MeiMei had fortunately headed the right general direction and when she saw glare of lights from the Cancun hotel zone she used them to guide her jouncing flight from the pursuing gang. Twenty minutes after starting to look for it, she made out the outline of Isla Mujeres and headed straight for the South Point lighthouse. She’d gained some lead on the thundering Lords, but could hear them, relentless, behind her. She headed in close to the lee shore of Isla, aiming past the dock lights at Garrafon Park, trying to run closer to land. The Lords followed, keying on stray light catching the white robe that flapped out behind her like a comet’s tail.

Because she’d figured out the only place she really had a chance to find safety. Anywhere she tried to stop, those goons would be right on her, and there was small hope of any cops or vacationing Green Berets being around at this hour. So she nosed in close, meanwhile making what few preparations she could think of. She retrieved the camera and knotted the little lanyard around her left wrist. She used her teeth to tear a big strip of whatever Victoria’s Secret Weapon material the robe was made of. She had experimented a little once she figured out the Doods couldn’t catch her in a straight-out race, and learned that releasing the grips caused a deadman switch to cut power. But not when it was lashed down tight with the fuzzy, glittery hem of the of the robe from the Roman Polanski Collection.

Which made it easier to shrug out of the robe, which had been impossible when her velocity required her constant grip. She knotted the pulled the sleeves of the robe and looped hooked them on her right elbow. And nudged in closer to shore. Which was scaring the hell out of her because at the speeds she was going there would be no chance to avoid any sort of obstacle. mayancalendargirls.com Hope nobody’s out skinny-dipping tonight, she thought as she rocketed along the coastline, threading under the series of long, high docks that extended out over the silty shallows of the sheltered side of the island. Then she was there.

She reached under her butt to tuck the robe’s sleeves into the grab strap on the seat, then had only a second to set the Kawasaki on a course that would take it out away from the other piers. Then, as it passed into the shadow of one of the lower ones, she jumped off and splashed quickly to cling to one of the crusty pilings. She ducked her head under water as the four vengeful watercraft screamed through the gap under the wooden walkway, none of the Doods capable of being craven enough to run outside the piers when a mere bitch was slaloming under them. As soon as the Lords of Xibalba careened past she headed madly for the shore.

As soon as the flying Kawasaki came out of the moonshadow of the island and broke into the relatively open water off the Turtle Farm it was obvious that it was currently an unmanned projectile. The sudden deceleration of howling jetskis caused them to nose into the water, expertly flipped into little dive/turns by the various surviving Lords. Corcho, who’d trailed them since he’d been on the yacht when they took off, pulled up and summed it up. “The bitch bailed. We backtrack.” All four of them revved up and whizzed back along the shore, keeping a sharp eye for naked castaways.

It was only forty yards to shore, but tougher than she would have guessed. The bottom was gooey and gross, with creepy grass and god knew what else. But swimming was no picnic, either, especially in the dark beneath the pier, where odd things floated bumped squishily against her. Finally her crawl strokes were brushing relatively clean sand on the bottom and she put a tentative foot down to stand up in waist-deep water. Only to belly flop back as she heard the first jetski. The Lords were moving much slower now, their tweaked two-strokes grumbling as they poked along shining headlights under docks and scanning the beaches. MeiMei crawled in further, seeking the deeper darkness where the dock met the beach. When the last of them putted off to the south, concentrating their search around Casa O, she jumped up and sprinted for the house.

Which was totally dark. Maybe nobody was home. Setting up her next exercise: how to get out of this area and back to the Maria Del Mar in the middle of the night with no money and no clothes.

She approached the house from the side where there was a simple door, not wanting to be silhouetted slinking past the big sliding glass that covered most of the front. mayancalendargirls.com Once there she couldn’t decide how to do the simple act of knocking on the door. She hadn’t seen anything to cover up with and was too anxious to get out of sight to do much searching. Finally she located a spot under an arching bougainvillea, moved to the door to pound on it loud, long and desperate, then dashed back to the cover of the bougainvillea’s bower. Where she waited shivering and exposed and generally ready to freak out. She’d done a damned good job of keeping it together, she thought. Getting caught in a crime, then being an attempted rape victim and seeing her friend shot to death, then–face it–probably killing those two water bikers, then leading a hound chase across open sea at night, most of it stark naked. So what she wanted was to achieve a spot of relative safety and security, get some damned clothes, the exercise then exquisite luxury of falling completely apart.

No such luck. The door didn’t open, but three huge lights came on, the big kind they use for ballparks and prisonbreaks. One of them was directly over her head, so the bougainvillea provided no shelter at all. She grabbed one of the leafy branches, only to discover that it was covered with very nasty thorns. Then the door opened and Tuan DeTomaso stepped out, holding one hand behind his back and staring at the nude honey who had decided to call on him at four in the morning.

There was no point in being coy at that point, MeiMei decided. She stood up straight and walked over to Tuan as naturally as if she’d been wearing her jeans and lab coat. As he gaped, she said, “Help me, O.B. Tuan. You’re my only hope.”

Mitsy Fortnum liked lolling naked in the warm dark water. And last night it had been a real turn-on; sneaking out of their rooms in the wee hours to do a “From Here To Eternity” number in the gentle waves on the sheltered beach at Rolandi’s. mayancalendargirls.com But that was last night, and now it seemed, well, So Last Night. Tommy was all over her, as usual, but she just didn’t get that same forbidden tropical fantasy kick and was starting to fret. It was nice to go with a guy who had a Porsche and could take her places like this, but she was starting to wonder about the wisdom of a continued relationship with a guy who was basically just a dull ex-jock, when you got down to it. And was proving less and less capable of lighting her fire.

She tapped him on the shoulder as he moved over her in the warm shallows, incidentally grinding her Pilates-honed booty against some kind of unpleasant vegetation that had washed up there. That didn’t work so she grabbed a handful of his hair and pulled his head back sharply to make eye contact. “Listen, Tommy,” she said, but didn’t get any further than that.

Largely because something came whooping and screaming out of the night. It was big and black and she caught a flash of huge white teeth mayancalendargirls.comin an evil, gaping grin as it thundered up on them with a deafening roar. Whatever it was just missed plastering them or gobbling them up or whatever its hell-sent mission was, but might have grazed the back of Tommy’s thighs as it whined past them. He jumped to his feet in one spasm, coming out of her like a champagne cork. As she turned to see what it was–her stomach doing flipflops and triple axels–it rained all over them with this like fireboat waterspout out of its ass end. Just before it tore up the beach like that Normandy movie, knocked a couple of tables and umbrellas from there to eternity, and smashed into the stone wall supporting the restaurant deck at what must have been close to eighty miles an hour.

Tommy was standing there staring, all those lovely muscles clenched up, shaking like a wet Spaniel. She lay gaping, her innards doing odd things, her fists and pink little anus clenched tight as a streetfighter’s fist. Then the Kawasaki burst into flame.

That brought her to her feet as well… you could see burning gasoline splattered all over the beach lounges and massage tables, and even floating on the water. Holy shit, would they get burned in the ocean? She stared at the flames, her mouth lolling open and her belly churning.

Tommy turned to face her, no sign of that big, proud boner now. The fire seemed be spreading and lights were coming on in the hotel. She looked down and saw a play of hot colors all over her wet, beautifully augmented torso. “Come on,” he whispered urgently as he tried to pull her over to the lounge where they’d left their robes. “Let’s get the hell out of here.”

“Are you out of your mind?” Mitsy asked rhetorically. She turned to him and just tackled him like a blitzing linebacker, grabbing him around the knees and carrying him over backwards into the water. “This is getting me so fucking hot!”

She broke off communications at that point, taking advantage of her position to get a mouthful of action and start the process of working herself into an oblivious frenzy.

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MeiMei tried the door, but it was securely bolted. Locks on the outside of stateroom doors, she thought, always the mark of a true gentleman. She cased the boudoir without much hope of finding the Secret Weakness Chamber. This guy probably does this all the time. A lovely bathroom (do they call it a “head’ on this class of boat?) with bidet, no less. But a notable lack of scissors or blunt weapons. The closet had nothing but some frilly nightwear and sleek lounging robes. In what looked like child’s sizes. Yuck. As she examined the barred portholes, she checked to make sure the camera was still tucked up behind her neck, the little lanyard securely lashed into her thick black hair. The one thing she desperately wanted to have if she got out of this fix. Then she heard shouts, then shots. Followed by a splash.

She jumped to the ports and saw bodyguards moving by at a run. Oh, shit! She was practically jumping around with anxiety when she felt a tremor run through the yacht, then the almost imperceptible sensations of movement. Another glimpse out the window confirmed that she was under way. Ronchel probably figured there might be more of us. She wished. She wished, in fact, that Aphra would suddenly show up, parachuting in blasting from the hip with twin UZI’s and kicking pervo ass with Seventies go-go boots.

Instead she got Ronchel. He slammed the door open, making her jump, then back away until her butt hit the bulkhead. He came into the room in an obvious fury. Along with other emotions equally obvious by a casual glance at his bulging crotch. He stared right into MeiMei’s eyes, neither looking at or speaking to the two bodyguards who flowed into the room behind him. They immediately moved towards MeiMei, who held her hands in front of her with her fingernails coiled like talons.

Ronchel laughed and raised his right hand from beside his leg, demonstrating that it clutched a huge stainless steel revolver. Which he pointed at Mei while the two thugs moved in and patted her down (pretty diligently, she thought) for nasty surprises. One of them nodded to Ronchel, who motioned them out of the room.

Quickly, MeiMei said, “You really think a big, tough guy like you needs that much gun?”

Ronchel laughed. “Need? Not at all. But it’s much more fun.”

As the torpedoes closed the door behind them, he moved close to MeiMei, staring with obviously growing pleasure. “Not bad, not bad,” he said. “For Plan B.”

“You can also choose two dishes from column A,” MeiMei said, holding his gaze while standing tall with no attempt to cover herself.

“I can choose whatever I want, Chinita. And I’ve got all night.”

MeiMei sighed and shrugged. “So why do you still have your pants on?”

“Good point.” He pulled the string tie of his pants and let them fall. Had to help them get around his dick, but then they fell to the floor and he kicked them at her, standing there with rampant hard-on and brandished firearm.

“I can see right now it’s true about guys with big guns trying to compensate,” MeiMei sniffed.

“I think I’m big enough for chink pussy,” he said stalking towards her like some sort of matador/flasher. “Are you getting a little excited?”

MeiMei raised the back of her hand to cover a yawn.

Ronchel grinned tightly and stepped close enough to extend the pistol within inches of her chest. With excruciating slowness he put the muzzle right on her nipple, the brown flesh sliding inside the gleaming barrel. She could feel the sharp edges of the rifling. She shook her head sadly. “Pitiful.”

Without any expression he flipped the gun sideways, hurting her tender tissue as it raked away, then swung it back, towards the side of her head.

MeiMei made two moves at once, a high Bang shou block of the gun and a plain old Chin Tom Toy kick to the area she was thinking of as gao wán, rather than “nuts”, since she always switched over to Chinese when practicing the arts her father had drilled into her from the time she could walk.

He fell to his knees making retching sounds, turned away as if trying to crawl for the door. She took cold aim and kicked him as hard as she could where his left hand was cupping his outraged basket. He screeched like a woman, threw up, and lost consciousness. MeiMei grabbed the gun and pointed it at him. She even inched the trigger back a sliver. But knew she couldn’t do it.

She stepped over and stood behind his knees, knelt and positioned the big gun right on his anus. And shoved if forward with her full strength, taking savage pleasure in the feel of the front sight tearing membrane as the seven-inch barrel plunged into his rectum. Again she felt the impulse to pull the trigger, but knew she wouldn’t. She stood and dithered a moment. God knows how long he would stay unconscious: the guy was like one of the movie monsters, kept rearing back up when he was supposed to be out of the picture. Finally she grabbed the most substantial-looking of the robes from the closet and ran to the door.

She had her mental fingers crossed as she tried it and gave a deep sigh when it opened. She dared a quick peek into the hall, hoping she wouldn’t have to run back over there and draw a shit-smeared sixgun to deal with bodyguards. This whole bit was just not her style at all.

She hit the main rear deck frantic for an escape plan. The boat had to be gone. She had unfortunately omitted helicopter lessons from her undergrad curriculum. If there were lifeboats or escape pods, they weren’t in plain sight. Then she heard the snarl of two-stroke engines approaching and looked over the rail to see a half-dozen JetSkis coming into the wake and drawing up to the water level stern catwalk. She realized that there had been a radio or cell phone call to notify these little dickheads that the mothership had weighed anchor.

As she watched, Corcho jockied in close, jumped his Yamaha up onto the little bathing deck and grabbed a dangling line from a davit. The other Lords were queuing up for docking procedure. All six of them would be up on her deck in minutes, and they looked like even less congenial rapists than her host had tried to be. She stared at the scene below as the Dood they called Chango eased his Kawasaki in close enough to snatch at a float-tipped mooring line Corcho had tossed astern. And heard shouts behind her, the soft putter of running deckshoes. Without giving herself time to think better of it, she jumped up onto the teak rail, then leaped off and plunged out of view.

The Lord known as Chango was in some ways very fortunate. Other ways, less so. After his humiliation ashore on the previous day, it’s unlikely his psyche would have been able to handle awareness of what happened as he leaned over to grab a floating line. Which was an aerial bombardment by a bitch. MeiMei fell almost thirty feet, trailing her shiny white robe like a geisha butterfly. At about the point when she would have reached terminal velocity, her feet impacted the top of Chango’s spine, the right heel striking at the point known as “the atlas”. The immediate result of her landing on him, smashing his chest into the hand-rubbed finish of his garish tank and cracking his jaw against his custom “ape hanger” handlebars was that he promptly ceased to be an impediment to her desire to leave the area. Beyond that, he ceased being alive.

Her landing cushioned by the abolishment of Chango, MeiMei fell to her knees on his shoulders, then quickly slid down his back into the saddle. In the moment’s grace bought by the sheer novelty of her arrival–naked Asian poon from the heavens being rarer than meteor showers in that area–she tugged the inert Chango around, grunting dojo monosyllables at the exertion of heaving him into the drink while his buddies watched, stunned.

Fortunately (as we’ve seen) operating a JetSki doesn’t require top-drawer intelligence, so she quickly figured out where to put her hands and what to do with them. The hopped-up response of the super-souped Kawasaki JS750 literally scared the piss out of her when she racked the throttle around. But even more so “Chimi”, wastrel scion of the Ronchel lineage, whose SeaDoo RXP-Turbo was directly in front of her. The hyperactive Kwaski hunkered down and bolted almost out of the water, the hull mostly dry as it smashed into Chimi and ran right over him, converting him and his RXP into an ad hoc ramp for an awesome jump that brought cheers from nearby yachts where attention had been gathered by the gunshots. She blasted straight over Chimi , carved a turn to port that terrified her, and became the proverbial blue streak.

Stung by having frozen up, infuriated by the demolition of their two comrades by some gookporn ninja who was pretty blatantly a mere woman, the remaining Lords recovered their usual aggressive velocities and pelted behind her. She headed towards where she’d last seen Curtsy.

And caught a glimpse of her, lolling over a swell, hair a faint yellow carnation floating in her headlight, surrounded by a nimbus of blood. She saw no signs of life–quite the contrary–and quickly realized that if she stopped the only result would both of them falling back in the hands of these assholes, and if Curtsy wasn’t dead already, she would be soon enough. She blasted by her accomplice, the Kawasaki’s wake rolling her over into a face-down float that spoke of finality.

Leaning low for less resistance, MeiMei felt tears being torn from her face by the force of the wind. The California girl had just been so cool, so vital, so… alive. And now? Last seen face-down in a slick of blood. Because she got sucked into this lunatic Mission Improbable scheme. She cried silently as she shifted her weight, searched out a position of low profile that didn’t kick her butt as she skimmed the waves, a kind of jockey crouch.

There was something oddly soothing about the jounce across the open sea. After a half-hour MeiMei had regained her usual inner calm and outer watchfulness. She was realizing that she had an edge over her pursuers. Her craft was just a fast as theirs–in fact, it dawned on her that in a male motorhead ratpack like that you couldn’t have a slower vehicle or they’d sneer and drum you out–but she was substantially lighter and offered less wind resistance. There were no tricks or techniques that would help them out in open water: this race would be to the swiftest and she had an advantage. The problem was… race to where?

And while she was browsing tropical destinations, there was also one of those niggling energy questions that pester us all these days–did she have enough gas to get wherever she dreamed up to go? She guessed she’d live or die on whether the Doods had filled their tanks on their trip to shore. And that she had the same reserves that they did. There was no way to know and her weight advantage would apply to fuel consumption as well as speed.

She didn’t look back at the Doods: she instinctively saw glancing over the shoulder as bad prey behavior. Learning while fleeing. She experimented with the controls–at one point touching a button that released a blast of “La Cucaracha”–before finding the switch that cut her running lights. She understood that the Lords would have to keep theirs on so as not to lose her: another edge that wasn’t much but was among the small advantages she held and hoped to maximize. She hung back from the handgrips with a stern grimace as she fled into the night. Run dark, run deep, was her mantra, her robe billowing out behind her like a superhero’s cape. She worked the camera out of her hair and placed in securely in the receptacle where the mp3 deck had been before she popped it out and lobbed it over her shoulder, hoping it clobbered one of the JetSki jockeys. Then ran out of things to do and just hung on for the duration.

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Chango rocked his scorpion-tattooed wrist, dialing off and on the “R’s” that impelled hisKawasaki JS750 watercraft in sharklike lunges, emphasizing the jagged white teeth newly-painted on the prow and cowl. Rich, bored, and stupid, the punky scion of the Domingero clan was a sort of secular saint to Cancun’s hop shops, aftermarket purveyors, and thieves. The custom pitched Solas Dynafly impeller–his latest and most noticeably effective modification–growled savagely as it punched out a firehose column of water, jamming the boy in toward the beach.

But let’s not forget the Blowsion mat kit with side lifters, rule 500GPH bilge kit, R&D billet angled spacers for the V-Force Delta 2 Carbon reeds. the blast fine-tuned Wamiltons scupper and pump mods, Jetworks mixture screws, R&D 6º ignition adv kit, pro-tuned Factory Wet Pipe, all screaming psychotically from the gleaming throne of a magnafluxed Girtled head kit, electronically torque-balanced to the overbored case. And all of it protected from the bumps and grinds or its owner’s crazed desire to break the world down to size by ODI filters, ride plates and intake grates.

With only the assistance of two dozen technicians he had single-handedly quadrupled the cost of a massive overpriced personal watercraft. And what had it bought him? Less than nada, as a matter of fact. He has lost the race to the point and back–his fellow Lords of Xibalba being just as spoiled and feckless, and also better jockeys–so he had to run to land for more Tequila and key limes. Smarting under the humiliation and jeers of his so-called compas, he tore to the sand like a buzzbomb, threading between terrified swimmers and hysterical children before driving his hull up onto the wet sand.

He paid no attention to the shrieks and insults of the people he had come within millimeters of impelling into fish chow, and even less to the police officer in snappy pith helmet and dorky white shorts who was approaching him as he sauntered towards the palapa bar for provisions. He was a gold-filled “Junior”, his parents were bulletproof and omnipresent. He and his class paid no tickets, obeyed no signals or sirens, copped no shit. He was shocked when the cop grabbed his shoulder and spun him around, giving him major stinkeye from under that snappy white brim and leather strap.

But of course he not only wasn’t up in Mexico City, frolicking with impunity among his fellow “Juniors”, he wasn’t even in Cancun, which his caste saw as a sort of beach extension of the Capital. But he assumed that even hick-ass Cozumel cops could read his status and unimpeachability off his light skin, frosted hair, and smug attitude. He waited until the cop wound down his rant about aquatic safety, smirked, and turned back to the counter, pointing to the top shelf Tequilas and holding up five fingers.

Imagine, if not delight in, his amazement when the cop jerked him around again and sunk a fast, hard-moving fist into his gym-sculpted abs, right on the button known as the solar plexus. The amazement was a brief flash, followed by gasping pain, fear, and rage. When he could breathe again he raised a flushed faced to the cop, who waited serenely flanked by a big crowd of pissed-off bunch of almost-victims of his approach to land. He hated the creaky, babyish voice with which he attempted to intimidate, saying, “Do you have any idea who my father is?”

“Nope,” the cop laughed. “Do you?”

The crowd went wild over that one, as they did over the encore: the grabbed Chango by his collarbones and jerked him to his feet, then held his throat in one hand as he slapped and backhanded his face to punctuate his concept that he wouldn’t tolerate any such driving around the swimming areas and if he ever even laid eyes on Chango again, it might be the last time anybody had the dubious privilege. He then dragged the boy to his jet ski, hurried the awkward launching of it with kicks and cuffs, and tossed the kid on it. But held him for a parting moment, rough hand deep in the spiky hair. While he whipped out a radio and gave a quick description of the miscreant and his hyper-priced toy. The kid was going to drive very slowly out to that huge, ugly yacht, the cop told the listeners and was not going to leave it again unless he felt like swimming. Otherwise he was hoping the listener could sweep in and arrest him, if not just run him down. He released Chango to a ragged, heartfelt cheer from the mob of beach-goers and chilango-haters and stood waving as the little delinquent crept back out to the Nahual in something so far beyond humiliation that he would have needed intravenous self-esteem to get suicidal.

Chimi would be the worst, playing host/God on his old man’s yacht while Ronchel pere was conferring and hobnobbing ashore with bigwigs who had flown thousands of miles to meet him and wouldn’t even get to see the already famous yacht. It had seemed like fun, the Lords hoisting their wetbikes aboard and setting out in ridiculous luxury to ply the waters and women of Cozumel, but it had turned into a pain in the ass and he couldn’t wait to get the hell back to Cancun. And was suddenly wondering just how that was going to happen, anyway.

He looked up and there was fucking Chimi, standing on the helipad laughing his candy ass off. And the other guys drifting out of the aft bar to whoop it up over him creeping back in like an old lady. He was so pissed off. He wanted to have that cop killed, wanted to pound on his “amigos” with piece of pipe, wanted to fuck somebody to death.

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Copper drifted deep into the night, bouyed by a much-patched innertube printed with faded images of Xcaret. Her red mane trailed from under her red ball cap into the soft-lapping water of the lagoon, her naked ass drooped into the cool water, a length of hanky ski rope moored her to Winston’s floating island, about as attached as she ever got to anything.

Her mind was addled beyond cognition, a situation of her own doing. Addle-pated was her vacation from the tyranny of detail, the persecution by memory. IWhen the past eats at the emotions and the future looms ominous and arbitrary there was just nothing she’d found like the eternal present of Ketamine. A little present for herself.

She’d just taken another massive hoover of the white flake she’d cooked out of the liquid she’d bought from the veterinary in Cancun where she was an old, if not exactly cherished, customer. She’d promised herself she wouldn’t do it all up this time because she needed the money if she was going to get to Boston and twirl her flames in that Aerosmith comeback video. She’d turned cat softener into a cottage industry in her past sweeps from Mexico to The Excited States, as she called it. Hitting critter pharmacies where she knew they could bet the stuff by the liter and not ask any recriminating, if not incriminating, questions. Then chaperoning it on a flight to the Big Scrapple, an innocent clear fluid in a water bottle carefully resealed with a soldering iron. True, tougher since 9/11, but she could still inject it into Kahlua bottles in her checked luggage. For the same old markup of several thousand percent. Precise numbers weren’t her forté at the moment, riding a rubberduck bob in the perpetual “Vitamin K” nulltone and watching the moon stutter along like a film jerking along at the quirky half speed of K’s noted freezeframe presentation.

She always felt at home on Winston’s floating folly, as good a metaphor for her itinerate life as anything. She felt swaddled and inviolable in the warm tropic night. No need for clothes here, for technology and gimmicks, for anything other than tepid water and holy fire in the damp black air. She leaned her head back until her ears were underwater, sang a few bars of her favorite healing song, “She’s got all that I need, pharmacy keys…” The water closed in on her hidden membranes, softening them and massaging them with a dull roar that grew more and more insistent, a throbbing tremor that contained with in it a high-pitched, bitchy whine.

Chimi, nee Agosto Cesar Ronchel, leaned forward over the grips of his JetSki pointing in irritation, “¡Por alla, pendejo! Right over there by those mangroves.” Chango was a dumfuk, all right, couldn’t even see in broad moonlight.

Chango (known to his rich, dickhead parents as Aquiles Dominquero or even “Quichi”) squinted into the darkness, revving his Kawasaki JS750 compulsively. He wasn’t really into scoping things out, by nature. More of an action toy. He didn’t see any floating island and had serious doubts there was such a thing. Wouldn’t an island just sink? He gave up and plaintively whined, “Why don’t we just go over there, then? Have a good look?”

Chimi, by far the most intelligent of The Lords of Xibalba, always stressed the need for reconnaissance and prior plotting, but thinking things out wasn’t exactly the long suit for his band of monied, hedonistic scions. And the growling chorus around him made it clear they were all into immediate gratification. He shrugged. “Time to run that pinche hippie out of our ocean, chavos. And teach that redhead twat why to respect what a man has hanging.”

A group howl answered that address to the troops, followed by the deep thunder of Corcho’s glasspacked Yamaha Superjet, then the ear-splitting screams of tweaked motors driving after-market impeller pumps to blast the gang across the lagoon, a dozen white roostertails of spumed water flickering in the moonlight as the pack loped greedily towards Winston’s hand-crafted homeland.

It was occurring to Copper, in that syrupy fuzzbrain K way that things were getting rather loud. And the water was being uncharacteristically rambunctious around her. And that therefore, she should take a look, or (ha, ha) think about these things. In some way, in other words, react. No hurry, was her feeling. And yet…

Then the boisterous action of the water increased dramatically. The main drama being that it tossed her little plastic/air donut violently into the air. The tube flipped, flashing her soggy bare ass to the moon, and as her head came briefly out of the water before crashing back in again, her ears were boxed by a cacophony of demonic shrieking in a piped-up, two-cycle mode that hammered at her so hard even the K couldn’t modulate it.

In fact, as she broke surface, grasping frantically for her non-approved flotation device, the Ketamine got mean on her, all pretense at psychic shelter vanishing in her frantic perception of what was causing the hellish choir of internal combustion overload. With her eyes exactly at sea level and her monkey-prune fingers clinging to the slippery surface of the tube, she was buffeted and buggered by the jet banshees, and horrified to see the dark shapes darting in from the night like an avenging posse of killer whales on crack.

She was very fortunate they didn’t see her in the water; something she figured out hours later. But her thoughts were hardly happy as she watched the Lords of Xibalba reducing Winston’s floating idyll to ruin.

The Lords were frustrated that there was nobody in residence at the moment. They had verified this by the simple, if uncouth stratagem of leaping their craft out of the water, skidding them across the deck and painstakingly created “garden”, and barging through the house itself, plunging back into the water in a chorus of catcalls and a shower of flindered belongings and building material. A couple of entrance/exit wounds of that nature and it was pretty obvious nobody was around to enjoy the spectacle. Pissed off that the hippy and uppity peliroja weren’t available to accept complaints, the Lords redoubled the deployment of their considerable talent for vandalism.

The demolition of Winston’s Isle became a competition in excessive reductionism. Lords circled the island, skipping sideways in tight turns that generated wakes that provided liftoff for their comrades to get a little sky. JetSkis soared up off these wavelets then pounded down onto the funky, flimsy beauty of Winston’s soverign nation of homegrown, smashing anything that presented under their plunging hulls.

Corcho rocked forward as he spun around his prow, the aft jet blasting the shattered remnants like a firehose. Chimi took three tries before he managed to leave the water sideways, cutting a broadside swath of wreckage through the rapidly disintegrating superstructure. Chango got the highest jump of the night by caroming of the slanted front end of Ojo’s Yamaha, actually topping the entire palapa roof, then falling through it like a cartoon anvil. The yahoos snatched up flotsam from the water, flaunting pieces of furniture and female garments as they circled like ampthetamine sharks, muching big bites out of the hated hipilandia.

Bobbing in their wakes, her head now tucked protectively inside the innertube, Copper watched horrified at the elimination of her haven. The K puppeted the waterbikes into jittering, frenetic motion freighted with limbic evil. She shuddered at the piston-powered hiphop and manic warwhoops of what she was perceiving as a troop of flying android monkeys, perhaps with a touch of armored pterodactyl. She would get around to lamenting the damage later, her present was now overdosing on a screaming, smoking, wrenching clamor of terminal velocity and ill-will. Somewhere deep inside her absent mind there was a whispered hope that sooner of later the Ketamine would wear off and the monsters would morph back to something normal. Hanging naked in the water, trembling with fear and revulsion, her heels moved unconsciously, driven by a memory from her disturbed childhood: click those red shoes together and get the hell back to Kansas.

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