Monthly Archives: September 2015

Police Strike Leaves Blacktip Island Unprotected

Blacktip Island residents worry a wave of vandalism will sweep over the Caribbean island with Blacktip’s lone police officer on strike for better working conditions.

Blacktip Island residents worry a wave of vandalism will sweep over the Caribbean island with Blacktip’s lone police officer on strike for better working conditions.

Blacktip Island’s sole law enforcement officer went on strike Wednesday demanding an end to unfair working conditions on the small Caribbean island.

“I’m the only policeman on Blacktip,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “I work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I try to take a day off, people call 911. I have a rum and Coke, some joker reports me for drinking on duty.

“I’ve addressed the issue with community leaders and with police headquarters on Tiperon,” Marquette said. “Since nothing’s being done, I’ve no choice but to man the picket line.”

Tiperon Island Police say the problem lies with Blacktip Island’s small population.

“It’s a numbers thing,” T.I.P. spokesperson Dick Goby said. “We only have so many constables. To get a second one on Blacktip, the population needs to break 150. That’s not happening anytime soon. If ever.

“Bottom line, though, Rafe’s a public servant. It’s illegal for him to strike,” Goby said. “We’ve ordered him back to work. We’ve ordered him to arrest himself. He won’t do either. We’d love to send a second constable over, but our hands are tied.”

While many island property owners back the idea of a second constable, few are happy with Marquette’s tactics.

“We’re an isolated island. Vandalism, robbery, invasion, anything could happen,” longtime resident Frank Maples said. “Now, nothing’s happened yet, but who knows what could have if not for a strong police presence.

Other residents are less concerned.

“Rafe’s been on strike three days now, and I don’t think anyone’s noticed,” resident Polly Parrett said. “Blacktip’s a place you leave the keys in your car and your house unlocked. We usually don’t need even one constable.

“I mean, last week Dermott nicked my Jeep from the Last Ballyhoo after closing Saturday, but it wasn’t a worry,” Parrett said. “I just nicked it back the next morning. The biggest issue was dragging him out of the driver’s seat, what with him out cold.”

Local business owners disagreed.

“James Conlee wrote a bad check for his bar tab, and Rafe wouldn’t so much as lift a finger,” said Sand Spit Bar manager Cori Anders. “He’s not on strike. He’s not even in a union. He’s just pouting in that air-conditioned police station of his.

“Our bottom line, so long as Rafe says he’s on strike, so’s his free beer,’ Anders said. “And with it being just him, it’s really more a picket point than a picket line, isn’t it?”

Marquette remained resolved.

“This is exactly the indifference I’m challenging,” Marquette said. “I’ve drawn my point in the sand, and I won’t be moved.”

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Blacktip Island Tourist Harvest Slated For Saturday

Blacktip Island residents will get to strip cash from running tourists Saturday as part of the Caribbean island’s annual Equinox Fest, celebrating the autumnal equinox.

Blacktip Island residents will get to strip cash from running tourists Saturday as part of the Caribbean island’s annual Equinox Fest, celebrating the autumnal equinox.

Blacktip Island’s annual Equinox Fest will kick off Saturday morning at Diddley’s Landing public pier. The traditional harvest festival, sponsored by the island’s Zoroastrian Council, marks the day when sunlight and darkness are of equal length.

“Astrologically, the equinox isn’t until the 23rd,” said Zoroastrian Council president Autumn Zenith, “but when you factor in the refracted pre-dawn and post-dusk light, the exact balance falls on the 19th.

“Plus, having the Fest on a Saturday lets everyone get in on the action,” Zenith said.

The event will feature food, drink and games celebrating the balance of light and darkness.

“We’ve scheduled tightrope walkers, a chess tournament, unicycle races and meditation contests,” Zenith said. “We’ll also have swings and see-saws for the kids. And of course there’ll be the rum tents serving local light and dark rums.”

The highlight of the festival, as always, will be the Harvesting of the Tourists.

“Like Oktoberfest, this festival dates back centuries,” Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Pomona Ceres said. “This is the time of year Blacktippers used to sell their harvests. With the rise of tourism, though, we learned to harvest cash directly from island visitors.”

For the Harvesting, guests cover themselves in $1 bills and run down the island’s street in full scuba gear while locals snatch money off of them.

“Participation’s 100 percent volunteer, and most tourists are delighted to participate,” Ceres said. “We provide them all with free rum before the run and free t-shirts after. The rum’s the clincher, I suspect.

“We also have a separate children’s Harvest, with some of our heavier guests shuffling along slow enough for the kids to grab some cash,” Ceres added. “It’s often the big-money event, given the size of some of our island’s scuba diving visitors and how many dollar bills it takes to cover them.”

“The Harvesting can get brutal,” island divemaster Hugh Calloway said. “Last year a guy tripped on his fins and face planted. People were on him like ducks on a June bug. They snagged his cash, his shorts, this Rolex, everything.”

The Island Psychiatric Association will offer free mental health screenings throughout the festival.

“There are more unbalanced people per capita on this island than anywhere in the world,” I.P.A. president Elysia Fromm said. “And doling out free rum is throwing petrol on a bonfire.

“It’s job security for association members, though, so we do try to celebrate balance in our own way,” Fromm said. “And we’re not about to miss out on grabbing free cash.”

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Stolen Scuba Gadgets Have Blacktip Island Cops Baffled

Blacktip Island scuba divers have been hit with a spate of daring mid-dive robberies while enjoying the Caribbean island’s reefs.

Blacktip Island scuba divers have been hit with a spate of daring mid-dive robberies while enjoying the Caribbean island’s reefs.

Blacktip Island authorities are currently investigating a string of thefts from scuba diving guests on the small Caribbean island.

“We’d normally classify this as a prank since all the missing gear is essentially useless,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Underwater noisemakers, ankle weights, aluminum pointer sticks. Even a set of nitrox dive tables.

“But they’re being stolen in broad daylight,” Marquette said. “That speaks to a certain audacity on the part of the thief. This morning a gentleman had a tank banger stolen mid-dive, and there’s evidence a knife was used. That’s assault.”

Blacktip Island business leaders are especially concerned.

“We have to nip this nonsense in the bud before divers start cancelling their trips,” Eagle Ray Cove resort owner Rich Skerritt said. “I don’t care how silly the gizmos are, people have a right to dive with them. And our dive shop’s sold out of tank bangers.”

Speculation about the culprit is rampant.

“It’s got to be a local with an ax to grind,” Sandy Bottoms’ Beach Resort general manager Kay Valve said. “This island’s chock-full of crazies. It could be anyone, really.

“My money’s on a rogue divemaster,” Valve said. “These are the gadgets that drive DMs bug-nutty.”

Some guests, however, suspect a commercial motive.

“The resorts are making a fortune off this business,” said Eagle Ray Cove dive guest Buddy Brunnez. “When my fish ID slates disappeared, first thing I did was buy another set. Then they got swiped. I’ve bought three sets this week. And my wife’s on her fourth dry snorkel.”

The island’s dive staffs are less concerned.

“Whoever’s kyping the stuff is doing a public service,” Eagle Ray Divers divemaster Marina DeLow said. “She – or he – deserves a medal.

“All the Inspector Gadget crap people strap to themselves is a pain on the boat and a pain during dives. We’re having a bonfire party tonight to show our support.”

Police are warning divers to remain vigilant.

“This is our biggest crime spree since the bar tunnel-in of 2009,” Marquette said. “We’re dealing with an armed, potentially unstable individual here.”

Dive guests are taking the constable’s warning to heart.

“I’m sleeping with my Crocodile Dundee dive knife under my pillow,” Brunnez said. “No way some joker’s getting that. And my wife’s wearing her split fins to bed every night, too. Just to be safe.”

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Gluten-Free Communion Divides Blacktip Island Church

The Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral will conduct gluten-free Communion ceremonies after multiple gluten-related mishaps in the church.

The Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral will conduct gluten-free Communion ceremonies after multiple gluten-related mishaps in the church.

Faced with a growing number of gluten-intolerant parishioners, the Our Lady of Blacktip cathedral will conduct gluten-free Communions beginning Sunday morning.

The move breaks with Church tradition requiring the sacrament’s consecrated bread to contain enough wheat to still be bread.

“It was either this or stop administering the Eucharist,” said Our Lady of Blacktip’s Father Luther Augustine. “A quarter of our parishioners can’t even sniff gluten, and the numbers are climbing. There was a real worry we could cause suffering in all seven of our congregants.

“We thought transubstantiation would expunge the gluten from the host,” Augustine said. “But after little Sally Bottoms’ last bout of explosive diarrhea in the sacristy, well, that shook our faith to the core.”

The new gluten-free hosts are made from coconut flour and ground conch.

“We looked into cauliflower flour hosts, but they had to be imported,” Augustine said. “The coconut hosts we can source locally, and our hope is the conch bits draw a few more people into church.”

Reaction among parishioners has been positive.

“If I get sick from the bread, then the bread didn’t really become the body of Christ, did it?” parishioner Alison Diesel said. “And if that’s so, then the Communion’s not sticking anyway.”

Others were less enthusiastic.

“It’s a slippery slope, screwing with the tradition,” Dermott Bottoms said. “The new wafers taste like conch fritters and all, but the bishop said they won’t do. And some folks are allergic to shellfish, you know.”

Augustine was quick to ease his parishioners’ worries.

“Sure, the Vatican told us ‘no,’” Augustine said. “That’s why we switched from Roman Catholic to the Caribbean Orthodox Church. Anything goes with that crowd. And Blacktip’s a tiny Caribbean island. You can’t eat fish, you wouldn’t be here.”

The issue has sparked an unexpected debate among Blacktip Island’s theologians.

“The whole transubstantiation business’s pure Aristotelian pseudophilosophy,” said the former-Reverend Jerrod Ephesians. “We’re talking angels on the head of a pin stuff here. The fritter’s not capacious for the infinite, to paraphrase Calvin. John Calvin, not the cartoon kid.”

Augustine brushed such controversy aside.

“Spiritually, our mission’s to be as inclusive as possible,” Augustine said. “We have to reach out to everyone on the island. Future services will also be lactose free and dolphin safe.”

Most churchgoers backed the changes.

“Dermott’s the only one carping, and he’s just hacked off they might switch from wine to grape juice,” Diesel said. “God is love. And if Jesus were sitting beside me, he’d love for me not to get the squirts in church.”

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