Shark Bait

Seconds after the anchor chain tumbles into Biscayne Bay, two women on the sun deck strip down to thong bikinis and start lubing their bare breasts with coconut oil. A surfer dude in laser-green swim trunks cuts the air with a rebel yell and somersaults from the top of the shark cage to the water 30 feet below. Enter Ron McManmon, architect of hedonism. He turns up the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction and loads a first round of Italian sausages onto the cavernous barbecue grill.

The maiden voyage of the Gulf Stream Falcon is edging smoothly toward blissdom, thanks to the handpicked fashion models, musclemen, and extreme-water-sports enthusiasts aboard this 110-foot customized dive boat. For McManmon, however, the success of the outing has been compromised. An hour earlier, with whitecapped waves running four to six feet and guests getting queasy on the stern, he had to turn back from the edge of the continental shelf and cancel the scuba portion of today's junket.

Now, the ship at anchor, revelers jump into kayaks and wobble away from the swim platform to explore Flagler Memorial Island off Miami Beach. The windsurfing gear is at the ready. Squads of Jet Skiers stop by to visit, and so do friends on sailboats and fishing skiffs. McManmon has a lot of friends. The margaritas flow. By sundown the party will reach a Bacchanalian transcendence that survives, in some measure, the next day's hangovers and sunburns.

But today the shark cage remains on deck, chained to the cargo boom on the port side. The dozen spear guns stay sheathed. It will have been a party, but not an extreme party. Ron McManmon will have no particular stories to add to the treasure trove of tales that lurk behind his hazel eyes and hawk nose. None, for example, like the one about how a 38-year-old Buddhist beach boy wearing elephant-skin boots and a silver mermaid pendant got hold of a million-dollar commercial dive boat in the first place.

Expedition Log: 6/6/95
Everything is done on-board, so it's hard to keep entertained. Michael, Wayne, and I take one of our many walks down memory lane in good old Bimini. The local drug dealer still doesn't get it. We weren't drug addicts yesterday or the day before that, so what makes him think today we are! I suppose anyone that spends enough time in Bimini eventually turns into one.

Anyway, Michael had a good suggestion. We stop at the Compleat Angler for a beer. What an original thought. About halfway into our beer the excitement rose when someone caught a 510-pound blue-fin tuna at Weech's Marina. We ran over to look at the angler in all his glory. I have mixed emotions. Is it food or trophy? When all of the congratulations were over and pictures had been taken, the local Bahamian butcher stepped in to carve this amazing animal. I stepped up close to see how these experienced craftsmen would perform the surgery and could not believe these stupid, revolting assholes. They chopped and hacked several hundred pounds of meat from the tuna's body. Then when they had taken their fill, they threw the rest away. Dozens of people (sheep) standing by let them toss at least a hundred pounds of meat in the water. I voiced my opinion A strongly, went and got Bad Dog, and dragged this beautiful animal from the water while marina personnel were in protest. While I wanted to reason my position (argue), I followed Michael's lead and became deliberate in my purpose. So we just took the boat in and did what we were going to do without permission. Like Mike said, 'What are they going to do, stop us?' We tried to lift the remains onto the boat but it was too heavy, so we towed it back to the Rio Grande. I then learned how to operate the crane and hoisted the remains up on the dock. Everyone soon collected on the dock, where we cut the rest up and served it to the Bahamian locals.

By late April last year, Ron McManmon was as close to blues and boredom as he'd ever been. In the preceding three decades he'd hunted everything from men to mangrove snapper, lived in eight countries, and spent more time on and under the ocean than most people spend in bed.

But driving north toward Fort Lauderdale, he knew he'd found the next entry in his resume. And right from the start, walking down the dock toward the Rio Grande, he smelled trouble. A friend had told him Caribbean Exploration Limited (CEL), a Canadian salvage firm, had sunk $1.6 million into its latest treasure hunt. Yet the Rio Grande, an 80-foot converted crew boat once used to ferry roughnecks to oil rigs, was a near wreck. Nothing worked, from the icemaker to the generators to the steering system.

Outward bound for an isolated and still-undisclosed site in the Bahamas, the ship had one unreliable radio for communication. The dive gear and excavation equipment were a joke. The ten-man crew was as green as a pitcher of beer on St. Paddy's Day. McManmon had never been treasure hunting, but he felt comfortable with his new job description: diver, deckhand, all-around handyman.

Before the Rio Grande had arrived at its destination near Orange Cay, 50 miles south of Bimini, the mission was already spinning out of control. The problem, according to former crew members, was the man hired by CEL to lead the project. Rick Meyer, a Canadian treasure hound, had shown up in Miami in September 1994 maintaining he'd found a handful of emeralds at Orange Cay -- and what he thought was the wreck of the legendary Santiago El Grande. On the basis of this claim, CEL's 350 investors signed up Meyer to return to the Bahamas and recover the mother lode from the eighteenth-century Spanish galleon. The Santiago El Grande, whose very existence is debated by scholars, is said to have sunk in a 1765 hurricane while hauling one of history's largest cargoes of gold and silver coins from Havana to Spain.

To McManmon, Meyer seemed like a cartoon version of Captain Bligh, a disorganized loudmouth whom crew members contend they once saw trying to read a chart upside down. Meyer had supposedly spotted his famous emeralds while free-diving in deep water. McManmon wondered how: Meyer smoked cigarettes incessantly, had a generous beer gut, and barely knew how to put on his dive gear. Other crew members described their leader as a Walter Mitty type who one day claimed to have been a fighter pilot, the next a submarine captain.

Like most treasure hunts since the Seventies, the Rio Grande expedition used large hoods fitted over the ship's diesel engines to direct the thrust of the propellers downward, methodically digging up the sand and coral at sites where they hoped to find centuries-old swag. But the work kept getting interrupted by hurricanes -- first Erin, then Felix.

When the expeditioners weren't killing time on-shore in Bimini waiting for better weather, they worried at sea. The threat of modern-day pirates was a serious consideration. Some of the men aboard the Rio Grande took to wearing holstered sidearms by day and sleeping with shotguns or AR-15 rifles at night. Good navigation equipment, dive gear, and excavation tools may have been scarce on-board the Rio Grande, but firearms and ammunition weren't. McManmon wondered where the rest of CEL's money was going.

When the expedition was finally able to hover over what they presumed was the Santiago El Grande site, McManmon concluded it had already been "blown" by several other treasure hunters. The team pressed on anyway, bringing in local Bahamian guides and a Canadian seismic consulting firm to map geologic anomalies that might indicate a buried ship's hull.

McManmon began to harbor serious doubts concerning Meyer, and at one point he took a principal CEL investor aside and explained his point of view. Meanwhile Meyer, who had been directing the treasure search from Bimini, suddenly left the Bahamas. Soon after that he was fired by CEL's board of advisors.

In place of Meyer, CEL made McManmon the new on-site manager, responsible for all technical aspects of the hunt. In the weeks that followed, the Rio Grande crew abandoned the Santiago El Grande site and found four other shipwrecks. Despite some tantalizing leads, none yielded treasure.

Which is not to say McManmon came back to Miami empty-handed.
"Ron just walked on-board one day in Fort Lauderdale, and thank God he did," says Peter Scully, director of operations for CEL and a successful Toronto criminal defense lawyer. "He's what everyone admires in an American. He's a can-do, right-away, I'll-look-after-it kind of guy."

In what Scully calls "an endorsement of Ron's personality and character and ability," the attorney shelled out $600,000 for a boat, plus another $225,000 for overhauls and renovation, to make a long-time dream of McManmon's come true. The two became partners in Performance Watersports, Inc.

The dream is to make the Gulf Stream Falcon South Florida's ultimate party boat, a gourmandizing, ecologically sensitive water safari that tries, on each day cruise or overnight voyage from Miami through the Keys, to expose its guests to pursuits as varied and unusual as deep breath-hold diving, big-game fishing from sea kayaks and Jet Skis, reef exploration via bubbleless rebreather devices, and -- as spectators only -- the fine art of shark rodeo.

An animal bereft of fur and scales hangs suspended 60 feet beneath the ocean surface, holding its breath in the blue-black half-light. The stovepipe legs give way to three-foot rubber fins. The spear gun adds two more yards of length. At intervals, the creature makes a muffled croak, a grunt, letting air pass through its vocal cords and into its mouth.

To wait in the woods with a weapon leads one slowly toward the heart of enervation. To wait in this place is the grist of madness. There is no cover from which to shoot, no respite from the cold. The eyes scan the edge of night 30 yards out, and ancient instincts whisper at what might be coming up fast from behind. The hunter cannot turn and look. Absolute stillness is required. Adrift in the monster Gulf Stream current, the very cells cry out for oxygen, and the will says: Wait.

And then one time in a hundred it comes. Out of a fold in the purple curtain a shape takes form, announced by panicked baitfish. The form becomes a giant tuna, or wahoo, or migrating kingfish. Curious -- perhaps it has heard a croaking sound -- it breaks off from the passing school and approaches. At ten yards the fish hesitates, then begins to circle. Halfway along in the fish's second orbit the spear pierces the flesh beneath the dorsal fin and the blue world explodes. The fish sounds. The spear goes with him, attached to a float line. The line drags the first of two buoys down from the surface. The buoy passes the hunter on his way up for air.

Some minutes later the creature without fur or scales returns, knife in hand. With a single thrust, the blade passes through the fish's brain.

Until the advent of a PBS television series called Blue Water Hunters, even the most grizzled professional fishermen were mostly unaware of a strange activity going on beneath them. Like surfing, the pursuit of big-game fish in deep ocean without scuba gear has its roots in California, South Africa, and Hawaii. And as with surfing, the unique hardships, perils, and rewards attendant to blue-water hunting bind its practitioners into a tight brotherhood.

Ron McManmon, de facto local cult leader, estimates there are no more than a dozen practicing blue-water hunters in South Florida. The sport is profoundly dangerous. With the possible exception of grizzly bear hunting, it is the only activity in modern civilian life wherein the hunter routinely becomes the hunted. The amazing size of the record game fish taken by blue-water divers - 398-pound bluefin tuna, 533-pound marlin, 102-pound wahoo, 70-pound dolphin -- is overshadowed by the amazing frequency with which the fish are eaten by sharks, the hunters' competitors.

"Basically, you're one big bait," McManmon notes.
Drowning is another common threat. At some point most blue-water hunters brush up against a phenomenon known as shallow-water blackout. An expert diver such as McManmon, holding his breath for up to three minutes and descending to 100 feet or more, can develop a false sense of comfort. The air in his lungs is compressed by the weight of the water above him, and the lungs readily provide the body and brain with oxygen. But coming back up, the diver's lungs expand, and the concentration of oxygen drops to critical levels. At ten to fifteen feet beneath the surface, where the most marked lung expansion occurs, the diver loses consciousness instantaneously, without warning, and never wakes up.

There are other dangers, such as getting tangled in a float line and suddenly finding oneself tethered to a wounded marauder who's heading for the bottom of the sea. Local blue-water hunters haunt the Gulf Stream as much as ten miles from shore, where it is far too deep to anchor. On several occasions McManmon and his partners have ascended from the briny deep to find their boat blown miles away by the wind. Even when all goes well, the sport is difficult in the extreme. Breath-hold diving burns more energy than any other activity except fast wood-chopping with an ax. McManmon says he typically makes 100 breath-hold dives during a blue-water hunting trip, but only one in every 20 to 30 outings results in a big game fish.

So why do it?
"Ron's an animal. A wild card. He does what he does," explains Michael Aruta, an occasional companion on McManmon's underwater safaris.

McManmon, a nominal Buddhist, says: "I've hunted all over the world, hunted things I would never hunt any more. From a spiritual standpoint, this is the end of the progression. It's the ultimate hunting."

"Diving has many worlds," points out Brenda Ritter, a Miami location scout who once worked for McManmon. "The bulk of sport diving is for people who go two or three times a year. You have to keep safety standards pretty high. Ron is way out at the other end of the spectrum. He's what we call an underwater cowboy."

In discussing McManmon's temperament, more than one friend cites recent media reports of a "danger gene" said to be responsible for the impulse, in a minority of humans, toward parachutes and fast cars. McManmon never knew his genetic forebears; he was adopted in 1958, shortly after his birth in Seattle. When Ron was age seven, his adoptive father, James McManmon, moved the family to Taiwan. A year later, in January 1966, the family moved again, to Laos.

It was in Laos that Ron's penchant for going to extremes began to be noticed. At age nine he roamed the streets of the capital, Vientiane, and the nearby countryside on his "primary means of transportation," a three-year-old white stallion named Misty. Around him a civil war was raging between Laotian rebels and government forces. It was a war in which his father was intimately involved.

James McManmon had come to Laos as the civilian director of operations for Air America, an integral part of the Central Intelligence Agency's five-billion-dollar covert war in Southeast Asia. While Ron's father kept the airline's planes and helicopters flying, the CIA used them to ferry refugees and Laotian hill people recruits around the country in an effort to crush the nation's communist insurgency. The airline also transported arms, ammunition, and grenades, and, to fund its efforts, smuggled tons of opium.

While his father put in long hours, Ron was roaming farther and farther afield on his horse, drawn by the sounds of battle on the outskirts of town. His mother had forbidden him to pass the city's three-kilometer limit. One day, out beyond twelve kilometers, and hiding in the jungle amid the thunder of bombs and smoke, he witnessed the destruction of an entire platoon of Laotian government soldiers. Soon after that the American compound at Vientiane -- and the entire city -- was overrun by rebels. The McManmons lived on the edge of town and managed to escape unscathed.

After a yearlong sojourn in San Francisco during the height of antiwar protests and the Summer of Love, and another in Las Vegas during the heyday of Mob control of Nevada casinos, the McManmons landed back in Asia. James McManmon was no longer rubbing shoulders with the CIA. Instead he had been invited to Rangoon to develop the international division of Union of Burma Airways. Ron found himself living in the palatial former home of a colonial British aristocrat, and spending weeks at a time on the Bay of Bengal at an isolated resort called Sandoway.

It was there that he first encountered the ocean. The only speck of civilization along miles of tropical beach and jungle was a primitive fishing village. Soon Ron was getting up hours before daybreak to paddle with fishermen in dugout canoes miles offshore. He built his first spear gun and spent hours diving on the reefs. His mother remembers having to hire one of the village fishermen to watch her son 24 hours a day. One of his first acts as a fledgling diver was to spear an eight-foot stingray, getting himself hydroplaned for what seemed like several minutes through coral and rock at breakneck speed. The villagers taught him how to hunt fowl in the jungle with a slingshot, and they gave him a leopard to raise as a pet.

In 1972 the McManmons resettled once again, this time in Katmandu, Nepal. Ron and a friend, Marty Turner, rebuilt an old Russian motorcycle and began roaming the Himalayan foothills and the Terai, or fertile plains, of the landlocked country. They also took to hanging out with wandering hordes of hash-smoking hippies at the Monkey Temple, the site of a commune that at one time boasted more than 10,000 members. Getting to the Monkey Temple involved a motorcycle sprint through an army of rhesus monkeys known for their fearsome willingness to bite.

"We attended many festivals and rituals such as the Shivaratri, an amazing sight with Shiva priests and tens of thousands of people attending to fulfill their pilgrimage," McManmon wrote to a friend. "They occupied an area called Pashupati for two weeks and, when over, it looked like what one might imagine Woodstock would look like if it lasted a decade. Animal sacrifices by the thousands, fire walking, body piercing, and a number of other bizarre occurrences."

At age fourteen McManmon led a 400-mile expedition up Gosankunda Mountain, one of the first non-native mountaineers to do so. When he came back down his parents had some bad news: Owing to the nonexistence of high schools in Nepal, he was going back to the States.

In short order McManmon dropped out of boarding school in Phoenix, and his mother enrolled him at Arizona Automotive Institute, a trade school. Somewhat surprisingly he emerged two years later with a perfect record of attendance, the awe of his teachers, and a specialty in diesel mechanics.

At seventeen, restless, McManmon joined the U.S. Marines, and so excelled during boot camp that his instructors recommended him for an elite unit responsible for the protection of diplomats and the security of sensitive weapons aboard Navy vessels. As part of this detail he received advanced Army Special Forces training in combat swimming, underwater demolitions, and jungle survival, and he led a season's worth of covert operations in the Philippines aimed at suppressing antigovernment guerrillas. Before mustering out of the Marines, he led the USS Oklahoma's pistol team and managed to earn a high school diploma and some college prerequisites, as well as to visit 23 countries.

"And then," McManmon recalls, "my life came to a screeching halt."
He got an aeronautics degree at Northrop University in Inglewood, California. He married, had a son, and soon wound up a single parent when the marriage broke up. He moved to Atlanta and worked for Mercedes-Benz as a troubleshooter.

"It was a nine-to-five job," he remembers. "I made a good living and got to drive a nice car. And something was missing."

At one point, traveling on business, McManmon discovered Florida. After a few return trips, he settled in Fort Lauderdale, then Miami. For several years he ran Team Divers, a successful scuba excursion company based at the Miami Beach Marina.

"He's done it several times," says Michael Aruta. "I believe it because I've seen it."

The first time was aboard an eight-foot nurse shark, approximately 400 pounds. A reef off Miami. Evening.

"I had noticed the shark lying on the bottom, about 60 feet down. The next thing I know, Ron's dropping down on top of him, like real fast. I guess he took him by surprise. He got the shark by the pectoral fins and wouldn't let go."

Given the fact that he was wearing an air tank, McManmon held on for about ten minutes. After a first flurry of surprise, the shark became docile. McManmon learned to guide the animal using its own fins.

On subsequent dives over the past few years, McManmon has mounted as many as a dozen nurse sharks and reef sharks and ridden them without incident. "Frankly," he shrugs, "it's gotten boring."

Now McManmon is explaining the next step in what he sees as a logical progression. The occasion is a production meeting aboard the Gulf Stream Falcon: "Our objective is to ride Class 3 animals, which means man-eaters. There are several varieties, but my choice would be large hammerheads or bull sharks. The smaller ones are no big deal but we don't want the smaller ones. We want two- to three-thousand-pound animals."

Most of the people in the ship's salon -- underwater cameramen, animal handlers, film production people, scriptwriters, potential investors -- have heard Ron talk about shark rodeo before. For some this is the first time they've heard the details and realized, with a start, that he's serious.

"Personally, I'd much rather ride a hammer than a bull," he continues. "The spearfishermen in South Africa call bull sharks zambezi and fear 'em even more than great whites. Plus the hammerhead is the most visually stimulating."

The visually stimulating shape of a hammerhead's head matters because when McManmon and his confreres finally climb onto the backs of the world's deadliest animals late this summer, they plan to do it in front of 47 million cable viewers on the syndicated Prime Network, with a cheering section of bikini-clad Irene Marie models, maybe a 900 number for viewers to call to vote for their favorite shark rider and win a free trip aboard the Falcon. And there'll be a docudrama crew there, with lots and lots of cameras to capture the pure and unprepackaged glory at the heart of the hype.

"This is going to entail tens of thousands of gallons of chum," McManmon explains. "After a day or two, once we get a good swarm going, then we bring in the ones we want to ride."

The ride will begin once the selected shark is brought close to the Gulf Stream Falcon by a diver in a shark cage distributing bait. Alternatively, the shark may be caught with hook and line, either from the boat or by underwater dive teams.

"You're not going to use a harness?" someone asks.
"We thought about that, no," McManmon notes in the reasoned voice of a zoning lawyer. "The first breath we take will be ambient air, but after that we'll be breathing with tanks. Each rider will have a 30- to 40-cubic-foot pony bottle on his back with a small regulator. He'll have a shark baton clipped to his side, safety divers in the water with bang sticks. When the shark takes off, he's going to hit upwards of 40 miles per hour."

McManmon explains that each shark rider will wear a bulletproof Kevlar vest, arm guards and leggings made from PVC (a synthetic pipe material), and a chain-mail shark suit: "You might get beat up and bleed a little, but you're not going to get a limb ripped off. Hopefully the shark will be in a defensive mode and just want to get away, not attack."

What if he's not? What if he doubles back and eats the rider? Tears his head off first, splattering human blood on those Irene Marie models?

"Well, obviously we're going to have liability waivers like this thick," McManmon says, holding his thumb and index finger two inches apart. "There aren't any guarantees."

Later on, in private, McManmon seems surprised when asked if he has a death wish. "I don't have a death wish," he contends. "I like to have fun. That's what this is about."

At the moment it's not entirely clear who McManmon plans to do it with. The likeliest candidates -- members of the small local cult of blue-water hunters and extreme divers -- back away quickly when put on the spot. "No. Hell no," says Aruta, McManmon's fishing buddy. "I'm not going to be a part of it. I don't aspire to that level of craziness. I've done lots of spearfishing in bloody waters with sharks all around me, but I never had a desire to climb on their backs."

"I'm not real fond of the idea," adds Mike Gandy, a long-time friend of McManmon's. "I'm not going to risk my life for his dream. He asked me the other day and I told him I wanted to see someone else do it first. I didn't give him a definite answer. But let's face it: You're playing with an animal that could do you some real damage."

Ron McManmon is on his way to the Bahamas to shoot scenes for the feature film Zeus and Roxanne. He'll be working under the wing of legendary Hollywood stuntman Mike Nomad, appearing as a body double for actor Steve Guttenberg. The assignment, as far as McManmon can tell, calls for diving to the ocean floor and rescuing a damsel in distress, in this case Kathleen Quinlan.

Until the plane departs, he sits in the Florida room of his house in the bayside neighborhood of Morningside in Northeast Miami. He's talking about resource conservation, how blue-water hunters with spear guns kill their prey with greater consciousness and greater selectivity than commercial fishermen and most recreational anglers. How hunting is interaction with an ecosystem, a merger of man and nature. How the lack of genuine interaction leads to a sterile brand of environmentalism A and a boring, spectator-flavored school of aquatic sport.

McManmon says he's sick of what passes for excitement in the late Twentieth Century and thinks other people are, too. He believes they're prepared to pay good money to ride the Gulf Stream Falcon, and experience his company's assault on all things humdrum via multitudinous adventure sports: tamer ones such as sea kayaking and windsurfing and water skiing; intermediate ones such as ocean parasailing and blue marlin or sailfish angling from Jet Skis; wild ones like night diving with swarms of sharks.

"One thing we plan to do is anchor over the Islamorada Hump," he relates, referring to an underwater pinnacle two miles off the middle Keys where the ocean floor rises from 800 feet below sea level to a mere 270 feet. "We're going to use the shark cage like an elevator, run it down at night with plenty of chum. It'll be spectacular."

The telephone rings and McManmon spends twenty minutes telling a Yamaha dealer why it would be a good idea to donate several Jet Skis for use by clients on the Gulf Stream Falcon. As soon as he hangs up the receiver, a movie producer calls, part of a coolly inquisitive pack of money men now circling McManmon, trying to figure out if he's for real.

More than once people have told McManmon his life story sounds like a Hollywood movie. For two years before he went treasure hunting, McManmon started paying attention to that observation. He hung around the fringes of the Miami film industry, giving away his time and energy and trying to soak up knowledge and develop contacts. Now he and a close group of friends, many of them local production professionals, are nearing a start date for a docudrama based on the exploits of McManmon and his extreme-water-sports brotherhood.

The movie falls into the netherland between feature film and documentary, a sort of South Beach version of The Endless Summer, the 1966 surfer movie that examined and celebrated the Southern California subculture and became an instant cult classic. McManmon says he will spin off footage from the docudrama into a television series along the lines of MTV Extreme, an oddball participatory sports show aimed at twentysomethings. While some of his friends think he's spreading himself too thin, McManmon claims the movie project and the charter-boat adventure business will mesh perfectly.

The story line for McManmon's movie is unabashedly autobiographical. A coterie of happy-go-lucky water wackos engage in testosterone-drenched one-upmanship in the ocean. After a night of Herculean hell-raising on South Beach, they head for Bimini aboard the Gulf Stream Falcon for an escalating aqua-joust that involves spearfishing, wreck diving, trolling from Jet Skis, and finally bareback shark riding.

The film is designed to be driven by spectacular action footage and punctuated by puerilisms such as a massive public-access food fight along Washington Avenue. "All of this," a synopsis explains, "will be combined with rowdy parties and a virtual plethora of beautiful, near-perfect, bikini-clad women along for the ride."

A treatment -- a detailed outline -- has already been written, and a full-fledged script is on the way. McManmon says he's negotiating with several different investors, and has firm commitments from one TV distributor. He's not bothered by the fact that the movie absolutely requires him to offer an animal the size of a pickup truck the golden opportunity to eat him alive on camera. The climax vanishes without it. The plot falls apart.

When the money men materialize and McManmon's weird, sweet life finally moves toward celluloid glory, there will come a time too late for second thoughts. A day when, like an aquatic Evel Knievel, McManmon the daredevil will walk out on-stage in swim trunks, spurs, and a cowboy hat and do his thing, stomachaches, hangovers, and sound judgment be damned.

Somewhere offshore, perhaps in sight of South Beach, the great dead-eyed beast is waiting for his rendezvous with Ron.

"This is my shot to be the first man on the moon," McManmon insists. "Money or no money, it's something I've always wanted to do. I'm just surprised no one's done it before.


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