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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January 31, 2003
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Excerpt from Triggerfish Twist by Tim Dorsey
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 the phone. 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.