OAK HARBOR, WA—Executives from the Shell Oil Company blasted a floundering, oil-covered sea otter Monday, accusing the small aquatic mammal of grossly exaggerating the effects of last week's hazardous petroleum spill.

According to Shell president Marvin Odum, the otter has been putting on "quite a show" in front of rescue workers and clean-up crews, and is making the 860,000-gallon, three-mile-wide toxic slick seem like a much bigger deal than it actually is.

"He's fine," said Odum, referring to the 40-pound sea creature, who was found washed ashore and appeared to be suffering from anaphylactic shock. "Trust me, before all of the cameras and reporters showed up, our little buddy here was having no problem at all cleaning himself off. Now, all of a sudden, it's severe spastic convulsions this and complete kidney failure that."

"Seriously, come on," the Shell executive continued. "Talk about laying it on thick."

Odum, who was alerted to the massive petroleum spill early Monday morning, claimed that the attention-seeking otter was not only overdoing it with his frantic and anguished squealing, but that his habit of gasping desperately for oxygen was "melodramatic."

In addition, Odum claimed that the otter's rapidly fluctuating body temperature and growing heart palpitations were nothing more than a sad attempt to curry favor with Coast Guard officials, Greenpeace volunteers, and anybody else not smart enough to see right through his "little ploy."

Shell executives were disgusted by the flamboyant, over-the-top act put on by contaminated wildlife Monday.

"Give me a break," Odum said as rescue crews tried to remove hazardous waste from the mammal's pelt. "Clearly, this otter has some weird, personal vendetta against Shell and large corporations in general, and wants everyone to cry at his pathetic sob story."

"Just look at him out there," Odum added while volunteers tried to keep the sea creature from losing consciousness. "The sick bastard's loving every minute of this."

Odum also downplayed claims by rescue workers that the otter may not be able to handle the stress of the clean-off process, saying that the animal is "acting ridiculous" and is just doing an impression of what he thinks an otter affected by a massive oil spill is supposed to act like.

"The extreme shivering, the wheezing, the prolonged dehydration, it's all part of the same gaudy burlesque," Shell CEO Peter Voser said. "It's simple: The otter gets some oil on his body, and he thinks that gives him carte blanche to play the victim. Don't you people get it? This is exactly what he wants. You're all playing right into his twisted little game."

Voser even called into question the otter's mental stability, citing the sea pup's early attempts to drink the highly contaminated water around him as an example of just how far the publicity-hungry mammal was willing to go to make the Shell Oil Company look like "the bad guy."

On Saturday, Shell chairman Jorma J. Ollila issued a statement accusing the sea mammal of being a master manipulator, and said that what the otter really needs to do is grow up.

Ollila went on to praise a number of petroleum-soaked seals, pelicans, and sea turtles in the contaminated area, commending them for remaining completely still and silent, and not "making a big production" out of the environmental disaster when rescue and camera crews arrived at the scene.

The one-page document, however, focused largely on the single otter, who as of press time was in critical condition.

"Rescue crews have to stop coddling him and giving him everything he wants," Ollila said. "Because if they don't, other otters are just going to pull the exact same crap the next time one of our tankers ruptures and we spill crude oil everywhere."