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SkunkApe

May I simply direct you to the Skunk Ape Research Center? Enjoy.

Skunk Ape Research Center. Skunkape International LLC. Accessed March, 23 2020.

Read Florida Man: Battle of the Five Meth Labs: A Love Story here.

Emu

After last Friday’s surprise New Year’s beheading, surely we can all use a friendly emu story (and not this).

Taco the amicable emu hopped his four-foot fence after being frightened by a dog—he was found wandering the streets a bit later. This wasn’t Taco’s first jailbreak—he escaped in 2012, apparently during mating season, in the hopes of locating some lucky lady emus.

Price, Wayne T. “Friendly Emu Named Taco Runs Wild in Cape Canaveral.” Florida Today. USA Today Network-Florida. October, 22, 1016.

Read Florida Man: Battle of the Five Meth Labs: A Love Story here.

If I Had Some Crack

William John Lee and his accomplice Dana Ruth Valentine were arrested after they were seen breaking into three Delray Beach vehicles while driving a blue Nissan. They faced three counts of burglary, criminal mischief, and two counts of larceny. Lee was recorded by the in-car recording system of the patrol car as saying: “If I had some crack, I wouldn’t be out here stealing [stuff].” Bonus fact: Lee has a tattoo on his left foot, as described

By one correctional facility or another: “Lil Bad Boy Men,” and has a career stealing steals—among other things—that stretches back to 1990. This is Ms. Valentine only recorded offense.

Milian, Jorge. “Boynton Man: “If I Had Some Crack, I Wouldn’t Be Out Here Stealing…”The Palm Beach Post. Gannett Media Group. December 24, 2015.

And Happy New Year! Here’s your New Year Bonus Florida Man (holy shit, Florida Man, that’s a little much)!

Read Florida Man: Battle of the Five Meth Labs: A Love Story here.

fried-chicken-dinner

Here we go…this is more like it. Just in time for Christmas.

Steven Torres was one of seven men arrested in a Sanford, Florida prostitution sting—he was taken into custody after offering an undercover policewoman a chicken dinner and cash in exchange for sex. The question as to whether or not he’d have gotten away with simply offering the chicken dinner remains unanswered.

Click Orlando. “Florida Man Accused of Offering Police Officer Chicken Dinner for Sex.”ClickOrlando.com. Graham Media Group.

Christmas Bonus Florida Man! No, I didn’t use this in the book (it just happened last year), but…it’s Christmas! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or…whatever…to you!

Read Florida Man: Battle of the Five Meth Labs: A Love Story here.

I initially thought this would just be a neat little thing to blog about. I’m not a collector of Cold War Atomic Age Civil Defense paraphernalia — this came from the house I grew up in; my step-father’s family home, where he grew up. It was distributed by the Uniontown Automotive Council, presumably to auto shops and such for folks to pick up. I can absolutely imagine my grandfather bringing this home from whichever shop he was in. Someone — probably him — did a little light math in pencil on the cover. There’s a word I can’t decipher. So, yeah, just an item from the ol’ homestead in rural southwestern Pennsylvania. Anyway, the more I look through it, the more ironic it became.

Why ironic? you ask. Well, let me tell you what’s inside.

After a local and national Civil Defense preamble, we get right into it. Every home should have a “refuge room,” preferably in the basement, with more than one exit. It tells you everything this refuge room needs, such as canned food, cots and blankets, certain attire should anyone have to leave the refuge room, and, of course, chamber pots, toilet paper, and a screen (for the ladies). Outside the refuge room, one should be prepared for a fire, and this “fireproof housekeeping is important.” Then, should an attack occur, the first instruction is “Don’t get panicky,” followed by the statement: “The first warning of an air raid might be the blinding flash of an atomic bomb.”

Well, shit. Who’d panic?

Then, presuming you haven’t been instantly incinerated, it moves on to a laundry list of other instructions to, you know, “keep out radioactive dust.” If you’re out and about, get behind something. Good luck. If you’re at home — once the atomic dust has settled — you’re to keep the children inside the refuge room (not a great time to let them outside to play, apparently), put out small fires, give first aid, keep the radio on, don’t use unapproved water or food sources, don’t use the telephone (emergency calls to be kept to one minute), and just stay the hell home. You’re to get out of clothing contaminated with radiation and “bathe with lots of soap as soon as possible.”

Lots of soap. Noted.

In all caps: “DON’T SPREAD RUMORS.” Man, that’s like asking people not to breathe, especially — especially — when folks don’t know what the hell is going on. The human brain just can’t deal with more than thirty seconds of not knowing what the hell is going on; we will immediately just start making shit up and telling others to make it more real for ourselves. I mean…nice thought, Civil Defense, but…

It then goes on to describe the “three destructive actions” when an atomic bomb explodes. “1) Blast — much greater than an ordinary bomb. 2) Heat rays — much more intense than an ordinary bomb. 3) Atomic rays — not present in ordinary bomb explosion.” Yeah, you’re kind of sleeping through the first two, but “Atomic rays” sure gets your attention. It continues: “The most damaging action is the blast. In Japan it was the cause of more than one half of the total deaths and injuries. Heat rays accounted for nearly one third of the casualties. Least destructive were the atomic rays which caused only 15 percent of the total deaths and injuries.”

“Atomic rays are what most people worry about because their effects have been greatly exaggerated through rumors and unofficial sources of information.”

(“Unofficial sources of information” I’m pretty sure means “Sci-Fi flicks”.)

So, you know — no worries, bruh. The blast and heat rays are more likely to decimate your ass, so don’t stress about the atomic rays. If you survive the blast and heat rays, then you can worry about atomic rays, but they’re not nearly as bad as you’ve heard.

They never exactly tell you what atomic rays do.

So, yeah, a little more information on blast zones and then it wraps up with some “preparedness can mean survival” stuff.

This pamphlet came out in the early 1950s. This was before, you know, Nixon, so people still trusted their government to a probably-unreasonable extent, and some even took this seriously enough to build fallout shelters (the Ferrari of refuge rooms). I’m not positive there was no cultural push-back against this kind of thing, but we never hear about it, and we do know that it merged pretty thoroughly with American culture for decades, so we can probably guess there wasn’t a huge revolution against refuge rooms, at least until the 1960s when the counterculture stopped pussy-footing around the damage “atomic rays” can do and started insisting we’d all die terribly “if we are bombed.”

So, about that irony. This year, August 6th, marked the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Nagasaki was bombed three days later. The estimated death toll of both bombings combined range from 129,000 to 226,000 people. That is appalling. As of today, the death toll from Covid in the United States sits at. 311,000 people. Meanwhile, look at these idiots. I mean, I get it — Nixon happened. And then every other repulsive thing about the government that came to light from then to the present. Sure, our government is garbage and untrustworthy. But it doesn’t change how viruses work — you know, they way we’ve known they work for a long time now. The digital age hasn’t changed that. The consequences of unregulated social media hasn’t changed that. Viruses do what they do and some of them will kill us if given have the chance. Like, what can you say about a society whose fear of the government, or shadowy organizations (members of whom they’ve never set eyes on), or even their neighbors is so great that it bypasses its basic survival mechanism against a known and viable threat?

Answer: You say: “Well, this is done. Probably overdone. In fact, it’s inedible. Let’s just throw it out and order Thai.”

311,000 dead folks, today, and there will be more tomorrow. And no one even asked these people to build a fucking fallout shelter. No one asked them to “removed all readily flammable materials from the attic (furniture, boxes, rags) and from around the outside of the house (leaves, boxes, crates and paper trash), make sure all parts of the house are easily accessible. Place buckets of water or sand and fire extinguishers at strategic points in the house.” (Seriously, this isn’t even, “Hey, bomb’s coming,’ this is just in case. Like fender-bender insurance.) Just to wear a mask, social distance, make a little social sacrifice. I’m not. even talking about businesses, etc. Just regular individuals going about their business. No, we have to trick people into putting on a mask.

And I bet if you asked any of these people how scary a nuclear war would be, they’d answer: “Ooooo, dat scary!

So…yeah. There’s my little bit of Atomic Terror History, and it looks very different to me now, sitting here typing in December of 2020.

Oh, by the way, no, no one in my dad’s house carried out any of these recommendations. I don’t know, maybe someone put a bucket of water by the door for a while. Maybe they cleaned out the attic crawlspace. But there was definitely not a fallout shelter anywhere on the property (much to me disappointment — pretty sure I’d have claimed that as a bedroom). I bet, though, if you’d have asked them to social distance and wear a mask when they left their immediate household for a year or two, they’d have done it, and they would have survived, not just Covid, but having to social distance and wear a mask. Yes, they’d have survived.

One more thing, in case you didn’t have enough stress:

Despite progress in reducing Cold War nuclear arsenals, the world’s combined inventory of nuclear warheads remains at a very high level: roughly 13,410 warheads as of early-2020. Of these, nearly 9,320 are in the military stockpiles (the rest are awaiting dismantlement), of which some 3,720 warheads are deployed with operational forces, of which about 1,800 US, Russian, British and French warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice.

Enjoy your day!

Gator

So, again, not funny, but hey, not every terrible thing that happens in Florida has a ridiculous side. Sometimes it just sucks. DOn’t worry, this is the last of it…back to funny-ha-ha next Friday.

A two-year-old boy from Nebraska, Lane Graves, was attacked by an alligator and dragged into the Seven Seas Lagoon at a Disney Land resort, despite their “very proactive program” of “removing alligators that pose a threat.” The body was found sixteen hours later. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission stated that in excess of two-hundred-twenty alligators were removed from the resort from 2006 to 2015, then increased to more than 40 from 2015-2016 alone. After Graves’s death, removals doubled to eighty-four in 2017. A few days prior to the incident, four six-foot or larger alligators were removed from the park, and two days after the body was recovered, five alligators were removed and euthanized. It’s almost as if wildlife lives there.

Jacobo, Julia; Brian McBride; Morgan Winsor. “Boy’s Body Found After Gator Attack at Disney Resort, Officials Say.”ABC News. ABC News Internet Ventures.

Read Florida Man: Battle of the Five Meth Labs: A Love Story here.

I have a hashtag on Instagram called ShitInMyStudy, where, when I’ve got nothing better to do/say/etc., I post a picture of an item in my study. Hence, shit in my study. Thought I’d use that same basic gameplan over here on the ol’ blog, except I’ll actually tell you about the shit in my study. I will also — if anyone is reading this — answer questions about the shit in my study. This, however, is not to be mistaken as an invitation to swing by and take a shit in my study, as has been suggested on Instagram by more than one of my stupid friends. Just to be clear.

I have a bunch of shit in my study that is weird, and no one ever sees it because, well, it’s in my study and that’s where I work.

Today’s shit in my study is this book, Monsters and Nightmares by Bernhardt J. Hurwood, published in 1967 when my father was 25 years old. This is relevant. My dad was a relatively conservative, no-nonsense sort of guy. So, the fact that he procured this particular book at any point in his adult life is notable. Sometime in, I’ll guess, 1985, my father gave this book to my older brother (not this book, this is another copy I bought much later — the original is fragile and in a box, yes, in my study). Very shortly afterward, my brother passed it to me.

Bernhardt J. Hurwood was a weird dude. Here is the abstract for the Bernhardt J. Hurwood Collection at Bowling Green State University:

The Bernhardt J. Hurwood Collection, 1926-1987, is comprised of fifteen linear feet of correspondence, research files, literary productions, printed materials, photographs, and audiovisual resources chronicling the eclectic career of this popular writer of sexual and supernatural literature. Portions of the collection were first donated to the Browne Popular Culture Library beginning in 1974. After Mr. Hurwood’s death the remainder of the collection was transferred between 1989-1990, by his wife Marci Vitous-Hurwood. Eric Honneffer processed the collection and finished preparing the finding aid in April 2014.

You can imagine my delight in learning that there was, indeed, a Bernhardt J. Hurwood Collection at any university; I would love — love — to write a biography of Mr. Hurwood. A “popular writer of sexual and supernatural literature.” What’s not to love? With titles like Vampires, Werewolves and GhoulsGhosts, Ghouls and Other HorrorsHaunted HousesVampires, Werewolves and Other DemonsChilling Ghost Stories, and Eerie Tales of Terror and Dread — some of which I own. And The Girls, The Massage, and EverythingThe Sensuous New YorkerJoys of Oral Love, and The Whole Sex Catalogue — none of which I own, regrettably. But I’m always on the lookout for Hurwood titles. He also dabbled in fiction, one of which I own, a vampire novel called By Blood Alone.

So, anyway, when I was about ten years old, my brother gave me the book our father gave him. Reason: It was “too scary” for him. He was apparently reading it one evening, went to sleep, and was hassled in the night by a particularly vivid werewolf-related dream, the details of which he declined to mention. There are some things that are too “too” for my brother. One was this book, and another was a couple years later, when he handed me a cassette — Metallica’s Master of Puppets (single best version of this song, hands down)– and said “This is too heavy for me.”

Lucky for my brother, I was only too happy to take both off his hands.

I mean, look at that table of contents. You can’t go wrong with a book that opens up with something called The Monstrous Maggot of Death (not to be mistaken for the Mongolian Death Worm, which is obviously where your mind went…obviously). That’s a favorite, along with The Legend of the Screaming Skulls, The Horrible Legacy of the Cannibal Chef (not this guy), The Demon Drummer of Tedworth, and Voluntarily Buried Alive. And really, The Necrophile Who Did a Good Dead? The Holy Prepuce and the Miracles? (Best band name ever.) One simply cannot go wrong.

No joke, when I was a kid, and well into my teens, I’d return to this over and over. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read these stories, and I still love them. The cover is awesome, too.

That’s it. That’s the story of this book. No, not riveting, but it’s some…shit…in my…study.

Omar-S-Mateen

Again, definitely not funny…

Despite a history of domestic violence and being investigated twice by the FBI for alleged ties to terror networks, Omar Mir Seddique Mateen not only passed a 3-day wait period to purchase a handgun, as per Florida Law, but was also able to walk out of the story with an AR-15-type gun the same day of purchase—again, as per Florida law. He went on to kill 49 people and wound 53 at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando. He was shot eight times by police on the scene with no drugs or alcohol in his system and wearing two pairs of socks.

Ellis, Ralph; Ashley Fantz, Faith Karimi, & Eliott C. McLaughlin. “Orlando Shooting: 49 Killed, Shooter Pledged ISIS Allegiance.” CNN. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. June 13, 2016.

Read Florida Man: Battle of the Five Meth Labs: A Love Story here.

Homwewood Cemetery, Pittsburgh, Pa.

To be honest, I have spent very little time on this blog lately. All the posts from The Beast of Gévaudan and Florida Man were scheduled months ago, and while Beast ended a whole ago, Florida Man has just come to an end (citations notwithstanding). And from those citations, Florida Man Friday will continue, I believe, at least until March. [I need to update the Florida Man table of contents, which I will, soon.]

So, what’s been going on…well, I started work on my first non-fiction book — a band biography of the fabulous Swiss tech-thrash trio, Coroner. Super excited about it. I’ve been digging into old magazines and fanzines (which really are a little social habitat of their very own — taking me way, way back to my teen years) and sorting through the many varied releases, both official (yay) and pirated (boo-hiss). I’ve collected what is probably the most complete collection of tour dates and am reaching out to gig attendees for their best memories of particular shows. I’ve got a bunch of contacts, kindly provided by Marky, but have yet to really reach out for interviews, as I need to get solid with all of this information myself before I start bothering people with questions, especially questions relating to activities from, geez, 30+ years ago. All in all, happy with the work, happy with the progress, happy thinking it through and putting things together.

2020, eh? Sucks. Since about March, I’ve seen/heard much commentary on the difficulties of isolating/quarantining, but I have to say, I didn’t start getting itchy until about August or September, and only then when it really hit home that I couldn’t leave the country. For whatever reason, that bothered me more than being stuck in my house. Well, there are known reasons that I won’t get into, but suffice to say, I needed an attitude adjustment, which I managed, and now I’m back to what I suppose many writers do — we stay home, researching and writing. Though, admittedly, it’d be much easier on everyone involved, and faster, if I could hop on a plane and spend a few weeks in Zürich to physically go through these zines and mags myself. Otherwise, I’m relatively content to keep riding this out in my study.

Been painting a little, too. It functions as meditation, so I do both. Hit the gym (the garage). Deal with my fluctuating perimenopausal hormones — what a complete fact of life shitshow that’s been.

In terms of Covid itself, it’s inching ever closer. For months it had been friends or family of friends, which is disconcerting enough, but lately, it’s been friends and family, directly. My sister and her guy have just pulled through, though she was at the ER yesterday for Covid-related pleurisy, which, apparently, can be an issue even in the recovery phase (she’s okay so far). Thankfully, an elderly aunt tested negative. And friends, whom we care about as much as family. So far, though, no one’s been admitted to hospital and everyone’s recovered or recovering.

It’s fucking wild out there. Everywhere (for the most part), but we must concede that the United States has screwed this up probably more than anyone. We can blame Trump, sure, and he deserves an ass-load of it, but honestly, much of this was basic common sense. Basic survival instinct. That should have kicked in, right? What can we say about a society who’s collectively lost its foundational instinct for survival? Well, not much good can be said of that, and it speaks volumes to where we’ve been politically and where I suspect we’ll go. Unfortunately, even if the knuckle draggers are a minority, that’s all it takes for a virus to spread out of control, and the majority suffer for it. We can say the same politically, and despite the light reprieve, I don’t have very high hopes that 2022 or 2024 is going to mitigate the condition of the society that welcomed this entire mess. I think we might be too far gone. But, who knows…?

Speaking of how suck-ass 2020 has been — we had seven cats and now we have five. I can’t even go into it, it’s so heartbreaking, but basically we lost two of our most vulnerable, most in need of care, rescues — one to FIV in July and the other to kidney disease just a few weeks ago. I won’t go into it, but suffice to say, the deaths weren’t easy and the gaps left are huge, because they required so much. I know, I know…cats. But it’s hard to take responsibility to a living, sentient being and not be able to save them from everything. We did the best we could under the circumstances, which weren’t easy. But moving on, because this is depressing…

Since the scheduled posts are largely up, I suppose I will have to post here more actively. which is fine, but don’t expect me to blow your mind every time. I’ll talk about whatever I’m working on, whatever’s going on and immediately on mind, and I don’t know…cat pictures. Plenty of those. Well see…

I’ll leave you with some Watchtower, the chapter for whom I just finished reading in Mean Deviation.

40

FM(40)

Rupert drives his forest green 1970 Cadillac DeVille convertible down the Tamiami Trail, heading south. He doesn’t put the top down too often, as he still hasn’t gotten used to the intensity of the sun down here—he doesn’t imagine he ever will—though he is sporting a pair of vintage knock-off Ray Buns. He finally got his sunglasses. But, there was no way he could refuse to return and help out Jesus, who’d done so much to help him through all of that mess. Going back to “normal” wasn’t an option—not after the Florida experience alone, not to mention adding the reality of Crack Planet, the ótrúlegt vá, the Sprungians. It’s pretty hard to come back from that.

Rupert never went to Crack Planet, and he figured he would someday. Despite understanding that he no longer suffered from anxiety—an impossibility if one had partaken in ótrúlegt vá, which he had—changing his thoughts about it proved to be harder than one might, well, think. His preceived anxiety has improved a lot, but it’s not perfect. It might never be perfect. Changing one’s perception or expectation of one’s reality is harder than kicking any drug, though similar in many ways. But he works on it, pushes his limits, retraining his brain to move past old thought patterns and expanding his comfort zone.

It’s work, but it helps that he changed his shitty attitude. He had to accept that living one’s life according to a belief in the inevitable incursion of social entropy on every aspect of one’s existence makes one blind to all the ways it’s not inevitable. And that’s stressful.

Upon reflection, Rupert finds it interesting that, with all the time, effort, and money spent on fighting drug addiction, no one utilizes nearly as many resources addressing the average person’s addiciton to their own shitty thoughts, and yet here he was. But he keeps focused. In fact, it’s safe to say that he and Leenda have become born again negentropists—while obviously accepting the fact of entropy in its various forms in the universe, they choose, in their lives, to hope and strive for some personal order out of that raging chaos.

Rupert drives and wonders whatever became of Bucket.

As for himself, his life has changed a lot. He turns the massive, green auto-eyesore off of Tamiami, pulling into the Osprey School’s Visitor Center’s parking lot. The sun beats down. The air is thick and hot.

He waits, thinking.

Yeah, he thinks he’s made the right decision. He’s doing some good in the world, and not only by making himself a more worthwhile human being on a one-on-one basis—he’s still a professional.

No longer an entropolgist, he and Jesus are Senior Sales Executives at JesRupe (Pronunced: Hay-Sroop) Industries, and also a Senior Sales Consultant to individual national JesRupe franchises, which means a little travel now and then. Neither he, nor Jesus, act as representatives any longer. No more hot, sweaty days behind the FFG for them—they most often conduct business via smartphone from the white, sandy beaches of Siesta Key, tanning their already-brown asses, and occasionally ogling scanitly-clothed passersby. Hey, it’s a living.

But that’s not all. Rupert spends at least half of his weekly work hours doing hard research, as he is on remote faculty at Crack Planet’s ­­Gôddärd Anteé University in their Sun and Crack subdivision, under the umbrella of their Ótrúlegt Vá Studies department. He’s not nearly as well-versed as his Sprungian colleagues, but he’s got the advantage of working in the field—together, they are working to answer some questions, make some advances, make the universe a better place.

What gives ótrúlegt vá its instant rehab properties, despite its being almost molecularly identical to Earth crack? Almost. Unfortunately, the additional unidentifiable molecule involved only rasies more questions than it answers. Perhaps they need to be looking a little more to the left.

Sunlight arrives to Earth as low entropy, high energy light waves, and leaves the Earth’s atmosphere as high entropy, low energy infrared radiation. Is there something notable about Crack Planet’s atmosphere? Is there some force related to the planet itself, like a specialized gravitational pull? Whatever the case, when Earth jettison’s its high entropic, low energy infrared radiation into space, it travels—is pulled?—straight to Crack Planet. How? Why? No one knows exactly. Or vaguely, to be honest. But specialists believe it has something to do with the sun.

Ótrúlegt vá isn’t man-, or Sprungian-, made, like Earth crack—it is mined from the ground. For millions, if not billions, or trillions, of years, this “mineral” has absorbed the Earth’s high entropic, low energy infrared radiation and, over time, like coal creates diamonds, this crack transforms into a low entropic, high energy lightwave. That’s right—ótrúlegt vá is not a solid substance, but a wave, and it glows like the sun at high noon. It is also self-igniting, but that’s a phenonemon for another department. All of this occurs naturally, unlike filthy Earth crack, which is manufactured by humans and means that it must, by default, bring disaster and ruin.

Not so with ótrúlegt vá, this solar offspring—the stuff of gods.

So, Florida—the Sunshine State: Why is it so batshit insane? No one can say for sure, but Rupert has his own little theories. Regular Earth peoples might compare Rupert’s Florida transformation with the coal/diamond scenario, but Rupert understands it was more akin to the ótrúlegt vá scenario.

Rupert arrived in Florida a highly entropic, low energy person. Over the course of his stay, under immense social and professional pressure, he trasmutated from that to a high energy, low entropic individual. See, Florida Men and Women are, by nature, high entropy, low energy. They live unaware of their entropic state, leading them, by larger cultural standards, to not give a shit about much of anything, but their low energy—emotional, physicological, physical—leads them to widespread and chronic drug abuse. What the rest of the nation perceives is a state full of crazy people just getting crazier by the day, but for someone like Rupert, who arrived embodying an unrecognized form of the Floridian Condition—his exposure to the Florida sun, compounded by his interpersonal activities, actually caused the mutation, and instead of becoming more dysfunctional, he became more functional by his own perception and standards. Society, though, would see him as just another Florida Man calling 911 because he hadn’t received his tax returns. Geographical context is, apparently, not important.

So, what about the Sunshine State? This Florida sun, apparently so different from the sunshine falling throughout the rest of the country, the rest of the world . . . well, here is another of Rupert’s theories: It’s not just Florida. But, there are reasons why Florida has its international reputation as a massive outdoor asylum. The first being that the state of Florida has some of the United States’ most unfettered open-record laws (ironically, also called “Sunshine Laws”), which means journalists looking for a wacky scoop on a slow-news day can pilfer through the public record and out the wildest shit the state’s residents have to offer from ther criminal lives. However, some states’ open-record laws are equally permissive, so . . . why Florida?

This is where Rupert thinks the real meat of the matter lies: Everyone goes to Florida—and what do they go for? The weather. The sunshine! Like California, its native-to-transplant ratio is pretty skewed, but California’s open-record laws are more stringent, so while there are people living in both states from all over the country—hell, all over the world—it’s Florida’s general diversity that most frequently gets showcased in the newspapers and online.

The crazy is everywhere, and perhaps, Florida gets more than its fair share of loons, not by nature at this point, but by reputation and self perpetuation. It’s widely known as a haven for nutters—why wouldn’t they flock to this mecca?

Of course, these are all just theories—theories about ótrúlegt vá, about Crack Planet, about Florida, and its ever-scorching, madmen-making sun—which Rupert doesn’t really discuss with his peers. For now. He does discuss it with Leenda, and Jesus, and even Stanley, who’s taken the Dean’s position at GAU, and he agrees that it has merit and is worth pursuing. So, that’s what Rupert does in his spare time.

He’s never been happier or more fullfilled emotionally, socially, or professionally. How is any of this even possible?

* * *

“Oh my God, put the top up, are you crazy?”

Leenda dumps her things into the back seat. Rupert smiles at her, gets out, and they both pull the convertible’s top up and secure it.

“You’re going to burn us both to a crisp,” she says after they get in, then leans over and kisses his cheek, like she does. Although not thrilled with the idea of returning to, and living in, any part of Florida, Leenda had said to Rupert: “I cannot live without you.”

She said those very words.

He remembers those words exactly, because he had looked her straight in the eyes for longer than he thought he’d ever looked anyone in the eyes. He’d been looking for something—some hint of a lie. Some exaggeration. A sign of hyperbole.

He’d found none. A moment of negentropy—in seconds, his Universe collapsed with hers and they birthed a new, fetal plane of existence, a cluster of buzzing, vibrating atoms—that was love.

As they pull out of the parking lot and back onto the Tamiami Trail, from the nearby Spanish Point jungles rises a solitary monkey screech, splitting the heat of the day. It fades into the distance streching out between it and them, and together, here under the blazing sun, none of them gives a shit.

 

The End.

 

Yes, it’s the end, but Florida Man Fridays continue, and will until the first week of March — I guess I had more citations than I thought.