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Lou Antonelli

Lou Antonelli is an amazingly prolific and talented Texas science fiction writer.

Lou got a late start in his fiction writing career; his first story was published when he was 46 years old in June, 2003. His first professional sale was "A Rocket for the Republic", published in Asimov's Science Fiction in September 2005.

His Texas-themed reprint collection "Fantastic Texas" was published in 2009 and another collection, "Texas & Other Planets", was published by the Merry Blacksmith Press in 2010. Yard Dog Press in 2011 published his chapbook collection of four collaboration stories with Portland, Oregon-based author Ed Morris, "Music for Four Hands".

Lou is currently the managing editor of the Mount Pleasant, TX Daily Tribune.

Lou is a frequent contributor to 4 Star Stories, a trend that shows no sign of abating.

We are delighted to present this contribution to our short short story issue.

"Wet and Wild" offers a new twist on the sport of drag boat racing.




By Lou Antonelli


Rogie took another sip of his rum and coke and nodded towards his companion.  "'Have you ever been to an illegal drag boat race?"

"I've heard of illegal street drag races," Tommy said as he knitted his brow.  "I've never heard of illegal drag boat races.  Do they have those here in these islands?"

Rogie snorted.  "You can get anything you want in these islands, if you know where to look.  I heard you talking back in the hotel bar about how much you enjoy watching street drag races. Have you ever been to a regular drag boat race?"

"I've always thought they would be fun, but I live in West Texas," Tommy said as he popped open another Dos Equis.  "No lakes around where I live."

He saluted Rogie with a beer in his upraised hand.  "That's why I came to the Caribbean for my vacation."

Rogie smiled at his new-found “friend”.

"Meet me here right before sunset, with a wad of cash," he said with a smile.  "I'll show you something you won't forget."


When Tommy arrived, he saw Rogie and a cluster of people he didn't know on a dock beside some speed boats.  He walked up and nodded to Rogie, who whispered a dollar amount in Tommy's ear.

Tommy nodded again and reached into his wallet, taking out a cluster of bills.  Rogie tucked the money in a shirt pocket and walked towards one of the boats.

As they waited on one of the boats at dockside, Rogie explained "We need to get out to the reef outside Atlantis Key. That's where they line up."

A half hour later they were at anchor as the setting sun cast an orange glow across the calm, protected waters.  "It's really much like a traditional illegal drag race," said Rogie.

Tommy watched as two hyped-up speed boats gently bobbed up and down next to each other, pointing towards the horizon.  "It starts the same way," said Rogie, "but we have our own local variation."

The boats revved their engines.  Tommy looked around for someone on a boat with a flag to start the race.  Suddenly he heard gasps, and realized everyone was looking in the same direction.

He turned, and saw a head in the water between the drag boats.  He assumed it was someone doing maintenance or checking something on one of the boats.

Then he saw it was a woman with long dark hair and strange jewelry.  She swayed as she rose out of the water, and Tommy realized she was balancing herself with her tail beneath the surface.  Unlike the traditional depiction of a mermaid, she was bare-chested.

Her hands remained below the water as she nodded to each racer in turn.  The racers nodded back respectfully, and the mermaid looked straight ahead as she lifted her right hand.

She raised a handful of red seaweed that glowed in the orange light of the setting sun as the racers revved their engines to a deafening roar.

Then she threw down the red seaweed and raised her left hand with a bright cluster of green seaweed.  The boats thundered off, and the mermaid disappeared with a splash of her tailfin.

Rogie nudged the tourist. "Got your money's worth?"

Tommy stared open-mouthed for a minute, and then got his jaw to work again.  "Holy crap, yes," he stammered. "Worth every dollar!"


The End



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