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Castaway
By Fanatic and Advocate



Important Notices:

This is a work of fiction in the genre of parody. Parody means: 1) a pair of d's; 2) a literary or musical work in which the style of an author or work is closely imitated for comic effect or in ridicule; 3) a feeble or ridiculous imitation. Personally, we're shooting for number two.

This means several things: 1) CBS can't sue us for copyright infringement as parody is clearly within the exception rule. Nah nah nah nah nah. 2) Obviously, this is a lampoon of "Survivor", the ridiculous stunt series of the summer. But, hey, it's beating 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' in the ratings, thank the gods above! 3) Big note: We are not going to be politically correct in this series. If you like PC humor, don't read this. If you still read this and don't like it, don't write us about it. We plan on bashing stereotypes (hey, they exist for a reason, folks) and exaggerating about as many people and places as possible. It's all in the name of humor. If it ain't your cup of tea, swim on, matey, this here is our island.

Now, just because CBS can't sue us for copyright infringement, we can and will sue you. This is an original work of fiction. Fanatic and Advocate own the copyright. (See below for the complete copyright statement.) Think about our pseudonyms, folks. Fanatic - insane, crazy, obsessed; Advocate - another name for an attorney. Add to the mix the fact that Fanatic is also an attorney …and you don't want to screw with us on this issue. Enough said.

This work of fiction is intended for mature audiences only. There are adult themes and language, nudity, sensuality, sexuality, alternative lifestyles (including depictions of homosexuality), and the like. We believe that most parents would consider these elements to be too strong (for viewing by persons less than 18 years of age). If we were a film, we would have an "R" or an "NC-17" rating.




Episode 11: One for the Money, Two for the Show




It seemed only fitting to Shannon that it had rained all night. God is pissing on me, she thought gloomily. She had a bad feeling about the tribal council later that day. After today, after tonight, Ryan won't be here any more. She'll be on her way back to Kentucky, and I'll be heading toward Los Angeles. Maybe I should be like every other lesbian on the planet and buy a cat. Great, Shannon, the only way you can have pussy is to buy it? How pathetic! I've got to do something. I'm not giving Ryan up without a fight.

Ryan walked into the camp, holding up two lobsters. "Good morning! I thought we could celebrate."

Shaken out of her miserable thoughts, Shannon smiled. "Lobster for breakfast! How decadent!" She rubbed her stomach. "I'm starving."

"And tonight we get to sleep in a real bed." Ryan was used to roughing it, but she did miss her deluxe, extra-firm, innerspring mattress. Even survivalists have bad backs.

"And a hot shower!" Shannon nearly swooned at the thought of soap and shampoo. She felt like that chick in the Herbal Essence commercial - it would be an 'organic' experience.

Ryan dropped the lobsters in the pail over the fire. "Our last meal here." She looked across the fire at the blonde she had come to love. "What are your plans for after this is done?"

"Umm … well ... after I kill Rita, I don't exactly have any." As long as I don't get caught, I won't be doing time.

"Tiffany won't help you."

"Why not?" Shannon demanded, more than a bit annoyed. This 'Tiffany is a gentle knife' is only so much bullshit!

"I was kinda hoping …" Damn! This is hard! It reminded Ryan of the first time she learned to assemble an M16 blindfolded and one-handed. But with perseverance, she had become the best in her survivalist unit. Ryan took a deep breath. "See, I was thinking … well …"

Shannon could tell something important was about to happen. "Maybe if you told Tiffany," she suggested. That idea seemed to appeal to the brunette. She took out her knife and stared at it lovingly, sending a twinge of jealousy through Shannon. Will she ever look at me that way?

Ryan sighed. She had already practiced a hundred times with Tiffany. But at least this time, Shannon would hear the words. "I have a nice place. It's big, and far away from prying government eyes - I get it scanned every week to be sure - and it's beautiful." Ryan swallowed hard and put the knife down, as she stared intently into Shannon's eyes. "I was hoping you'd like to join me there. We'd have a cabin, and my two brothers, and you could write all day."

Shannon's heart soared, relieved beyond words that Ryan wanted to make a life with her, since she wanted so much to be with the survivalist. But something else caught the blonde's attention. "Two brothers?"

"Younger brothers. The baby is Patrick, the older is Sean."

"You sure you're not IRA?"

Ryan scratched her head. "What's this got to do with retirement?" She paused a moment and then laughed. "Gotcha."

Shannon wiped her mental brow, grateful for the teasing, glad Ryan could joke about her own idiosyncrasies. If Ryan hadn't asked her, she was going to invite Ryan to come out to LA. She was glad she didn't have to. "I'd love to, Ryan."

"Really?"

"Really."

"You're sure?"

Shannon nodded. "I'm sure."

"You won't miss California?"

"California is full of freaks and network executives."

Ryan wasn't sure there was a difference, but couldn't argue with that assessment. "Well, good, glad we got that settled."

"Shouldn't we shake on it, at least?" the writer teased, coming around to Ryan's side.

"Okay," Ryan held out her large hand.

Shannon bypassed it and immediately took Ryan's mouth in a deep kiss. It was their best kiss ever, in Shannon's opinion: hot, wet, deep, longing and without hermit crab intervention. She didn't want anything with the name 'crab' included in her love life.

"That was a handshake?" Ryan asked after they broke apart.

"Well, a modified one." Shannon kissed her nose, causing the survivalist to wrinkle her brow.

"Don't go sealing deals like that in Kentucky."

"I promise."

"Good. Let's shake again."

* * *

Ryan and Shannon made their way, one final time, through the jungle. "You would think," Shannon grunted, nearly tripping over a fallen tree, "that for once, we could hold the council at our campsite."

Ryan grabbed a snake by its tail and flung it into the jungle. Last week those would have been good eating. Today they were just annoying.

That was the fourth snake Ryan had tossed. Fuck! I bet Joan put a bunch of them along the trail this afternoon, just for us! "Joan! Rita!" Shannon bellowed. "I'm going to put one of these in your beds tonight! Then we'll see how funny you think it is!"

In front of her, Ryan chuckled. The guys at Jeeter's were so gonna love Shannon.

Finally, they made it into the council clearing. Already seated were the last seven castaways to be voted off the island: Marty, Marva, Jason, Arturo, Joe, Dawn and Tanesha. Together they would form the final voting jury, deciding who would win the million dollars.

Shannon smiled over at them. Only Arturo and Marva smiled back. Well, that can't be a good sign.

"This is the final tribal council meeting," Joan intoned from her place on the set. She couldn't believe that she went to Brown for this. Of course, Brown was nothing more than a school for rich kids who couldn't get into Harvard, but it was still better than state schools. "This afternoon, the tribe will decide who will be the winner. And who will just go home."

Ryan shrugged. The 'loser' would still win a half million dollars. Government surplus was cheap. No matter what, she and her community were set.

"So, we've been here awhile together," Joan continued. "Alliances have been formed. Trust has been betrayed. Danger has been escaped. Today, it all ends." She turned to the jury. "What does it feel like to be losers?"

Marty bristled. "Oh yeah? Who's the loser here? I hear you're only getting a hundred thousand for this show. I get more than that for making it to the final four. Seems like the only loser here is you."

"Yeah, well, I get book publishing rights, and you don't, asshole!" Joan countered easily. She was cutting out all of Marty's comments anyway. Of course, who would buy a book about this whole ridiculous thing? They'd need another marketing tie-in. Maybe that ridiculous knife Ryan was always talking to? That would appeal to all the nutcases who would find this shit interesting. I wonder how much I could bilk them for?

"Can we get on with this?" Shannon demanded.

"Please, I am wilting over here," Arturo moaned, fanning himself. Truth be told, he looked fresh and dewy. Shannon vowed to get his secret later.

Joan frowned. She would so not miss the blonde annoyance. "So, we're down to Ryan and Shannon. Tell us, Jason, do you think it's more than a coincidence that they're sleeping together?"

Jason looked at the camera with bleary eyes. He had obviously been on a bender since getting kicked off. It was then that Ryan and Shannon noticed the young island woman, who couldn't be more than sixteen years old, seated behind him, her arms around his waist possessively. "I don't know and I don't care. Let me repeat that I am extremely tolerant of all diverse lifestyles, whether they be gay or black."

"Black is not a lifestyle!" Tanesha exploded. "You ignorant cracker! I didn't choose to be black!"

"Hey, I didn't choose to be gay," Shannon countered.

"Oh, please, this genetic stuff is bullshit! It's a choice. You just couldn't find yourself a good man."

"Damn right!" said Marty, adjusting his family jewels, finally agreeing with something Tanesha had to say.

Joan nearly beat her head with a coconut. The last two Midwestern viewers had just turned off their television sets with that outburst.

"I'd like to find a good man," Arturo cooed, winking at Marty.

"Do that again and you'll …" Marty stopped. He couldn't think of any threat that would worry Arturo. Other than a lack of skin care products. And he couldn't have his coworkers hearing him threaten to take away someone's facial lotion.

Dawn moaned. Her arm was still throbbing, and the meds didn't seem to be touching the pain anymore. The only thing that helped was Joe. And she needed help now. She moaned again, differently this time, and placed a hand on Joe's thigh.

Joe moaned too. They really needed to get new meds for Dawn. He wasn't twenty-one anymore. And he hadn't bothered to get Russell's stash of Viagra before he left for home.

Before she lost control of the council entirely, Joan called out, "Okay, let's finish this up." She gestured to Marty, "Start the voting."

Ryan leaned over and kissed Shannon's cheek. "Good luck, sweetheart."

She received a kiss in return. "Same back."

Rita, on the sideline, cursed. Sure, the dykes kissing would titillate, but where is the drama, folks? The cutthroat competition? The backstabbing? God, she missed Hollywood.

Marty stalked over to the voting hut and wrote down Ryan's name on the paper. "I'd never vote for that two-faced Shannon."

Next in was Arturo. He wrote one name. Scratched it out. Wrote another. Scratched it out. Wrote both. Sighed dramatically and wiped his brow. "I must vote for my Channon. And I also must say that her makeover is looking very good. If you, too, are in need of a new look, visit my salon in San Francisco."

The third voter was Marva. She quickly wrote down Ryan's name. "Ryan, thank you for everything."

Joe and Dawn entered the voting hut together. "Oooh, alone at last," Dawn murmured, kissing Joe.

Pete pulled out another cigarette. He was really gonna miss these two.

"No, no, no, dear," Joe protested, pushing her away.

"Yes."

"No."

"Yes."

Joe shrugged mentally and tried a new tactic. It worked in Bugs Bunny cartoons. "Yes."

"No." Dawn frowned. That didn't work. "Where are we?"

"In the voting hut." He led her over to the paper. "You need to vote between Shannon and Ryan."

"Okay." She wondered who those two people were.

"Dawn, honey," Joe prodded.

"What?"

"You need to vote."

"Okay." Dawn's eyes fluttered closed.

Joe decided to take things into his own hands. So to speak. With Dawn around, he'd never need to, in that way, again. He walked over and wrote down Shannon's name twice. "You're a great kid, and Dawn and I wish you all the best."

That woke his lover up. "Kid? You want kids?"

"Let's talk about that later." Grabbing her by the arm, he helped her back to her seat at the council meeting.

Tanesha strode in and quickly wrote down her vote. "Ryan. She kicks ass and takes names. For a honky."

The last to vote was Jason. "Shannon. If I have any hope of a political future left, I certainly can't vote for Ryan."

Pete was shocked. Four votes for Shannon, three for Ryan. Joan was going to have a stroke. He couldn't wait to get that on film.

* * *

"NOOOOOO!!" Marty roared. This whole damn thing was fixed! Shannon wasn't a real contestant. She worked for the network. She couldn't win! Pushing Pete aside, the furious man stalked away from the other castaways and a stunned Shannon. "I don't believe this bullshit!"

"You," Marty pointed an angry finger, "blonde network bitch!"

Both Rita and Joan turned around.

"Not you." Marty shook his head at Joan, and then gestured at Rita. "I want the one who looks like she's been around the block a few times."

Rita gasped. Why did people keep saying that?

"That would be you," Joan snickered. Leaning over, she pressed her lips against Rita's ear and whispered, "Mommy dearest."

Rita gasped again, her face twisting into a scowl. Joan was going to ask for her hush money payments to be increased after that whole kidnapping thing. She just knew it! The greedy, conniving, evil, blackmailing, bitch of a daughter!

Rita's heart nearly burst with motherly pride.

"That's right. You - me - jungle - right - now!" Marty grabbed Rita by the hand and began dragging her into the trees.

Rita took a deep breath to scream but paused, realizing that, as unlikely a prospect as it was, someone might actually rescue her if she did. Her mouth clicked closed. "Ooooo..." she squealed, a combination of fear, anger, and arousal as Marty yanked her along a bit faster.

"Shut up." When they were out of earshot of the other castaways Marty pushed the programming VP up against a tree, pinning her there by her wrists. He frowned and looked down. With a grunt, he shifted his thighs. 'Little Marty' wasn't supposed to be enjoying this. This was business!

"You're not going to get away with this!"

"I'm not?" Rita asked interestedly, quite certain she would get away with whatever it was he was talking about. A woman didn't get to her level within the network without confidence and ability. And fucking the right people. That never hurt either.

"I know about Shannon." Marty tightened his grip on Rita's wrists. He leaned in and, almost against his will, took a deep breath. Ummm... She smelled clean, and he was pretty sure she'd have shaved armpits.

"What about her?"

He jerked his head back. This was no time to get preoccupied with feminine hygiene. Ewww.... The words caused Marty's arousal to plummet. "Don't play dumb with me! I know all about your fucked up, evil plan."

Rita rolled her eyes. "Which one?"

"The one involving the castaways!"

"I repeat. Which one?" Men were so slow.

"ARRRRGGGHHHH!!" This wasn't going the way he thought it would! "I know Shannon works for you. She can't win the million. It's against your own rules."

Rita didn't even blink. "What do you want?"

"You, for starters." Little Marty was already back in the saddle, having put those nasty thoughts of female issues out of his tiny mind. Big Marty leered and thrust his hips against Rita. Then he tensed, expecting a nut-crushing blow like the one he'd received from Marva the day before. But it never came.

"So you expect me to have sex with you in this hot, sweaty jungle, merely because you know something you shouldn't?"

Marty nodded.

"Okay." Rita shrugged.

That was way too easy. Marty's eyes narrowed. It must be a trick. "I have more demands."

"But I still have to have wild, nasty, untamed, jungle sex with you, right?"

"Well, yes."

"Okay. Just checking."

"If you don't meet all my demands, I'll go to the press and tell the world that this entire contest was rigged."

"But we're still having sex?"

"You don't get it, do you, you stupid broad?" Marty ground his teeth together. "What I'm going to make you do will crush another contestant, probably ruining her piss poor life."

Rita shrugged again. "Whatever. Shit happens. But you're still going to force me to have sex with you, right?"

Marty frowned. "Well, I wouldn't say 'force'. I mean..."

"What kind of wussy blackmailer are you?" Jesus! First the COWS, now Marty. Extortion was simply a dying art. "Amateur!" she taunted. "You should take me right this very second! We can talk about the money later."

"Really?" Marty asked interestedly. Rita did appear to be a master manipulator. She would know about these things.

"Of course!"

Rita yanked her wrists free and grabbed hold of Marty. In a lightning quick move, she had the man pinned against the tree in the mirror image of how she, herself, had been held only seconds before.

"Very funny, babe." He smiled condescendingly and gave Rita a wink. Then he yanked his hands. When they didn't move an inch, he yanked again. His eyes widened with the realization that he was held firm. By a woman! As disconcerted as this made him feel, he had to admit, Little Marty was lovin' it!

Rita leaned in close, her warm breath against his cheek causing his lips to twitch. Wreaking havoc on his senses, she purred, "Watch and learn, jungle boy."

* * *

"DIE. DIE. DIE. DIE!!!"

Shannon was straddling Rita, choking the life out of her, pounding her head against the sand to punctuate every word.

"DIE. DIE. DIE. DIE!!!"

"Channon, girlfriend!" Arturo, with the other castaways hot on his heels, rushed over to the catfighting women. Well, it wasn't really much of a catfight anymore. The crew was trying to hunt down some masking tape. They thought it would be neat to outline Rita's body in the sand, for the local authorities. "You've got to stop this instant. You can't kill her."

"Oh, yes, I can!" Shannon hissed between clenched teeth. "I'd be doing my God damned best!" A drop of perspiration rolled off the tip of her nose and plopped onto Rita's cheek.

Rita tried to speak, but couldn't. Her lips were beginning to turn a lovely shade of purple.

"Channon! Are you crazy? Oooo... look at that color her eyelids are turning," Arturo pointed out conversationally. "That reminds me of Tijuana's big Dia de los Muertos Ball I used to go to every year. Oh, chica, in '92, I met the most beautiful man dressed like a zombie, named Jose..."

"Shannon," Marva interrupted. She could see Arturo was lost in some bizarre, gay, Mexican fantasy and was no longer helping. "What are you doing?"

"What does it look like? I'm strangling this no good bitch." A diabolical, near-orgasmic look crossed Shannon's face.

"No. No. No." Arturo shook his head violently, ending his trip down memory lane. "You're doing something far worse than that. You're mussing her hair!" He bent down and plucked a strand from Rita's crown. "Clairol 32. Nice choice for mature women."

Mature?! Rita willed Shannon to squeeze a little harder and end her misery.

"He's right, baby. You need to let her go," Ryan commanded softly, suddenly appearing at Shannon's side. She estimated that Rita had a good twenty seconds of life left in her, but seeing the mood Shannon was in, she decided not to wait until the very last second.

"Bu...bu..." Shannon looked up at Ryan, who shook her head sadly. "FUCK!" Shannon exhaled explosively as adrenaline coursed wildly through her. "Okay. Okay." She closed her eyes in a silent bid for control, allowing several tense seconds to pass before muttering, "Umm.. Ryan, could you...?" She motioned to her hands, and Ryan began prying her fingers from Rita's throat.

The writer rose to her feet and planted her hands firmly on her hips, turning still raging eyes on the gasping, choking woman. "If I had one wish - It would be that your ship home would sink! Or your plane would crash! Or your broomstick would catch fire!" she shouted. "If it weren't for Ryan, you'd be dead, dead, dead!"

"Here we go again," several voices moaned as the crew resumed their hunt for tape.

"DEAD! DEAD! DEAD!!!"

"Shannon," Ryan placed herself between Shannon and Rita. "C'mon." Without waiting for an answer, she began steering the younger woman down the beach.

"Oh, Shannon?" Rita choked, rising to her knees and clutching her bruised neck. "Remember that little 'discussion' we had?"

Shannon froze, knowing instantly that Rita was talking about her promised severance pay. "Yes?"

"Forget about it, honey."

"Ahhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Shannon turned on her heel and launched herself at Rita, only to be intercepted in mid-air by Ryan.

"Hold still." The survivalist began carrying a ranting, cursing Shannon down the beach over her shoulder, having to tighten her grip when Rita's taunting laughter set Shannon off again.

Joan stared down at her womb donor. "You are pure evil," she said seriously, deliberately not offering her a hand up. The younger blonde shook her head in simple awe. I have so much to learn!

"I am," Rita agreed unrepentantly as she stumbled to her feet. "Now, radio the boat so I can make this hellhole a memory." Rita smiled sweetly, sending a chill down Joan's spine. "Oh, and before I forget. I've got something to tell you about your newest job for the network."

Joan was afraid to ask, there was something wicked about Rita's expression. "What is it?"

"You'll be hosting our next reality show: Gulag."

Oh my God.

Rita continued merrily. "We'll send you and sixteen contestants to a jail in Siberia. You'll be given a nail file and some matchsticks and six months to get yourselves free. This time you'll get to live with the contestants so you can help move the show along."

"When does it start?"

"That's the best part: filming begins next month."

* * *

"Put me down!"

"No."

A smack to the ass drew a yelp from Shannon. "Ryan!" The blood rushing to Shannon's head as she hung upside down over Ryan's back was making her dizzy. "Please, honey." Not that a good spanking from Ryan wouldn't be a lot of fun. In fact, she made a mental note to add it to her 'to do' list for when they got back home. But now just wasn't the time.

Ryan began softly caressing the stinging butt cheeks she had smacked.

Shannon lifted her head and sighed, "Ooooooh, that's nice."

The taller woman laughed. It was nice. Very nice. Ryan was still a little, okay, a lot, giddy that Shannon had agreed to come home to Kentucky with her. Her thoughts were awhirl with the visions of the new cabin she would build for her love. After a long discussion with Tiffany, Ryan decided she would tell Shannon that they'd have to live in a tent for a few months, until their new cabin was finished… later.

Much, much, later.

"Ryan, sweetheart, I'm going to pass out."

Ryan immediately stopped and lowered her now limp bundle to the ground. "Sorry." She smiled fondly at the beet-red face. "Are you over your urge to kill that woman yet?"

"Nope." Shannon shook her head and flopped down on her back, throwing her arm over her eyes. "There's still the boat ride to Bora Bora. I hope the sharks are hungry." For a fleeting second, Shannon felt sorry for the aquatic predators. In a fight to the death, she would never bet against Rita. And even if they did manage to kill her, she was sure the demonic crone's fake tits and multiple collagen injections had rendered her indigestible. Like corn. Only tougher. "I'd better do it myself," she finally admitted.

Ryan sat down next to Shannon and brushed a stray lock of pale hair from her face. "What's wrong? This should be the happiest day of your life." It is for me. I've got my girl and enough money to start my own survivalist school. What more could a woman want?

"It is the best day of my life, Ryan!"

Ryan's face creased into a grin. In her heart, she knew that Shannon wasn't talking about the million dollars.

A faint hum caused the women to turn their heads and gaze down the long stretch of beach that separated them from the rest of the castaways. The boat, which had been anchored off the beach while the contestants voted for a winner, was slowly chugging to shore.

"It's almost time to go."

Shannon nodded.

"I know it's kind of a goofy question," Ryan scanned the beach and then the jungle, "but are you going to miss this place?"

The blonde closed her eyes again, considering the scratchy sand, the days of living on only dry, white rice, the typhoon, the crustacean that had seemed nearly as attached to her nipples as Ryan. She thought of the biting insects, oppressive heat, and the challenges that had nearly killed her on several occasions. Then she blinked, allowing green eyes to focus firmly on Ryan. A wistful smile replaced her rueful one. "Maybe just a little," she admitted, glad that the absolute best thing about 'Paradise Island' was going home with her.

Ryan bent down and gently kissed her on the lips. "Me too. Hey, are you going to tell me why you nearly killed that lady?"

"Lady?! Ha!" Shannon snorted derisively. "That was no lady. That was Rita. My former boss and Satan's role model."

Blue eyes narrowed dangerously. That was the woman who ordered Shannon to flirt with Marty. "Damn! I should have let you kill her!" Tiffany had wanted to help get Rita. Oh God! Now both women in her life would be upset, and Ryan didn't know if she could take that.

"I know."

"But why now? You're rich. You don't need to go back to work for her." A sinking sensation filled Ryan's chest. Had Rita somehow talked Shannon into going back to California instead of coming with her to Kentucky?

"It's nothing like that, sweetheart," Shannon promised, instantly recognizing the look of worry on Ryan's face.

Ryan let out a relieved breath. "Then what?"

"She's giving the million dollars to Marty, not me," Shannon said flatly.

"WHAT?!" Ryan sprang to her feet and unsheathed her baby. It was time to play. "She can't do that!"

"He knows about me, Ryan. Marty knows that I used to work for the BTBC. He's threatening to go to the press with the information and claim this whole show was nothing but a network scam."

"So? You were fired! You don't work for them anymore. They have to give you the money!"

"It doesn't matter what's really true. The scandal alone would cause the BTBC to lose advertisers. And Rita told me that if the negative publicity hurt the BTBC badly enough, they'd file bankruptcy, and then nobody would get their prize money."

"Fuck the money! It's the principle!" Ryan took a step back toward the waiting castaways and crew; hell-bent on finishing what Shannon had started.

"No!" Shannon grabbed Ryan's hand, tugging on it until the raging woman relented and dropped next to her on the sand. "Honey, I know you don't care about the money." Shannon stroked Ryan's palm with her thumb, feeling her angry, pounding pulse through the lightly callused skin. "But I can't cost everyone their winnings. I won't. The BTBC has been hurting financially for years. Rita's right. If they lost their advertisers because of bad publicity, Bender would file bankruptcy, and no one would get a dime." Including you, she added silently.

"But…"

"I don't have a choice! I won't cost Joe and Dawn their bar, or Arturo his own salon, or…"

"But…"

"And God knows, little Edwina needs those fangs fixed."

Both women shivered. As much as she wanted to argue, Ryan knew Shannon was right. Especially about Edwina. They'd seen the photograph Marva kept tucked safely away in her bra. Of course, Marva's moment of maternal pride was slightly marred, when Marty exclaimed that Marva's saggy tits left more than enough room for a small photo album in the top of her bra, not just one picture. But to her credit, Marva didn't actually slug him until he said that he wished he had someone like her daughter, Edwina, on the construction site, because that girl looked like she could gnaw through solid steel!

"So the world thinks that you won the million, but Rita is going to give it to Marty just to keep him quiet?"

Shannon nodded miserably.

"I'm going to kill that prick Marty and then go after Rita." Ryan moved to get up, and, again, Shannon stopped her.

"It took me my whole life to find you, Ryan." Green eyes softened, and Shannon scooted a bit closer to the survivalist, reveling in the primal attraction and love she felt for the darker woman. Money was nice. Really nice. But it couldn't buy what she felt with Ryan. "I'm not waiting 25 more years for you to get out of prison. Just let it go, please." And at that very moment, Shannon realized that meant she couldn't take a chance on killing Rita either. God! Life was so unfair sometimes. Knife wounds were so traceable; she wondered briefly about poison.

Ryan hesitantly nodded. She wouldn't kill Marty or Rita. After all, it was at least partially due to Rita that she had met the love of her life. But that didn't mean she wouldn't pay them a little visit when she got stateside. She and Tiffany were relentless. And they both loved Shannon. The thought of a reconnaissance mission with Tiffany caused Ryan's pulse to race with anticipation. But she and Tiffany would bide their time. For now.

Shannon looked to the small boat and then back to Ryan. "They're almost finished loading up."

Ryan stood and put her fingers in her mouth, giving a shrill whistle that the wind carried down the beach. Marva, Marty, and Jason's heads all popped up, and they turned to wave at Ryan.

"You trained the alpha team? Like horses or dogs?" Shannon asked incredulously.

A smug eyebrow lifted. "I have many skills."

Shannon smirked. That, she already knew.

"And I had to use them all. Marty isn't as smart as my horse or dog."

Shannon mentally groaned. Wasn't Tiffany enough competition without throwing Lassie and Black Beauty into the mix? She could see several more heart-to-hearts in her future.

"Let the fuckers come and get us." Ryan sat down behind Shannon, so the younger woman could lean against her chest, wrapping her arms around Shannon's slim waist. She'd go hunting for some big game for her love when she got home, and help her gain back all the weight she'd lost on the island.

"Good idea." Rita still needed Shannon and Ryan for the big press conference when they got back to Bora Bora. She wouldn't leave them behind.

Ryan kissed Shannon's neck and whispered in her ear, "Tell me... if 'Castaway' were your ridiculous show, how would you end it?"

"If it were my show, it wouldn't be ridiculous."

"Of course." Ryan chuckled as Shannon thought for a moment.

They both watched as the boat picked up the last castaway and slowly made its way toward them.

"Well, I suppose I would have had one of us win the money. And get to keep it."

"But we've still got my prize money."

"And you'll pay less taxes on only a half a million."

Taxes? Is Shannon insane? Uncle Sam will be seeing a penny of our money only over my and Tiffany's dead bodies! Ryan burst out laughing.

The setting sun painted them in shades of crimson and orange. Shannon smiled, her gaze drifting out over the pristine water and gently rolling waves. "We could sail off into the sunset together. Classic endings are always nice and go over big with the hopeless romantics."

Ryan sighed happily. "Very nice."

A loud clanking noise drew the women's attention back to the boat. Next came a hiss as black smoke began to billow from the boat's stern.

"It's not Navy SEALS," Ryan assured Shannon.

The writer could only stare at her lover with affection and a good dose of fascination. Her life would certainly be a whole lot more interesting from now on. "Gee, Ryan, I feel a lot better. I was really worried about that," she deadpanned.

Ryan patted her knee. "I know, baby. Me too. But they go for the fuel lines, not the engine."

"I don't believe it." Shannon's mouth dropped open when the boat suddenly lurched to one side. "It would be a little unimaginative, but I'd love to end the show with evil Joan, and even more evil Rita, getting their just desserts."

"That would be so trite."

"But satisfying."

"True."

The boat let out a final groan before it began to sink. Rita and Joan were the first to jump ship, each trying to drown the other so that she could claim a dingy life ring that had been tossed overboard. When all their flailing only caused the ring to float out of reach and be picked up by the tide, they each tried to use the other as a floatation device.

"They're really going to kill each other." Ryan cocked her head to the side and watched.

"I know!" The blonde tilted her head skyward. "Thank you, God," she said seriously.

Then it was a free for all, as everyone abandoned the sinking boat. Arturo's girlish screams blended with Marty's vehement curses, as the Mexican began trying to give Marty mouth-to-mouth. Which wouldn't have been unreasonable, except for the fact that Marty was still completely conscious. And they were both still on the boat.

Jason was swimming to shore as fast as he could, hoping to lose his new wife, who, of course, had other ideas. She had learned English by watching reruns of 'Green Acres' and 'Welcome Back Kotter'. There was no way she was giving up her free ride to the land of milk and honey! And washing machines and indoor plumbing. She would tell Jason about her fourteen brothers and sisters, three aunts, parents and both sets of grandparents, who would be coming to live with them, later. After her citizenship went through, and she was pregnant.

Tanesha was still trying not to get her hair wet. Why couldn't 'Castaway' have been set in the ghetto? Shannon would have been trampled, in a stampede for government cheese, the very first week! This show was biased against sisters! There was a reason there were no famous black swimmers.

Pete's body fat allowed him to float along like a beached whale. He had a submarine sandwich and bag of Fritos resting comfortably on his belly, and he allowed the tide to take him where it would. He wasn't missing another damn meal, no matter what!

Dawn and Marva claimed a life raft, while Joe received a kiss from the drugged farm girl. With a supreme effort, he managed to break away and take hold of the rope that would let him tow them to shore. He loved Dawn, but he was honestly surprised that his legs still worked. He felt a sudden surge of pity for Mormon men and vowed to ask Ryan and Shannon about things he could purchase that would make his life easier and keep Dawn happy.

Strangely, as Shannon took in the entire scene, a wistful smile crossed her face. It was different, yet undeniably familiar, and her mind couldn't help but flash back to thirty-nine days ago, when they had all swum ashore, and she had vied for unknown luxury items against a mysterious, beautiful stranger with a big ass knife.

Wide blue eyes met hers. "Rita's boat ride home sank! Your wish came true."

Shannon turned her head and kissed Ryan deeply, letting all the love she felt express itself in one perfect gesture. "All my wishes came true," she whispered against soft lips.

"Mine too, Shannon," came the earnest response. "How about ending the show with hot monkey sex?" Ryan's heart felt like it was about to beat out of her chest. Besides, they still hadn't done it in the trees. Her lips wandered to Shannon's shoulder.

The blonde moaned. "Oh yeah. That would be a great way to end the series. Who could resist hot monkey sex?"

"Certainly not me."

Both women stood, and Ryan swept Shannon into her arms. "They can set up camp without us. There's no way another boat can get here until tomorrow. I want to spend my last day on 'Paradise Island' alone with you." Ryan had trained her team well and, like a proud mother eagle, it was time to kick them out of the nest and see if they could fly on their own.

The blonde nodded and flashed her lover a heart-stopping smile. She had a feeling every day with Ryan was going to be paradise.

<fade out>



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