BLUE MOUNTAIN BEACH, CRETONIA (CT&P) – Each year thousands of visitors to the beautiful Florida Gulf Coast fall victim to the deadly rip currents and unpredictable tides lurking just below the surface of the beautiful emerald waters lapping at the edge of Cretonia. Most of these unfortunates are never seen or heard from again until a badly decomposed corpse washes up on a distant beach or a Russian trawler pulls up remains from the sea bed years later.
For years heartless and corrupt county and state politicians have kept these deaths under wraps and have blamed the numerous disappearances on drug or alcohol abuse, insurance scams, or alien abductions. Most of these local politicians continue to insist that the waters are perfectly safe.
We here at the Times disagree and wanted to provide a guide for people who for some reason insist on traveling to northwest Florida (The Land That Time Forgot) on vacation every year so that our readers would at least stand a fighting chance of surviving the ordeal.
A rip current forms because breaking waves push water towards the land. Water that has been pushed up near the beach flows together (as feeder currents), and this water finds a place where it can flow back out to sea. The water then flows out at a right angle to the beach in a tight current called the “neck” of the rip, where the flow is most rapid. When the water in the rip current reaches outside of the lines of breaking waves, the flow loses power, and dissipates in what is known as the “head” of the rip. Sometimes tendrils of left-over current then actually curve back towards the shore.
Cretonian rip currents are particularly deadly, and should be avoided like the plague. Experts have determined that unarmed black teens in St. Louis have a better chance of long-term survival than someone caught in a Cretonian rip tide, so think long and hard before entering the water.
If you are dumb enough to venture into the Gulf, following these easy procedures gives you the best chance of survival, if only for a few extra minutes:
1. If you notice even the slightest tug of outgoing water on your feet or legs let loose a blood-curdling scream as if you had been stabbed in the ribs with a butcher knife. This will to call attention to yourself and allow a crowd of gawkers and other idiots enjoy the show.
2. As the inexorable flow of water pulls you out, fight like hell against the current in an attempt to at least stay stationary. Remember, every inch you lose to the current takes you further away from the beach and all hope of rescue.
3. If you begin to lose the battle with the current, flail and thrash about in the water like a wounded seal. This will attract the attention of the lifeguard and others on the beach who might actually be able to swim to your assistance. It will also let your relatives on the 7th floor of the condo building know that you have only minutes to live and they can start making arrangements for your funeral.
4. Once you are past the sandbar and you see the beach and civilization receding in the distance try to be alert for any grey shadows circling your position. These are the giant man-eating sharks who constantly patrol the entire Gulf Coast in search of an easy meal.
5. If you are lucky enough to spot any of these huge remorseless killers before the inevitable attack, submerge yourself and swim aggressively towards the shark making menacing hand movements. Giant sharks are terrified by mammals that act in a threatening manner. This will at least give you precious seconds to review all the mistakes you made during your lifetime before you are eaten alive.
6. If by some miracle you are able to remain afloat and are not eaten, you will drift further out to sea and eventually out of sight of land. There is always the slight chance of rescue by some wealthy jerk on a sailboat, but more than likely you will be run down by a speedboat, personal water craft, or fishing vessel. Therefore, try to spend most of the time you have left submerged deep enough to avoid the rapidly spinning blades of outboard motors that will turn your flesh into hamburger.
When traveling anywhere, it is always best to follow the old adage, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” You don’t see many native Cretonians on the beach. The know better. Most of them don’t even come out during daylight hours for fear that someone might recognize them and throw them in jail or put them to work.
As Bay County Sheriff Frank “Lardass” McKeithen has noted on several occasions, “the beach and Gulf is there for one reason: to attract young people to northwest Florida so that we can arrest them and wring as much cash as possible out of them and their families while they are trying to have a little fun. All of us who grew up here know better than to get out in that water. It’s just too damn dangerous.”