cloudmonet’s kim stories

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Hotel Tropica

Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Rufus, Wade Load, and Shego are characters from the Kim Possible show, created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, owned and copyright © by the Walt Disney Company. The story takes place during Spring vacation of Kim and Ron’s sophomore year of college, nearly three years after “So the Drama,” and shortly after my earlier story, “Wedding.” This story © 2006 by cloudmonet.

“Ah, señor, y bella señora, welcome to the Hotel Tropica,” said the smiling portly man behind the front counter in the spacious lobby. “I am Miguel Gomez. You are American, yes? Do you have reservations?”

“Ron and Kim Stoppable, Wednesday through Saturday night,” said the young blond man with brown eyes and freckles, wearing a red polo shirt and slightly oversized shorts with cargo pockets. His wife, Kim, a slender redhead in a cropped pink T-shirt and matching shorts, looked very cute.

“Regretfully I must ask to see your identification, you know, with the world the way it has become—”

“No problem,” said Ron, getting out his driver’s license.

“Ronald Stoppable,” the man read. “Si, si.”

“Would you rather see our passports?” asked Kim.

“Whatever is more convenient, Señora Stoppable.”

Kim handed Miguel a green wallet with the insignia of the United Nations stamped in holographic ink.

“You have one of those kind passports?” he asked quietly, opening it up to see a three dimensional hologram of Kim’s face.

“Is there a problem, señor?” asked Kim. “I do have a driver’s license, too.”

“It’s just that usually people with passports with yours are very important,” he said, handing it back to Kim.

“You’re quite right,” Ron replied with a hushed voice, showing Miguel his own U.N. passport. “We are very important. But let’s be discreet about it, if you know what I mean.”

“I understand, Señor Stoppable.”

“Call me Ron,” he said, reaching over the counter to shake Miguel’s hand. “So, we’d kind of like to settle in, if our room is ready.”

“How about I put you in room 1211? That’s the top floor of the tower, with a beautiful view of the city and the Caribbean?”

“Sounds nice,” said Kim.

“Wow!” said Kim, dancing across the carpeted floor of Room 1211 to the window. “This is beautiful, Ron. Are you sure this only costs eighty bucks a night?”

Ron reached into the cargo pocket of his shorts and pulled out Rufus, his pet naked mole rat. “It’s okay, buddy, you can come out now,” Ron said.

Rufus blinked, looked this way and that, twitched his whiskers, and curled up to sleep in Ron’s hand. Ron went into the bathroom to get a towel, which he used to make a bed for Rufus on the dresser before joining Kim at the window.

Beyond the roof of the hotel’s other wing stretched the city— other hotels, large villas with gardens, modest homes, crowded apartments, humble shacks— and behind all this the bright blue Caribbean and the pale blue sky.

“Well, it’s beautiful if I don’t think too much about last semester’s sociology class,” said Kim. “Talk about haves and have-nots!”

“I’m a little worried about Rufus,” said Ron. “Is it my imagination, or is he sleeping even more than he used to?”

“He is getting older,” said Kim. “Not that I’m worried,” she added hastily, “cause naked mole rats live pretty long for small rodents, but he may be slowing down.”

“He’s gonna be eight next fall,” said Ron, his voice dropping to a whisper. “I know I’m gonna outlive him. It’s just gonna be hard.”

“Oh sweetie,” Kim said, putting her arm around his waist. “This is no time to be sad, at least I hope not. He doesn’t seem sick, does he?”

“No, I don’t think so. It’s just kinda funny that he didn’t perk up and run all over the room exploring everything.”

“Yesterday was a big day for him. He’s probably sleeping off the wedding cake.”

“That’s true. I guess I shouldn’t worry.”

“Excuse me a moment,” said Kim, closing the bathroom door behind her.

Ron looked out the window at the view, then over at Rufus curled up and snoring on the towel. He did look a bit plumper than normal.

When Kim came out, she said, “Did you check out the hot tub?”

“Uh, not really. I mean I saw it was there.”

“Well, I want to really check it out,” she said, walking over to Ron and pulling him tightly against her. They kissed, then her nimble fingers popped the buttons near the collar of his red shirt.

“How do I look?” Kim asked. She was wearing that little black satin dress with black flowered stockings, silvery shoes, and a pearl necklace. Her makeup was subtle, just a touch of color on her eyelids and lips, a bit more on her eyelashes than usual.

“I’d probably better just describe my reaction,” Ron replied. “First my eyes expand to the size of surfboards, I loosen my collar and red hot steam erupts all around my neck, and then I pull a giant yellow mallet out of nowhere, repeatedly clubbing myself on the head while howling like a wolf.”

Kim laughed. “You’re funny, you know that?”

“I’d be even funnier if I could actually do it, but that kinda stuff’s really painful if you’re not a cartoon.”

“Don’t think that would be so appealing. Stand up.”

Ron did. He was wearing a light blue short-sleeved shirt with a collar, a white tie, and tan pants.

“You look nice, but I don’t know if we match,” she said.

“You want me to wear something darker?”

“Not sure.” She pulled him over to the big mirror beside the closet, hooked her hand around his arm. “Put on the coat and see how it looks.”

“Okay,” he said, getting the matching coat from the closet.

Kim got a big smile when he put it on. “Yeah, that’s my man,” she said, and kissed him quickly. “Let’s go have dinner.”

“So sorry, but the Moonwater Lounge is closed tonight,” said the thin man in the white jacket with the handlebar mustache.

“May we ask why?” asked Kim.

“If it’s closed, who’s inside?” asked Ron.

“A private party,” said the man. “It’s better not to be too curious. Don Carlos is a very private man. Ah, Dolores, buenos noches!”

A black haired woman in a black silk blouse and short red skirt smiled at the man and walked into the lounge.

“This tanks,” said Ron. “All dressed up and nowhere to go.”

A balding man with a gray goatee wearing a black tuxedo, escorting a young blonde woman in a little black dress with a much lower neckline than Kim’s, came to the door. “Don Vladimir, welcome,” said the doorman.

“Come on, sweetie, let’s go,” said Kim, walking Ron to a bench in the lobby with a view of the elevators.

“I know that look,” Ron said quietly. “Are we going mission-mode?”

Kim looked around to make sure no one was near before quietly saying, “I just want to see who’s coming to our resident coke lord’s little party.” Some tourists got off an elevator and walked toward the restaurant, got turned away, and walked back. They were talking among themselves about making alternate plans for dinner when the elevator opened again.

A small Asian woman stepped out, wearing a black tank top and tight black stretch pants. Kim caught a glimpse of her through the tourists, grabbed Ron and kissed him, saying, “Steve, let’s go back to our room. We can find another restaurant.”

“Bonnie, why don’t we just order take-out?” Ron replied. “Was that who I think it was?” he mumbled.

“I’m pretty sure,” said Kim.

Now a group of college students got off the elevator, and Kim pulled Ron into it, closed the door, and pressed the button for the 12th floor. They were walking down the hallway to their room when the kimmunicator beeped, dot dot dadot!

The face of an old enemy who was now at least probably an ally appeared on the kimmunicator screen as Kim sat on the edge of the bed. She was sitting outside in a garden, maybe somewhere on the grounds of Crocodile Jack’s zoo, where her husband worked, building miniature robot cameras and other gear for Jack’s wildlife show.

“Hey, princess,” said the smiling black-haired woman formerly known as Shego. “Just called to congratulate you and your hubby. Hope the wedding was everything you wanted it to be.”

“Hey, Sheila,” Kim replied. “It was— it was wonderful.”

“But now you’ve got a problem.”

“You can tell? Looks like I’ve got at least one drug lord and his lackeys, a Russian crime boss, and worst of all, Wanda Hu Khan, staying in the same hotel.”

“May I ask which hotel?”

“It’s called the Hotel Tropica, it’s on—”

“I know where it is, Kim,” said Sheila. “I’ve stayed there. In fact, that’s where I met my husband. Sometimes the place is a real viper’s nest. Have you fought Hu Khan?”

“Do you know her?”

“Only by rep, and the rep is harsh. She’s cold-blooded, she’s cruel, she’s everything bad you ever thought about me at my worst, and way more. Can you take her down?”

“Not sure. When Ron and I crossed paths with her before, we had help.”

“She doesn’t take prisoners, Kim,” said Sheila. “If you go down, you go out.”

“You know anything about Don Carlos or Don Vladimir?”

“Vladimir, no. Carlos Cardoza, he’s a drug lord who thinks he’s already taken over the world. He’s got enough guns and muscle that it’s hazardous to pick an argument with him.”

“Sheila, sorry, but I gotta call Wade,” said Kim.

“Don’t get yourself killed, okay?”

Sheila’s face was replaced by Wade’s face turning away from Kim’s twin brothers, Jim and Tim, to look at the webcam.

“What’s the sitch?” he asked Kim.

“I found Wanda Hu. I just hope she hasn’t found— me—”

Kim was never able to explain afterwards just what she heard in the hallway that made her grab Ron and dive over the bed just before a spray of bullets came through the door. With a “Yipe!” of fear, Rufus jumped off the towel, scurried under the bed, and dived into Ron’s coat pocket.

Suddenly every alarm in the hotel went off, some of them making noises approximating police sirens.

This stopped the bullets.

“I thought you could use a distraction, so I hacked the alarm system,” said Wade’s deep voice from the kimmunicator. “Your would-be assassins were three hispanic men. I bought you a few minutes but you’d better get out of there!”

“I hate it when the villains try preemptive strikes,” said Kim, snatching up her handbag and pulling a grappling hook gun from the big suitcase.

“That’s our escape plan? We should’ve brought the jetpacks.”

“It’s one of the newer grappling hook guns,” said Kim. “I’m not worried.” She opened the windows to the balcony. We don’t have all night. Come here.” Ron sat beside her on the railing.

“Hang on!”

She wrapped her left arm tightly around him and they jumped. About two seconds later she fired her grappling hook down into the crown of a landscaping tree. In the third second Kim and Ron were swinging under the tree. Kim released the cord and they flew through the air, coming to a near stop just above the flat roof of the three-story wing.

“Our motorcycle’s in the parking lot over there,” Kim said. “Unfortunately, the Moonwater Lounge has windows facing both the garden and the parking lot. Someone may have seen our little stunt and guessed we’re on the roof here. We gotta move.”

They ran down the middle of the roof to the back of the building, where it angled toward the tower, and lowered themselves to the ground with the second grappler rope. They hurried through the shadows of the trees behind the parking lot, crouched behind cars till they were near the stealth bike.

“You drive, Ron,” said Kim, putting on her helmet and sitting behind him.

“I suppose we’re going to the jet,” he said.

“Yeah, but not too directly. Head for the harbor.”

Ron eased the bike out of the parking lot and onto the main camino that led toward the harbor. It was a warm evening, with light traffic.

Kim was talking to Wade about Don Carlos Cardoza, Vladimir Ruwenzorchovsky, and Hu Khan. Don Carlos, they agreed, was the one calling the shots, literally, but Wade didn’t have any internet buddies in that part of Venezuela, and had no idea, for example, whether the cops were in Cardoza’s pocket.

“I thought you’d be calling me back,” said Sheila. “Whoa! You’re on the street somewhere.”

“Some of Cardoza’s henchmen shot through my hotel room door, just moments after you signed off,” said Kim. “I don’t know how I knew it was coming, but I got myself and Ron out of the way.”

“I’m not surprised. Nobody can hit you with anything! You’re psychic, or something. For a common criminal, he’s pretty uncommon, and must have been in a hurry. It’d be more his style to get control of your jet and your bike before ordering a hit attempt.”

“Who can I trust around here, if anyone?”

“Hard to say.”

“Well, who can I definitely not trust?”

“Back in the day, most of the people in the Hotel Tropica, most of the town police. But that was changing some by the last time we stayed there, so I’m not sure.”

“Remember how the desk clerk guy, Miguel Gomez, didn’t seem to like our UN passports?” said Ron.

“Gomez? You’re kidding!” said Sheila.

“He’s one of Cardoza’s men?” asked Kim.


“Kim, flashy red lights in the rearview.”

“Uh oh!” said Kim. “Slow down, yeah, pull over. If he’s not legitimate, I’ll make him wish he was. Wade!”

His face appeared on a split screen with Sheila’s.

“We’re getting pulled over by a local cop who may be pro-Cardoza.”

“You want jammed police radios?”

“Please and thank you.”

Ron pulled over into an empty parking place. A black and white police car with an old style revolving red light on the roof pulled behind them, and a beefy man with an automatic rifle walked over to the stealth bike and began speaking in Spanish.

“Soy Americana,” said Kim. “No comprendo.”

“Un-no moment-o, por favor,” said Ron, distorting the pronunciation toward English. He got off the bike and pulled a phrase book from a storage compartment, and read the Spanish phrase for, “Pardon me, officer, what seems to be the trouble?”

“Better let me read it,” said Kim, taking the book from Ron’s hands.

“Show me your passports, Yankees,” the officer said in heavily accented English.

Kim got hers from her handbag.

“Why you have thees kind passport?”

“It’s supposed to be good everywhere, guaranteed by the UN, impossible to counterfeit,” Kim replied.

“They don’t give thees kind to jest anyone, Señora Stoppable, as I am sure you know. Why they geeve you thees?”

“We just came here to spend our honeymoon at a nice tropical resort,” said Kim. “We had no idea it was some villain’s lair. I don’t appreciate having to dodge bullets shot through my hotel room door, or being pulled over by the police while my husband and I are fleeing for our lives.” She aimed the kimmunicator at the officer.

“Geeve me that telefono.”

Kim passed it to him. “Won’t do you any good. Your image is already recorded by my dispatcher in America. If anything happens to me, Global Justice will find you.”

“You meesunderstand me, Señora Stoppable. I mean you no harm,” the officer said, and tried to use his radio, but got Diana Ross and the Supremes singing, “Baby, baby, where did our love go,” on every channel. He cursed in Spanish, then asked Kim and Ron, “What ees thees?”

“Classic Motown,” Ron replied. “Wade just loves that sweet soul music.”

“Thees is jamming the seegnal,” the officer said, throwing the kimmunicator to the pavement and stomping on it with his right boot.

With two punches and a flip, Kim had the officer on the ground, but before she could retrieve the kimmunicator, a big black car came roaring toward the scene. Kim grabbed Ron and slid across the hood of the police car and tumbled to the ground just as a spray of bullets from the black car ripped through the police car’s windows.

Kim ran around behind the police car, expecting to see the officer badly wounded or dead, but he was just gone, as was the kimmunicator. Kim hopped on the stealth bike, Ron got behind her, and the moment he put his hands on her hips, the bike took off, skidding around a sharp corner at about fifty miles an hour just as another spray of bullets came at them, from the missing officer. Either he wasn’t that good a shot, or didn’t anticipate Kim’s wild turn. “You okay, Ron?”

“I’m thinkin’ we better get off the streets.”

Kim made another couple of turns, and was back on the camino, dodging wildly around cars, running red lights, somehow managing not to hit anything. In moments they were turning into the parking lot for a marina and seafood restaurant. She stopped at the edge, hopped off the bike and looked down. “Bad news,” she said. “It’s low tide.”

“The boats are floating,” said Ron.

Kim and Ron walked the stealth bike over to the locked gate. Kim fumbled through her handbag for the other keyring, and stuck the skeleton key into the gate’s lock. It took about half a minute for the key’s cybertronic actuators to configure to the lock, then Kim turned the key, and opened the gate. They walked the bike in, locked the gate, and went down the ramps to the docks.

Instead of driving off the end of a dock, converting to jetski in midair and making a splash which might draw attention, they converted the bike on the dock, pushed it into the water, and climbed on. With lights out, they slowly and smoothly moved across the harbor.

“Okay,” said Kim. “We’ve got no friends here, an unknown number of enemies, no kimmunicator, one grappling hook and line left, my ring laser, some knockout gas that looks like lip gloss, whatever’s in the stealth bike’s storage—”

“Two grappling hook guns fully loaded with three hooks and lines, two night vision goggles.”

“Any blue foam?”

“I’m thinking of making it a rule to always pack some. There also could be some stuff in there left over from Kansas City, like extra rope or lasers or something.”

“Okay, we’re better off than I thought. We still need a safe place to hide till Wade gets help to us.”

“It’s spring break,” said Ron. “Look for college students.”

“Beach party,” Kim replied.

The jetski picked up speed, skimming the water. Kim steered clear of any lights on the water, and stayed well offshore till there were few lights on land. Then they couldn’t see the shadow of land at all, even in the bright moonlight, and turned to move closer to it. Eventually a shadowy line of mangroves became visible, with lights scattered here and there.

Kim steered toward an orange flicker, which soon became visible as a campfire on the beach. “Here’s hoping,” she said, beaching the jetski, taking off her helmet, and walking toward the fire, where two shirtless dark-skinned men were playing conga drums and a blonde woman in a blue bikini was dancing. Ron followed.

There was a couple in the shadows on the other side of the fire, the woman laying on her stomach on a blanket, the man apparently giving her a massage.

“Hey,” said Kim.

“Hey,” the blue bikini girl replied, gracefully turning to face Kim and Ron as the conga drummers stopped. “Nice dress.”

“Thanks. I’m Kim, this is my man, Ron.”

“Dude, you look like reruns of Miami Vice,” said one of the drummers.

“Ya think?” asked Ron

“A suit on a jetski? Gotta be Miami Vice.”

“Don’t pick on the turistas,” said the blue bikini girl. “Where you from, Kim? I’m Suzy Q from Kalamazoo!” She laughed. “Seriously, my name really is Sue.”

The drummers sang, “Oh Suzy Q, baby I love you,” in unison.

“Ron and I go to Northwestern State,” said Kim.

“The boys are Snooder and Julio, I forget where they’re from, and I forget the lovey-dovey couple’s names.”

“Is it safe here?” asked Kim. “I mean, do you ever get bothered by cops or bad people?”

“Naaah,” said Snooder.

“It’s cool here,” said Julio. “Venezuela’s cool.”

“Not exactly our experience so far, but we’re willing to give it another chance,” said Ron.

“I am so sick of being shot at,” said Kim. “I just wanted to dress up, have a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant, dance with my husband, and go back to the room and do honeymoon stuff.”

“Even the cop shot at us,” said Ron.

“That’s heavy duty!” said Snooder. “Who? Why?”

“I can usually handle heavy duty, too,” said Kim. “But I’m not dressed for fighting, and left my anti-gun weapons in the jet.”

“You’re kidding, right?” said Suzy Q.

“She’s Kim Possible,” said Ron, “or she was before we got married. You know, the teen hero, or she was before her twentieth birthday. But she’s still the same person and still a hero. Seems like Señor Carlos Cardoza, the cocaine lord, was another guest at the Hotel Tropica, and I guess he thought we were there to bust him, and put out a hit on us.”

“Fortunately, we’re not that easy to hit,” said Kim.

Suzy walked closer, looking carefully at Kim’s face and hair. “The Kim Possible who stopped the diablo robots, who found the pipeline workers in a blizzard, who swung under a flying airplane to free the landing gear, really, that’s you? Gotta be! Your hair, your face, your eyes— I’m acting creepy! I should be cool.”

Kim curled both her hands in a come closer gesture, and gave Suzy a solid hug. “You can’t imagine how much I appreciate meeting a fan right now!”

“I’m not creepy? Oh, good.”

The other young woman pulled on a big T-shirt and stepped into the light of the fire. Her hair was brown and wavy. “Hi, Kim, hi, Ron,” she said. “I’m Mitzi, and this is my friend Rick. We’re from Akron.”

“Do any of you have a satellite phone I can use for a moment? I’ll fix it so you won’t have to pay anything.”

“Wait a moment,” said Mitzi, going back over to her backpack and pulling out a small plastic object. “I haven’t used this since we got here, but it should work.” She opened it up, pressed a button, and heard the Temptations singing, “Papa was a rolling stone, wherever he laid his hat was his home.”

“That’s not my ring,” she said. “I don’t understand.”

“I do, and I think I can get around this,” Kim said, pressing a long sequence of numbers, after which there was a pause, then Stevie Wonder singing, “Ma cherie amour, pretty little thing my heart dreams for—”

“Or not,” Kim said, handing the phone back to Mitzi.

But then it rang, ding ding di-ding!

“That’s not my ring, either,” said Mitzi.

“It’s mine,” said Kim, and Mitzi handed it back to her.

“Kim, is that you?” Wade’s anxious voice asked. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. But despite your radio disruption, the cops and hit cars seemed coordinated, or else there were just a lot of them. I don’t know if I dare approach the airport.”

“I can update you on that. By the second song of my Motown broadcast, cars were fleeing the hotel in random directions, and the parking lot of the nearest police station. I had no way to tell which cars were important, no way to track them all, even with the closest E Phase Hydra satellite. I lost Cardoza, Ruwenzorchovsky, and Hu Khan.”

“Not your fault, Wade. They were way paranoid already, to shoot at me based on— what? My level three UN passport? Wanda Hu Khan seeing me in the lobby? Now I seriously want to know what they were up to. Carlos Cardoza, Kim Stoppable’s coming back to kick your butt.”

“You should know, Global Justice refuses to get involved, for complex political reasons,” said Wade. “Betty noted that situations like this are one reason informal agents like you and Ron are allowed to operate, but advised against taking action without massive backup, and suggested the DEA might be interested in Cardoza.”

“If one young couple in a hotel is enough to spook them, and they’ve got as much local support as they seem to, the DEA’s gonna need an invasion to catch them. That’s not happening.”

“No,” Wade agreed.

“Okay, diminished expectations. How ’bout putting Cardoza on my ‘to be busted later’ list and trying to get the plane back?”

“You got a plan?”

“I’ll think of something. Kim out.”

“You are heavy duty,” said Snooder.

“First thing we need is action clothes,” said Kim. “Do any of you have T-shirts and shorts that would more or less fit me and Ron?”

Rick, Mitzi, and Suzy Q dug stuff out of their backpacks.

Kim went into the bushes, and came out moments later wearing tight jean cutoffs and a white T-shirt with a picture of a surfer riding a wave. She did a couple of cartwheels, tumbles, punches and kicks. “Ah, this feels better,” she said.

Ron came out wearing somewhat looser cutoffs and a T-shirt with with a sailboat on it. “Now for the crucial test,” he said, pulling a sleepy Rufus out of his suit coat pocket and dropping him in a pants pocket.

“Hey, what?” Rufus seemed to chatter, popping his head out of the somewhat tight pocket with annoyance.

“Don’t squirm, buddy, that tickles.”

“Dude, you need some ghetto shorts with bigger pockets,” said Snooder, standing up and dropping off his pants. He did have boxers underneath.

“Uh, er, okay,” said Ron, putting Rufus on his shoulder and carrying the larger shorts into the bushes. He came back wearing them, and handed the cutoffs to Snooder, who pulled them on nonchalantly.

“Are those gonna stay on you?” asked Kim.

“Well, see, I take the belt from my suit pants and— viola!” he said, deliberately substituting this for voila.

“Hmm,” said Kim, putting her hands on Ron’s hips and giving the baggy shorts a jerk. The belt held. “Guess they’re okay.”

“What do you think, Rufus?” Ron asked, gently dropping him into a cargo pocket.

“Uh huh, uh huh,” he replied, and dropped out of sight.

“So what’s the plan, KS?”

“KS? That brought a shiver to my heart,” said Kim. “Let’s— let’s stay here for the night and deal with the airport tomorrow morning. I’m hungry, I’m tired. I could fight if I had to, but I’ll fight better if I get some sleep. In daylight, there’ll be more people around. Maybe the villains won’t get so freaky.”

“We got food,” said Julio, pointing to a large cooking pot with a lid sitting on rocks on the other side of the fire. “Beach chowder.”

“Beach chowder?” asked Ron.

“We dug up some clams, scored some taro, added storebought veggies and spices, cooked it all day. It’s mighty good,” said Julio.

Suzy Q used the ladle handle to lift up the lid.

“Hey, that does smell good,” said Kim.

Suzy handed them each a plastic bowl and spoon. “Help yourself. Wash ’em out when you’re done.”

Julio and Snooder started drumming again, Suzy Q resumed dancing, and Rick and Mitzi shook the sand out of their blanket, and moved a little farther away from the fire.

“I forget,” Ron said quietly. “Are clams kosher?”

“Ron, you eat ham sandwiches and pork chops,” said Kim.

“Yeah, but those are good.”

Kim started spooning chowder into her mouth. “Thanks, guys, this is really good,” she said, loud enough to be heard over the drumming.

Ron cautiously sipped a spoonful of liquid with a slice of carrot. “What’s stronger, hunger or belly flips?” he muttered. “I think hunger’s winning, but just barely.”

Kim went over to Ron’s suit coat and went through the pockets, returning with two packages of diablo sauce. “Try it with these?” she suggested.

“Yeah, baby,” he said, giving her a kiss. He ripped open both packages and stirred the sauce into his bowl of chowder. He cautiously tasted a spoonful, then began wolfing it down. “That’s just what it it needed!”

Kim smiled at her husband and continued eating her own bowl of chowder.

Before long, they were rinsing their bowls in the surf, and dancing to the drumming by the fire.

“Well, we did have dinner and dancing,” Ron said, spreading the beach blanket they borrowed from Julio on the sand under a palm tree.

Kim sat beside Ron and started unsnapping and unzipping her borrowed cutoffs.

“What are you doing?” Ron whispered.

“What do you think?” she replied.


Kim’s next argument was a kiss firmly applied to Ron’s lips.

Kim woke in Ron’s arms in full daylight to the sound of a jet coming in for a landing, and frantically began pulling on clothes. The small black jet with KP monogrammed on the tail didn’t look so small, touching down on pontoons a little ways off shore.

“I hope this is a rescue and not an attack,” said Kim, flipping the switch on the jetski to turn it into the stealth bike, just in case.

“Kim! Kim!” shouted Mitzi, waving her arms and running across the beach.

Ron had his boxers on, at least, and was working on the ghetto pants.

Kim ran toward Mitzi, who held up the satellite phone, saying, “You got a call from Sheila. Is that really your jet?”

After thanking their friends on the beach, Kim and Ron rode the jetski out to the jet and pushed it up the ramp.

“Welcome aboard, princess,” said Sheila, who was sitting in the pilot’s chair wearing black stretch pants and a green peasant blouse over her big pregnant belly. “I understand Don Carlos and the boys were giving you a bad time in villainsville and you want your jet back. Nice ride, by the way. Custom?”

“How on earth did you get here?” asked Kim.

“Guess I didn’t have time to tell you I was just a few hundred miles away, up the Orinoco River with Drake, Jack and Kate, who are trying to film a show about orinoco crocodiles. So far they’ve found plenty of caimans, but no crocs. That’s how it goes. Since I was so near, I was Wade’s obvious choice for this job. Well, he wasn’t so sure, but hey, I just walked right into the airport and flew the jet away, and you can’t argue with results.”

“You just stole my plane?” Kim asked.

“Piece of cake. You won’t turn me in, will you?” Sheila picked up her communicator. “Yo! Number one. Plasma babe here. Wanna talk to Rose Red?” She handed it to Kim.

“Hey, Kim,” said Wade. “I guess everything’s okay.”

“Except for my pride. The bad guys got away.”

“On the bright side, I got your money back from the Hotel Tropica. They didn’t fuss about it.”

“The bad guys got away because a lot of folks don’t think they’re so bad,” said Sheila. “A lot of their drug money builds schools, fixes bridges, buys food, stuff the locals need that the government neglects. Not that Cardoza isn’t a murderous paranoid idiot for reacting to you that way, and I fully understand if you want to take him down.”

“I know the world’s not as black and white as I used to think,” said Kim. “Cardoza’s probably not so bad that taking him down is worth a war. But if he ever messes with me like that again, he won’t find me unprepared.”

“Next time you want a vacation in some exotic place, ask me if it’s cool, okay? I could’ve saved you a lot of trouble.”

“Got any recommendations?” asked Ron.

“Well, the place I’m staying is plenty nice, swimming pool, palm trees, beautiful tropical garden, private hot tubs—”

“Any resident drug lords?” asked Ron.


“How about nice restaurants with live bands?” asked Kim.

“Friday and Saturday night. You like salsa or samba?”

“Sounds good. Let’s go,” said Kim. Sheila started the engines, and Kim’s black jet skimmed the surface of the Caribbean and rose into the morning sky.

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