Florida's beauty creates the illusion of civilization. It is a thin but functional veneer, like fake-wood contact paper stuck to flimsy particle board. Glistening condos, palm trees down the median, corkscrew water slides and waiting lines of retirees spilling onto restaurant sidewalks at four P.M., hoping for a shot at an early-bird $3.95 Sterno tray of Swedish meatballs. Spring training, mermaids, trained whales. Brave New Disney World, where commercial microbiologists try to isolate the DNA responsible for bad thoughts and free will. Space shots and orange juice with more pulp and roadside hot dog vendors in T-backs causing traffic mishaps at the latest apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who chose to appear this time in squeegee residue on the plate glass of a financial tower on U.S. 19.
(from Hammerhead Ranch Motel, by Tim Dorsey)