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Subtropical High


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An excerpt from my Florida cocaine caper, SUBTROPICAL HIGH:

. . . Ballgame hurried outside into the exhaust-filled undercarriage of the airport near the taxi ring and set a cigarette between his lips.

He dabbed his forehead with the mola. So much for this heightened sense of security since 9/11. These retards couldn’t even spot a common tax evader.

He fired up the Long Leaf and burned it halfway down the shaft in a single drag. Everything felt edgy and surreal. He wasn’t used to being in public. He wasn’t comfortable with the racy feel of hybrid engines and horns and sirens. The buzz of a modern culture required that all senses fired on all cylinders all of the time. Ballgame was out of his element after so many years of puttering around in a third world island. He was just a two stoke dude in a four stroke world with bad pistons, burned out o-rings, in need of a total engine job.

He finished his cigarette, crushed it under the heel of his crocodile sandal, then slipped into the backseat of an awaiting gypsy cab—a Buick Skylark. What he really needed right now was a cool place to rest, some cocktails, and a good American Quaalude, if he could score one.

He eyed the cabbie through the bullet-proof acryllic. “You know any cheap waterfront motels in the area?”

The Haitian driver didn’t even pull the cellphone from his ear. Without response, he flipped on the meter, shot into traffic, and continued yammering in Creole as the speedometer crested seventy-five.

Ballgame clutched his fingers around the oh-shit handle and braced his feet against the carpet-less floorboard trying to thwart motion sickness by focusing on the cherry-scented voodoo doll swinging from the rearview mirror.

Welcome back to the United States. Right back into the heart of the American nightmare.

Ten minutes later, the Skylark screeched to the entryway of a quaint joint--the Sailfish Motel and Marina--fronting the Intracoastal Waterway. He paid cash for the Bimini Suite then wandered three blocks to Singer Island Liquors and bought a fifth of Chivas Regal.

By the time he walked back to the room, the scotch was half-finished, and its effects had begun to turn nasty. All the hope and excitement that the first couple of cocktails had delivered was now morphing into something darker, more apropos of a cheap motel room drug deal. He dialed Barley’s number, slurped the scotch, and waited for someone to answer the phone. It rang seven times then dumped into a generic computer recorded voicemail.

Real nice. I fly two thousand miles to help out you jerk-offs and you don’t even bother to answer my call. That’s priceless.

He thumbed the off button and slumped onto the bed completely unaware that in his drunkenness he’d actually transposed the 8 and the 6 in the 386 area code, a mistake he’d repeat several times over in the days to come. In a last-ditch effort to upswing his mood, he dialed the wife to let her know he’d arrived safely. She didn’t answer either. He cut the phone off and tossed it across the room. Cunt's probably honking on that Burt dude’s bobo.

He stripped down to his pale blue boxer shorts, bent the television rabbit ears into a snowy rerun of Renaldo and Clara, then sank into a dismal trance sprawled on top of the nylon bedspread.

So much for a great cocaine caper. He slipped his hand into his underwear and massaged his package. Since birth, he’d been sporting only a single testicle in his ball sack, a deficiency that had haunted him since his first young filly—Suze Rotolo—brought it to his attention while jerking him off in the sixth grade. He’d been mortified. The little slut had told everyone in school, and as a result he didn’t score another hand job until late his senior year.

He took a long pull of the Chivas and made a mental note to Google Neuticles the next chance he had behind a computer. He’d heard of the new testicle implants, and while they didn’t produce anything biological, they could certainly make the satchel appear properly filled. Once this cocaine deal was finished, he’d use some of the cash to pay for the procedure. He felt certain he could get the work done over in Caracas for a fraction of what it would cost in the States.

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