The Madness so far:
English surfer Doggie and his Welsh goofy mate Pipe are on the road trip of their lives. In Biarritz, the pair score a dream crib staying at a mansion with the gorgeous Gabrielle, her hulking sister Amelie and the silent chauffeur, Duffoir. They have no idea Amelie is really a murdering smuggler or that Doggie’s three prize surfboards are fibreglass mules, smuggling contraband.
But Doggie and Pipe had a more pressing worry. Along with Gabrielle, they’ve just been captured by the brutal murderer, Sergei Saginballsov, top ten on Interpol’s Most Wanted list. His plans for them are murderously simple: “You will have a final surf. The winner of the surf contest, I will kill instantly, while he – or she – is still surfing. The losers – I will kill much more slowly. It will be a good warm-up – for killing Gabrielle’s family!”
Now read on…
Fifteen feet right handers rumbled along the bouldered shoreline.
“Just think of me like a surf photographer,” Sergei cackled. In one hand, he brandished a pistol with a silencer. In the other, he waved a rifle with telescopic sights. “I am going to shoot you all and make you all famous – as corpses on the Spanish news!”
Doggie moaned, and wriggled into his steamer. “Um, can someone zip me up?”
Pipe, Doggie and Gabrielle paddled out, well wide of the line-up. The latter two rode seven feet plus guns, while Doggie felt slightly insecure at the thin 6’6” beneath him – not to mention the crazed gunman smoking Gauloises and aiming at his brain in the carpark.
“Look.” Doggie pointed deeper up the line-up. “If we keep paddling up the point, we can get out of that maniac’s line of sight and maybe escape?”
Pipe snorted. “Did that serum fry your last brain cells? The dude has telescopic sights! He’ll shoot holes in painful parts of your body if you try to escape.”
“But if we stay here, we’ll just die anyway!” Doggie sat up on his board.
“A quick, clean death doing what I love doing most?” Pipe shrugged, and paddled a bit deeper before sitting up. “Plenty of worse ways to go.”
Doggie turned to Gabrielle. “Since it seems we’re all gonna die today, you may as well know – even though you set us up as smugglers, teased me every day, and are now the cause of my looming, untimely doom, I have to admit I’ve had the hots for you ever since we met at my local watering hole in Devon. I only wish Sergei had allowed us to have a first and final f-”
“Set!” Pipe cried. “Big one!”
The three surfers scratched for the horizon. Doggie gasped when he saw the first wave. It looked like a large horizontal hill, rippling toward them. Pipe spun for the wave mountain, kicking furiously. He took off, and the wave showered spray over the line-up.
“You want this next one?” asked Gabrielle.
“Sure,” squeaked Doggie.
He paddled, and kicked, and paddled harder, but his board was too small to build up any speed, so he was thrown over the falls like a turd over a waterfall. A screaming turd over a waterfall, that is.
SMASH! PULP!! MANGLE!!!
Doggie poked his head up in time to see Gabrielle lining up the third wave of the set. Unlike him, she paddled into the wave early, leapt to her feet cleanly and drove down the line. So focused, so sexy… Doggie took a deep breath and dived for Davy Jones’ locker. Great – looks like I’m gonna be the one to be shot to death slowly by Sergei Sir Gay. How much worse can today get?
* * *
“Hmmm.” Sergei tallied his score sheet and muttered to the dead surfers in the next car. “Using ASP criteria, best two waves scored out of ten, Pipe is the narrow leader over Gabrielle, 17.5 to 16.5. Doggie, meanwhile, is in a serious combo situation at 4.5 points – and I only scored him so high because his wipeouts made me chuckle so hard. Besides, I can’t shoot him in the water – the dumbkopf is riding the third and most valuable of the smuggling surfboards. So I have to wait until he comes in to do the deed.” Sergei chortled. “But what do you dead guys care? Ah…”
He squinted at the horizon as another set rumbled through. Gabrielle leapt up on the first wave, easily quintuple overhead.
“Sick,” said Sergei as Gabrielle drove off the bottom and carved off the top. “Girl got game.”
“Ooh,” Sergei nodded as Pipe paddled for the next wave, bigger and deeper, grinning like a pack of jokers.
“Furrrrk,” Sergei muttered as Pipe free-fell out of the lip. With inches to spare, Pipe pulled up into a cavernous tube big enough to hold a factory of rocket launchers. Sergei slapped his thigh. “Ya, the Welshman is definitely winner.” He hoisted his rifle and peered through the telescopic sights at the figure racing behind the curtain. “He has earned a swift, clean death – unlike the Englishman.”
Sergei’s finger squeezed the trigger.
Just as Pipe emerged from the barrel, a bullet whizzed past his nose.
Sergei staggered, a look of horror spreading on his face to match the blood spreading through his shirt. He turned slowly. “Duffoir?” he gasped. “The chauffeur?”
“That’s Agent Duffoir,” said Duffoir, his first words in this series.
As soon as he heard the first shot, Doggie pulled back from the last wave in the set. He peered down the line, just as Gabrielle flicked out. “Nnnno!” Doggie cried.
“The creepy freak shot Pipe!”
Seconds later, Pipe popped over the back of his beast. “Pipe! He’s alive!” Doggie sighed with relief, then felt his bowels contract. I’m last, I know I’m last. This would be a great time to be a hero… But it would be an even better time to paddle like crazy around the headland! Sergei can’t shoot us all at once. He’ll… Have to pause briefly between killings!
So Doggie paddled like crazy around the headland.
Behind him, Gabrielle put her head down and paddled like crazy around the headland.
Furthest down the line, Pipe did the likewise crazy paddle thing.
On shore, Duffoir waved his arms and cried, “Wait!”
Over the roar of waves, his voice was drowned out. Not Pipe, nor Doggie, nor Gabrielle looked back, or felt the slightest urge to. They just paddled like they’d never paddled before, expecting a bullet to explode their skulls at any second.
* * *
Duffoir chased after the surfers around the rocks of the headland, waving his gun. But deep fissures in the headland slowed his path. Eventually, he could only proceed by leaping into the giant, freezing surf and swimming after them. He showed his excitement at that prospect with his fourth word this series: “Damn.”
By the time he doubled back and crossed over the top of the headland, Pipe, Doggie and Gabrielle were gone.
* * *
Doggie felt concerned for his friends, but also too exhausted to keep paddling without a rest. So, behind the shelter of the headland, Doggie paused, and looked back. “Woo,” he hooted weakly when he saw Gabrielle and Pipe paddling grimly toward him. “Congratulations, Pipe,” smiled Doggie. “You bastard.”
“Yeah,” Pipe smirked. “I kicked your fat backside.”
“You thoroughly deserved to be shot.” Doggie grinned. “But I’m stoked we’re all still alive, just the same!”
“Shut up!” Gabrielle sobbed.
“Chicks,” Doggie muttered in a soft voice. “Who can figure their moods?”
Gabrielle shot him a glare that would melt an iceberg. “Yes, we’re alive. But don’t you remember what Sergei ranted? After us, he said he would murder my imprisoned family.”
“That’s tough,” Doggie patted her shoulder. “What a pity we couldn’t get there first and rescue your family.”
“You’re wonderful!” Gabrielle suddenly beamed. “That’s a great idea!”
“Er… I am? It is?”
“Yes! My family are being held not far from here. We could get there before Sergei!
“Heh…” Doggie glanced at Pipe for support.
Doggie moved in closer to Gabrielle. “Um… we can hardly launch a rescue mission dressed in steamers and booties.”
“Oh yes we can!” Gabrielle splashed water with joy. She pointed to an island on the horizon. Even from this distance – several kilometres – the island looked ominous, with fortifications hanging over the Bay of Biscay.
Doggie gulped. “You want us to paddle out there?”
“Yes! Thank you for your brilliant idea! If we are swift, we can paddle there before Sergei drives to the nearest port and catches a boat out there… to Hell Island.”
“Hell Island?” Doggie double gulped.
“Is aptly named,” Gabrielle nodded darkly. “I often listened in to Sergei’s phone conversations, back at the mansion. This is what I learned. Hell Island is home to one of Europe’s biggest criminal masterminds. It is a shard of granite dominated by a Medieval castle fort, as you can see. There’s supposed to be a small harbour on the east side of the island. It’s heavily guarded, of course. I’m sure the criminals out there believe the only way to get onto their island is via the harbour. But with our surfboards, we can sneak onto the island on the rocky west side – and rescue my family!”
“Woah, woah, woah.” Doggie held up his hands. “So, your plan is this: if we survive being pounded by 15 feet waves on a rocky island, we then have to break into a fort and face a castle full of heavily armed criminals, to pull off an impossible rescue before my balls enter a new Ice Age?” Doggie giggled nervously.
“Precisely,” Gabrielle smiled and sobbed at the same time. “And you’re right. It is cold. I’m feally really really nippy.” She wriggled. “We should get paddling before we catch hypothermia.”
“Hypothermia,” muttered Pipe. “Isn’t that where you get so cold you start making irrational, even crazy decisions?”
“Very nippy indeed…” Doggie drooled. “Okay, I’m in.”
“Me too,” Pipe. “I’ve got the full irrational thing happening. As long as our next plan is to rescue my beloved kombi.”
“Great,” said Doggie. “As long as we get a pizza when we’re done.”
“Deal,” laughed Gabrielle.
With the sun snuggling toward the ocean, the three surfers began paddling toward the horizon.
Next issue: the adrenaline-bulging conclusion. At bloody last!