07 February 2016

Florida News

by Leigh Lundin

Florida postcard Tis Febrrruary, the season of hearts and flowers, of birds and bullets and funeral bowers.

Wait! What? Ah, it’s Florida and long past time we caught up with the happenings in the nation’s maddest state.

Till Death Do Us Part

Milton, FL.  You’ve turned thirty and finally found that special someone. What can be more romantic than a marriage and honeymoon in Florida? That’s what a couple planned, a pair who made their living invading homes, kidnapping, robbing, and stealing cars. This darling duo made their way to the Sunshine State where they parted in a blaze of hyperbole… or perhaps a little less. Self-styled Bonnie and Clyde, Brittany Harper and Blake Fitzgerald, eloped on a crime spree from Joplin, Missouri through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, then Perry, Georgia before they ended up in a shootout in the northwest corner of the Florida panhandle. Bonnie survived, Clyde did not.

Don’t Mess With Mom

Hialeah, FL.  Armed carjackers, frustrated when one woman simply drove away, tried to steal another woman’s car with her two children in back. Mom tore one guy out of the driver’s seat, ripped off his face mask, and was about to kick his ass when they sensibly, if belatedly ran off. Notice the lady’s mother-hen strut as if defying them to return.

Everyone Knows It Takes a DeLorean

Pensacola, FL.  Dude in his muscle car hit subsonic speeds and crashed through walls of a tax business and a casket company, the latter a thoughtful touch in case something went dreadfully wrong. The driver told police he was trying to accelerate fast enough to time travel. Methinks he’ll get plenty of time.

Judge Not Lest…

Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Lest ye be judged, according to Matthew, Matthew Destry, circuit judge in Broward County. A character in my story ‘Swamped’ was based on a real judge, albeit an unstable one, not unlike this man of the bench. In Lauderdale, Judge Destry is known for his wild and unusually harsh sentences.
  • A defendant was hospitalized at the time because of a suicide attempt. The judge tore up the woman’s plea agreement of one year, and sentenced her to ten years for missing a court date.
  • Destry has a reputation for severely punishing defendants who ask for trials rather than seek plea deals. The judge gave a sixty-year sentence to a non-violent felon on parole stopped for a suspended driver’s license, having tinted windows and a loaded magazine (but no gun) found in a car. Sixty years.
  • The judge also has a reputation for arbitrary pettiness. Known for starting his day late, he kept staff, witnesses, and lawyers in court until nearly midnight on Halloween, denying families the right to spend the evening with their kids.
  • Strangest of all, he allowed one prosecutor to sit on a jury in the same trial his fellow prosecutor was litigating. In most places that’s called a conflict of interest.
Eat Smart at WalMart

Lecanto, FL.  Poor WalMart is unfairly targeted for the weird people who hang out there. Too few stories reach the liberal press about its fine dining opportunities– wine, sushi, rotisserie chicken, and delicious hot cinnamon rolls, all with comfortable seating plus a uniformed chauffeur, courtesy of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Department. That’s what happened when a woman, high on meth and mad with munchies, appropriated a motorized cart and raided the food aisles, scarfing down the good stuff. I trust she chose a lively sauvignon blanc for the sushi.

Tastes Like Chicken

Melbourne, FL.  A burglar managed to elude police, but he couldn’t escape destiny. He stumbled into the quiet cove of an annoyed alligator in the unfortunately named Barefoot Bay Lake. Said burglar is no more.

Dr. No, No, No

Boca Raton, FL.  Professor James Tracy is a Sandy Hook shooting denier, as well as a 9/11 denier and even a JFK assassination skeptic. According to him, it’s all part of an Obama conspiracy, but the sad part has been his harassment of the little victims’ “alleged parents” (in his vernacular). Florida Atlantic University finally had enough and fired him. The conspiracy reached far vaster proportions than the professor imagined– everybody detests him.

Electric Hybrid Vehicle

Crystal River, FL.  Dude got pulled over although he was far below the speed limit… and below the door sill of an SUV and below the “You have to be this tall” signs in theme parks. The little feller was only three, but he handled his big rig better than motorists from Boston, New York, Canfield, Ohio and that Back-to-the-Future musclehead above.

That’s the news from the Sunstroke State.


  1. How can anyone living in Florida write fiction?
    Wonderful in a ghastly way!

  2. I used to be a newspaper reporter, and whenever a truly weird story came over the wire, everyone said, "Florida, right?"

  3. Janice, (laughing) the problem with writing fiction here is that we have to tone the reality down, make it moe believable. Every now and then I come across a story that's so outré, I can't even put it here.

    Barb, Florida is the first, and I think the only state to earn its own tag under Fark.com, the bizarre news aggregator. Something's in the orange juice here…

  4. I missed the weird stories from Florida.

  5. Hi Louis! I don't know whether to consider it good or bad, but the peculiar in Florida will never dry up. The weirdness just keeps coming.

  6. Oh, my, my, my. I can understand why people move to Florida - no matter what you do or are, no matter how crazy or weird, there's always someone stranger than you to take the heat off. Contrast is a wonderful thing.

    I'm so glad that Professor Tracy has been fired; now let's all pray for a similar fate for Judge Destry.

  7. Eve, I hope they pull the judge from the bench too. In the case of 'my' judge (for the story), justices proved loath to remove one of their own, but they finally persuaded the goat to step down.

  8. Apart from the judge, I enjoyed your take on these events.

    I worry – does this lunacy affect only native-born Floridians, or imported inhabitants as well? To be safe, keep out of the sun. (grin)

  9. Leigh, as always you continue to convince me that Florida is a crazier place to live than Texas. Sometimes I think Florida is a three ring circus in disguise. Laughter and rolling of eyes aside I do think all judges should have limited terms. They have far too much power to do as they wish.

  10. ABA, I'm not sure. It may be like radiation, the longer the exposure, the more likely the disease.

    Old Quaker saying: Everyone's mad but me and thee, and sometimes I wonder about thee.

    I've known two judges, Vicki, and both had an extreme sense of their own righteousness, that they could not possibly be wrong… even when they were.

  11. Note to Vickie: Florida is (or was) the winter home of several circuses. It is easy to see why. thanks Leigh for this. It sorta takes the heat off California, and particularly SF.


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