A hybrid, lyrical, southern gothic piece of nonfiction that is longform Key West travelogue and its creepy little-known history, culminating in my chilling encounter with Robert the Doll.
“The thunder and lightning crash so hard around my home it knocks paintings from the wall and tchotchkes to the floor. A wall of rain smashes down so thick I can’t see the road just metres from my front door, nor the community pool out back. I wait for the inevitable sound of sirens that follow these epic peals of skyscape fury — the majority of my town’s residents are elderly retirees; someone once had a heart attack from the noise. As the wind wails, altering the direction of the wall of water this way and that, I imagine this is what it feels like to be in a meteor storm in outer space, frightened and alone. I wait for the power to cut out as it would in Asia, but it never does. This is America, after all. And while I might have experienced ferocious typhoons in Thailand and savage monsoons in Sri Lanka, all those storms combined pale when compared to Florida’s minor tropical furies. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to these terrifying and magnificent displays of nature.” For Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel, December 2016.
From Key West to the Everglades, I’m generally a mermaid out of water in Florida.