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Episode Thirty-Eight - BARRACUDA

Copyright © 2002 - 2006 Arthur Jarvinen

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Clever, resourceful, determined, and well-connected fellow that he is, Mustaccio, through a series of discreet inquiries and insightful deductions - and with the aid of a little palm grease - managed to learn of The Invisible Guy's trip to Judea and follow his trail all the way to Golem Heights and the lair of the infamous Mordechai Motz. A day late and a dollar short, however; The Invisible Guy had already hightailed it outta there.

Disappointed, to be sure, but not defeated, and determined to complete this, his most important assignment to date, the intrepid Mustaccio picked up the scent again and continued in deadly pursuit of his elusive quarry.

"If I found him once, I can find him again – and hey, I got a tongue bath out of the deal!"

And so it is that we find Mustaccio in full scuba gear - including booties, hood, and gloves, as these waters, though warm enough to dive in year round, are still never warm enough for only a partial wet suit – in the kelp-rich waters just off shore of the Inevitably Exploding Island, maintaining a safe distance and keeping The Invisible Guy just at the edge of his visibility, which is to say about thirty feet.

Okay, so this ain't Cozumel. Not Belize. Not Cancun. Not Hawaii. Not Truk Lagoon either. Okay already – it's probably somewhere in Southern California!!! The point is, they're under water – somewhere.

“What the?!” Mustaccio suddenly blurts out loud, sending a torrent of bubbles out of his regulator as he watches hundreds of jellyfish descend upon and surround The Invisible Guy. In the comfort of his protective living halo, The Invisible Guy swims calmly towards the nearby shore.

“Auugh!” Mustaccio suddenly cries out in pain. “Mo Fo!, it bit my ass!”

“Auugh!” Mustaccio cries out again, as another piece is taken out of his wetsuit, and a little from his hide as well.

As fate would have it, The Invisible Guy happens to be using a Dräger rebreather and so is traveling almost silently under the dark water. Mustaccio however is using plain old-fashioned scuba - and not very efficiently it may be added - and is so gurgling and bubbling and making quite a racket as far as the denizens of the deep are concerned. Especially Mojo Stang’s school of robotic barracuda, programmed to hone in on the sound of scuba regulators and the smell of neoprene. To Mustaccio’s chagrin they’re coming at him from all sides now, chompin’ on his bum and rendering quite a bit of physical and emotional discomfort unto him.

“Man, this just sucks, I mean it. Ow! Mo Fo! Quit biting my ass!

Mustaccio fires his CO2 powered speargun at one of the creatures, succeeding only in making it mad, in an electro-mechanical, armor-plated sort of way, then drops the ineffective weapon, turns, and swims as fast as he can into open water and relative safety as The Invisible Guy, oblivious to the commotion behind him, makes his exit onto the sandy beach.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Claude, just around the bend, pulls his skiff onto the shore, then splashes a bit of Absolut into his Clamato before taking a reading on his pocket compass.

Barrcuda plate courtesy of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. This is a cool resource, because they have lots of information and great photos you can use for free.

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