Excerpt #2 From Dave Barry’s new book ‘Insane City’

Wedding party gets that sinking feeling


Behind the Clarks, standing a few yards apart from the group and looking bored yet observant, were Mike’s two massive bodyguards, Ron Brewer and Paul Castronovo, wearing khaki slacks, polo shirts and navy blue sport jackets. Brewer and Castronovo were former New York City Police detectives, veteran partners who had left the force under the cloud of an Internal Affairs investigation arising from the unusual number of cases wherein suspects whom they were about to apprehend elected instead — according to Brewer and Castronovo’s official reports — to leap voluntarily to their deaths from the roofs of tall buildings. This had happened often enough that the other detectives had — not without a certain amount of respect — nicknamed Brewer and Castronovo the Tinker Bells, in recognition of the magical power they had to enable people to fly, at least for brief periods.

The Tinker Bells liked working for Mike Clark. He paid a lot better than the NYPD, and he wasn’t picky about how they handled problems as long as it stayed out of the news. In fact, Brewer and Castronovo got the impression that Mike had hired them specifically because of their reputation. He seemed to enjoy it when they got physical with people who dared to approach him in public, or simply happened to be in his way.

With the wedding party lined up in processional order, Blaze Gear led everyone across the lawn to the Wedding Gazebo, which overlooked the section of beach where Seth had pulled Laurette and her children out of the waves. The beach was dotted with groups of sunbathers, kids shouting, random music coming from various devices. Motorboats cruised past offshore; closer to the beach, two young men on Jet Skis chased each other in ever-tightening circles, jumping each other’s wakes.

Blaze gathered the wedding party around her and began going over the timetable for the ceremony. The Jet Skis got closer, engines snarling.

“I can’t hear a thing,” Rose announced.

“What?” said Sid.


“I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” said Sid.

The truth was that at that point, nobody could hear much over the din of the Jet Skis.

“Maybe we should do this inside,” said Seth.

“What if they’re here tomorrow?” said Tina. “They’ll ruin the wedding.”

“No they won’t,” said Mike. He walked over and said something to Brewer and Castronovo, nodding toward the Jet Skiers. Immediately the two big men started lumbering toward the wooden walkway to the beach.

“What’re they gonna do?” said Kevin. “Swim out there and punch them?”

As the wedding party watched from the gazebo, the Tinker Bells crossed the beach, stopping at the water’s edge. Brewer waved an arm over his head, getting the attention of the Jet Skiers, who were now about 20 yards offshore. Brewer made a shooing gesture: Get out of here. The Jet Skiers thought that was pretty funny. One of them gave Brewer the finger. The other revved his engine and moved closer, laughing, beckoning mockingly at Brewer: Come and get me.

What happened next happened quickly, and went unnoticed by almost everyone outside of the wedding party. Brewer said something to Castronovo, who stepped a little to the right, shielding Brewer. Brewer unbuttoned his jacket and shifted his position slightly. Then there was a faint popping sound, barely detectable over the roar of the engines and the other beach noises.

“What the hell?” said Kevin.

As he spoke, the closer Jet Ski began sputtering and emitting smoke. Its driver, no longer cocky, dove off and swam frantically to the other machine. He scrambled onto the back, barely making it aboard before the driver gunned the engine and took off at full speed toward the horizon. Both driver and rider looked back repeatedly and fearfully. The remaining Jet Ski bobbed in the swells. It coughed out a last plume of smoke and died.

Brewer and Castronovo turned and walked calmly back up the beach, Brewer buttoning his jacket. A dozen or so sunbathers were looking at them; several were applauding.

For a few seconds the wedding party stood in stunned silence. Then Big Steve said, “Did he just shoot at them?”

“Of course not,” said Tina.

“Definitely,” said Meghan.

“Wait, he shot a Jet Ski?” said Kevin. “Even in Miami, that has to be against the law.”

“Well,” said Marty, “legally, he—“

“Legally, he works for Mike Clark,” said Meghan. “That’s really all you need to know.”

Reprinted by arrangement with G.P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. From Insane City copyright 2013 by Dave Barry.

Read more Dave Barry stories from the Miami Herald

  • Commencement

    We're taking our son, Robby, to his first day of kindergarten. He is being Very Brave. So are we.

  • Driving while stupid

    So I have to tell you what I saw on the interstate the other night. First, though, you must understand that this was not just any old interstate. This was I-95 in downtown Miami, proud home of the worst darned drivers in the world.

  • Summer time and the living is frightening

    This is a special time of year, as expressed so poetically in the lyrics to the haunting song Summertime from Porgy and Bess: Summertime, and the livin' is easy Fish are jumpin' And gettin' lodged in the throats of fisherpersons

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category