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
Lou is currently the managing editor of the Mount
Pleasant, TX Daily Tribune.
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.
WET AND WILD
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
"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
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,"
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
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!"