Triggerfish Twist (Serge Storms Series #4)by Tim Dorsey
Ensconced in a lovely tropical villa on idyllic Triggerfish Lane, Jim Davenport anticipates the good life to come. But this isn't living -- it's Florida and the neighborhood is not quite what it seems. It's got overly aggressive Little League parents, drug-free Rastafarians, homicidal hookers, unnatural sex and casual violence. Oh, yes, and there's a/em>… See more details below
Ensconced in a lovely tropical villa on idyllic Triggerfish Lane, Jim Davenport anticipates the good life to come. But this isn't living -- it's Florida and the neighborhood is not quite what it seems. It's got overly aggressive Little League parents, drug-free Rastafarians, homicidal hookers, unnatural sex and casual violence. Oh, yes, and there's a psychopathic serial killer-cum-Sunshine-State folklorist named Serge A. Storms living directly across the street. So it's only a matter of time before Jim up and actually kills somebody ...
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So what's up with Florida?
Talk about a swing in reputation. Forty years ago the Sunshine State was an unthreatening View-Master reel of orange groves, alligator wrestlers, tail-walking dolphins and shuffleboard.
Near the turn of the millennium, Florida had become either romantically lawless or dangerously stupid, and often both: Casablanca without common sense, Dodge City with more weapons, the state that gave you the Miami Relatives on the evening news every night for nine straight months and changed the presidential election with a handful of confetti. Consider that two of the most famous Floridians in recent years have been Janet Reno and the Anti-Reno, Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Is there no middle genetic ground?
And yet they keep coming to Florida. People who maintain such records report that every single day, a thousand new residents move into the state. The reasons are varied. Retirement, beaches, affordable housing, growing job base, tax relief, witness protection, fugitive warrants, forfeiture laws that shelter your house if you're a Heisman trophy winner who loses a civil suit in the stabbing death of your wife, and year-round golf.
On a typical spring morning in 1997, five of those thousand new people piled into a cobalt-blue Dodge Aerostar in Logansport, Indiana. The Davenports -- Jim, Martha and their three children -- watched the moving van pull out of their driveway and followed it south.
A merging driver on the interstate ramp gave Jim the bird. He would have given him two birds, but he was on thephone. Jim grinned and waved and let the man pass.Jim Davenport was like many of the other thousand people heading to Florida this day, except for one crucial difference. Of all of them, Jim was hands-down the most nonconfrontational.
Jim avoided all disagreement and didn't have the heart to say no. He loved his family and fellow man, never raised his voice or fists, and was rewarded with a lifelong, routine digestion of small doses of humiliation. The belligerent, boorish and bombastic latched onto him like strangler figs.
He was utterly content.
Then Jim moved his family to Florida, and before summer was over a most unnatural thing happened. Jim went and killed a few people.
None of this was anywhere near the horizon as the Davenports began the second day of their southern interstate migration.
The road tar at the bottom of Georgia began to soften and smell in the afternoon sun. It was a Saturday, the traffic on I-75 thick and anxious. Hondas, Mercurys, Subarus, Chevy Blazers. A blue Aerostar with Indiana tags passed the exit for the town of Tifton, sod capital of the usa, and a billboard: jesus is lord...at buddy's catfish emporium.”
A sign marking the Florida state line stood in the distance, then the sudden appearance of palm trees growing in a precise grid. The official state welcome center rose like a mirage through heat waves off the highway. Cars accelerated for the oasis with the runaway anticipation of traffic approaching a Kuwaiti checkpoint on the border with Iraq.
They pulled into the hospitality center's angled parking slots; doors opened and children jumped out and ran around the grass in the aimless, energetic circles for which they are known. Parents stretched and rounded up staggering amounts of trash and headed for garbage cans. A large Wisconsin family in tank tops sat at a picnic table eating boloney sandwiches and generic pork rinds so they could afford a thousand-dollar day at Disney. A crack team of state workers arrived at the curb in an unmarked van and began pressure-washing some kind of human fluid off the sidewalk. A stray ribbon of police tape blew across the pavement.The Aerostar parked near the vending machines, in front of the no nighttime security sign.
“Who needs to go to the bathroom?” asked Jim.
Eight-year-old Melvin put down his mutant action figures and raised a hand.
Sitting next to him with folded arms and dour outlook was Debbie Davenport, a month shy of sweet sixteen, totally disgusted to be in a minivan. She was also disgusted with the name Debbie. Prior to the trip she had informed her parents that from now on she was to be called “Drusilla.”
“Debbie, you need to use the rest room?”
Martha got out a bottle for one-year-old Nicole, cooing in her safety seat, and Jim and little Melvin headed for the building.
Outside the rest rooms, a restless crowd gathered in front of an eight-foot laminated map of Florida, unable to accept that they were still hundreds of miles from the nearest theme park. They would become even more bitter when they pulled away from the welcome center, and the artificial grove of palms gave way to hours of scrubland and billboards for topless doughnut shops.
Jim bought newspapers and coffee. Martha took over the driving and got back on I-75. Jim unfolded one of the papers. “Says here authorities have discovered a tourist from Finland who lost his luggage, passport, all his money and ID and was stranded for eight weeks at Miami International Airport.”
“Eight weeks?” said Martha. “How did he take baths?”
“Wet paper towels in the rest rooms.”
“Where did he sleep?”
“Chairs at different gates each night.”
“What did he eat?”
“Bagels from the American Airlines Admirals Club.”
“How did he get in the Admirals Club if he didn't have ID?”
“If he went to all that trouble, he probably could have gotten some kind of help from the airline. I can't believe nobody noticed him.”
“I think that's the point of the story.”
“Kicked him out. He was last seen living at Fort Lauderdale International.”
The Aerostar passed a group of police officers on the side of the highway, slowly walking eight abreast looking for something in the weeds. Jim turned the...Triggerfish Twist. Copyright © by Tim Dorsey. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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