Nothing could have been further from the truth, and we both knew it. As I charged back into the weather, I heard Jennifer's lovely voice following on the wind. "Watch your ass!" she called out, and then something about monkeys.
The creek led past the deserted clubhouse into another stand of old mangroves. In rising water I fought my way upstream. After another quarter mile I found myself in a small ravine, gazing up at what was once an orchard of sabal palms.
Now it was a horror. The bushy crowns of the trees had been chopped off, and the stumps mockingly festooned with bright pennants. Drawing closer, I recognized the skimpy flags as pieces of swimsuits—tube tops, halters, underwires, boy shorts, Brazilian backs, racer backs, bandeaux, tankinis and of course thongs; acres of fluttering, snapping thongs.
I charged up the slope like a gut-shot bear, the onset of a delirium that I blessedly do not remember. My next conscious moment was in a dark coral grotto, where I lay hog-tied with a one-piece Norma Kamali beside a fire pit ringed with conch shells. Huddled in the flickering shadows were a dozen adult mandrills, listlessly shelling pistachios as the storm raged outside.
A voice from behind: "I rented 'em from a monkey wrangler in Titusville."
I twisted around to see his face, which was beaming.
"Of course I intended to let them all go, but now they won't leave. They've become phenomenally loyal."
"The weather might have something to do with it," I said. "Could you please untie me?"
Wearing only khaki shorts, Kurtz sat down cross-legged beside me. His skin shone like scrubbed copper except for the dome of his freshly shaved head. The silver stubble on his chin was spangled with what appeared to be papaya seeds.
"Nice job on the Barry Bonds cover," he said.