Eminem vs. Daft Punk – Without Me/Robot Rock mash-up…
“I can’t quite reach!”
My arms strain downwards, even though I’m aware of the proximity of those crocodile jaws. Reptilian eyes flicker my way, in typical cold-blooded apathetic curiosity, from the others in the water.
I’m just not tall enough.
“Seriously?” Carvery asks from the deck of the ship above me, shifting his grip slightly on my ankle. “Stop being such a pussy. Where’s your spunk, Sarah?”
“I’m going to throw up again, right on the back of your head this time,” Ace grumbles. His hands around my other ankle definitely have that morning-after-booze clamminess about them, and pressing his admittedly intimidating washboard stomach so hard on the railings is evidently doing him no good either. “If that helps at all.”
“I need something to help me reach and grab hold of it with!” The leather-bound diary hovers just out of my grasp, teetering on the knobbly spine of the nearest man-eating leviathan.
“Like what?” Carvery asks.
“Like a…” All I can think of at the moment are the array of Forensics instruments at University. “A… a reticulum – no, speculum… er…”
“God, Sarah – speak English!” Ace groans.
“Forceps?” suggests Carvery. “I think you’ll find the others are a bit less on the grabby side, and more in the openy-outy scheme of things.”
I don’t want to know how he’s so informed about those… But as I stretch my fingers in a completely futile effort, I do have a brainwave.
“The special clockwork hand!” I call up to them. “Pass it down to me!”
“Oh, no,” Carvery grins. “Not that old trick.”
“Well, have you got anything else?” I challenge. “Come on, it’s important. The diary came with it. I don’t think one of them has any significance without the other!”
Carvery hesitates, and then reaches into a pocket. The golden bejewelled clockwork hand emerges, and flashes in the early-morning sunlight.
“Aargh,” he reacts. “Now I’m blind as well. Damn thing’s glowing like a furnace!”
Rubbing his eyes on his sleeve first, he holds it out to me, and I extend one arm back up to my hip, to retrieve it.
He’s right. It’s dazzling. The cut gemstones set into the back and the knuckle joints seem to be lit up by the sun. I have to turn my head aside, as I use it to try and reach the diary.
“Watch it, Sarah,” Ace warns. “I think you might have company coming your way.”
I try to look around to identify the danger, and there is a splish-sploshing in the water. I see a brown scaly body roll, as another larger one crawls leisurely across it, making stepping-stones towards me, out of the others of its species.
Looks like somebody thinks I’m being served up for breakfast…
The fingertips of the metal hand just about graze the leather cover of the book.
“I need more time!” I call out, desperately. “Can’t you guys distract it?”
“Could give it a warning shot,” Carvery says grudgingly, and his free hand appears over the side of the ship again, holding the shotgun. “But I can’t see fuck all right now, with that sun-strike I just got. You’ll have to tell me where to aim, Ace.”
“Depends on what you want to shoot,” Ace remarks.
Oh, God… I try another lunge for the book. The crocodile it’s sitting on the back of has drifted slightly beyond my reach. I pray for a small wave to wash it nearer to the ship again.
“I could just fire over his head, or in front of his snout,” Carvery suggests. “Tell me when I’m about lined up…”
I wonder how many more stupid ways there are that I could be risking my life this morning, other than rescuing an elderly zombie’s diary off the back of a crocodile, assisted by a hung-over breaker’s yard mechanic, and a serial psychopath who owns a suspect paving and concreting business. Currently blinded and waving a gun around somewhere over my head, while suspending me inverted over the side of a ship…
And what’s with this clockwork hand thing? Even in daylight, it’s lit up like Times Square…
It gives me an idea, and I twist it a little, sending beams of reflected sunlight across the water. One or two idly-onlooking crocodiles flinch.
Now, all I need is that next wave to bring the book closer…
“Up a bit…” I hear Ace say to Carvery. “Whoa, wait. Something’s coming…”
“What do you mean, something?” I squeak. I scrabble to reach the diary. Damn! Still too far away!
“Another vessel,” Ace reports.
A shadow seems to blot out the sun, but the diamonds on the clockwork hand stay bright, so that I have to squint in their glare, still hanging upside-down.
I crane my neck and try to recognise the shape, drifting silently upriver towards us. It’s bigger than Crispin’s paddle-steamer, and as the sun illuminates it from behind, I can see it has the blood-red sails of the ship in the painting.
“I still can’t see,” Carvery remarks. “Do you want me to shoot something, or what?”
I look around frantically. The larger croc makes another pass over one of its mates, in my direction. The scattered lights of the clockwork hand have no impact on it.
“Yes, please,” I squeal.
“Ahhhh.” I suddenly hear the impassive zombie monotone of Crispin’s voice, as he appears on our side of the deck. “I see Mother’s barge has deigned to join us.”
There is a buzz of smaller boats also approaching, and the crocodiles start to disperse, disturbed by the new noises and vibrations through the water.
Not the big croc though. He’s still focused on his Sarah Bellum kebab, hanging from the side of the paddle-steamer. The fangs bare, ready for snapping shut on the first pizza-delivery-girl-flavoured morsel…
“Crispin!” I call desperately. “Help!”
I feel his cold undead hand grasping me below the knee, and before I get any closer to either Death or the diary, I’m pulled abruptly back up the side of the ship.
“Nooo…” I moan, defeated.
Not even the empty clack of the crocodile’s jaws closing on thin air below me is a relief. The three guys deposit me back on deck, and I collapse in a miserable heap.
“Did you get it?” Carvery asks, still rubbing his eyes and blinking.
“No,” I cry, all the more distressed as Crispin, the only gentleman of the three, picks me up and dusts me down reassuringly. I try not to be distracted, and shove the sparkling family heirloom under his nose. “Crispin, we found the clockwork hand. But there was a book with it – and it’s gone over the side, with the crocodiles, look…”
We all glance downwards.
The leather-bound diary still sits tauntingly on the fat crocodile, drifting now even further away from us on the current.
“We have to get it back!” I say, but I can hear my own uncertainty. “Can’t we?”
Crispin takes the clockwork hand and turns it over and over, as bemused by it as I am.
My heart sinks. I thought he’d know what to do about it at once.
As we look across the water again, a small boat orbiting the bigger ship zips by – and a figure reaches out as it passes, snatching the diary from its resting-place on the crocodile.
“Chavs,” Ace grunts, shading his eyes beside me. And then leans over the side, and promptly throws up again.
“Oh, yesss,” Crispin says after a moment, his voice as leaden as the inside of a coffin. “We will most certainly get it back, Sarah Bellummm.”
The digital edition Sarlacc Pit scene from ‘Return of the Jedi’ – Enjoy 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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