The Spider Bight beach, where the anonymous, self-styled Sand Flea claims he was bitten by mutant no-see-ums that gave him super powers. (photo by Wendy Beaufort/Times staff)
Blacktip Island authorities this week are searching for a man dressed in an insect-themed costume-and-cape, claiming to be a super hero, who has bitten at least 13 island residents since last Friday evening.
“The guy’s got a yellow Jack LaLanne-style romper, a blue mask and cape and sort-of antennas,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “He sent out a half-page manifesto, calling himself the ‘Sand Flea.’ Says he got super powers from getting bit by mutant no-see-ums and is out to punish wrongdoers. Our guess is that’s where the biting comes in.”
“It’s not always a full-fledged chomp,” Marquette said. “Sometimes it’s just a little nip. But it’s assault, all the same. And he will be charged. As soon as we apprehend him. Or knock him out with bug spray.
Residents say the Sand Flea strikes without warning.
“I was at the Ballyhoo, arguing about my bar tab, when this whacko flew in through the window, bit my hand and flew out again,” Gage Hoase said. “I tore out after him, but he was gone.
“I had to have five stitches,” Hoase said. “If I find him, we’ll see how super he is. Rafe can arrest whatever’s left after I’m done.”
Island officials say the Sand Flea’s identity, abilities and motives are uncertain.
“Despite reports, there’s no indication this joker can fly,” mayor Jack Cobia said. “We tried to identify from dental records, but no one on Blacktip’s been to a dentist in ages, so that was a wash.
“It’s not clear what he considers ‘wrongdoing,’ either,” Cobia said. “So far he’s bit people for drunk driving, public cursing, loud music and peeing in the bushes behind the Tail Spinner. For all we know, it’s just someone with a fetish using any excuse.
The situation has many island residents on edge.
“There’s no telling when or where he’ll strike. Or why,” Ginger Bass said. “The clinic’s running out of antibiotics and sutures. What if he has rabies? Or worse?
“This could be the start of a real-life zombie apocalypse,” Bass said. “Are we gonna have people running around gnawing on each other? I’m keeping the kiddos inside, especially around sundown.”
Others laughed the matter off.
“It’s probably just Jerrod in yellow jammies, doing one of his provocative artsy things,” bartender Cori Anders said. “I mean, no one’s ever seen the two of them together, have they? And he hasn’t been bitten. Plus he’s always had that weird oral fixation.”
Jerrod Ephesians denied the accusation.
“You’ve never seen Dermott or Lee Helm or Cori in the same place as the Sand Flea, either. Let that sink in,” he said. “There’s lots of people on Blacktip without bite marks. And you can’t rule out self-inflicted bites as red herrings.”