Stretched out on a blue-and-white striped cushioned lounge chair on the top deck of Borys Popov’s Sunseeker 75 Yacht, Kim Phillips stared at the glistening Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil spread thick on her thighs. With the cold gaze of a fresh corpse, she stared through catatonic green eyes that recognized nothing and heard no one.
The billionaire oligarch and Russian Mafia boss recently bought the boat for a million cash from a coke dealer who needed cash before showing up for a 10-year federal prison sentence. After KGB training and years of spy missions and other nefarious operations Borys capably handled yachts, T-90 Russian tanks and MIG fighter planes.
The thought that anybody would or could hold him prisoner on his own 75-foot yacht never crossed his mind. But there he was in the hands of Kim Phillips, a mental case real estate agent with whom he once thought he could share the wonders of the world.
Now she was a wonder of the world, a maniac saddled with three multiple personalities that controlled her and him – Shannon and Tara, mad Irish twins, and Becky who scared him more than anybody he ever met.
Agitated, Shannon spoke up.
“I’ll have another one of these mojitos like Che Guevara used to drink,” Shannon screamed over the powerful roar of Twin MAN V12 engines.
“Make mine a triple rum runner without the runner,” Tara shouted.
Gritting his teeth, Borys Popov stepped to the portable bar to mix the drinks. With his luxury yacht on automatic pilot, he moved freely about the deck. With this kind of endless crackhead chatter, these two lunatic devils would drive Borys out of his mind if he didn’t find some way to escape.
He already felt like he was slipping since he started seeing them as real people, individual human persons rather than manifestations of Kim’s psychosis, two personality disorders that had kidnapped her mind and his body, evil demon spirits that controlled his destiny.
Then there was Becky.
Dissociative identity number three held the loaded gun that always seemed pointed at his head or chest. Becky was the worst because she exhibited the most rational behavior. With Kim mentally comatose, if he died, Becky would kill him. So Borys had to figure out a way to kill her first. A counterattack would be best during the day, not after they tied him to the railing for the night. If he was going to make a move he better jump while he could, attacking with distraction of some kind to give him an opening to get the gun. Becky seemed sharp, though.
Borys pointed to the horizon,
“Look at sky,” he said. “Big seagull blocking out sun.”
“You really think I’m stupid enough to fall for that dumb stunt?” Becky asked.
With that the sun disappeared.
A black and gray cloud that resembled a coming storm blocked sunlight overhead as Borys craned his neck to look skyward. Not one gull but two dozen gulls flew in formation that would give the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron cause for alarm. Climbing higher into the wild blue yonder the birds banked in unison. Now they swooped lower. And lower. And lower. Again they climbed as if revving up speed for some spectacular maneuver. The birds drew closer and closer to the yacht.
Tara expressed deep disorientation.
“Why aren’t those geese honking?” she asked.
“They’re not geese,” Shannon said.
“Why so many gulls?” Borys asked as the first bird broke formation and headed right at them.
“They’re not gulls,” Shannon said.
Borys sensed danger from above.
“What then are big birds flying in sky?”
“Drones,” Shannon said. “Kamikazi killer drones.”
The first high-tech gull drone slammed headfirst into the bow exploding on impact as the dynamite-laden flying bomb tore through the front of the yacht. Following on its tail, a second explosive gull drone crashed through the smoke and flames blowing another hole the size of an open beach umbrella in the bow. A team of five gull drones circled the craft before diving at once before separating to fly parallel to the water. With lightning speed each drone tore through the air and shot through five separate portholes in the yacht’s stern, shattering glass as five explosions tore apart the head, the galley and three cabins, sending toilet paper, pots and pans and tropical print bedspreads soaring into the air.
“No gull poo this time,” Tara said.
“No shit,” Shannon said.
“That’s what I just said,” Tara said.
Over the past several months Sam Bennett carefully crafted dozens of perfect gull drones, hand carved birds he used in the original dirty dozen drone attack on Borys Popov’s ribbon-cutting ceremony when the drones dropped feces-loaded bombs that scored bullseyes on Florida Gov. Ronnie DeShifty and his First Lady Jenna. Then, using the dynamite cache he stole from Borys’ luxury beach condo construction site, Sam built gull feces-filled exploding golf balls to rain poop on Jenna’s parade of beautiful people in what Sam declared an act of societal self-defense. But the drones stood as his masterpiece – especially when he packed them with real explosives rather than crap and decided to terminate Borys Popov.
After talking about the benefits of peace and love with Ruby Arenas, Sam Bennett decided to sacrifice his sacred drones and cancel his plan to send them on endless search and destroy missions against developers and environmental polluters throughout Florida. Sam Bennett would relinquish his drones in one fell swoop.
The world would be better off without Borys Popov.
Sam watched his well-tuned attack from his position on the water in the little boat he salvaged from his last sortie against the evil Popov brothers, the wooden rowboat that sat moored and abandoned in the same weed-covered dune for two years until Sam duct taped Borys’ dearly departed brother Ivan to the mast and set him adrift naked and covered with fish guts pasted to his body. Always ravenous gulls ate well that day as one after another the birds attacked, scraping, pulling and pecking morsel after morsel from fat Ivan’s body, a meal that made Ivan feel part of the buffet. Thinking he was home free after a Coast Guard rescue, Ivan never thought he’d get his eyes pecked out by some of the same gulls that dined on fishy delicacies smeared and stuck to his thick, hairy torso.
Sam had rebuilt the washed-up hull and now rowed out whenever he could to harass and interfere with local fishing boats headed daily into the Gulf. In addition to the gulls, Sam had decided to help protect the dolphins, too. So sure enough, there sat Sam in the little boat, bobbing up and down in the water, watching his well-planned air assault unfold on the yacht. Mistaken that Borys would cruise alone, he knew he had to save Kim as soon as he spotted her standing on the boat that now burned in a brilliant patchwork of color as time ran out.
By the time Sam rowed to the wreck, it was over.
Kim calmly tread water in her life jacket. Throwing a waterproof bag containing her phone to Sam she climbed into the boat. The yacht had exploded the way you might see a yacht explode in a James Bond movie.
“Badaboomski!” said Sam.
Sitting quietly watching the yacht sink and bidding bittersweet goodbye to his drone friends, Sam said, “Peace is the answer. Really, it is.”
Kim Phillips nodded a robotic nod.
After she got home and showered she made herself a nice frozen margarita. Sitting cross-legged on the floor she listened to the recording she made on her cellphone before diving overboard as the boat blew billionaire oligarch and Russian Mafia boss Borys Popov into french fry-sized chunks real gulls snatched from the waves and swallowed.
The first voice on the recording panicked.
“I am not leaving my man, my billionaire, my love,” Shannon said in her thick Irish brogue.
Now Tara howled in her wild Celtic accent.
“Borys Popov loves me and I love him.”
“You shrew, Borys Popov and his money are mine.”
When the final explosion destroyed the yacht, the captain and his two maniacal mates, powerful Borys Popov and hellish Shannon and Tara, went down with the ship. When the smoke cleared, the last voice on the audio recording was that of a haunting voice – a wonder woman who survived.
“I am Becky,” the woman said. “Hear me roar.”
Of course Kim Phillips listened.