STUDS WINSLOW AND THE BITCHES OF THE FIFTH REICH
By Halloran Oates
(discovered by Todd Robinson)
TODD ROBINSON has always modeled his life after the deep-sea diving adventure hero Studs Winslow. Which explains his penchant for challenging people to see who can hold their breath the longest and Speedos. He found this copy of Studs Winslow #94 in a mylar bag right between #93 and #95 on his Studs Winslow shelf/shrine at home.
Halloran Oates (1922–1998), a WWII veteran and deep-sea salvage expert, wrote 109 novels featuring Winslow and one unfortunate nonfiction book disproving the female orgasm. He passed away in 1998 while trying to break the world record for Antarctic Nude Freediving at the age of 76. He broke the record first, though.
Studs Winslow focused his breathing, eyes open a sliver.
He blocked out the cries of the Caribbean seabirds swirling above his boat, The Goateed Mollusk IV. He pushed away the warmth of the blistering equatorial sun. He tasted the salty ocean air on each breath he drew deeply into his belly.
The gentle rise and fall of the boat helped with the breathing meditations he’d been taught by Master Fang Fang in the lost city of Quangtang. Lost, that is, until Studs had found it. (Check out the exciting adventure in Studs Winslow and the Lost City of Master Fang Fang.)
After he’d fought off the nine dead soldiers of Emperor Hing and released the city from its thousand-year curse, the grateful Master Fang Fang had rewarded Studs with the secret practices of his temple. One of which was the meditative breathing that allowed him to make the deep dive that he’d soon be undertaking.
He drew his attention to a point of red on the horizon.
The point of red turned a chocolate brown, then the darker hue of untainted coffee. Then that point split into two as Studs realized that he was now staring at the perfect nipples adorning the breasts of Cookie Cutter.
“Damn, Studs, you not done yet with that Chinese hoodee-doo?” Cookie shook her head, playfully expelling the water from her regal afro.
Studs wiped the water from his muscular, sunburned chest. “You’d think that a woman with your education would have a little more respect for the ancient arts,” Studs said as he flipped an unfiltered Lucky between his lips.
“Damn, Winslow. You know me. You can take the girl out of Detroit …”
“Then send that girl to Oxford, then Harvard. Offer her the highest academic honors and dual doctorates in archeology and mystical artifacts …”
“… but you ain’t gonna take the Detroit outta that girl.” Cookie smiled at Studs as she wrapped her arms around his rippling waist, her soft pillowy breasts pressing against his ribs. She reached into the front of his bellbottom jeans, under his swim trunks.
“I hope you’re not starting the fun without me,” said Lily, the Swedish backpacker they’d picked up at Dirty Jack’s Oyster Bar the night before.
Lily hadn’t been Studs’ first choice. Studs had wanted to take the local waitress with them, but Cookie had one sexual rule and one sexual rule only—only one black girl at a time on Studs’ boat. She said that two Nubians at a time brought out “the Africa” in her. Studs had no idea what that meant, but he was curious to find out one day.
As Lily pulled herself out of the water, the sun glistened on her naked white skin. She arched her back, pointing at Studs and Cookie with her Swedish torpedoes.
“We ain’t lighting those kind of fires just yet, baby,” Cookie said, retrieving Studs’ lighter from his trunks.
“Says you,” Studs said.
“You got work to do first.” Cookie flared the lighter, lay the flame against the tip of Studs’ coffin nail. “Speaking of which, I can’t get as deep as you …”
Lily chuckled. She’d learned all too well last night, late last night, and early this morning, that not all of Master Fang Fang’s ancient oriental secrets were necessarily breathing-related.
Cookie rolled her eyes, but a smile curled the corner of her lush lips. “BUT, from what I could see, that didn’t look like no Spanish galleon down there.”
Studs undid his thick skull-and-crossbones belt buckle and dropped his jeans to the deck. “Well, we’ll find out one way or the other, won’t we?”
Studs flipped his cigarette into the ocean, planted a hard kiss onto Cookie’s open mouth, and then dove into the sea.
As she watched Studs’ shadow disappear into the depths, she muttered under her smile, “Crazy-ass cracker.”
Studs pushed deeper and deeper towards the unclear object resting on the ocean floor. As he got closer with each breaststroke, the outlines of the sunken boat became clearer.
Cookie was right. That was no Spanish galleon that had been put in a watery grave by the forces of Poseidon. Meter by meter, Studs realized just what was sitting down there.
And he was none too happy about it.
Sweet Eleanor Roosevelt, thought Studs. That’s a goddamn Kraut Schnellboot. Studs had seen plenty of S-Boats during his stint in the Navy during WWII—hell, he’d even jumped aboard one when he and the Screamin’ Seamen took down Hitler’s Mer-Man program—but he’d be a monkey’s uncle before he ever expected to find the wreck of one in the Caribbean. (To find out how Studs defeated the Mer-Men, read Studs Winslow’s Screamin’ Seamen.)
Finding a remnant of Uncle Sam’s old adversary had Studs’ full attention. To the point where he didn’t notice the immense shadow bearing down on him.
The rows of teeth opened inches from his face before Studs noticed the ten-foot tiger shark. Studs twisted his body away from the monster as the hellish jaws slammed shut. The leviathan passed by, then turned back to claim the meal that it had oh-so-narrowly missed.
Studs cursed himself for his rookie lapse as the beast charged him a second time. He didn’t want to use the bowie knife strapped to his thigh, but he unsheathed it just in case.
The shark opened its mouth again.
At the last second, he pistoned his legs and glided above the shark’s snapping maw. With his free hand, Studs grabbed the shark’s dorsal fin and allowed the giant fish to pull him along. The shark bucked and writhed, but to no avail. Studs drew himself down the side of the shark and locked eyes with the beast intent on tearing him to pieces.
Animal to animal, eye to eye, and man to beast, Studs passed along to the shark the predatory message from time immemorial that he was nobody’s lunch.
Studs felt the murderous fish relax underneath him, cowed before the greater warrior. He released the dorsal fin. The beast circled once, laid its coal-black eyes on Studs’ rippling muscular form, then swam into the depths to find a more agreeable meal.
Studs couldn’t be sure, but he thought that if the shark could have reached whatever passed for its forehead, it would have saluted him.
Turning his attention back to the dive, Studs worked his way back through the briny sea towards the S-Boat. When he reached the ship, he swam to the bow and wiped away the algae that had grown over the ship’s name.
Studs had heard of this boat. And of all of the items that it had carried back to der Fuehrer during the war. Rumors whispered in the darkest alleys of Berlin of the curses that the men who piloted the ship endured after each voyage.
From the looks of the long tear along the hull, the boat’s final curse had been its own when it hit the reef that Studs knew had taken many a boat on the south end of the island.
Working his way topside, Studs tried to pry open the ship’s hatch, but years underneath the surface had wedged it shut beyond repair.
For anyone who wasn’t Studs Winslow.
As he put his considerable strength behind the effort, Studs felt the first licks of oxygen deprivation in his lungs. The hatch began to give with a rending screech. Almost, but not wide enough to fit into.
The tussle with the shark had drained too much of his oxygen to continue any more. If not for that damned snaggle-toothed minnow, Studs might have been able to stay under another 20 minutes, maybe even gotten the hatch open on the first try.
He’d have to neuter his curiosity for the moment, return to The Goateed Mollusk IV, and work some more of Master Fang Fang’s Oriental mojo before he could make another attempt.
As Studs kicked his legs, propelling himself towards the surface and the oxygen that his chest burned for, he saw the outline of the second boat next to The Goateed Mollusk IV.
Studs didn’t mind guests at all. He was famous for his parties on eight continents, if you counted Atlantis (which Studs did, after the discovery in Studs Winslow and the Atlantean Princess of Sea-Love). Whether the party be on his boats, at his villas, or in one of his compounds, Studs never turned away guests. As long as they were invited. (For a comprehensive list of party dos and don’ts, see Studs Winslow’s Swinging Party Guide.)
But Studs didn’t remember inviting anyone that day.
Breaking the surface of the water, Studs sucked in the sweet ocean air. He took a quick look at the new boat and felt a flicker of dread. He reached for his boat’s ladder and looked straight up into the barrel of a Luger pistol.
Above the pistol was a pair of enormous breasts in a black leather bikini. Most men might not have been able to lift their eyes above the death-black chasm of the pistol’s barrel, but Studs Winslow was no ordinary man. Besides, it wasn’t the first pistol he’d faced that week.
After a cursory once-over, Studs tore his eyes off the leather-bound woman flesh and looked into beautiful high cheekbones haloed by golden hair and a pair of the most evil baby-blues he’d ever seen.
Above those eyes perched an SS cap.
“Hello, Herr Winslow. It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance.” The smile was genuine. So was the malevolence behind it.
The exhausted Studs was pulled on board by two surprisingly strong (and equally buxom) Aryan princesses in matching black leather bikinis and caps.
The first woman, obviously the leader, kept her gun aimed squarely at Studs’ chiseled midsection.
Cookie was seated on the deck, still naked, arms tied behind her back.
Studs couldn’t help but smirk. “You never let me do that to you.”
Cookie glared at him, but her full red lips fought a smile. “You never pulled a gun on me.”
“Well, not in the sack.” Studs looked at Lily, still in just her stringy bikini bottom … but with an MP40 pointed at Cookie’s back. “What’s the deal, Lily? Why are you working with these Nazi bitches?”
Lily’s eyes narrowed. “Because, Studs Winslow. I am one of them. Heil Hitler!” With her free hand, Lily threw a sharp Nazi salute, snapping her heels together. If Studs didn’t know better, he would have sworn that the little bounce made her Teutonic ta-tas pop a little Nazi salute of their own.
“You traitorous Nazi whore,” spat Cookie.
“Quiet!” Lily cracked Cookie across the mouth with the barrel of the submachine gun.
Cookie flicked her tongue to the corner of her mouth, tasted the blood there. Cookie nodded and gave a Lily a deadly look. “I’ma let you have that one, ofay.”
“Enough!” commanded the Nazi bitch apparently in charge. “Do you know who I am, Herr Winslow?”
Studs rolled his neck. “No, but I’ve shot enough of those hats off heads to know what you are.”
Tossing her rich blonde hair back, the Aryan bombshell laughed humorlessly. “I wouldn’t expect you to recognize my father’s features in me, but you will know his name. I am Commandant Helga Fuchs!”
Fuchs. Studs knew the name all too well. Many an adventure had pitted him against Hitler’s greatest scientist/warlock/madman, Fritz Fuchs. When Studs and the Screamin’ Seamen had detonated their explosives in the underwater Mer-Man research compound, who do you think had been conducting the experiments? When Studs was thrown naked into that Antarctic ice pit naked to fight an overly libidinous Abominable Snowman (the twisted tale of Studs Winslow versus the Abominable Sex Snowman), who would you guess had let the beast off its leash? When Jack the Ripper had been transported through time to 1968 London, who was at the controls of the Chrononaut’s time machine? (Dig the slaughtered beatniks in Studs Winslow Swings through Time.)
So when Fritz Fuchs’ hyper-intelligent Croco-Gorillas turned on their creator and ripped him to shreds, Studs finally thought the man and his madness had been laid to rest. Or at least been digested by Croco-Gorillas.
Studs snarled. “Yeah, I recognize the name of that lunatic.”
Helga backhanded Studs across the chops. “My father was a genius!”
“Your father was a madman.” Helga swung again, but Studs caught her by the wrist. “And it looks like his daughter inherited his madness.”
The two silent women who had pulled Studs aboard whipped out submachine guns and aimed them at Studs’ head. With her free hand, Helga pressed her Luger to Studs’ temple. She slid her hand up his chiseled thigh and removed his bowie knife from the sheath. She tossed it to the deck. Lily picked up the blade and stuck it into the thin fabric of her bikini bottom.
“And you, Herr Studs, you have a remarkable physique for a man who fought in World War Two.” Helga didn’t sound surprised. She traced the barrel of the gun down Studs’ neck, through his thick mat of chest hair, and over his flat stomach. She pressed herself against him, smelling his musk, lips brushing against his shoulder. Catching herself, Helga snapped back to attention, the business end of the Luger pointed back under Studs’ chin.
Studs smirked at Helga Fuchs. He assumed that somehow she’d found out about the Fountain of Youth that Studs had stumbled upon all those years ago in Bolivia (in Studs Winslow and Muhammad Ali in Bolivia).
If the Nazis had that kind of regenerative power? Studs would have shuddered at the thought—
—but Studs Winslow wasn’t a man who shuddered.
Studs released his grip on her wrist. “If it’s the secret of my good looks you want, my answer is healthy living. If you’re here to kill me, then do it.”
Helga Fuchs smiled. “Oh no, Herr Winslow. We’re not going to kill you. We want to hire you.”
“You can’t afford me.”
“On the contrary, you can’t afford to say no.” Helga snapped her fingers. One of the mute twins went to the control panel on the The Goateed Mollusk IV’s winch and raised Cookie six feet overhead. With a switch of the lever, the boom turned, dangling Cookie over the water.
“What you gonna do?” Cookie catcalled. “Try to drown me? Shee-yit, I was captain of the Oxford swimming team three years in a row. Don’t matter my hands are tied behind my back. I could make it to shore without my arms.”
“Don’t think that I don’t know your capabilities, Ms. Cutter.” With that, Helga lowered her gun and fired the Luger.
The two small toes of Cookie’s left foot popped off. Cookie howled. “Ahhh, my goddamn pinkie toe! I’ma kill you.”
Helga smiled. “I’m paying you with her life, Herr Winslow. You do what we say, and we won’t drop your precious Cookie Cutter. As you can see, the dip will not be refreshing.”
Studs looked out onto the cruel ocean, dorsal fins already breaking the surface in the sharks’ quest to find the source of the blood that was dribbling into their water.
The dinner bell had been rung.
“You’re as crazy as your father, Helga.”
“And you, Herr Winslow, are running out of time. You have thirty minutes to retrieve the item we have come for. In precisely thirty minutes, if you have not returned from the Feuchter Traum with the object I desire, I will cut the rope myself, and your precious Cookie Cutter will be torn to pieces.”
“It can’t be done. I need at least that much time to do the breathing exercises necessary for a dive that deep. And you expect me to make that same dive in water that you just made shark infested?”
“I’ll drown before I get down there.”
“If you drown, your black beauty will not be far behind.”
Cookie twirled angrily at the end of the rope. “Hey, who you callin’ a … actually, both them words fit. I’ma still gonna kill you.”
Helga laughed. “Such spirit! It’s a shame that you are unfit to join the Fifth Reich, and that spirit will be leaving this world in … twenty-six minutes. Your move, Herr Winslow.”
Studs gritted his teeth. “What is it you need me to get?”
“In 1941, the Feuchter Traum was on route to the Fatherland carrying a precious item … a precious item that had existed in legend amongst the Mexican people and their Mayan ancestors for centuries.”
“I don’t got time for a history lesson.”
Undeterred, Helga Fuchs went on. “My father, knowing the powerful mysticism of the Mayan people, believed that this item would be a suitable addition to der Fuehrer’s already impressive collection. He sent a team deep into the jungle to an ancient pyramid, a temple many thought was on cursed land, built by a cursed people. And do you know what they found, Herr Winslow?”
“The world’s greatest enchiladas?”
“They found the Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq.”
The name meant nothing to Studs.
But it meant something to Cookie. “Aw, hell no.”
That couldn’t be good.
“The Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq is on that boat, Herr Winslow, and I want it!” Helga checked her watch. “And you have nineteen minutes to get it for me.”
Without another word, Studs dove off the edge of the boat, executing a perfect jackknife.
Studs thrust his muscular body deeper and deeper into the water, moving fast not only to avoid drowning, but to get below the sharks that were quickly amassing under Cookie.
Studs took a quick look up. He saw four or five blue sharks, two good-sized bull sharks, a lemon shark, and his old friend, the tiger who’d tried to nosh on Studs only minutes earlier. Studs guessed that the blood in the water was too much to keep the old boy away, even after his encounter with Studs.
As he turned to the Feuchter Traum, a large shadowy motion caught Studs’ eye, moving in from about a hundred yards off the boat.
A shadow that big would have sent a shiver down Studs’ spine—
—but shivers didn’t have a home anywhere on Studs Winslow, especially not his spine.
Instead, Studs just used it as further motivation to get a move on … before the great white got there.
When Studs reached the Feuchter Traum, his lungs were already aching. Studs grabbed the narrow hatch opening, planted his feet against the side, and pulled with all his strength. Forty years of rust fractured under Studs’ steel will. The hatch opened.
Once inside the boat, a pulsing sensation started up behind Studs’ eyes. It was a sensation he’d felt only once before, when he’d been possessed by the power of Dr. Tutu’s voodoo bag in Haiti. (Dig the magic in Studs Winslow and the Voodoo Orgy of Dr. Tutu.)
There was something evil nearby, and Studs could feel it. He let it guide him to the Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq.
Passing through the cabin, Studs saw a weak green light emanating from under the door of the captain’s quarters. As he swam closer, the throbbing grew stronger. The Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq was behind that door.
Studs opened the door. The room was bathed in weak green light emanating from an ornate wooden box. A box held in the clutches of a Nazi skeleton.
As Studs pried the box from the dead Nazi bastard’s hands, he noticed something … strange about the skull, particularly the mouth. But he had no time to think on the curiosities of German dentistry; he had to not drown himself. And get back to the boat before Helga Fuchs turned Cookie into fish food.
When he swam out of the cursed German Schnellboot, Studs immediately saw that the ocean around The Goateed Mollusk IV was a bloodier hue of crimson.
For a moment, he feared that he was too late, that the madwoman had tossed his Cookie to the sharks before he had a chance to return with the Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq.
Then he saw the chunks—the remains of four or five blue sharks, two good-sized bull sharks, and a lemon shark littering the water. The great white had decided to take out the competition before meal time.
For reasons he couldn’t figure out, it relieved Studs to not see any pieces of his old chum the tiger shark.
What worried Studs was that he couldn’t see the great white.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have the time to find him. Studs pumped his legs and worked his way to the surface before the black spots that were forming in his vision grew any larger. Studs needed oxygen, and he needed it now.
Twenty yards to the surface.
The spots grew darker.
With an explosion of size and movement, the great white came at Studs from underneath The Goateed Mollusk IV. Studs broke the surface of the water and took in huge lungfuls of sweet, sweet air.
The giant dorsal fin of the great white erupted out of the water ten feet from the gasping Studs.
“My knife!” Studs yelled.
Lily took the bowie from her bikini and tossed the blade to Studs. He caught it and turned to face the leviathan.
The shark skimmed the surface, inches from Studs’ chest. For the second time that day, Studs locked eyes with another of the world’s deadliest predators. This one was used to being King of the Sea, however. And Studs was too tired and weak to give an effective warrior’s glare.
The shark’s eyes said, You’re lucky I just ate, Bub. But I’ll be hungry again reeeeal soon.
So, with a bellyful of his fellow sharks, the great white swam a respectable distance from the boats. Didn’t leave, but kept its distance.
Studs didn’t want to wait until the monster got its appetite back. He tossed the carved box onto the deck of the boat, climbed the ladder, and collapsed into an exhausted heap.
With a hunger in her eyes that wasn’t too different from the shark’s, Helga Fuchs picked up the wooden box and opened it. Her eyes lit with the flames of pure Nazi bitch evil. “Mein Gott. It’s true. The Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq!” The other women gathered behind her, their faces masked with a lust that, under different circumstances, Studs would have been more than willing and able to sate.
“I did my part,” gasped Studs. “Reel in Cookie.”
“Do it,” said Helga, her eyes never leaving the amulet.
Lily went to the controls and dropped Cookie onto the deck next to Studs.
“What have you done, Studs?” she asked. “Don’t you know what that amulet can do?”
“Guess I’ll find out soon enough,” he said. Behind his back, Studs handed Cookie his bowie. In all the excitement, they’d forgotten to take it from him. Cookie’s cocoa forearms flexed, only the barest motion giving away the sawing at her bonds.
“It has the power to raise the dead, Studs.”
“Bring him out,” said Helga.
The Aryan twins re-emerged from under Stud’s canopy, each struggling with one end of a coffin adorned with swastikas.
“That ain’t who I think it is, is it?” asked Studs as he pulled his jeans back on over his trunks. He pulled out his smokes and lit one. Putting the pack back into the pocket, he tapped the skull’s ruby eye on the belt buckle twice. The belt buckle beeped quietly.
“Prepare yourselves, Studs Winslow and Cookie Cutter—prepare yourselves for the return of Adolph Hitler himself!”
With that, the Aryan twins opened the lid of the coffin, revealing the desiccated bones within. Studs looked at the withered skull, tiny mustache intact.
“Honey, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Cookie.
“Of course you wouldn’t.” Helga withdrew the amulet from the box, a magnificent golden medallion on a thick leather thong that wouldn’t have looked out of place adorning the chest of a true disco stallion.
Tenderly, Helga lifted the head of her Fuehrer and placed the Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq around his neck.
Immediately, the green glow enveloped the bones of Adolph Hitler.
“Studs?” Cookie whispered.
Pink flesh grew on the bones, oozing around itself, rebuilding.
“Yeah?” whispered back Studs.
Spots of white skin began spreading, stretching over the flesh.
“That amulet raises the dead.”
Hitler’s fingertips convulsed, celebrating the new life coursing through them.
“I can see that, Cookie.”
Hitler’s mustache twitched, became fuller.
“Yeah, but these dumb Nazi bitches don’t have a doctorate in mystical artifacts.”
“What’s your point, Cookie?”
Hitler’s eyes sprang open. Undistilled fury and hatred under the lids. And something else …
“The Amulet of Qaxteqackotittlq brings back the dead …”
Studs recognized what else was in that evil bastard’s eyes, realized what was wrong with the mouth of the Nazi on the sunken ship. Fangs! Hitler’s mouth was filled with fangs.
“… but as a Mayan Vampire.”
Mayan Vampire Hitler leapt from the coffin with an ear-piercing screech, howling, “Mi hambre debe ser saciado!”
In a flash, the Nazi bitches of the Fifth Reich’s expressions turned from lust to horror as Mayan Vampire Hitler tore the throat from the nearest Aryan twin, then the breast off the other. Mayan Vampire Hitler feasted on the bloody milk that poured from her chest. Her breast fell to the deck like a nippled jellyfish.
“Mein Fuehrer! What has happened to you? Stop!” screamed Helga, her gun drawn onto Mayan Vampire Hitler. She fired twice.
Mayan Vampire Hitler laughed at the smoking holes in his chest.
Lily panicked, firing the fallen twin’s submachine gun wildly. Her bullets shredded the sails on The Goateed Mollusk IV, slammed into the engines.
Studs hit the deck.
Cookie saw her opportunity. Executing a perfect judo flip over the hail of bullets, Cookie kicked the gun out of Lily’s hands.
“Didn’t know I was also captain of the Harvard Kung-Fu Squad, didja bitch?”
Then with a spin kick that would have made the Atomic Samurai Women of Nagasaki proud (read the classic adventure in Studs Winslow and the Atomic Samurai Women of Nagasaki), Cookie cracked Lily right across her high cheekbones with a foot that was missing two toes.
Lily flipped in the air twice before plummeting into the ocean.
Cookie stood, hands on her cocked hips. “I told you I’d get you, ofay.”
The great white was on Lily before she could respond to Cookie’s funky sass. Mayan Vampire Hitler laughed and advanced on the weeping Helga Fuchs. He stopped laughing when his arms started to smoke. “¿Qué me está pasando?”
“Hey, Hitler!” said Studs.
Mayan Vampire Hitler turned to Studs. His eyes went wide with fear and rage as his skin began to blister. “Espárragos Winslow? ¿Qué estás haciendo aquí?”
“Next time one of your crazy-ass Nazi bitches wants to bring you back from the dead, make sure they don’t make you a Mayan Vampire.”
Small flames erupted from under the blistering skin of Mayan Vampire Hitler.
“And make double sure they don’t do it on the deck of a boat underneath the Caribbean sun.”
With a scream of unimaginable agony, flames engulfed Mayan Vampire Hitler ..
Helga Fuchs made a run for it, trying to get across the gangplank to her own boat and escape.
Mayan Vampire Hitler gave chase, covered in flames. “Puta alemana estupido!”
As he leapt on her, Helga fired her remaining bullets into the chest of her immolated Fuehrer. She screamed as his fiery fangs tore into her flesh. The two of them fell under the canopy in a flaming embrace of death.
“Daaaamn,” said Cookie. “That is one overcooked Nazi Mayan Vampire Hitler jive turkey.”
Studs took his bowie back from Cookie and reached down to cut loose the gangplank connecting the boats, when a charred hand slapped onto the railing of the Nazi bitches’ boat and flipped the gangplank into the ocean from their side.
Laughing hoarsely, Mayan Vampire Nazi Bitch of the Fifth Reich Helga Fuchs stood under the boat canopy, safe from the deadly sunlight. “Ahhhahahahaha! You may have won this day, Señor Winslow, but I will return and you will face my Mayan Vampire Nazi wrath!”
As the boats slowly drifted apart, Studs sighed sadly and shook his head. “What do you think, Cookie? You ready to go shopping for The Goateed Mollusk V?”
“You didn’t,” said Cookie.
“I activated the failsafe, just in case.” Studs tapped his enormous belt buckle.
“Do it,” said Cookie, and dove overboard, swimming for the shore.
“What are you talking about, Señor Winslow?” Mayan Vampire Nazi Bitch of the Fifth Reich Helga Fuchs had stopped laughing, a concerned look drawn over her Mayan Vampire Nazi Bitch of the Fifth Reich face.
“Bye-bye, Helga,” Studs said as he hit the ruby button on his belt buck two more times and dove over the side of the boat.
The Goateed Mollusk IV exploded as the TNT in the hold detonated. The last thing Studs saw before hitting the water was the explosion engulfing and vaporizing the Nazi boat and Mayan Vampire Nazi Bitch of the Fifth Reich Helga Fuchs along with it.
Studs smiled as he swam towards shore. His smile didn’t last long.
The giant dorsal fin cut the water ahead of him, heading straight toward Cookie, her wounded foot leading a delicious trail right to her delicious body.
“Swim, Cookie!” shouted Studs. “Swim!”
Cookie turned back to see the monster shark bearing down on her. She doubled her effort, but it wasn’t enough to outpace the shark.
“Nnnnooooooo!” screamed Studs as the great white swallowed Cookie whole and turned towards the greater ocean.
Studs swam for all he was worth after the great white. On another day, without the physical demands made of his body that the day had already taken, he might have caught the beast.
But not today.
Despite his effort, the great white lengthened the distance between them. The despair in Studs’ chest grew over his lost Cookie.
The great dorsal fin slipped under the surface.
Studs treaded water, unwilling to give up, unwilling to face defeat even in the face of the hopelessness before him.
The great white didn’t surface.
But another fin did.
The tiger shark was back and circling Studs.
Studs pulled his knife, ready to take revenge on all of sharkkind for his lost Cookie.
The shark swam by Studs. It slowed down to look him in the eye.
This time, their communication was different.
It wasn’t the predatorial dance of time immemorial.
The tiger shark’s eyes said: The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Studs nodded and grabbed onto his newfound ally’s dorsal fin. In a bolt, the tiger shark was off, carrying Studs with him.
Under the surface, Studs could see the great white two hundred yards ahead, but they were gaining. The tiger shark was faster and didn’t have a bellyful of Cookie slowing him down.
One hundred yards.
Then they were right beside the grey-skinned giant. Studs pushed himself off the tiger shark and plunged his bowie knife deep into the belly of the great white. The shark jerked and writhed as Studs drew his knife down the length of the monster’s body. Entrails poured into the water, pieces of other sharks. Pieces of Lily.
Then a honey brown arm reached from inside, grasping for Studs. Studs grabbed Cookie’s arm and wrenched her free from the belly of the beast. The two of them kicked to the surface and swam for shore as quickly as they could. The sea was red with the great white’s blood as smaller sharks enacted their revenge for the giant shark’s tyranny. The feeding frenzy was magnificent and terrifying.
Studs gave one last look back at the tiger shark. He gave his aquatic friend a final salute and headed for shore.
When Studs and Cookie reached the beach, a small group had gathered on the shore. Dirty Jack was one of the onlookers. He waded out and helped the exhausted Studs and Cookie onto the beach. They fell onto the soft white sand, spent.
“What the hell happened?” Dirty Jack asked.
“Mayan Nazi Vampires.” Cookie said.
Dirty Jack shrugged and looked out at the fiery wrecks of the two boats. “Oh well. Who wants Rum Runners?”
Studs and Cookie each weakly raised a hand.
Todd Robinson is the creator and Chief Editor of the award-winning ‘zine THUGLIT.COM. His writing has appeared in Plots With Guns, Needle Magazine, Shotgun Honey, Strange, Weird, and Wonderful, Out of the Gutter, Pulp Pusher, Grift, Demolition Magazine, CrimeFactory and Danger City. He has been nominated for a Derringer Award, short-listed for Best American Mystery Stories, selected for Writers Digest’s Year’s Best Writing 2003 and won the inaugural Bullet Award in June 2011.
The first collection of his short stories, Dirty Words, is now available as an E-book and his debut novel The Hard Bounce will be released in January 2013 from Tyrus Books.