Title: “Portside Screw”
Age Category: Adult
Word Count: 99k
Pitch: Retired PI turned fulltime boat bum, Jack Cubera, alongside Skeg, an eco-maniac, must destroy an egregious land development to save Islamorada’s pristine backwaters or surrender it all to crafty mobsters, ingenious kingpins, and shady politicos.
First 250 Word of Manuscript:
The human head bobbed to the surface of Florida Bay like a lobsterpot buoy, the hair slick as a seal’s coat and the ears so brightly backlit with sunset they glowed a fiery orange. For a moment, Jack Cubera feared it was severed from the torso, but as the current tipped it forward the nose caught like a rudder in an eddy and the body surfaced, rotating clockwise in the tidal swirl.
Jack stowed his fishing rod, grabbed his paddle, then angled his kayak toward the body as his fishing partner, a neighbor’s kid from the docks, paddled in behind him.
“That a manatee?” the kid asked.
Jack dragged his paddle through the water then rested it across his thighs and let his kayak drift. “Don’t come any closer, kid.”
A sweat bead traveled the bridge of Jack’s nose then rolled off the tip, spattering through his walrus-like mustache. As he dragged a hot tongue over the salty bristles, the dead body released a trumpeting fart of intestinal gases, sank away, then buoyed back.
“Seriously. What is that thing?”
“Give me a second.” In his seven years of fishing the backcountry, Jack had happened across plenty of strange flotsam—bales of weed, Haitian rafts, an abandoned seaplane—but never anything this unusual.
As he considered his next move, the bloated mass rolled like a keeling boat, bringing a face pale and veiny as boiled haggis to the surface. Set over its hooked nose was a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, each lens reflecting a sky bleeding out in those reds and oranges usually reserved for Mai Tais laced with grenadine.