Who let the Dolphs Out?
“Is there some sort of name for this crap?” Curtsy asked with a trace of disgust. She’d smeared the black paste (the composition of which Aphra hadn’t shared with them) on all her exposed skin, but didn’t much like putting it on her face. For one thing, it smelled like an evil science lab.
“Blackface makeup,” MeiMei said offhandedly as she put finishing touches around her diving mask.
“Pigment envy,” was Aphra’s reply.
MeiMei smiled, but was getting a whole different slant on Aphra. Hard person to pin down, she was thinking. First she’s the aloof model, then the wealthy patron, then wants to get into your pants, now she looks very much at ease getting ready to go commit a felony in Mexico. On the other hand, since this was just a prelim to her own felony theft caper, she couldn’t really object.
And she was really glad they had the boat. The big, insanely fast modified Cigarette that rumbled powerfully under her bare feet as like a tiger purring while waiting to leap. This was one piece of engineering with “getaway” and “eat my wake” writ large in every detail of its design and execution. And had scared the crap out of her when she’d taken its wheel for about a minute during their test run around Sac Bajo. Fortunately Curtsy had a relaxed, natural calm about rocketing across the slight chop, running with not lights at speeds ranging up towards “bat out of hell”.
And you know, there was a little extra frisson in knowing they were driving an hinky-snagged aquatic hotrod with a criminal record before they even got around to perpetrating anything illegal themselves.
“I was a water skier,” she’d explained. “Pretty competitive in high school.”
Aphra had said, “Know what, Gidget? You got one great ass and a face that don’t stop, but I do believe you’re crazy.”
A thought that MeiMei echoed now, rocking in the dark, menacing boat, staring at the lights of Dolphin Discovery. But, she reflected, is this crazier than what I want to do?
They all had their fins on now, Curtsy had the nylon bag slung over her shoulder… there wasn’t anything else to fool around with, no more excuse not to jump it off.
Aphra had the same thought. She had been watching the horizon for anything backlit against the distant lights of the Cancun hotels, but now sat beside Curtsy on the gunwales and motioned MeiMei to join them. “Let’s get this done before the moon comes up, shall we ladies?”
She put her hand over her mask like Curtsy had taught them, then toppled over backwards into the dark sea. MeiMei heard the second splash as Curtsy keeled over, then rolled back into the water herself. She touched muck: the boat was anchored in about four feet of water with a grassy bottom. She stood on the tips of her fins and eyed Discovery in the distance.
“Got a bit of security, I see,” Aphra said as she moved her snorkle slightly forward.
“Guess that’s my fault,” Curtsy said. They didn’t used to have watchmen outside like that.
Aphra turned and you didn’t have to see inside the black mask to know she was rolling her eyes upward. “You take lead,” she said, and again MeiMei got the impression it wasn’t the first “job” this woman had been on. Curtsy adjusted the gym bag over her shoulder and moved smoothly and silently towards the pier, nothing but a shadow in the night sea.
MeiMei hung on the chainlink, breathing through her snorkle with only half of her mask above water. She was finning lightly to maintain her position, but a harder kick would alert the girls just below her feet that there was something to be aware of on the surface. The “watchmen” seemed mostly to be watching their cellphones. Thank Christ for texting, MeiMei thought. She could hear each little snick each time Curtsy squeezed the bolt cutters on the fence links below, but know that was just because her ears were under water. Aphra rose and breathed, then went back down. Curtsy didn’t seem to need air. She must be spending five minutes underwater with each descent.
She could feel a slight vibration in the fence with each snip, but there was no change in its general rigidity. Then heard a sharp snort and almost levitated right out of the water. She calmed when she saw the sleek surge in the water inside the inner fence. Or course. The dolphins had been aware of them since they showed up and were in there checking them out.
Probably some alpha males up close here, vigilant. The rest back in the center of the pool. Two more slick backs moved in the water like waves, then there was an entire head above water, staring at her with eyes she just had to admit looked intelligent. And kind of sexy. She got a glimmer of where Curtsy was coming from. These things were super-touchable and definitely should be set free.
Then Curtsy was beside her, her head right behind her ear. “That’s Bongo,” she said. “My favorite. Take a slow, deep breath and come on down here, we’re going through.”
MeiMei took a few breaths of increasing volume, then bent at the waist and stroked down with arms. She grabbed the fence like Curtsy had told her and tugged her way down into darkness. She felt a hand on her shoulders, nudging her forward and to the right. And there was no fence there. She didn’t know that Aphra had wired the cut fence back, leaving a triangular opening like parted curtains, but she knew she could move through… and then get back up the world and score some more air.
She remembered to tip her head back and exhale as she rose, then tip forward to bring the purged snorkle out of the water without having to blow it out. She sipped in air, then took deeper draughts as she breast-stroked under the catwalk to the inner fence. Where she could just reach out and touch the four dolphins that waited on the other side of it. Wow!
She stroked Bongo’s head, marveling at the smoothness. Like a wet watermelon, she decided. She saw the sharp little teeth, as if he was smiling at her. This was worth the whole caper, right here, she thought.
This time MeiMei felt the fence give as Curtsy cut. And realized that Aphra was bundling the sides away, binding them in position with the baling wire from the gym bag. And she felt the fence shudder as the first dolphin nudged through it. And slid along her calf as it came out. They were out here! Right around her! She could hear and feel more movement as the herd or whatever they call them moved out through the gap in the fence, exploring his new breach in their captivity. She shook over all over, a visceral spasm to realize she was surrounded by them. Then she heard footsteps on the catwalk above.
She froze, wiped out by adrenal rush of panic mixing with whatever endorphin spasm the dolphins had triggered in her. Caught! Shit!
She looked up, saw three smooth heads break the water to stare upwards with her. Then Curtsy hit the surface and MeiMei saw that she was holding some sort of ab workout device, all metal tubes and surgical rubber. Which seemed surrealistic enough that she looked closer even as her throat pinched with fear.
Not helped when she realized that it was really a stubby spear gun in Curtsy’s hands, pointing up at the measured footsteps on the planks above their heads. With a black shaft tipped with a sharp device that had “alien ninja death device” stamped all over it. She gave up on processing information, just lay in the water shivering while the feet passed overhead, then moved on.
At some point she felt Aphra’s hand on her gooseflesh shoulder. “It’s okay now, honey. Alls we gotta do is go out the other fence and swim off.”
She looked at Curtsy again, still pointing the speargun with a grim, killer look and pose. Which relaxed as she turned back to the other two, grinning. “Pablo. Still texting that Canadian chick, I’ll bet.”
She saw MeiMei staring at the speargun, smiled and moved the spearpoint closer to her. “Trank head. Put a man so sleep even faster than a dolphin. The sort of thing I like to keep around.”
“Well, don’t forget we gotta get that gun back to SeaHawk, “Aphra muttered. “No can we, oh, I don’t know…get the fuck out of here? Less you want a goodbye fuck with your buddies?”
Curtsy’s head disappeared and re-appeared outside the fence in a remarkably quick time. MeiMei stared as the water around the blonde churned with fins and whorls, the big mammals frolicking around her. MeiMei repeated her dive under the outer fence and came to the surface sliding through glossy bodies. She surfaced a few feet from Curtsy, who had pushed her mask up on her head and was joyously slithering around the escapees. She grabbed the side fins of a big male and pushed her lips to his glistening back.
As the others watched, she surged off into the night, lying on the beast’s back with the side of her face pressed right behind his dorsal fin.
“Getting a tow job,” Aphra said from behind her. “And people call me queer.”
MeiMei watched as the dolphin pulled Curtsy south towards the boat. “She’s so happy. She’s really, like, in love with them, isn’t she?”
“Yeah, they say once you go seafood, you never go back, ” Aphra said as she nudged her into motion. “Now all we gotta do is go get what makes you happy, Chinatown.”