are saw marks."
Terry Bryson loses his stomach, too.