Archive for the ‘Here Be Dragons’ Category

ORLANDO, Fla

On September 2nd, 2015, the attention of the Central Florida community became centered on the home of exotic animal fetishist, Mike Kennedy, who admitted one of his three cobras had escaped its confines and was on the loose. Kennedy’s king cobra, an eight-foot venomous snake, has gone rogue somewhere in the Florida wilderness near Clarcona Elementary School where outdoor recess has been suspended indefinitely. Greater Orlando reacted in a panic; it’s flip-flop footed citizenry quickly converting to close-toed shoes. Snake-charmers from Calcutta and serpent-handling Pentecostal preachers from Appalachia descended upon West Orange County in order to seek out the slithering menace, a snake which could lift 1/3rd of its body off the ground in order to deliver a bite poisonous enough to kill an elephant. I snake known to stalk human prey before striking.

Mike Kennedy Central Florida’s panicked reaction was “over-the-top.”

Reality TV Dude Mike Kennedy displays his expertise controlling a cobra... which he eventually loosens upon the Florida citizenry.

Reality TV Dude Mike Kennedy displays his expertise controlling a cobra… a snake he eventually (accidentally) loosens upon the Florida citizenry.

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission cited Kennedy for not immediately reporting the missing cobra, but claims the exotic beast was kept legally on Kennedy’s pleasure ranch along with two other cobras, a diamondback rattlesnake, a Florida cottonmouth, a Gaboon viper, four pythons, a spotted leopard, four crocodiles and an alligator. Mike Kennedy is well-known for starring on Discovery Channel’s “Airplane Repo” and made infamous, just recently, for being an asshole.

asshole

asshole

gator attack#OrlandoCobra is only the most recent meme to absorb the collective paranoia of Florida. A month prior to the cobra scandal, a swimming woman had her arm bitten off by a 300-lb alligator just a few miles from Kennedy’s exotic fetish ranch. The incident occurred at the redneck resort, Wekiva Island, where your narrator, Vic Neverman, oft enjoys a morning of paddle-boarding and an afternoon sipping beer with the river folk. In these very waters, the dragon struck. Sentenced to death, the alligator was euthanized. A similar fate may very well be in store for the Orlando Cobra.

The cobra could be anywhere by now, preferably in the gullet of one of the local bald eagles. In anticipation of the worst, however, the peoples of Orlando’s northwestern hinterland (Apopka, Ocoee, Bayou St Basil and Forest City) are armed more than usual. Myself, I keep either my trusty machete or trustier tennis racket within reach at all times. Cyrus Lee Hancock, professional survivalist, prefers heavier artillery. I sought out the advice of the elusive Cyrus Lee, currently hiding out from the IRS in the foothills of Tennessee.

What weaponry would you carry while on walkabout in a place haunted by a king cobra?

IMG_2071A pitchfork should be enough to handle a cobra, but an assault rifle would definitely come in handy if the bastard tried to slither away. An assault rifle with a bayonet for anything in close proximity. Otherwise, a pitchfork would do nicely. Or a sub-assault rifle with flame-thrower. Yeah, that would burn the snake out of the scrub. No place to hide then but in the ground. Perhaps a back-hoe in case the snake did find a hole. A back-hoe with a flame-thrower. That would be optimal.

Having killed your fair share of alligators, what would you have handy whilst admiring the ladies at your favorite swimming hole?

Harpoon for sure. I mean, it looks cool anyway: flexing in front of the chicas in your board-shorts as you slide the harpoon out of your day-pack. ‘Don’t mind me; I’m just the love-child of Neptune and Venus, available for tanning oil rub-downs.’ A harpoon would be enough if one of the lovelies were attacked by a gator, but a bang-stick would be ideal to smash in its skull once it’s been harpooned and tired out.

Caesar Germanicus and Cyrus Lee Hancock prepare for a leisurely stroll through the Smoky Mountains

Caesar Germanicus and Cyrus Lee Hancock prepare for a well-armed leisurely stroll through the Smoky Mountains

You and I have worked for years writing the most authoritative hurricane survival guide ever which has allowed us to study how to handle rabies, deliver babies and out-punch an escaped-from-zoo rabid kangaroo. Through all of your research, what would you say are the most lethal risks in Florida nature? Other than, of course, the weather…

Well, you have the mosquitos. They carry dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever, herpes…

I’m pretty sure mosquitos can’t carry herpes.

Of course they can carry herpes. Don’t be naïve. Mosquitos I would rank #10. #9 I would say is bears. Yeah, Florida bears are small enough for Goldilocks, but they are still ursine monsters. Bears have memories like elephants. Okay, maybe not, but if you piss one off, it will follow you, stalk your house from its tree perch, wait for you to take a nap in a hammock and then – WHAM! – it bites out your jugular and then spreads around acorns to make it look like squirrels did it.

Vic Neverman sips upon an adult beverage at Wekiva Island, site of the redneck revelry and alligator mauling

Vic Neverman sips an adult beverage at Wekiva Island, site of the redneck revelry and alligator mauling

I have never heard of black bears murdering napping humans in Florida. Or anywhere, ever. Heck, Jim Tusk’s pre-school heroic son, Bodhi, in his high-pitched roar, scared-off wayward bears in their Apopka neighborhood. This doesn’t sound like your level of perceived malevolence…

Bears get off easy because their crimes are always blamed on the squirrels. So the eighth worst threat in Florida is the squirrels. And the raccoons. And the feral children. You can lump them all in the same category because they basically all do the same thing: steal your garbage, bite through your brake-lines to sabotage your truck and they carry the bubonic plague in their lice. They do get a bad rap for the jugular biting from the bears, so let’s say bears are #8 and squirrels, raccoons and feral children are #9.

I don’t think that is true, the bit about the Bubonic plague.

If armadillos carry leprosy, then raccoons can carry the plague. So #7 is armadillos. Who wants leprosy, right? The sixth biggest natural risk in Florida is holes.

Holes?

Holes. Half of the missing person cases in North Florida can be attributed to sinkholes. With sinkholes the limestone just gives way and the earth swallows people up quicker than quicksand. Then you have the springs, which are seemingly peaceful passageways to the hollow inner-earth. Seemingly, but not so peaceful. Springs are just a toilet that flushes to Hades or whichever oblivion waits in the center of the earth. Doubt me? Just ask the scuba divers who wander down and are never seen again.

Jim Tusk and I have scuba dived dove diven dived the cave systems of Florida springs and can tell you the deaths are mostly caused by inexperience.

Inexperience and whichever water demons and sirens that lure swimmers and passersby to their doom. So yeah, #6 most lethal is the holes, though I am thinking about promoting this threat as it is pretty fucking hardcore. #5 is lightning. If it doesn’t hit you going down, that shit can then leap up out of the ground and hit you going back up. Ground lightning. I saw a dude once who got struck in the hand by ground lightning and the electricity came out of his fingertips.

Vic Neverman and Tusk after a successful cave dive north Florida

Vic and Tusk after a successful cave dive in North Florida.

You saw this yourself? The electricity coming out of his fingertips?

I didn’t say that. I just saw a dude and that dude once got struck by lightning. You’re not listening to me Vic. You never listen to me. And #5b would be spontaneous combustion. I don’t have any evidence this occurs any more often in Florida or that it is attributable to lightning, but at least three of my fraternity brothers have spontaneously combusted, leaving nothing but ash, a melted cell phone and broken hearts.

Weren’t you questioned in the disappearances of at least two of those three?

Maybe. #4 is sharks. Sharks should be number one, but only based on capability. In fact, sharks never live up to their predatory potential. They could be so much more. Even with the recent summers of frequent shark attacks, shark-on-man violence is less common than being stung-to-death by bees or wasps or Brazilian fire ants, which brings me to number three…

Wait – the statistics for shark bites are low because a vast population of the world is never wading in shark-infested waters. Aren’t the statistics much higher if you actually swim around the sandbars of the Florida coasts?

Whatever, dude. Statistics are for wonks. I am talking nature and nature gave sharks the ability to bite a chunk out of some choice fat-American rump and make a run for the Bahamas. Sharks could do so much more with the right leadership – thigh-bite then high-tail. Sure, eventually no one would go to the beach anymore and/or the sharks would be wiped-out by retributive hunters, but in the meantime, it would be a free buffet – cafeteria style with all the country-gravy they like. But this doesn’t happen. Why? Because sharks are too damn docile. Thusly, they are only #4.

Okay, so what are your top three lethal threats in Florida? Does the chupacabra or the skunk-ape sneak in there?

You are a strange hombre, Victor. Mythological beasts do not enter my top threats because myths aren’t real, like, literally.

Cyrus Lee Hancock helicoptering in the Himalaya

Cyrus Lee Hancock helicoptering in the Himalaya

They are real to the popular collective consciousness – the paranoia of the people – therefore they are a perceived risk.

Delusional risk. In Nepal, I had a Sherpa who kept dreaming about a Yeti fucking his wife, which was somewhat true, but there was no Yeti, no abdominal snowman, no abominable snowman either. The stench was just Kathmandu and the pungent yak-milk moonshine the street urchins vomit in the gutters outside your hostel. His wife’s bastard offspring is far too handsome to resemble my Sherpa, but you cannot blame that on a Neanderthal wandering the Himalaya. Crypto-animals are just the boogeymen we blame when things go wrong. So no, I am not concerned with a skunk-ape stealing children from backyards or your Puerto Rican goat-sucker killing the alpaca livestock.

Okay, so what are your top three threats in Florida?

Well, gators, obvi. And snakes, especially with all of the exotics sneaking into the Everglades. Your king cobra is frightening, but Florida is now a hot-bed of Burmese pythons gulping deer and kitty cats and the occasional wayward child. So gators and snakes are #2 & 3, whichever way you want to cut it. And put bees, wasps and ants in there somewhere. Lie in grass for longer than five minutes and you are risking consumption by Brazilian fire ants. Florida risk #1 is easy – people: the psychopathic meatloaf that makes up Florida’s population. In Orlando alone, you have Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman and Tiger Woods. It is a strange stew of meat here, amigo: too sunburnt, too dehydrated, too crazy from the heat. Everyone from the colder climes wants to live in Florida and those who don’t have a retirement plan come down early to sell drugs or turn gigolo or become real estate agents. Fucking riffraff clogging the drain.

When we were preparing for the Mayan Apocalypse in 2012, I recall you mentioning your neighbors as a bigger threat than the reversal of magnetic poles, meteorites or tsunamic flooding. At the time, I thought you were concerned with a zombie uprising of neighborly unded, but it appears you just distrust Floridians in general…

Florida is already full of zombies, which is why I am not planning on returning any time soon. It was a mistake for us to weather the Maya Apocalypse in Florida because as soon as shit hit the fan, all of those fucking Nazi neighbors became blood-thirsty warlords. If we spent 2012 in Tennessee, we could have counted on the true neighborly Christians and moonshiners to help us through. If the Maya or the Inca or the Khmer or the Eskimos or the stone-heads of Easter Island predict another apocalypse, I recommend getting the hell out of Florida. Just to get away from the people, let alone the gators and mosquitos and escaped rabid kangaroos.

If there were one animal you wouldn’t want to confront during a hurricane or another Maya apocalypse, which animal would that be?

You know the answer: damn hippopotamuses. You can run down to Colombia all you like to look after Pablo’s hippos, but consider me disinterested. I don’t want anything to do with those buck-toothed beasties.