Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

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.

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R.I.P. Copper Rocket Pub (1995–2015)

The Copper Rocket Pub lived as she died: an unassuming public house noticed by naught except those afflicted by her heavily-perfumed ardor. Copper Rocket was a beast whose gravity was heavier than the sum of her parts. On the surface, the Rocket was snuck away into the armpit of a sunburnt strip-mall in Central Florida, residing beside the dry cleaning façade next door (rumored to be a front operation for an international online spamming organization) and for all intents & purposes entirely unremarkable. The interior was “contemporary dive” circa 1990s, the time period when the Rocket first launched. The food was best avoided, yet the draft selection was quite noble, even before there was demand for imported and craft beer. Copper Rocket’s walls were held up by dart boards and her sticky floors held down by a billiards table. When she was empty, she was lonesome; an aching cavern devoid of life. When she was full, usually on trivia night or when local bands played atop the barest modicum of stage, she was alive and vigorous, busting at the seams like a drunken madam wearing the same corset which made her rich in her prosperous youth. And yet this was not the entirety of my Copper Rocket. My Copper Rocket was a place where the mind bent along wavelengths drowned out by the swill and the dull afterglow of the cosmic microwave, where the perverse vibrations of sink holes far beneath our sticky-bottom soles combined with a shadowy patronage created some rather paranoid atmospherics. The jukebox cranked frequencies which dulled your senses, but there was no escaping the spoiled sweet scent of dread pervading the smoke-filled ether the Rocket ascended to. With her psychological intangibles and gratifying elixirs, Copper Rocket wasn’t an escape from reality insomuch she was a lower plane with which to make peace with one’s inner daemon.

photo (4)
Initiation, Passage and Remembrance

tucherI was introduced to The Copper Rocket Pub by Ras Kelly in the late 90s. Ras, herself, was a complicated chick, a fitting guide through the labyrinthine lavatory passages. Trending theory popular during this era: Ras was running with the Israelis, though she may not have been aware of it at the time and certainly wouldn’t admit to it now, especially if her affiliations have (or have not) drifted. Nevertheless, Ras complicated. She directed me to Copper Rocket for Tucher – a beer she discovered in one of her jaunts to West Germany – which, at the time, was entirely unknown in Florida and perhaps greater America. A seductively sloping glass of Tucher was accompanied with a slice of orange, a compliment quite alien in the western hemisphere before the mass distribution of Blue Moon. Copper Rocket, dive bar it was, was the only place in my known universe with Tucher and where an untainted pint of Guinness (a beer which requires a delicate & thorough approach lacking in Florida) could be poured. I was quick to pledge homage to this Rocket of Copper. It was always a doomed devotion, however, never more evident than when I pulled out of the Rocket’s parking lot for the first time and was flashed down by overzealous Maitland Police for turning right on a red.

map of copper rockerIn those early days, the Maitland police would hide behind the scattered century oaks to pick-off unsuspecting motorists leaving Copper Rocket. This was the only bar in this part of town and combined with an inventive Napoleonic Traffic Code, the local Police State was able to gorge itself from predation on Rocket clientele. It was an unsavory precondition the beer-slingers behind the bar at Copper Rocket begrudgingly acknowledged and cried heavenly foul over. Copper Rocket was always Us versus Them and for good reason. Secluded within an anonymous strip-mall in Maitland, the geographical proximity to the nearby Mecca of Central Florida white-bread good-breeding was close enough to hear the smack of balls on the polo field. Winter Park, with its red bricked roadways and snobbery against nouveau riche, let alone bourgeois and the peasantry, was legend. Maitland was a presumptuous buffer zone, its excitable police bowing to the Winter Park zealots by enforcing a removal of riffraff to the other side of the train tracks in the direction of Eatonville. Copper Rocket, to all concerned authority, was a blasphemy, an affront to the nearby affluence of Winter Park. It is a miracle she almost lasted twenty years before being shut down.

Ras Kelly was disappointed to hear the news, though it was trivial to her now she was residing in Connecticut, married with child, no less. “I remember there used to be this rule, or I guess a superstition.” She mentioned to me over sushi during her most recent visit south. “When playing pool at Copper Rocket, if you hopped the cue ball off the table you couldn’t touch it. Or at least you shouldn’t touch it with your bare hands.” She laughed at her memory, almost doubting the story for its ridiculous nature. “No, I think it was just that you had to have a handkerchief or – what I am saying, no one had a handkerchief in the Rocket – a dish towel or something to pick up the cue ball. Or else bad luck. I don’t know, someone must have once picked up the cue ball and then been struck dead by lightning.”

A cue ball curse would go a long way in explaining my last dozen years. I do not recall ever retrieving the billiard flotsam, but if I did, I think I know the fateful night of occurrence. In a life of nights, it is one of my top ten: I was shooting the greatest pool of my entirety against a motley court of antagonists, much to the delight of their queen, the soul-crushing siren known as the Cheetah. This proficiency was an oddity as I, Victor Ulysses Neverman, have shite for hand-to-eye coordination (I can barely see past my meandering elbows). Nevertheless, this Neverman peaked early with the Cheetah, a triumph quickly fleeting. All of the women I have taken on dates to Copper Rocket then & thereafter have brought me closer to my eventual spiritual ruin. It is clear now I must have grabbed a jettisoned cue ball in 2003.

“Yes, I remember there being something of a cue ball curse.” Desdemona Riley mentioned to me over the phone from Chicago. In a life of nights, Des Riley occupies three or four of the other top ten. “I only went to the Copper Rocket once. It was before I met you and it was on a lousy first date. I mean, what kind of pseudo-heavy brings a date to the Copper Rocket? Anyway, there was a story about someone picking up a cue ball and then the next day coming down with an acute case of fibrosis plasma ossification. If there is one thing you don’t want your plasma doing, it is ossifying.”

“I don’t recall having any strong connection with the place.” Jim Tusk spoke of Copper Rocket. He had only been there once despite his being the quick-fisted, beer crunching, demolitions expert side-kick to yours truly through the late 90s and early 00s. “I don’t recall a cue ball curse either, but it reminds me of an East Palatka tradition with darts. If your dart ever fell off the board, you had to pick it up with the opposite hand that tossed it or else you had to kiss your nearest relative. Needless to say, certain individuals took advantage of the penalty and were frequent offenders.”

Twilight of Copper Rocket

If ever there was a necessity for the refuge of Copper Rocket, for the secretive booths and alcoves, for the ciphered messages scrawled on bathroom stall walls, for the numbing effects of the alcohol and music, it would be in these times. During Copper Rocket’s twilight years, the turkey vultures of the local Police State still hovered above; meanwhile, far below, within the scurrilous confines of the Rocket, was a sanctuary where Central Florida’s alternative fringe could find relief from the humid squeeze of the Florida Establishment as well as escape a diabolical local citizenry made up of George Zimmermans, Casey Anthonys and Cyrus Lee Hancocks. Indeed, it was during my attempted romance with a dreadlocked dame bull-horning for the 2011 Occupy Movement when I was re-introduced to the Rocket after a long absence. And ever since… well, as a conspiracy theory bloggist occupied with the existential dangers seemingly dripping over our hotcakes like a steady syrup of prophetic raining frogs, it is rare for me to admit to patronage of any establishment outside the tin-foiled walls of my home at Bayou St Bas Trailer Park, but given the posthumous nature of the subject, I feel it safe to indulge. From 2011 to 2015, I was a regular at Copper Rocket.

When Rufus Holdsworth was not off-the-grid in Belize, calculating a new Maya End Time, he was in Maitland, elbowed-up to the bar at the Rocket. When the embattled strategist, Erasmus of Otter Dam Military Academy, moved to Central Florida in 2013 on an indefinite sabbatical, it was Copper Rocket where he setup headquarters for his counseling services. When the snake oil salesman, Doc Kelly, left the confidence games of Jacksonville for Orlando, I introduced him to the Rocket as his sister first introduced me. While the lot of us paranoid rogues operated in peculiar maneuvers, double-backing our way through city streets, zig-zagging a path through the bogs, never taking the same path from point A to point Z, establishing mutually exclusive alibis, always shifting the shape of our faces through prosthetic, never keeping the same company, there was one consistency in our behavior: Copper Rocket. In the last few years, Rufus, Erasmus, Doc & I have participated and plotted in several commercial schemes and manipulative ploys and subversive machinations and conspiratorial séances in the dark, musky, corridors of Copper Rocket. Without this sanctuary, I am not sure where we will turn.

“I blame Copper Rocket’s closing on Governor Rick Scott, I mean, why not?” Rufus Holdsworth, former NASA landscaper, mused. “Old Guv’nah is censoring speech about global warming and rising sea levels in Tallahassee, so why wouldn’t Rick Scott censor the Copper Rocket if he didn’t like the way it smelt? China released a report saying their temperature is increasing twice as fast as the rest of the world, but for Rick Scott this doesn’t mean Man causes global warming, it just means God doesn’t like chopsticks. I assume Governor Rick Scott’s public relators are spinning China’s global warming reports as just another communist plot born of secretive talks at the Copper Rocket Pub. Next thing you know, Copper Rocket is a vacuum cleaner outlet.”

Curse of the Cue Ball, Rick Scott

Curse of the Cue Ball, Rick Scott

“Wasn’t there some sort of cue ball curse?” Doc Kelly inquired, already knowing the answer. “Yeah, sounds like it could definitely be Rick Scott’s fault.”

Erasmus of Otter Dam Military Academy may have invested the most time in the recently departed establishment. As a part of his early retirement routine, he would arrive at Copper Rocket at 17:15, grab the local weekly paper, requisition a table near the door* and order the special draft of the day. “The place was always empty during what should have been happy hour.” Erasmus mentioned fonder times. “Empty, except for myself and Pinball Pete pelvic-thumping the AC/DC machine in the corner.”

*Erasmus referred to the door during his interview as the ‘entrance’, rather than ‘exit’ or plain-old ‘door’, which speaks volumes to his paranoia: focused more on the entry of some OTHER rather than his own potential need to rapidly depart. I, Vic Neverman, for example, refer to all doors as ‘exits’ in anticipation of exercising my fight or flight reflex.

Erasmus elaborated, “A place like Copper Rocket is born of illicit affairs. Once the under-the-table action dries up and the clientele is absent (I mean, aside for pelvic-pounding Pinball Pete), the house of cards cannot stand. You can blame Rick Scott all you like. Ultimately, it is natural selection. You might be born with a mutated gene that grants you invincibility, but if you cannot get a female to procreate mutant offspring with you, your mutated genes will die alongside you. Long story short, we should all bang more mutants and see where it gets us…”

Erasmus and Vic at the Copper Rocket blackjack tables

Erasmus and Vic at the Copper Rocket blackjack tables

Goodnight Copper Rocket.

PINE HILLS, Fla

Across the tracks there exists an oversized barnacle which was converted into an oyster bar at some point while Truman was in office. Inside the barnacle and over the commotion of shell-shucking, I was barstooled and attempting to follow the logic of Erasmus insofar: he wasn’t listening to me and if he wasn’t listening to me he couldn’t hear my questions and if he couldn’t hear my questions he certainly wasn’t going to fucking answer them.

“What’s this broad to you, anyway?” between grumbles.

“What’s she to you?”

Oysters are meatier when harvested in months with an

Oysters are meatier when harvested in months with an “r” somewhere

Erasmus, stoic and chilled as the Apalachicola oyster on his cracker, glared into my skull. It was apparent he fancied Viv and he growled when I mentioned her name as if it were too sacred to be spoken within ear-range of the salty characters surrounding us. He asked again. I told him: Vivien Escobar was the cruise director for the Lake Osceola Cocktail and Leisure Society. What of They? This of They: according to my source, the Lake Osceola Cocktail and Leisure Society happened to be a clandestine club of elites who secretly ran Orlando.

“Who’s your source?”

GOTHA, Fla

“Have you ever heard of the Bilderberg Group?” Doc Kelly winked at me over something which qualified as a sandwich only in taxonomical terms – it was built between boundaries of bread, but this is where the similarities ended and where the slaughtered pig, pineapple slices, crushed peanuts, granola and a pint of the house barbeque sauce suggested something more abstract than sandwich.

the word barabicu derives from the Timucua People native to Florida

the word barabicu derives from the Timucua People native to Florida

“Of course I have heard about the Bilderberg Group!” And I had. It was an annual rendezvous of the world’s most influential bankers and politicians where world policy was allegedly set. It is Conspiracy Theory 101, every paranoid worth his caffeinated hand-tremors knows about the Bilderbergs.

“Well, these guys…” Doc Kelly went on, using an entire roll of paper towels to wipe a shmear of greasy pig tears from his left cheekbone. “Are like the Bilderbergs, but worse.”

I was halfway listening as the other half was in the bag. I was quickly quaffing pints of the house draft in an attempt to build up enough Dutch courage to make an assault on my own sandwich whose girth qualified, uniquely, as a First World Problem.

“Worse?”

“Yeah, well they golf and they don’t pay their taxes like everyone else, but these guys are evil.”

“Evil? How is the Lake Osceola Cocktail and Leisure Society evil?”

“They built the Eyesore of I-4.”

“Jesus.”

YAKISOBA SUPPER CLUB, undisclosed location somewhere in Fla

Doc Kelly infiltrated the Lake Osceola Cocktail and Leisure Society. If either of us were to get in, he’d be the surer bet. I have the social graces of an asthmatic cat having just licked itself clean whereas Doc… the man can sell. He can walk into your living room and tell you fifty-three ways your home is a tinderbox just waiting to roast you alive and oh!, by the way, he happens to have a trunk full of fire extinguishers if you’re in the market. Doc has the smile of a buzzard at a roadside buffet and the determination of one of those golems of Jewish lore (you know the ones – the clay robots you put magical scrolls inside and they do all of your bidding, not that Doc is a robot or made of clay or even circumcised for all we know, but he’s damned persistent). Doc Kelly isn’t even a physician; he is just a salesman of snake oil and other acne-reducing, libido-enhancing, baldness-correcting formulas where the nickname of ‘Doc’ comes in handy. Between his golemic tendencies, his moniker and his carrion charm, Doc Kelly was able to will his way into one of Central Florida’s most illustrious secret social clubs.

Which brings this narrative to the close of the latter year: Doc Kelly’s newfound elite caste status is how we found ourselves at the Yakisoba Supper Club on New Year’s Eve.

The Yakisoba Supper Club is not the sort of establishment you look-up in the yellow pages. It was founded by a bunch of World War II Marines who returned from the Philippines with a shit-ton of Japanese/Nazi gold and needed to find a place for the bastard sons they brought back to valet park cars. Or so reads the Zagat review… Today, Yakisoba Supper Club is an underground sushi den of intrigue with an exclusive VIP reservation chart. It is rumored hostess Vivien Escobar whittled down the list of those invited by way of Ouija board.

NYE Yakisoba EventAh yes, Vivien Escobar, the gate-keeper. While Doc Kelly may have gained entry into high society based on good breeding alone, his bearded sidekick (your narrator) would have been left outside the velvet ropes if not for Erasmus of Otter Dam persuading Vivien Escobar into accepting both beastly heathens into her New Year’s Eve bacchanal brouhaha. Vivien Escobar, as it seems, is at evens, when not at odds, with the mercurial lothario, Erasmus, a semi-permanent resident on happenstance sabbatical leave from Otter Dam Military Academy where he lectures on Cold War etiquette. Vivien’s strange inclination towards Erasmus served, if you will, as my entry fee into the realm of relevance. Of course, I still had to pay the nominal cover-charge to get inside the Yakisoba Supper Club: a second-born son, a $23 money-order made out to Renaldo Hammerstein and a virgin on layaway worthy of sacrificing.

GPS directions will not lead you to the Yakisoba Supper Club. In fact, satellite navigation systems tend to go debunk this deep in the bayous of Central Florida. Fortunately, I am an esteemed member of the Pizza Delivery Guild and thusly educated with celestial navigation, but, unfortunately, the valet car attendants (Filipino-American great-grandsons of the WWII Veteran founders of the Yakisoba Supper Club) upon arrival take your keys, then your shoes, then your sight (via blindfold), spin you around in a circle, tickle your abdomen and push you down a garden path to be picked up by a trolley car and dumped off in a cemetery, still blinded, mind, where St Bernards are present with casks of champagne for refreshment before, finally, you are given back your keys and your car and provided a map of evaporating ink illustrating where to find the Supper Club of lore.

The Yakisoba Supper Club existed, at least on this night, in a Cuban Missile Crisis concrete bunker resurrected as an early-post-(post-modern) Japanese dojo. The front door lied behind a complicated maze of bamboo forest, tiki torches, a giant phallus of some Norse deity, a pond of koi feeding off of indiscernible human waste, a few rusty Cambodian landmines for good measure and a waterfall façade. We opted for the kitchen entrance. Within the Supper Club, we were greeted by anglicized geishas with angular mascara and a proneness to fits of courtesy giggles. I was handed a Kemosabe Crawl (a martini glass filled with two fingers of gin, a finger formaldehyded, a splash of vermouth and a cherry pit) which I passed along to Doc. Doc fed the Kemosabe Crawl to an unsuspecting bonsai and ordered himself a Wasabi Ruin (two fingers dry gin, one finger vodka, a spit of vermouth and a gumball of wasabi) to clear up his sinus allergies, which is what he claimed was responsible for the rash he picked up during his last trip to Ybor. I opted for Florida-brewed ale adequately hopped and malty. From behind a Golden Buddha (which I believed was a statue until I realized it was just another fat dude spray-painted into performance art) emerged Vivien Escobar with her hair tied-up in Alpine golden pigtails and her fingernails manicured by indentured Vietnamese exchange students. Ever the gracious hostess, Vivien fawned over the regality of our appearance. Being of noble birth, herself, by way of Pittsburgh, she tended to speak in the plural and use the fullest extent of first names, so I was always “Victor!” and Doc was always “Doctor!”

Vic Neverman sipping nigori, photo-bombed by Vivien Escobar

Vic Neverman sipping nigori, photo-bombed by Vivien Escobar

“Victor, you appear so dashing!” Vivien feinted to faint. Then she pretended to find consciousness. “We love the irony of your outfit. We’re unsure if you are being facetious-chic or fascist cat-fancier. Either way: LOVE!

“And Doctor, Darling!” Vivien swooned, kissing either of his cheeks, “We’re inspired by the multilayered patterns of black. You’re a living expression of a canvas void enough to fill with your sophistries and oyster-oil miracle cures. And let us just tell you, your datil pepper cream has done wonders on our athlete’s foot.”

Vivien Escobar guided us to a table near the platform where drummers and juggling unicyclists and contortionists would later hold the stage. At the table, sat Vivien’s endeared Erasmus, he of Otter Dam Military Academy, who held court with an audience of Kip Jurgenson, the “Realty Queen of Winter Park”, and a quartet of Royal Dutch snooker players. Vivien blew kisses and evaporated into the champagned humidity.

Set to the rhythm of maniacal drumming by five-foot Japanese girls, our feast began. Doc and Kip were downing sake in quarts and though the Realty Queen was bellowing laughter vaguely reminiscent of the Late Permian Extinction Event, her thin lips tightened like a jealous husband’s handshake when I asked of the secret dealings the Lake Osceola Cocktail & Leisure Society was involved in. Breaking the awkward silence which followed, I turned to the geisha at our threshold and ordered a few more bottles of sake and a sushi roll called Widowed Mantis which involved a Bahamian lobster tail stuffed with shrimp tempura, all bound in eel skin and topped with fried kale flakes.

“Okay, I will tell you something.” She offered. “Just don’t use my real name. Call me ‘Kip Jurgenson’ and say I am ‘the Realty Queen of Winter Park’.” We agreed to terms. Kip went on, “Here it is, my big reveal: ‘Life is a sexually-transmitted disease.’” Kip then burst into laughter which killed off the last of the Royal Dutch snookers and none too soon as I never trusted the Dutch, let alone snookers.

“Who are you calling ‘hooker’?” Doc Kelly winked at me as Kip Jurgenson fell into epoch-ending guffaws before the two of them broke into a duet rendition of Jimmy Buffet’s Come Monday.

Yakisoba SushiI was eating pickled-ginger by the handful to wash the taste of paranoid angst from my palate. The radioactive spicy tuna, courtesy of fucking Fukishima fallout, wasn’t helping the bilious humors either. Kip Jurgenson’s message was more than meaningless – she was quoting (“life is a sexually-transmitted disease”) a message on the wall of a Yakisoba Supper Club’s men’s lavatory stall etched fifteen minutes prior by the unsteady hand of yours truly, Vic Neverman. This brought to my mercury-laden mind a few essential questions:

  1. Was Kip Jurgenson quoting my random graffiti as a means to let me know she knew what I was up to (sniffing for conspiracies)?
  2. Or was it dumb-fucking luck she happened to find the graffiti I scratched into the wall using the screwdriver I hid up my sleeve from the Supper Club bouncers?
  3. What was she doing in the men’s room anyway?
  4. Or was I so lost in a sake fog I wandered into the ladies’?
  5. Could that have not been a urinal, but rather a French horn left by the unicyclist from the last juggling act?
  6. Where did Doc Kelly find a cheeseburger?

“What cheeseburger?” Doc Kelly licked his fingers. “You’re talking to yourself again.”

Not only that, but fifteen minutes had passed unaccounted for, which typically only happens when I am drinking French Canadian Canadien beer, which is why I don’t do Montreal or at least I cannot account for ever having done Montreal. In this particular unaccounted fifteen minute span, a new sushi roll was delivered, appearing innocuous despite its name Fist of God.

“Yeah, it is imitation crab.” Erasmus admitted.

“Err, krab. You mean ‘krab’.”

“That is what I said. But instead of your standard fare California roll, there is sprinkled on top a particle recently discovered inside an Illinois hadron collider.”

Cue Doc Kelly to sing the chorus of a Dave Matthews song, “Crash… into me, bay-be…

Erasmus ignored Doc and began an interrogation of my intent, “What is your obsession with the Lake Osceola Cocktail & Leisure Society’s involvement in the Majestic Tower?”

Majesty Tower north of Orlando

Majesty Tower north of Orlando

“First, I have spoken to psychics in Cassadaga who believe the Eye-Sore of I-4, your Majestic Tower, is built on powerful magnetic lay-line vortex for the purpose of pulling in a lot of bad vibe energy. Perhaps the Eye-Sore was never intended to be occupied, perhaps it is meant as a portal to whichever dark shit the Orlando Illuminati is trying to summon.”

“Illuminati and bad vibes?” Erasmus smirked. “Groovy, man.”

“Second, the dishwashers of the Yakisoba Supper Club are playing a Cantonese dice game in the alley by the dumpster. This is supposed to be a Nipponese joint, why are the staff playing a Cantonese game and smoking cheap Chinese cigarettes, unless, of course, they are a part of the International Chinese Waiter Union*.”

“Which you believe to be the most entrenched intelligence network in the world.” Erasmus rolled his eyes without ever moving them. Maybe the earth just revolved around his pupils, but there was an eye-roll in there somewhere. You see, dear reader, he was familiar with my ICWU rants.

“Exactly. Chinese restaurants, and by extension waiters, are everywhere. And if the Orlando Illuminati is in cahoots with the ICWU*…”

“You’ve been packing too much jimson weed in your pipe.” Erasmus interrupted.

@ which Doc Kelly piped-up, “You know what jimson weed is good for?”

“If the Orlando Illuminati is in cahoots with the International Chinese Waiter Union*, we could be at the epicenter of a global CIA plot to fund Black Ops through distribution of heroin.”

“Which you infer because the dish boy is smoking cheap imported cigarettes…” Erasmus spake cynically.

“Jimson weed, also known as Devil’s cucumber or moon flower or Datura in India or Toloache in Mexico, is great in salsa…”

The Eye-Sore of I-4. Ground was broken in 2001. This picture is current as of 2015.

The Eye-Sore of I-4. Ground was broken in 2001. This picture was taken by Vic January 2015.

“Third.” I continued. “The Christian Right in town have blamed the failure of the Majesty Tower on a New World Order conspiracy to bankrupt the local Born-Again movement. The Eye-Sore was supposed to be the headquarters of a new evangelist cable network instead of a hollow monolith built to pagan gods…”

“Or guacamole, I mean, within limits. Jimson weed is toxic in doses too large.”

“So you are chasing the paranoid beliefs of psychics and Bible-Thumpers while interpreting the playing of Chinese craps by Japanese dishwashers smoking ChiCom cigs as some great plot by the Orlando Chamber of Commerce to deal heroin?”

“Or mixed drinks, the Brits in Bombay would garnish datura in their gin & lime-juice rickshaws…”

“Well, yes.” I affirmed. “I mean, it is a working theory.”

And suddenly, the clock struck midnight and we all turned to pumpkins.

*NOTE: the International Chinese Waiter Union intelligence network is the paranoid supposition of the late great Kyril Bonfiglioli, who I believe was onto something.

I like there to be someone in the historia who tells the spectators what is going on, and either beckons them with his high hand to look, or with ferocious expression and forbidding glance challenges them not to come near, as if he wished their business to be secret

– Leone Battista Alberta

You may wish to avert your eye…

Truth is relative, especially with the well-trained selective memories we all have. It is not too late: forget this now and wander away, friend, you need not travel further down this path. These are but the raving rambles of a madman (your narrator), or so you should tell yourself and your tightly-wound worldview with the velvet rope and the Bouncer of Denial at the door. You should assume the Latin maxim of ignoramus et ignorabimus, or whatever the hell that means. Tear off this page and feed it to the dog, the shredder or whichever garbage bin your workstation might possess. You’ll feel much better once you do.

Should you be too curious… should you be swayed by the twinge of guilt at your compliance in cowardice… should you still be reading, congratulations on your foolhardiness.

When last we spoke, I had stumbled upon a half-century of a cover-up to hide the public from the Diabolism at play in the backwoods of Central Florida. Of course, by “stumbled” I mean “haphazardly conjectured” there might have been some negligence by the press in bringing attention to the questionable activities of occult groups within a relevant proximity. Through my obsessive interrogative efforts (evidenced in the last blog post), I’ve become aware of Satanic and/or Witchcraftery and/or General Mayhem occurring in the tropical jungles of Volusia County.

Dealing with Volusia is no easy matter. Fortunately, I have a cousin, Rufus Holdsworth, who knows all things Florida Space Coast and the marshlands between Daytona and Orlando. Rufus turned me over to one of his Rosicrucian brethren (you could tell by the rosy crosses tattooed on either forearm) Jack was a retired railroader with an ambiguous northeastern accent and an affinity for riding motorcycles. Jack, aware of my interest in the dark goings-on in Volusia County, introduced me to the Orlando Order of Paranormal Specialists and this is where the story gains traction.

OOPS! (as the logo on their team shirts acronymitizes) is an organization of ghost-hunting investigators and spiritually-intuitive mediums who visit haunted sites in an effort to learn from the past and assist lost souls stuck in some “other-side” rut where they’re unable to “reach the light”. OOPS was aware of the Volusia Satanic activities and knew of the sacred ground where this all was taking place. Deep in the woods, near a spring sacred to the Native American tribes who formerly occupied the region, is the site of a children’s tuberculosis hospital which burned down sometime in the earlier half of the last century. The place is a vortex of paranormal energy, a veritable slops-trough of phantasmagoric delight! No wonder, then, the Satanic hooligans use the premises to practice their black magic fuckery.

As the fates would have it, OOPS was sending in a crack team to the area to consult the souls of the lost children and help guide them to some otherworldly light. With Jack’s referral, an invitation was granted to your narrating investigator. I was to come along and scour the terrain for signs of diabolism (thanks to the education I picked up studying Rust Cohle on True Detective).

half-cocked flashlights and energy meters galore!

half-cocked flashlights and energy meters galore!

The group wandering into the Florida scrub on this night included 6 or 7 OOPS investigators & mediums and umpteen volunteers (fee- paying volunteers, which included Jack & I) who were along to provide some cheery good spiritual intention. While the OOPSers had all sorts of audio and visual equipment and the volunteers had smart phone ghost-sensor apps, it was the simple application of screw-on penlights that proved the greatest medium of communication with the beyond. I was new to this practice… Surely, you, dear reader, are familiar with the breed of torch which becomes illuminated when you twist its head? To conduct the experiment, you need several of these devices twisted ever-so-subtly into a light-flickering limbo. Leave the flashlight a bit half-cocked so a simple nudge can turn it either completely on or off. This will allow “visitors” an easy means to answer yes or no questions with no more than minor power surge or meager power suck.

Yes, ridiculous, I realize…  Yet hmm.

Of all of this – I was, of course, skeptical. I am a scientist for fuck’s sake and I believe a scientist for fuck’s sake must adhere to agnosticism in regards to those things that cannot be quantified into any reasonable understanding. Skeptical though curious, was I.

Without any further ramblings, let the pseudo-science commence!

Scene: the Florida Pine Scrub at night, thick foliage with brief clearings offering glimpses of the heavens; otherwise, twisted weeds and wicked ticks conspiring towards your demise. The grand inquisitor was a well-trimmed Gandalf sans pointy-hat. The detectives looked like Police Academy instructors, the ones the K-9s were always chomping.  The four psychic mediums ranged from cat lady to gypsy fortune teller and they all seemed to eye me with a knowing grin (the prophecies are true, the bearded savage arrives!). The “volunteers” were composed of a paranoid conspiracy blogger, his elderly biker-dude sidekick and then a host of more-or-less common folk, a few of which worthy of a second look.

Back to the hunt!

exploring the ruins of some bygone-era manse

exploring the ruins of some bygone-era manse

After a steady march into the wilderness and away from any semblance of civilization, the OOPS squad stopped at a clearing to setup shop for a “session”. The dark night sky opened up overhead, revealing Orion’s Belt and other celestial niceties as the twenty-odd member cluster situated for said session. As I am prone to do, I wandered the fringe of the group using my torch to explore the ruins of some bygone-era manse in the thick of the jungle. Whoops! There she stood, rather startlingly, one of the OOPS ghost-talkers waiting before me in what was formerly darkness before my torch lit it up. She, we’ll call her Q, informed me there was a presence “here”, mainly “there”, or within our “whereabouts”. In spite of the entirety of the group without, she and I should perform our own private session within these bushes. Ever eager, I was game for Q’s suggestion.

Q and I assumed the position. She, a relatively young Arabic maybe-ish seer with yellow eyes, stood to my left as I, some pre-middle-aged Gypsy-mutt, stood to my, well, where I stood. As the muffled echo of the larger group could be heard through the wooded thickness at our backs, Q and I summoned the lone spirit who was eager to communicate. With our half-cocked flashlight on the ground at my feet, I asked the questions and the spirit responded his affirmations by surging the light all the way on before allowing the illumination to fade in preparation for the next question. It went something like this…

Vic: I don’t suppose anyone is out there, but if there is (flashlight quickly became illumined, before fading out)

Early and often these flash-lit responses startled me. As you would expect, I was more suspicious of the yellow-eyed Levantine to my left than I was to believe there was a ghost making contact.

Vic: Wow. Well, okay… Were you a native of these lands? (light stayed off)

Q, smirking as the translator between Alive & Dead: He doesn’t know what that means. Everyone he knew was likely a native to these lands.

Vic, returning to face the seemingly empty jungle: Were you alive in the 1900s… Were you alive in the 1800s? (light was off) Were you alive in the 1700s? (light was off) Are you still listening? (the flashlight sitting in the dirt at my feet suddenly came on, causing me to leap back before the light then faded off)

Q: Why are you doubting? You will upset him. Continue…

Where the ghost of the Timicua Indian resided. Is that a spider web or ectoplasm?

Where the ghost of the Timicua Indian resided. Is that a spider web or ectoplasm?

Vic: Were you alive in the 1600s? (light came on, as our Elizabethan ghost gave the affirmation) Were you a Seminole Indian? (light was off) Were you a Timicua Indian? (light came right on, faded out)

Vic: Timicua? Okay, well, when you were alive, did you see any pale faces? (light stayed off)

Q: He doesn’t know what that means.

Vic: Did you encounter any of the Spanish men in armor? Or perhaps the Huguenots? (light remained off) Okay, so no interactions with the white man. What about panthers? Did you ever see a Florida panther? (light was off)

Q: Explain what a panther is.

Vic, non-plussed: uh, well, um, have you ever seen a really big cat? (light suddenly blasted brightly before turning back off) How does he know what a cat is if he doesn’t know panther? (it was a question for Q, but she stone-walled it with a knowing-smile, forcing me to turn back to my Timicuan) Did you die from sickness? (light stayed off) Were you killed by animal? Killed by another man? Killed by a woman? (light remained off throughout)

Q, as if reading the Cliff’s Notes, clarified: All of these, but none. He was older, he lived a long life. He fell off his horse and may have broken his neck.

Vic: But if there were no Europeans, there were no horses.

Q, smirking and shaking her head: Not everything in your ‘histories’ is accurate.

Vic: Well… okay. (I resigned myself to put aside equestrian migration to the New World for now… Later, it seems Q might have been right: horses originated in North America and were reintroduced during the Spanish Conquest)

Q started laughing at something our Timicua spirit guide asked her and after some prodding Q informed me that our Indian wanted to know if, since Q&I arrived together, we were married. I provided an awkward courtesy-laugh “oh yes, how very funny” before I continued my interrogation.

After more sudden illuminations of the flashlight in reaction to my questions, I attempted to carefully inquired Q if she had some sort of remote device to turn the torch on at her will. She showed her empty paws and displayed the offense she took at my disbelief. I was half-joking with my accusation of her hoodwinking me, not that she had anything to gain with any deception; yes half-joking while my other half, or at least half of a half of that half, almost thought there did seem to be an eerie dialogue taking place between myself and some unseen entity using the flashlight as a medium.

Vic: Is there anything you would like for us to learn from you? (flashlight was off) Is there anything you would like to know from us? (flashlight flipped on)

Q (shaking her head and laughing): Oh no

Vic: What? What does Timi want to know?

Q: I know what he wants to know, but I am not repeating it.

Vic: I don’t scare easy and I have thick skin. What does he want to know?

Q gave me a soured expression and said flatly: He doesn’t want to know anything about you.

Oh. Ohhhh. If not P then Q was the logic she was inferring. Timi had already asked if she was my wife and having learned this to not be the case was asking her for something Q was too much of a lady to repeat. Our spirit guide proved to be something of a pervert. Given the transgressive digressions of Timi, our native 400+ years dead, we decided to head back to the main group.

Q scoffed me as a doubter, but as pushing comes to shoving, Occam’s Razor suggested it was less to assume she had a remote control trigger than to accept I was communicating with the dead. The last twenty minutes were too much to chalk up to coincidental electrical circuitry power surges. I didn’t necessarily buy everything Q had said, much of it said teasingly, but that damned flashlight – when it came on, it did so with fucking gusto right after the right question was asked and after each affirmation it obediently faded off.

Q and I rejoined the group and we headed deeper into the wood. Over the night, I had gotten to know a few of my volunteering comrades. Of course there was Jack, the Rosicrucian bike mechanic. Old wounds made it difficult for him to traverse the hills and gullies of the terrain; I made sure to keep an eye on him and help him along as need be. Of the many lady folk, there was one young woman who was a graduate of Loyola who I waxed nostalgically with on our overlapping memories of Chicago. We also compared notes on the haunted tours we had both taken on the South Side of Chicago and in Savannah. It was yet another young woman in our group who had found the remnants of an altar near the site of the fateful children’s hospital.

Scene of the Crime: melted candle, a jar, some owl bones and other diabolical bits

Scene of the Crime: melted candle, a jar, some owl bones and other diabolical bits

Here it was, the site where a tuberculosis clinic had been, had burned down and its memory vanquished by the relentless jungle. Other than the remnants of a diabolical séance and the crowded spiritual plane our mediums intuited, there was nothing here but pine scrub and palm trees. Of the black mass altar, the woman who inspected it claimed it was just as likely Hoodoo as it were Satanic in nature. The jar and burnt candle wax in the dirt sat quite benignly and rather pathetic. Yet evidence. Of something.

Having reached the sacred site, OOPS setup their flashlights and energy monitors to capture the presence of not-so-departed spirits. As the grand inquisitor began this new session, shit started to gradually hit the fan in the form of a steady boil-up of panic. Several of the OOPS detectives (the less-intuitive of the pros) began spotting movement in the woods around us. “Someone with a large hoop… maybe a hoolahoop” one of the guardsmen explained. “They are over there, they are coming around back!” I followed the point of his paranoid beam as it desperately searched the thick tree-line. “Satanists in the woods!” went the cry around our troop. Was it teenage punks trying to scare us or diabolists defending their altar?

Something's waiting behind that tree...

Something’s waiting behind that tree…

Now consider for a moment… you are a dark mile from the parking lot of some park, you’ve traveled off trail, down and up various ditches, deeper into the heart of the Congo that was Volusia County and here… Here you find yourself and 20 panicked ghost-busters in the dark in the middle of the forest. OOPS and its volunteers are not Appalachia survivalists; these are city-folk who’ve strayed too far and whatever comfort they previously had within the woods was gone. Fortunately, they had a steady-nerved conspiracy theorist with a swift torch and history of fighting darkness. Sciamachy is the word for my talent of chasing shadows. Sciamachy is what was currently playing out amongst the guardians.

There was one path in to our location, one path out – the slightest dirt road had become a demilitarized zone with our hypersensitive guards croaking their warnings to the thick and menacing ether. To our backs was jungle, relentless and prickly. “There!”, “There!” or “There!” went up the cry as our OOPS guardians let out their alarm as their torches beget shadows of shadows.

Stillness was the night. A kicked-in anthill was OOPS.

Vic's left hand is taking pictures of his right hand

Vic’s left hand is taking pictures of his right hand taking pictures

The guards had spotted men with antlers running perpendicular to the lead-in road, trying to outflank us. Hearing such news, I was the lone nut to race towards our outermost edge where I found my pal Jack resting on an overturned tree. He was catching his breath and I had to warn him about the possible danger over his shoulder. Fucking Satanists were everywhere, surrounding us, apparently…

“Nah!” Old Man Jack negated. “I haven’t seen anything. Ain’t heard nothing and I have great hearing.”

I trained my light on our weak flank, stomped my feet and made a menacing howler monkey roar (something I picked up last summer watching kids mimic animals in the Amazon). If these were punks trying to spook us more than we already were, let them second guess what they had in store. Hint: this guy. All I could hear or see, though, were the paranoid rantings and frantic search lights of the OOPS guards along the main road.

NOTE: my howler monkey roar is done while inhaling, versus an exhalation of air, and it works like gangbusters when confronting rogue r’coons or opossum.

“Is there something out there?” A shadow materialized out of the slight darkness. Its voice was subtle, sincere, melodic. I played my light at her toes, allowing the illumination to crawl up her blue jeans and green hoodie to find the shivering Loyola confessing to me, “I am not a very outdoorsy person.”

“Well…” My voice sunk into the Mariana Trench (which is deep) as my lungs inflated to full capacity, “Fortunately, I happen to be an outdoorsy person.”

The girl in the green-hooded sweatshirt stepped closer to the glory that was this Tarzaniac defender of justice, close enough for me to smell the hint of perfume over her sweat of fear and pheromones of lust (either that or she had a garlicky dinner).

“You need not worry, woman!” I said in my best Conan the Cimmerian voice. “If squirrel scamper in the woods, I hear it. I hear nothing now. If there were Satanists, they’ve backed down.” The lady in the green hooded sweatshirt seemed at ease with my words and/or proximity. I critiqued our OOPS guardians, “I think these guys may watch too much True Detective and got spooked.”

“I love that show!” Loyola admitted, already forgetting her prior terror.

I shrugged, “Yeah, I have seen it from time to time.”

The brief scare would be the last we would hear from the Satanists. Perhaps someone was on our trail, either concerned with our stumbling upon their black altar or intending to spook us something nasty. Perhaps they were flanking us and our clamor gave them second doubts. Or mayhaps the antlers skipping between the trees belonged to a living deer instead of serving as the crown of a stark mad king of the night. Regardless, we each made it out of the wilderness after an evening of meta-adventure.

There lurk strange spirits in the woods of Volusia County and if some diabolicals want to venture out there into the dark – they can have it! Just know… they now have the attention of Vic Neverman.

A resident of Bayou Saint Basil

A resident of Bayou Saint Basil

If the interstate connecting Daytona with Tampa was raised to an elevation of 1,000 feet, the typical motorist (“typical” being sedated on anti-depressants, caffeinated on UlcerSlam! energy elixir and driving with a road rage-readied trigger-foot and a rear bumper struck with generic sticker declarations of individuality) would likely be too busy texting to notice the land far beneath was less terra firma than a pattern of small land-bridges dividing a realm of infinite lakes. Science FACT: the topsoil of Central Florida is little more than crumbling limestone held delicately above the Florida Aquifer. Any minute, a new man-eating sinkhole could devour the earth between your soles and the dank underworld waiting hungrily beneath.

Somewhere in the middle of this uncertain ground churns a series of connected sinkholes which have become known as the waterway, Bayou Saint Basil. Along its morning shores you can hear the Jurassic call of the sandhill crane as it shits out another of your prized $13 golf balls. At the witching hour, the thunder roll of the night train in the unseen near distance is pierced by the hysterical chatter of maniacal raccoons fighting over your neighbor’s doomed shih tzu. Sorry Barnie. Trapped between the railroad, the interstate, and sixteen strip-malls is this piece of corrupted Eden. More parasitic than paradisiac, this is Bayou St Bas.

In one corner of Bayou Saint Basil rests a trailer park beneath ample oaken shade. Where the bayou ends and the trailer park begins is as clear as the black muck slowly creeping further up the soggy hill to where the crescent circle caravan of trailer homes is entrenched. These semi-occupied homes are listed as “mobile” on their 2nd and 3rd mortgages, though they are anything but. An attempt to move any of the duct tape bound shacks would disintegrate the home into a pile of un-biodegradable wall paneling and release a black gold torrent of cockroach infestation upon the world. An insect menace, sure, but it is the exoskeletons of these bugs, drunk on your well-intentioned poison snacks, acting as an interior brace holding the unsteady structures together. The cockroaches are the very glue that binds these plastic shacks, which is why any of these homes have lasted through the hurricanes that traveled along I-4 or the Ronald Reagan Turnpike to Central Florida.

Full Moon over the Bayou, the ruins of Roanoke Apartments in the background

Full Moon over the Bayou, the ruins of Roanoke Apartments in the background

The inhabitants of St Bas Trailer Park are a microcosm of the desperate: the undereducated and underemployed, the immigrant and the refugee, the taxidermist, the professor and a stray paranoid blogger or two. Holding court from her back porch is the de facto monarch of SBTP, Queen Georgia. A leather-skinned and fiery hair-dyed grandmother, Queen Georgia’s cackle and conversational tone are amplified from hearing loss and a smoker’s throat. Her voiced opinions drown out the song birds of the bayou like the afterburners of an F-16 jet with a chest cold. She peacocks across the cigarette butted paths of the park with a sense of entitlement as if it were her Confederate fugitive ancestor who built the mobile home she resides in. When she calls out to a neighbor from her back porch, “Now where I come from, we call shit like that ‘white trash’”, you damn well believe her.

Queen Georgia also fancies herself quite the cougar. She preys on younger men in their early forties: unskilled laborers looking for a dishwashing gigs where they can roll up their tattoo sleeves and earn a buck or two to be spent on cheap wine. She romances them through the night on her porch, their drunken hyenas laughter carrying across the bayou to the abandoned ruins of the Roanoke Apartments across the way, their individual cigarette coupling with the other’s smoke in an entwined dance of vaporous death, their bodies in any various state of undress which sickens the mosquito whose ill fate brought it to this sun-ravaged flesh.

Sparky never had a chance against the coon onslaught.

Sparky and Barnie never had a chance against the onslaught of the ‘Coons.

You may ask how I, your humble narrator, know of this Queen Georgia. Oh, I know… just fortunately, within limits. Upon meeting the Queen, she offered me a bottle of domestic swill and insisted on giving me a ride upon her inflatable boat out on the bayou. I promptly declined both offerings, ending what was our first and would be our last efforts at neighborly courtesy. Soon thereafter, I was woken from a midday slumber to the cursing rants of Queen Georgia on her back porch, speaking on her cell phone for the entire trailer park to hear, “Fuck him, fuck him if he thinks just because he is my motherfucking boss he can tell me how many fucking times I can go the bathroom and for how long!” Note: I may exaggerate on some aspects of storytelling, but I put quotes around the true dialogue. To this one-sided cell phone conversation that permeated my walls, I drew offense. First, I do not like being woken from within the privacy of my own home by someone who does not speak quietly of their own personal lives outside the walls of my own home. Second, the trailer park is not a family-friendly environment, but Georgia’s latest dishwasher had his bastard spawn loitering around and there were always some feral children eating corncobs beneath her back porch and all those kids with their little gnarly ears are very impressionable to such language. Third, again the language! I believe a sacred word like “f**k” can only be used a finite amount of times, which is why I do not spell it out here. Queen Georgia has spent her quota and is now making f**k far less fun for the rest of us to use. She debases the word and makes f**k so much more… inane and pedestrian. Outraged, as you may have picked up on, I exited my home and used certain non-verbal clues to illustrate my displeasure. Queen Georgia gave me an unconvincing apology and continued the rest of her urinary diatribe indoors from where I thankfully could not hear it.

Dawn over St Bas

Dawn over St Bas

When paths are crossed within St Bas Trailer Park, Queen Georgia no longer looks me in the eye. Her thin-lipped drunken smirk tightens into a flat line as she meanders past. While most park occupants tolerate the rule of the queen, there is another beyond me openly opposes her reign. They call him the Professor.

I have had cigars and accompanying whiskies with said Professor and greatly prefer his company over that of the de facto monarch. The locals may call him “professor”, but he does not have a doctorate; the moniker was earned for his sheer knowledge on all things unfamiliar to the contemporary American. He is a teacher on indefinite sabbatical from Otter Dam Military Academy, somewhere in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. When I told him I wouldn’t use his actual name in my blog as a means to protect both his identity and my own, he choose to call himself, Erasmus. Erasmus of Otter Dam.

As I mentioned, Erasmus speaks of things beyond the scope of common worldly knowledge. He describes his teaching hiatus in terms of the Polish Diaspora. When we discussed local Floridian culture and the perspective of always being on the outside looking in, he brought up the Defenestration of Prague, a Reformation-era event when Catholics tossed non-believers out the window of Prague Castle to their deaths below. Quickly, I became his apt pupil.

Erasmus is a man still in his prime, yet with valuable experience from an enriched past. He claims to have saved civilization from the Y2K bug. I asked him how he might have resolved the Y2K problem in the twilight of the year 1999, to which he responded, “It is all binary, I could only explain in a sequence of ones and zeroes. The layman would never understand.” Later in life, Erasmus was employed by a friend who was a producer of certain films in South Florida. He was to rewrite a script after viewing the actors at play. The scene, as Erasmus described to me, involved two scantily clad women peeking into a third’s window to find a fourth actor hard at work (pun intended). The dialogue was one peeper saying to the other, “OMG, they are fucking fucking in there.” I am not sure if Erasmus was more perturbed by the spelling out of an acronym “O-M-G” or the redundant, though a cutely appropriate redundancy, use of the sacred word “f**k”.

“It was then that I realized I should have let Y2K doom civilization.” Erasmus expressed his regret.

And then, of course, there is the navigator of this rambling journey of a blog post: Vic Neverman. I am but another loner of the lunatic fringe here at Bayou Saint Basil. Few of the local folk know me by name; I am the guy the park residents would tell television journalists, “he was always quiet and kept mostly to himself” which is probably the most suspicious and alienating thing anyone could say about a neighbor in our modern society.

They, my fellow bog-people, think I am completely nutter. From within the shadows of the cypress swamp, I listen to their jokes as they describe how the interior of my outer walls must be lined with tinfoil wallpaper, how my inner walls likely have various colored threads connecting Jack Ruby’s girlfriend’s pimp to Paul McCartney’s death in 1966, how I must meet women by going to the Huey Lewis & the News’ online dating site IfThisIsIt.com, how I horde ancient maps and have one of those Japanese sex-robots charging in my closet. But the TRUTH is This: I do not own a sex-bot. Good thing, too, or else I would never leave home except to buy more rum, peanut butter and sex-bot batteries.

Mists of a Summer Morning

Mists of a Summer Morning

I have all the answers. It is the damned questions I do not understand. I am at a bar. Random. I know, this isn’t like me to frequent this establishment, but some goon of the fourth Connie forced me into ducking into this den of malfeasance. I think the dame to my left just shit her pants. Unfortunate, as she is an attractive girl, or at least the back of her head seems such: roundish with dark hair, curling its way downward upon a yellow shirt. I have trained my peripheral vision upon her ever since she sat down. Women who sit to my left are 8 times more likely to begin discourse with the likes of yours truly, Vic Neverman. This one, though… this one shat her pants. Or at least so I hope. She doesn’t look so inebriated to lose bowel faculty and continue speaking to yet another dame to her left as if nothing were wrong in her drawers, but it simply must be her. Someone in the near proximity has certainly shat themselves and it is not I, your hopeless wandering narrator. It must be her, because I dread the thought it might be not and she might be thinking to herself that someone within her proximity must have shit his pants and then direct her suspicion in my general direction. This would be horrid. Indeed, better for the pretty dame to shit herself than for her to think I did.

An image taken from a mud-sling from Connie Mack opponent Bill Nelson

It is not easy drinking these beverages of ill repute. With every sip that tingle my taste and alleviates my worry, the soul within this stout ribcage is darkened with the sin of contentment. Ye gods! Why must I wallow as a meandering jellyfish in the unfit practice of spontaneous revelry? I must do so, though, in order to keep my cover, disguised here in the congested crowd of this bar. Somewhere within the mob beyond my hulking shoulders is that hired-thug who followed me in, the agent of the antagonistic congressman, waiting in the throngs of personage for his chance to pounce on me. It shan’t be so. This is, of course, all a result of my loose tongue. I spake poorly of this fourth coming of Connie Mack, the congressman running for Florida state senator. The guy is a jackass, this anyone can see, but I went further in beseeching his lack of character in the public arena of a local university’s pre-game tailgate party. Fool I am, or tend to be when imbibing the devil’s drink (not by choice of course!), broadcast my presumed history with Connie while being in the presence of his cronies. In that ill-timed moment, I claimed Connie Mack IV once chipped my tooth in a Pacific Coast bar-fight. Now, it should be noted I was certainly not a frequenter of this bar at the scene of the Pacific Coastal brawl, or as it seems, a bar that was also a vendor of a burlesque show. Lo! there I was, undoubtedly, on the Pacific Coast in a house of harlotry, using my heft to shove the paltry collective of mankind into a darker corner before the bulk of flesh shoved back. Rising out of the toxic bubbling goo of douchery, CM4 appears. I recall the maniacal grin of my foe, he: Connie Mack IV, as he pummeled the base of his semi-empty Coors bottle into the jugular of a happenstance passerby before the cleat attached to his foot sank into the soft flesh of the wayward taco purveyor. If it weren’t he, Connie Mack IV, who screamed, “burn all ye misbegotten hopes, your dreams die with me!” then I must have surely imagined it. It was around then the hardened cusp of his fourth generational skull came crashing-bludgeoning down upon my tooth, chipping off a fragment as slight of a sliver as tonight’s moon. Should you study the face of the Senatorial candidate on this day you will without doubt find a scar atop his crown resembling the inverse of my dental architecture.

Was it wrong of me to speak so ill of a politician, especially one with such a pedigree of having three prior Connie Macks in his lineage (I see a pattern here, I do not believe in coincidences), including the one that played baseball? Yes, perhaps. Perhaps this is a confusion confession of my sins as I wish to take back the allegations I spoke. An apology of sorts. Or perhaps not.

I do not recall the date of the occurrence of my tooth shedding. And to be honest, I thought it was the actor that played Two-Face in the Dark Knight movie who was to blame. Now, though… now I am certain it must be Connie Mack IV. Perhaps he still has that chip o’ mine lodged in his skull somewhere.  Perhaps this is no apology at all.

* “Jane Doe” is a pseudonym for the accused. Since this post is an attempt to clear her name, Jane Doe’s actual identity will remain hidden in order to avoid further publicizing her recent troubles.

ORLANDO, Fla

Jane Doe* came into my life with the subtlety of a paper sack of wasps in a topless blender. In the moments leading up to her entry, I had unsaddled my steed and walked through the double-doors of a gimmicky saloon on the verge of collapse. I was desperate; thirsty enough to swallow a roll of quarters and she appeared, this messianic apparition, a prophetess carrying the beer menu as if it were stone-carved commandments. I became a man transfixed, thirst forgotten, my trademark tightly clenched jaw suddenly released as the muscular hydrostat that was (and still is) my tongue spilled forward (a lapse in lingua). She, Jane Doe*, moved as a spotted ocelot – which most ocelots, in my travels, have appeared to be (spotted). She was purity at violent opposition with herself – stigmatized with illustrious ink illustrations littering her olive hued flesh in sudden bouts of orgiastic color splendor. Her eyes were a vexing dare, a cool brown of hinting tease. Jane Doe* was danger personified, sex idealized, a crossword puzzle wrapped within a word jumble and dipped into a fondue pot of Sudoku.

“Jane Doe* moved as a spotted ocelot”

I had three questions for her. “Three?” her brow jumped, a display of intrigue. First – was her name really Jane Doe* as it read on the back of her jersey. “Yes, it is a traditional Levantine name” she affirmed with pride. Second – what draft specials did this drinking establishment have and skip past the domestic piss I won’t bother with regardless of how appropriately low-priced it may be. Jane Doe* provided a few worthy elixirs. Third – what the devil befell her elbow, creeping from her sleeve like some baroque Inferno demonstration? She lifted the arm of her shirt to reveal a floral spectacle. She exposed what other tattoos she could while remaining within societal norm, which included playful skulls along her ankles. Without undressing, I described to her the Mayan Calendar I have tattooed betwixt my shoulder blades that will stop telling time on December 21st.

Our meeting took place during the 2012 London Olympics in a generic franchise sports bar with television tablets the stretch of Babel’s tower. I gazed up at the eastern horizon entirely replaced by a live feed of Turkish women playing indoor volleyball. I could not be more pleased. My old antagonist, Phineas Crux, once said about yours truly, Victor Ulysses Neverman, “he is not one to fall for the damsel in distress act, though he is a sucker for an eastern Mediterranean she-devil.” Distracted with sport, I never saw the re-approach of my beer slingstress as she provided adequately, appearing most suddenly within the fog of my garlicky breath. I caught her eyes – they were like twin ocelots, jumping at their squirrelish prey in the near yonder – my squirrelish self. “Any fourth or fifth questions?” Jane Doe* would be well tipped tonight.

“twin ocelots jumping at their squirrelish prey”

The evening commenced rather swimmingly. Conversation with my vexing hostess was a sinister delight, a friendly jousting of wits. My thirst had been drowned until my legs wobbled and my heart was loosed out of its cage and upon the world. Having spied the wobbling knees of Vic Neverman, the vixen Jane Doe* became concerned for the enlightened status of your humble narrator and offered me a ride home once her shift ended in the near future. Would she have really driven me all the way home to Bayou St Basil trailer park? “Well, I live in Sanlando Springs, so it is kind of on the way.” Yes. It was kind of on the way. Nevertheless, Neverthemore, Ever the Neverman, I declined.

Fear not, dear reader, I did have a ride home – Layla Santana Crow was en route to pickup. I had promised her scandalous gossip involving one of her husband’s most trusted friends, the Silver Fox. Meanwhile, back at the watering hole, Jane Doe* asked what sort of business I engaged in to fill my pockets with such crisp dollar bills I was so willing to let fly. I told her my trade: conspiracy theorist extraordinaire with a side-gig in Hurricane Preparation Awareness Survivalist Novelization. “Conspiracies?” she smirked. “I could show you a thing or two.”

And this was her complete undoing.

Well, something was her undoing. The offering up of her secrets could have been what undone it all. Just a hunch…

I returned a week later and never saw my vexing conversationalist, never heard her secrets. My crosstown conspiracy rival, Cyrus Lee Hancock, being aware of my poetic display of admiration for a buffalo wing flinging beer wench, filled me in on details from the police blotter – Jane Doe* had been arrested for larceny. Within a week of my meeting Jane Doe*, her handlers turned her into to local authorities. I was not to find her at the generic franchise sports bar any longer. Jane Doe* was imprisoned on charges of 3rd degree felony after confessing to altering bills that had clientele pay for their happy hour domestic swill and refried chicken bones without all said swill and chook being officially “rung up”, thus bumping her overall gratuity. Over the course of the year that she worked at this generic franchise sports bar, Jane Doe* admitted guilt of swindling $500 in cash. Hold… hold… hold… let that sink in… $500 over a year. For a server that works 40 hours a week for 50 weeks, we are talking 2000 hours… $500 means Jane Doe* was stealing from the company (as she was discounting food, versus ripping off customers) a quarter an hour. Okay, so I suppose this is slightly substantial – but I would also argue this is likely industry standard! If everyone was arrested for the deed Jane Doe* did, ever sports bar would have to resort to self-serve cafeteria style (which actually doesn’t sound so bad, now that I think about it – imagine the hot sauce bar and beer fountain!).

Which begs the questions – why was Jane Doe* singled out and arrested? Why was she setup? When Jane Doe* is likely following industry precedent, why is she suddenly the example that had to be set?

I guess, an extended question I would like to know the answer to… am I, Vic Neverman, somewhat at fault for these charges of Jane Doe*: guilt by her association with a notorious conspiracy hound.

I will search for Jane Doe*. What was it that she did know? Was it so much that the powers-that-be decided to swallow her into the quicksandish pit of bureaucratic penalism? What secrets does Jane Doe* hold that forced her employers to exaggerate – nay! – frame her with ridiculously minimal charges in order to force Jane Doe* into seclusion where Vic Neverman cannot reach her?

I shall continue my search… a search for Jane Doe*… a search for Truth.

This photo was spotted by Vic during his search through Jane Doe*’s twitter feed. It is from a few months prior to her firing and came with the comment, “I quit.” Unfortunately, this is not going to help our efforts to clear Jane Doe*’s name.

UPDATES:

November 2013 – at a Central Florida bar, a tattooed dame in Baltimore Ravens gear celebrates a last second victory by field goal. After apologizing to the crowd in proximity who didn’t hold the same allegiances, her eyes stop on mine and for a moment are collective alcohol-ridden minds ponder, “wait… I know this person.” She immediately exited the bar before I realized who she was. My companion was one of Milwaukee’s Van Triar Brothers who confirmed, “Dude, she definitely gave you a second look.”

December 2013 – On the way home from hours trekking in Wekiva State Park, I spy a restaurant and think, “I bet this is the kind of place Jane Doe* would work at.” A month after spying her (or so I thought), she was back on my mind. I went to the bar and ordered a burger. Suddenly materializing out of the ether, she appeared. Could it be? She introduced herself as Jane Doe* and I told her, “Jane, I know you.” Her twin ocelots settled on the bar top as she admitted, “Yes, you do.” Is my intuition more powerful than I realized or was deductive reasoning helpful in narrowing down the sports bars in the Sanlando Springs area? Hard to say. The bar was too crowded,she was too busy and I had places to be. I would return, but she would not be found there again.

This is a mournful discovery.
1)Those who agree with you are insane
2)Those who do not agree with you are in power.

― Philip K. Dick, VALIS

Have I gone too far?

Vic Neverman

Having spent a day being chased by paintballs in an effort to win the confidence of a doomsday survivalist, I am left with many a welt. There are wounds in addition to the welts: tens of dozens of miniature gashes brought on by the insectual hordes feasting upon me in the Florida scrub over the last month. I am beaten, dehydrated, cramped and I itch like a sailor leaving port.

You might think paranoids have it easy. After all, when you’re prone to expect exaggerated worst case scenarios, you are also frequently relieved with the more likely and less severe outcome of events. Optimism is for fools, pessimism is the true key to happiness. To expect catastrophe and receive the mediocrity of the status quo – it is rather the delightful surprise. It is all in the math. Yet, life as a paranoid is not all that it is cut out to be. It certainly is not for everyone. The weak of bowels, for example, should not follow this path.

Oft times, the paranoid, especially those who have their toes testing the temperature of open dissent against established authority, need to bug-out and get off the Grid. The Grid is the common machinations of society – mass transit, automated teller machines, liquor stores, internet pornography, air conditioning, fast food, social networking sites and/or the constant surveillance of the Police State – all the trappings of first world comfort. In Florida, the Grid is everywhere. Nearly. To be off the Grid down here, you must succumb to the wilderness.

When I relocated back to Florida, I was leaving Oregon where the autumn, winter and spring seasons were varying shades of temperate gray with the heat of summer coming and going like a five-day hybrid-car sales-event at the local farmer’s market. There was no long cruel summer. Oregon just happens to be a paranoid utopia. You could be in Portland city limits and still exist completely off the Grid. There is a barter economy and no one thinks twice if you arrive in a bar wearing a Sasquatch mask. Privacy is guaranteed.

In the Portlandian Utopia: dress like an ape-man and everyone loves you

And in Portland, there are no bugs. Not like here in the Florida scrub, where I nurse all sort of bite. I’ve had tick, chigger, brown recluse… I once killed eleven mosquitos with a single slap of the palm against my blood-let shoulder. There is DEET as a repellent option, which is a sort of preventative chemotherapy for mosquito affliction: No fucking thank you. My wind-weathered, sun-leathered, salt-lathered skin is beginning to callus thick enough to keep the mozzies from penetrating my hide with their prickish proboscis. Even vampires aren’t asshole enough to regurgitate toxins back into your body when they are through with supper. Mosquitos are.

Welcome to Florida

brought to you by the Chamber of Commerce.

I lead with such notes about my continued hunkered-down existence in my palmetto bunker in order to fully disclose that my words arrive on this page already dripped in antagonism fueled by the Brazilian fire ant bites between my toes. When the insects speak Portugese, you know you are in trouble and right now my toes can’t help but forbidden dance against each other in a strange ecstatic agony both emotionally satisfying and physiologically detrimental.

I wonder, do the wounds of insect parasitism fuel the paranoia or does the paranoia feed the itch? What isn’t psychotic about clawing yourself into non-existence, one finger nail of flesh at a time?

Spring to Summer, What Happened to Winter?

Tropically Depressed at the crawfish festival

It was a brutal start to the summer. The last weeks of spring brought a tropical depression to Florida, drenching the dehydrated phallus of a state with violent storms twice, sometimes thrice, daily. I returned back to the Grid to find that the world had revolved beyond where I had last left it. My NeverKin had left for the higher ground of Colorado. My old ally Raz Kelly had gone on walkabout, uncertain if she was ever to return back this way again. Raz’ brother, Doc Kelly, gave me the once over and prescribed fish oil to cure my mental ills (I now take two spoonfuls before bed and burp up cod in my sleep). I found a girl I once knew, but she didn’t know me anymore. I saw her again at a crawfish festival, a bad idea, a terrible event, on a day the heavens opened-up and drenched the crustacean enthusiasts with the tropical depression. The girl I once knew smiled teasingly, “you’re soaked.” I replied, eagerly, that she was not much better (but she was; the rain suited her well). She explained how she would be interested in my invitation, accompanying me to the beer tent, however, “I didn’t hear from you, and…” Yes, yes, I had left the Grid and she, she did not hear from me and promptly found a replacement. A replacement for me. How does one, being a full-fledged paranoid, explain to the uninitiated “the Grid” and the necessity of occasionally leaving it behind? I, Vic Neverman, need not bother you, dear reader, with the further details. Alright, maybe a little bother… My replacement was a full head over my six foot stature and was run-of-the-mill Florida Jetski-Douche with an armband tattoo of rollicking waves symbolizing his spiritual passion for hot-tub fellatio. Judging by his clownish shoe size, he was replacing more than I could have filled. Beyond him, this replacement of mine, at this crawfish festival, were thousands more typical run-of-the-mill Jetski-Douche, falling off the conveyor belt faster than Lucille Ball could stuff them down her blouse. If it was not to be him, it could have been any of them. Jetski Douche is Legion and I… I had missed the boat.

The tropical depression passed. A couple days later, the sun came out and burnt everything back to a crisp.

The Quickening

Glynis McCants, the Numerologist, said 2012 was to be a fast year and I’ll be damned if it isn’t almost half over. This was to be the year leading up to the great END OF WORLD: Mexico Edition event, yet the months have passed so quickly the Mayan Calendar will be flipped to the next era before we ever realize it.

Should the END be more noticeable, I will likely be more prepared. I am, as it happens, affiliated with a local small-town political movement of doomsday prepper survivalists. I am sure I will have more on this story as the group practices and prepares for the hurricane season. The group is OASIS (Oviedo Army of Security, Intelligence and Survival) and while it might have its origins in Florida militia secessionism (I found them while posing as my alter-ego, Tea Partier Bucky Swoon), it is really a community organization that meets to play paintball and drink Dark ‘n’ Stormys (actually, I introduced OASIS to the Gosling’s sponsored rum drink, which was, in turn, introduced to me by my government contracted spook of a brother-in-law – a conspiracy unto itself) while discussing various SHTF (shit hit the fan) scenarios. As the resident conspiracy theorist, I was named the official archivist of the organization, mostly because my apocalyptic library is the entirety of the group’s archives.

Have I gone too far? Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious by the sun of York goes the Shakespearean line from Henry III. I consider this season as the summer of my discontent, soon to be behind me as we are hurtled ever faster into tomorrow. Forget the impending Maya Apocalypse (just another excuse for rum drinks); my spirit is plagued by the current ineffectiveness of democracy in this country. My last blog was a rant on the subject. This current blog details what wear and tear a paranoid suffers as he hides in the shadows of his own fear.

Good Luck and Godspeed America.

Vic Neverman and Cyrus Lee as the alpha-dog Apex Apocalyptics of OASIS (Oviedo Army of Security, Intelligence and Survival)

Where the fuck did he think he was-in some friendly Civics class? Hell no, he was in Florida, arguably the most vicious & corrupt state in the Union…

– Hunter S. Thompson, from “The Fix Is In” column, 11/27/00

Central Florida breeds some unsavory character. If New York City is a melting pot, then Orlando is genetically modified meatloaf gone horribly wrong. A cow town grown to prominence overnight by selling outsiders on a ‘magical’ facade: in existential terms, this town is utter bullshit (if only bulls had udders to shit through!). The population recipe includes the rednecks who were here the longest (discounting the natives whose burial sites were paved over), the later influx of scoundrel merchants looking to benefit on the loose change of the tourists and then the transplants looking to move to paradise to seek out eternal youth by turning their flesh into mummified beef jerky courtesy of the oppressive sun and margarita salt. It is a psycho-meatloaf with the binding agents of delusions of grandeur, sociopathic entitlement and overall intolerance. I, Vic Neverman, have wandered the globe and have never found a higher asshole quotient than here in Orlando. Grade A, top notch, douche-baggery. Ahh, yes… and it’s home.

Can you blame me for anti-social behavior when society is represented by this lot? Can you blame me when I had Casey Anthony living 15 minutes down one road and George Zimmerman 15 minutes in the opposite direction? I try my damnedest to avoid the cretins of this town, but I occasionally make an appearance I would later regret. The weekend of the Daytona 500, there were two South Dakota farm hands in town for the races that I single-handedly (literally one-handed, my other was holding a slice of pizza) saved from being mutilated by a local crowd of territorial mini-thugs (like fire ants, they might be small but numerous and they will stab the shit out of your shins) who didn’t like the way the taller/stronger Dakotans were looking at them (NOTE: nothing good happens downtown after midnight). The boys from Pierre were dumbfounded by the revelation that the shorter Hispanic dudes would bring knives to a cow-tipping contest, “but that ain’t fair fightin’.” No shit. Welcome to Orlando, the City Beautiful.

And then came St Patrick’s Day 2012, when I stood accused of a crime I not only did not commit, but didn’t even know what the accusation was to begin with. While I am no stranger to Irish stout and whiskey, St Paddy’s is amateur night (along with Cinco de Mayo, Valentine’s and all the other ‘liquor me up’ holidays sponsored by Hallmark) and I tend to stay home. This year I should have.

The facts from March 17th are quick and easy – I was in Oviedo (imagine a tick burrowing into the leach embedded in a jackal that is munching on the carcass of Central Florida) with friends and friends of friends at a sports bar where everyone was intoxicated and winding down as the clock reached midnight. I was hovering over the pool tables with some very loose acquaintances when an employee of the establishment charged our group with starting trouble “outside”. The accusation by the bartender was so spontaneous, our reaction was mixed. Puzzled, we were unclear of what exactly happened outside when a member of our accused party called the female accuser a word so foul, so uncalled for, so far removed from my lexicon I am uncertain how to even spell it here (but it rhymes with ‘runt’). It was at this point, the River Styx overflowed the dam of the damned and all hell broke out. Cry Havok! and let slip the dogs of war! This sports bar establishment suddenly became the 38th parallel in Korea: a demilitarized zone where drunken patrons spat at drunken patrons, where dish boys stood confused, where waitresses cried bloody foul and all with Victor Neverman standing in the middle.

Obviously, one ponders at the crime… What was the scene like out the side door? If I left to seek the truth, would I burst into the open just to trip over some decapitated skulls as the Oviedo police squad cars illuminated me with their headlights? I couldn’t take the chance to investigate further. Instead, I attempted to diffuse the situation by escorting the fork-tongued offender out the front and to his car. Still, within the establishment conflict loomed with no resolution in sight. Fortunately, at my side I had my trusted sidekick Raz Kelly, whose sobriety and acceleration was able to speed me away to freedom before the arrival of any local authorities, badged or otherwise.

Knowing what we know of central Florida, these events seem to just be another day at the office, a stroke of ill-fated luck in a town full of bad omen. Let us not do ourselves a disservice, however, by putting the realm of conspiracy out of mind. What if I was setup? Who would try to set me up? The list is long: envious fellow conspiracy theorists, former tennis doubles partners, Newt Gringrich, jilted ex-lovers, IKEA, that guy from the Korean bbq taco stand… but, of course, there is my government contracted spook of a brother-in-law.

It just so happens, the next day the spook in question was to arrive (that is, if he wasn’t already in town pulling the puppet strings) back in Orlando to commence the cross-country journey that would deliver his mongrel horde to Denver where the NeverSister and NeverNiece were already relocated to. This journey was to include not only my brother-in-law and his dogs, but (much to the chagrin of said spook) yours truly: Victor Ulysses Neverman. Was Shamrock Shakedown 2012  an event of his planning in order to have me detained by local authority and unable to leave the state? Worst case scenario for him, I would be gutted by a lobster fork at the sports bar brawl and the spook would get to cash in on the million dollar bounty he put on my head via life insurance policy benefitting the NeverNiece.

How could my government contracted spook of a brother-in-law possibly know which bar I would visit on this amateur night holiday? The answer is simple. Through his agent provocateur, Layla Santana Crow. A month ago, my sister and her spy merc husband introduced me to an eccentric couple at a dinner party. The husband was your typical Mainer: an outdoorsy survivalist who hosted corporate team building challenges within his survivalist Hancock Compound. His wife, the aforementioned Layla, had a smile that would put a standard wattage light bulb to shame. You might detect hints of her sly-fox-like brilliance shrouded beneath faux bashfulness. Even her courtesy laugh, a forced exhalation of false air to appease the ego of the target, was a delightful spring rain upon a barren soil. She was, for all intents and purposes, a refreshing smack across cerebral cortex. And she was nothing but menace.

I suspect Layla Santana Crow because of a simple rationalizing principle of the conspiracy theorist: cui bono, which is Latin for “who benefits?” If her groom Cyrus Lee Hancock and Vic Neverman became embroiled in small town disturbance of the peace that found themselves imprisoned, there would be two benefactors: my crooked spook of a brother-in-law for my absence and Layla Santana Crow who would be able to inherit her husband’s Hancock Compound and turn it from the survival camp and into the Resort Spa she always envisioned. The Spook and the Crow were likely allies and co-conspirators, thus the targets of my preposterous assumptions.

Did the goon squad of my government contracted brother-in-law and his ally Layla Santana Crow arrange for my downfall? Or did I just step in some happenstance shit in a town full of bull? Either way, I, Vic Neverman, stand (sit, actually) accused of some dastardly crime, be it bestial, manslaughterish, peace disruption, treasonous, larceny, arson-y, or conspiracy to commit murder. I am still unsure of the very crime I am suspected of! Should I turn myself in to learn the mystery behind the accusation? Or Should I do what Nevermen do best – flee, dispersing into the ether, disappearing down the rabbit hole? Yes, I believe this Neverman is due to get out of town and I just happen to have a road trip in mind.

I was back in hiding, living in the NeverSister’s attic, much to the delight of the NeverNiece and the chagrin of my government spook of a brother-in-law. It is a long story, this scenario that led me into my paranoia-induced turtle shell and it is a story I shall paraphrase in due time (should my wits ever be swept up and funneled back into the NeverSkull). In short, the coming paraphrased account will likely spend adequate time describing the Jet-Pack Girl, her potential involvement with Saudi royalty and their scheme to unearth the identity of Vic Neverman. All in good time…

For now, you need only know that Vic had sought shelter amongst Floridian suburbia. The NeverSister, having buried her paranoia in a shallow unmarked grave in the back yard, happens to be an active member of society. The government contracted goon she married accompanies her on high-society shindigs, likely to just suck up dirt on his gossiping country-clubish neighbors (any coincidence there is a vacuum cleaner named after J Edgar?). As I temporarily inhabited this extended-family abode, one such event emerged that demanded the attention of these social darlings, yet their was a snag… their daughter was without a watcher. Gracious guest that I, Uncle Vic Neverman, am, I volunteered my surveillance skills in playing overlord to this suddenly bipedal creature of kin.

The brother-in-law thought this a rather poor idea. I inquired him of his reasoning. The NeverSister quickly insisted “because… because, you should come with us.”

Vic with a wide brimmed hat... somewhere off the coast of South America


The NeverSister, bastion for conformity that she is (and I say this endearingly), has always dreamt of having a Brother Vic she could take into public. It is true, I, Vic Neverman, do not get out much. I never ride elevators. I avoid banks and government buildings. I don’t like open spaces. Yes, I am agoraphobic, but only because ignorance is bliss and I am not ignorant to the fact that high above us spy blimps and drones fly around studying our features and using Facebook facial recognition software to look at the picture some random associated “friend” may have posted, comparing these postings with the red-flagged profile held within the fascist No Such Agency mainframe stored abyssally-deep beneath Chesapeake Bay. So I don’t like open spaces. I wear a lot of wide-brimmed hats.

Needless to say, you can see where this story is headed. The NeverSister picked out a suitable outfit and I accompanied the couple to their suburban brouhaha. My sibling, understanding how I might be more comfortable with a cover-story than with presenting my own story, provided me with the material.

“Tonight you are undercover. I want you to investigate the women at this party to see if any of them would sleep with you.”

“Without directly asking them.” Brother-in-Law added.

“Right!” NeverSister agreed. “I need you to be subtle in your mission, yet charming. I will pay you handsomely for any intel you can provide to me about these women and their weaknesses.” It was a ruse, but a well-intended one. Still, I, Vic Neverman, had an ethical dilemma with such a mission. “You’re not paid to have ethics.” NeverSister insisted. “You are paid to gather information.” I asked what my cover-story is. “You are a normal guy who doesn’t say things that make people uncomfortable. Tonight, you are Vic Normalman. Pretend that you want these people to like you so that you can infiltrate their next party by getting an invitation.”

At the party, I followed the NeverSister around like a secret serviceman at Jackie’s elbow on November 23rd. My sister began evasive maneuvers, bobbing and weaving amongst party patrons, leaving me adrift like flotsam amidst a sea of humanity.

“What’s flotsam?” asked a friend of the NeverSister, who I clung to (figuratively) for my dear social life. I explained it was like jetsam, just more likely buoyant. Enlightened, she informed her husband, “We’re all float, Sam.” I didn’t hear his response, but if he asked who Sam was, I would have been pleased.

Ganesha: remover of obstacles, patron of arts and sciences, deva of intellect and wisdom


I sought refuge in the bar area of the expansive house. There was much booze to be consumed, but I brought my own tequila. Call me paranoid, or don’t call me at all, but I don’t take chances with other people working my drinks. As the bar surged with an influx of drinkers, I departed, finding my way to the outdoor patio where people were worshipping a life-sized ice sculpture of an elephant head, complete with tusks. I watched as these cultish figures poured some elixir into the back of the crystal elephant skull, around where the pineal gland would be, and then slurp the beverage as it flowed through the elephantine ice cube and out the phallic trunk. I figured them to be members of some Tantric sect. I slipped away before they noticed my presence and sacrificed me to Ganesh.

I did take the opportunity to network a bit and hand out Vic Neverman business cards. Certain questions came up, such as, “Why would I need a conspiracy theorist?” or “What is a hierophant?” Of course, the simple answer to these inquiries is that if you do not already know, you will likely never need to know. My response was met quizzically and perhaps even with disapproval. “Save the card.” I insisted. “When you need it, you will know.”

As the waves of alcohol rocked my stance amidst the tidal pools of consciousness, I sought out the NeverSister, finding her yawning at the bar. Before I could approach, an unsuspecting frat boy delivered her a simple, perchance imbecilic, greeting. “What?” my sibling inquired of him. He repeated his greeting. She shook her head, “What? You will have to speak louder, this is my deaf ear.” The frat boy yelled louder. She shook again, “I have no idea what you are telling me.” I arrived at my sister’s side. She turned towards me and began performing hand signals. This was not American Sign Language, rather drunken gesturing at best. Fortunately or not, my sister’s courter was none the wiser. I signed back to my sister an equally obscure combination of gestures. She nodded approvingly.

Exposed to Society: Neverman, the NeverSister and her Friends


“What did you tell her?” the wide-eyed frat boy inquired.

“That you were complimentary and liked her shoes.”

“Oh, I didn’t even notice her shoes.” He suddenly looked to the floor. “Yeah, tell her I like her shoes.”

“I already did.” My sister looked at me with alarmed confusion, so I made hand gestures. In response, she dramatically rolled her eyes, Lady MacBeth she is.

“Tell her, tell her…” the fraternity dude stammered, searching for words. “Tell her they match her clothes.”

I performed a quick series of hand slaps. My sister’s eyes widened as I went on before she gave a look of absolute appall. She signed back angrily.

“What did she say?” the poor sap inquired.

“Thank you.”

“Tell her… I think she’s awesome.” He then leaned in closer to her ear, “You’re awesome!”

My sister turned to me, confused. I gave her a couple baseball signs, then made the motioning of a billowing cloud. My sister shook her head.

“No, man…” the dude was frustrated. “I don’t think… You’re not telling her what I am telling you to tell her.” Huh? “Just… tell her exactly what I say. She is awesome.”

I turn to the NeverSister and repeat my mushroom cloud demonstration. She yawned…

“No, man!” the dude cries out before he is graciously removed by his friends and taken to a waiting cab.

A devilish grin upon her face, the NeverSister pranced with complete satisfaction, off to brag to her husband. Deception comes easy to the NeverFamily. Fortunately, some of us use it for good rather than evil. Others do not.