By John Montone, 1010 WINS
I couldn’t have done it without Toni-Roni, Raji, Mohamed and Mike.
With the New York City-based “Sharknado 2” scheduled to air Wednesday night, editor Maloney sent me out in the pre-dawn to talk to folks about the coming storm of great white sharks falling out of the sky onto the Great White Way. It was like shooting fish in a barrel, almost as if the people I walked up to with my recorder and microphone had answered a casting call.
I was barely out of the 1010 WINS mobile unit when I ran into a Times Square hustler named Toni-Roni who immediately saw the far-fetched sci-fi tale as a money maker saying, “Let me tell you something, right now. I don’t care if it’s water, elephants, pigs whatever the hell is fallin’ out of the sky. If I can catch it and put it in a bag it‘s gonna get sold out here, okay?” And then Toni-Roni added an exclamation point, breaking into his post-Sharknado sales pitch, “Shark fin souvenirs! Shark fin Souvenirs!” Now remember, Toni was talking as if the night sky would truly be full of millions of massive man-eating predators. In the biz we call that, being in on the joke.
And while “Sharknado 2” co-star Tara Reid may have been priming the pre-release PR machine when she told GQ that such an attack, “…actually could happen…sharks could be stuck in tornadoes,” Raji the cabby seemed to understand his role when he told me that if he saw sharks falling from the sky he would shut the windows of his taxi and run into the nearest hotel, “What else could I do?” asked Raji, smiling as he said it.
Mohamed the meat man might not have caught on immediately, but after serving up some grilled lamb on a stick to a hungry customer waiting at his food cart, Mohamed said that when the attack was over he would cut up the shark meat, cook it and sell it. “Shark kabobs,” I said.
“Shark kabobs,” he said in his Mideast accent.
Finally there was Mike, a worker at a Con Ed repair site. Mike’s mere presence allowed me to incorporate Con Ed into the story by reminding our listeners how well prepared the giant utility was for all manner of natural disasters. Mike explained that if a shark fell into an open manhole, he would slam the cover shut, which he did making a great clang of sound on the radio. Then Mike said he would trap the shark in the manhole as if it was a, “…giant fish tank,” and that when the beast, “…bit into a cable, it would fry the hell out of him.”
So here’s a heartfelt wink, wink to Toni-Roni, Raji, Mohamed and Mike for being in on the joke.