A team of police divers recovered the body of PEDRO LUZ from the whale tank at the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills. The Monroe County medical examiner ruled drowning as the official cause of death, although the autopsy revealed "minor bite marks, contusions and chafing of a sexual nature."
JAKE HARP recovered from his gunshot wound and rejoined the professional golfing circuit, although he never regained championship form. His next best finish was a tie for 37th place at the Buick Open, and subsequently he set a modern PGA record by missing the cut in twenty-two consecutive tournaments. Eventually he retired to the Seniors' Tour, where he collapsed and died of a cerebral hemorrhage on the first hole of a sudden-death play-off with Billy Casper.
With his payoff money from the mob, BUD SCHWARTZ started a private security company that specializes in high-tech burglar-alarm systems for the home, car and office. Bearing a letter of recommendation from Molly McNamara, DANNY POGUE moved to Tanzania, where he is training to be a game warden at the Serengeti National Park.
After Francis X. Kingsbury's murder, AGENT BILLY HAWKINS was docked a week's pay, and given a written reprimand for taking an unauthorized leave of absence. A month later he was transferred to the FBI office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He endured one winter before resigning from the Bureau and returning to Florida as an executive consultant to Schwartz International Security Services Ltd.
NINA WHITMAN quit the phone-sex syndicate after three of her poems were published in the New Yorker. A later collection of prose and short fiction was praised by Erica Jong as a "fresh and vigorous reassessment of the female sexual dynamic." Shortly after receiving the first royalty statement from her publisher, Nina gave up poetry and moved to Westwood, California, where she now writes motion-picture screenplays. Her husband owns the second-largest Chevrolet dealership in Los Angeles County.
The estate of FRANCIS X. KINGSBURY, aka FRANKIE KING, was sued by the Walt Disney Corporation for copyright infringement on the characters of Mickey and Minnie Mouse. The lawsuit was prompted by accounts of a pornographic tattoo on the decedent's left forearm, as described by newspaper reporters attending the open-casket funeral. After deliberating only thirty-one minutes (and reviewing a coroner's photograph of the disputed etching), an Orlando jury awarded the Disney company $1.2 million in actual and punitive damages. PENNY KINGSBURY is appealing the decision.
CHARLES CHELSEA accepted a job as executive vice president of public relations for Monkey Mountain. Four months later, disaster struck when a coked-up podiatrist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, jumped a fence and attempted to leg-wrestle a male chacma baboon. The podiatrist was swiftly killed and dismembered, and the animal park was forced to close. Chelsea retired from the public-relations business, and is now said to be working on a novel with Gothic themes.
At his own request, TROOPER JIM TILE was reassigned to Liberty County in the Florida Panhandle. With only 5.1 persons per square mile, it is the least densely populated region of the state.
DICKIE THE DOLPHIN survived the fire that destroyed the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, and was temporarily relocated to a holding pen at an oceanfront hotel near Marathon. Seven months later, a bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the frisky mammal to a marine attraction in Hilton Head, South Carolina. No swimming is allowed in Dickie's new tank.
After the Amazing Kingdom closed, UNCLE ELY'S ELVES never worked together again. Veteran character actor MOE STRICKLAND branched into drama, taking minor roles in television soap operas before miraculously landing the part of Big Daddy in a Scranton dinner-theater production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. A freelance critic for the Philadelphia Inquirer described Strickland's performance as "gutsy and brooding."
Several weeks after fire swept through Francis X. Kingsbury's theme park, a piano-sized crate from Auckland, New Zealand, was discovered outside the padlocked gate. No one was certain how long the crate had been there, but it was empty by the time a security guard found it; whatever was inside had clawed its way out. Soon residents of the nearby Ocean Reef Club began reporting the disappearance of pet cats and small dogs at a rate of two per week – a mystery that remains unsolved. Meanwhile, Kingsbury's estate received a handwritten invoice from a person calling herself RACHEL LARK. The bill, excluding shipping, amounted to $3,755 for "miscellaneous wildlife."
The widow of DR. WILL KOOCHER hired a Miami lawyer and filed a wrongful-death action against the Amazing Kingdom of Thrills, Ramex Global Trust, N.A. and Bermuda Intercontinental Services, Inc. The insurance companies hastily settled the lawsuit out of court for approximately $2.8 million. The gutted ruins of the Amazing Kingdom were razed, and the land was replanted with native trees, including buttonwoods, pigeon plums, torchwoods, brittle palms, tamarinds, gumbo-limbos and mangroves. This restoration was accomplished in spite of rigid opposition from the Monroe County Commission, which had hoped to use the property as a public dump.
The surviving owners of the FALCON TRACE golf resort sold all construction permits and building rights to a consortium of Japanese investors who had never set foot in South Florida. However, the project stalled once again when environmentalists surveying the Key Largo site reported the presence of at least two blue-tongued mango voles, previously thought to be extinct. According to an unsigned press release faxed to all major newspapers and wire services, the tiny mammals were spotted at Falcon Trace during a nature hike by MOLLY MCNAMARA and the Mothers of Wilderness, who immediately reported the sighting to the U.S. Department of Interior.
Eventually the Falcon Trace and Amazing Kingdom properties were purchased from bankruptcy by the state of Florida, and became part of a preserve on NORTH KEY LARGO. In the spring of 1991, a National Geographic photographer set out to capture on film the last surviving pair of blue-tongued mango voles. After two months in the woods, the photographer contracted mosquito-borne encephalitis and was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he spent three weeks on clear fluids. He never got a glimpse of the shy and nocturnal creatures, although he returned to New York with a cellophane packet of suspect rodent droppings and a pledge to keep searching.