Sunday, October 31, 2021
Precipitation – Not a chance
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Precipitation – Not a chance
Blacktip Island will host its inaugural ‘Conch-o-ween’ Saturday at various locations across the island in a combined celebration of both Halloween and the Caribbean island’s heritage.
“We wanted to do something that screamed ‘Blacktip’ and ‘Boo!’” event organizer Jay Valve said. “We also needed the theme to be unambiguous. Last year’s superhero-themed ‘Hero-ween celebration’ got read as ‘heroin celebration,’ and all sorts of folks showed up looking for drugs.
“Conch were, and are, a major element in our island society,” Valve said. “Conch-o-ween guarantees wholesome family fun, and there’s no way the name can be misconstrued. Conch-themed costumes are encouraged, but not required, though they will receive extra weight in the Best Costume contest. And the Lamest Costume contest.”
Organizers say the festivities will have something for everyone.
“There’ll be the costume contests and conch racing and conchy-tonk dancing for the adults,” Goldie Goby said. “But we’ll have things for the kiddos, too, like trick or treating, bobbing for lionfish and a dodge-conch game. We recommend helmets for that one.
“There’ll also be all kinds of conch-related food available,” Goby said. “The booths’ll be selling conch fritters, caramel-dunked conch-on-a-stick and fresh-pressed conch cider. And we’ll use all the empty conch shells for the conch-o-lantern chiseling contest.”
Others highlighted the Heritage House’s transformation into a haunted house.
“Lots of folks say conchs aren’t scary, but we got some surprises lined up,” master of haunts Edwin Chub said. “I can’t talk about ‘em, but Conchie monster’s gonna give some people the bejeebies. After they crawl in through that tunnel lined with wet turtle grass. And when things are over, we’ll have a Samhain, conch-harvest bonfire out on the beach.”
Some in the community were critical of the events.
“Celebrating pagan holidays and making light of devil worship is inappropriate and not what this island should be focused on,” the Reverend Pierre Grunt said. “As ever, we’re turning the church into a Hell House, with separate rooms graphically displaying the horrors of each of the Deadly Sins. I just hope we get some visitors this year.”
Many residents are looking forward to the activities.
“It’s always cool to see what kinds of gnarly costumes people come up with on this little rock,” Alison Diesel said. “Linford Blenny’s still banned after last year’s jerk-o-lantern costume. That one landed him in hoosegow overnight for public exposure and public drunkenness. Personally, though, my favorite part of Halloween is the trick or tequila-ing.”
Recent news stories regarding carcinization—the convergent evolution of some species into crab-like forms—have Blacktip Island residents on edge this week, worried friends and neighbors might become crabs.
“Started with a special on one of those science channels, then it popped up all over the internet,” Linford Blenny said. “That’s when folks started noticing. Everything in nature eventually turns into a crab. It’s an evolutionary advantage. It’s happened in at least five different waves. That we know about.
“Thing is, what happens when people around you turn?” Blenny said. “Could be anyone, anywhere. Some Blacktippers already have a crabby look about them. Already changing. What’s that mean for the rest of us? Am I gonna turn into a crab? These’re scary times.”
Some residents weren’t surprised by the news.
“Happens here all the time, you just don’t hear about it,” Leigh Shore said. “Starts with fingertips and toes and spreads out. Crabs run the island, y’know. Land crabs take care of things topside, clinging channel crabs rule underwater. It’s spooky, but a good thing long term. Keeps the island clean. And you see those red crabs on the road, you know a hurricane’s coming. Antonio Fletcher? He’s a crab.”
Fletcher confirmed the claim.
“It’s true. Been a crab for years now,” he said. “Got to have a hard shell to survive on this island. Insults bounce right off me, and I can hunker down in any strong wind. Always know when a big storm’s coming, too. I give folks the warnings, use my evolutionary advantage for good.”
Others refuted the idea.
“Carcinization involves certain decapod crustaceans evolving into crabs, not people turning into crabs,” Tiperon University-Blacktip marine science professor Goby Graysby said. “If ‘Tonio’s a crab, why does he not look like one? And how can he talk? He’s quite plainly a person. A crazy person, but a person.”
Fletcher stood by his assertion.
“Those who have eyes can see,” he said. “Can’t argue with people who don’t want to hear the truth. Goby’s got a right to his opinion. I got a right to be a crab. And I’m not telling him who the other crab people are. Won’t let him mock them like he does me.
“And if people can’t become crabs, what about Harry Bottoms?” Fletcher said. “He turned all flat and hard-shell and crawled into the booby pond last year. You can see him when the water gets low in the dry season, scuttling around out there like the king of the pond.”
Dermott Bottoms holds a COVID-vaccine protest sign outside the Blacktip Island medical clinic Thursday morning before authorities confiscated it. (photo courtesy of Anthony Crider)
A pair of anti-vaccination advocates blocked the entrance to Blacktip Island’s medical clinic Thursday to protest what they say are unreasonable vaccine requirements.
“Government’s saying I got to get a shot, but they don’t have that right,” Dermott Bottoms said. “Bill Gates just wants to scramble my DNA, turn me into a lizard person like him. Ain’t gonna make no iguana out of me.”
The other protester voiced similar concerns.
“Not about a virus, it’s about mind control and tracking folks,” James Conlee said. “If God wanted me vaccinated, I’d’ve been born that way. Me and Dermott, we’re getting the word out to anybody coming in for a jab. There was supposed to be more of us, but I guess the others’re too hung over.”
The island nurse said clinic affairs have been largely unaffected.
“They walked back and forth by the entrance for an hour, chanting and waving signs,” nurse Marissa Graysby said. “Then they got tired and sat on the steps in the shade. Now they just yell every 15 minutes or so, whenever a car drives past.
“It’s kind of entertaining,” Graysby said. “It’s also kind of nice to have someone to talk to instead of sitting here by myself. And most of the island’s already vaxxed, so they’re not really scaring anyone away. I tried explaining no one’s requiring the vaccine, but they’re committed.”
Island authorities say the protest has been peaceful.
“I had to confiscate their signs after James took a swing at Lee Helm when Lee came in to have a boil lanced,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “Now that they’re not physically stopping patients from entering the clinic, they’re within their rights to protest and can yell any damn-fool thing they want.”
Some island residents came to the clinic solely to watch the protest.
“The misspelled signs were expected,” Payne Hanover said. “And it’s funny that Dermott and James worried about mind control. Those two have the fewest brain cells of anyone on the island. If someone wanted to control minds, they wouldn’t pick either of them.
“I gave them water, since they were both beet red and sweating like crazy,” Hanover said. “No reason to turn whatever this is into an actual medical emergency.”
Bottoms said the community has shown support.
“People honk and cuss us when they drive past, so you can tell folks’re behind us,” he said. “And Payne bringing water, that’s important. I get dehydrated and dragged into that clinic, M’rissa’d stick me with the vaccine without telling me. Now, if somebody’d donate beer and snacks, we could be here all day.”
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Precipitation – Not happening
A newly-discovered iguana-hide scroll, found while excavating the crypt of Blacktip Island’s original church, claims the tropical island’s original settlers were the remnants of the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island in North Carolina, which disappeared in 1590, island historians said Thursday.
“It’s one of the biggest mysteries in North American history,” Blacktip Island resident historian Smithson Altschul said. “John White founded the colony with 115 people, went back to England for supplies, and when he got back, the colony had vanished, including little Virginia Dare, the first English child born in North America.
“The only clue was ‘Croatoan’ scratched on a fence post,” Altschul said. “Leading theories are the colonists were killed by hostile natives, Spaniards or disease, but now we know the truth. This hide proves they came here. The scroll says food ran short and enemies were closing in, so they set sail in what boats they had. A hurricane blew them here. And most people don’t know it, but ‘Croatoan’ is actually the Middle English word for ‘Blacktip.’”
Many locals were not surprised by the discovery.
“Old timers always talked about their ancestors being English castaways way back when,” Antonio Fletcher said. “Most Blacktippers, we got that look about us. And there’s all the people on this island named Virginia. And Dare. And you think it’s coincidence the Ballyhoo’s run by ol’ Croatoan Bottoms?
“Found old pottery, too, around that crypt,” Fletcher said. “That seals the deal. No evidence up in North Carolina, ‘cause we got it all here, where they came to be safe from indians and Spaniards. Never took up with friendly natives on Hatteras. Settled here with friendly Blacktippers instead.”
Others questioned the findings.
“The only indication of the Roanoke settlers migrating to Blacktip is a single scroll of questionable provenance,” Tiperon Univesity-Blacktip archeology professor Lucille Ray said. “It’s on an old hide, yes, but the writing is in 20th-Century cursive. And the pottery looks more like broken flower pots. It’s an interesting story, but there’s no actual proof.
“It’s also a convenient coincidence that Smithson’s in the middle of raising money for museum improvements right now,” Ray said. “An announcement like this is exciting, sure, and it’ll also open a lot of wallets.”
Altschul denied the allegations.
“I’m a serious historian and would never perpetuate a hoax. Not like this,” he said. “This is the find of a lifetime. Lucille’s just jealous and trying to piss on my charcoal. This discovery is a proud day for all of Blacktip. We should be celebrating it together, not picking at each other.”
The manuscript will be on display at the Blacktip Island Heritage Museum for the next month, and available for public viewing for an addition $5 fee. ‘Croatoan’ mugs, caps and t-shirts will be available in the museum gift shop.