Fear and Loathing in Siesta Park

Rich Engle

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<DIV align=center><B><FONT face="Book Antiqua"><FONT size=4>Fear And Loathing In Siesta Park</FONT></FONT></B></DIV><BR>

<DIV align=center><B><FONT face="Book Antiqua"><FONT size=4>(When Trailer Parks Go Gonzo)</FONT></FONT></B></DIV><BR><BR>

<DIV align=center>"I love a drink, but I never encouraged drunkenness by harping on its alleged funny side."<BR>- quoted in <I>Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field</I>, Fisher </DIV><BR><BR><FONT size=5>T</FONT><FONT size=3>here have been a number of various prose tracts and comedy numbers written about what life consists of inside trailer parks, but mainly they are focused upon the most obvious and grotesque details, and ultimately all these things are reductive to the simple term "Trailer Trash." This term, while expeditious in use, is not fully-serviceable because it does not convey the more delectable subtleties; subtleties that reveal a deeper, more interesting state of madness. To know these exquisite moments of craziness can only be had by living within, and among. To do so requires great mettle, and, even for the Strongest Ones, fortifications.</FONT><BR><BR>    Each Park has its distinct set of social metaphysics, and the fact remains that there is no more representative diversity, looking through all The Great Parks, than is to be found in Florida, particularly the Southwestern section; its breadth and depth remains (and will always remain) beyond compare. From the Guinness Book of World Record For Largest (Sun Coast) to the innocuous Indian Country parks found in places such as Immokalee, they unfold as a vast, semi-luxurious quilt. A quilt that, like those that have been around for use over many various nights, has acquired its own deeply-distinct fragrance, the fragrance of all those who have passed through (and upon) It.<BR><BR>    The seasoned field researcher, then, does not stop with the simple, obvious amusement of trailer stereotype, any more so than a seasoned Florida traveler stops his quest after a shopping trip at one of the local Tourist Traps. It is investigative journalism, and by nature the savvy practitioner always knows that the story, if there is one to be found, lies deep; the jungle must be penetrated. You must live among the locals and observe their ways, all the while being constantly aware that, without rigidly-maintained prudence, one's head could be shrunken.<BR><BR>    Our foray into this thick, twisted world was not entirely by choice, but more out of Providence, economy, and general convenience. We located a fine, structurally and aesthetically near-perfect "double-wide," the Crown Jewel of the Park. It had been inhabited by Gideon Missionaries, and was owned by friendly, scrupulous Baptists. It was, in fact, the perfect bunker; a bunker that we turned into a museum of sorts-- a heavily-fortified refuge. It sits in what used to be an orange and grapefruit grove. The land is not owned by The Park, which made us exempt to all of their bizarre and generally unenforceable rules. So the rent, then, was only four hundred dollars a month. This afforded us with many living areas, a guest bedroom, two baths, and various other comforts.<IMG src="http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll29/rdengle/NewImprovedWritingHideout004.jpg"><BR><BR><B>The Fortified Writing Bunker, Replete With Certain Cammy Effects So As To Block Intruders</B><BR><BR>    It is what is referred to as a "55 and Older Community" (of which only one of us qualifies by physical age, but surely not behavior or looks). These places always have names that portent Death. This one is called "Siesta Park." The Long Sleep, I thought. But the inhabitants (through attrition, sub-letting, and other activities) do not represent a Quiet Retirement Community--it is rife with addicts, strange-o's, and other unusual creaturesFilthyParticleboardBeastPreoperativ.jpg

Tell Me That That Doesn't Look Like An Entrance Sign To A Memorial Park.

We knew that a strong, proactive strategy was in order: that we had to establish ourselves as the dominant Alpha Male and Female, else be eaten alive. We had to bunkerize, we had to stake our territory and mark it with strong piss. We had to establish a Border.<BR><BR>    This, of course, created immediate difficulties, sometimes involving visits by law enforcement. But our theory remained resultantly sound--that these things must be dispensed with quickly, else wise we would endure a longer, more cruel kind of suffering. Torture was obsequiously in the air--the kind that results from over-exposure to the ignorant, the brain-dead. <BR><BR>    In the world of the retired, the fixed-income, there is a certain kind of boredom that must be served. It is much like that seen in the evolutionary history of domesticated canines. That is to say, dogs had, at first, a purpose; a symbiotic relationship with men. If the dogs were allowed to pick up food-leavings, they would hang around. In return, through barter, they protected Man. But, in the case of dogs, this type of job is mostly no longer needed. And if a dog doesn't any longer have a job, he still needs something to do. And if there is nothing to do, he will find something to do to fill the space, the boredom--something that is probably not so good as what he had before. In human social terms, this translates to a microcosm of self-created, soap-opera type drama. Each day, then, becomes a meaningless adventure--the journey being more important than the destination, even in such mundane, artificially-created scenarios. The smallest detail is magnified, fish-eyed, because there is nothing of true significance to be considered. It is a world where the day is proclaimed Good if one has conducted a solid bowel movement.<BR><BR>      Beneath all this lies a seamy underbelly. It is a place of strong liquor, stronger drugs, and strange, ill-maintained, unhygienic living practices. The drugs and the drink flow strong and wild, for a few. In nearly any community, there is at least one or two town drunks--displaced locals who, in their own subconsciously-driven way, innately know the overall wrongness of what they see. They act out. They are the bored dogs.<BR><BR>    All these things came to a head, one after the other; we continued to, in the most peaceful passion possible, repel Boarders. They were interested in us, but at the same time, we continued to examine them as a scientist would examine various bugs underneath their microscope.<BR><BR>    So, it is fair to say that we were conditioned to the various doings. But the persistence <I>persisted</I>. At the point where we thought we could confidently say "nothing will surprise us further," it did, just as surely as the sun reveals itself daily, and all beneath it, in a wholly different fashion. But the interesting thing (and this is always the interesting thing, even in this mundaneness) was the sure-expectancy, the Wonder: What Will They Do Next?<BR><BR>    One of the <I>de rigueur</I> aspects of trailer park living is that you can, without doubt, assume that there will always be one, or even two Town Drunks<tm>. These drunks are, by default, the local <I>bon vivants</I>. Their wild, primal monkey-range, while often off-mark, is something that be understood; it's just tiresome and grotesque to look at.<BR><BR>    So, upon a certain day, one of these Locals re-revealed himself to me. I had repelled him upon his first attempt at penetrating our Bunker, he was going and on about my lack of compassion. I dispensed with him quickly, hoping that it would not degenerate into fisticuffs. <BR><BR>    He is, in fact, an Old Hippie. He is one of those strange, wildly-fried, heavily-burnt relics from what I would call a kinder, gentler era (even, these days, the Nixon Administration appears more favorable than what we have now).<BR><BR>    And he returned, and my compassion returned along with that. Upon investigation and probing, he revealed to me that he had lost most of his culture in the form of books, and music and such, during some kind fire; one that he most likely started himself, but this is a matter of conjecture. I spent a time with him, a number of hours, re-kindling his love of music in the form of various soundtracks and music videos. <BR><BR>    Now, I knew something of him. Namely that he seemed to have developed a rather odd set of habits, including leaving dog shit in various mailboxes around here. In fact, I knew that he had as recently as the night prior, left a 5-foot dead black snake in a neighbor's box, for no reason that I can account for. At first this behavior perplexed me, but upon further contemplation, I realized that he was simply providing a savage (albeit misguided) backlash at the very complacency we were observing on our own accord. <BR><BR>He is a slight man, and Manson-like. He has those eyes. And, to be fair, he told me in advance: "I get stupid when I get drunk." I knew this, as he had this practice of being up late at night and knocking on people's windows; because he had, in his own mind, some severe point that he felt critically important to share.<BR><BR>I left all this to be. And then, three nights later, I heard him knocking. By then he had left the snakes in mailboxes, and such. His outrage was pregnant. "Are you crazy, man?" I thought, and surely I was correct on that. <BR><BR>During the time he was with me, as I say I had discovered that he had a Great Knowledge of certain cultural things, mainly about music and counterculture writing. But, on this night, he left me a rather cryptic note, one that I can only slightly translate:<IMG src="http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll29/rdengle/scan0003.jpg"><BR><BR><B>Bizarre Scan of the Initial Communication<BR></B><BR>I think this was the first piece of fan mail I have ever gotten, left-handed though it is.<BR><BR>He returned, disrupting what I had put down as a rather Romantic dinner, for Us. I hate when people disturb such things, as they are so hard to come by. In the end, I had to call him off and send him home; it was a great display enacted right in the middle of the street, which created delight in the locals, what with it being more interesting, at least more interesting, than a bowel movement. <BR><BR>The next morning I became somewhat concerned about my mailbox, what with my knowledge of various deliveries he had enacted. This is, by the way, a Federal Offense, and I was considering my options.<BR><BR>Instead of a dead snake, I found the very book I was looking for, as well as cryptic notes, again.<IMG src="http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll29/rdengle/scan0004.jpg"><BR><B>Cover of The Article In Question.<BR></B><BR><IMG src="http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll29/rdengle/scan0005.jpg"><BR><B>Bizarre Inscription Whereby He Got The Year Wrong<BR></B><BR><IMG src="http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll29/rdengle/scan0006.jpg"><BR><BR><B>Bizarre Included-Note Featuring Further Requests For Music Searching.  I Believe He Refers To John McLaughlin, and Joe Satriani, But Who The Eff Can Be Certain?</B><BR><BR>I read a few chapters of the Thompson stuff, which was synchronicity-similar to the actual events-at-hand.. I think he (Robert) was right in his doings, just a bit clumsy.

Edited by Rich Engle
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  • 4 weeks later...

From: Tropical Affairs Desk.

To: Anyone, but particularly those that relentlessly masturbate to pictures of girls.


The man in question, the feature in my story "Fear and Loathing in Siesta Park" was arrested today. Or so at appears. I saw a lot of cops, and I haven't seen him, afterwards.

Rumour has it that he was removed following a game of grab-ass he was attempting to conduct on a young'n. I hate when that happens, but it better that he was removed, because certain of us, had we known, would have gone immediately into tribal vengeance--this would involve large beating sticks, and various types of tune-ups. He might have ended up being lashed to a tree, while we play a game called "Hurricane" on him.

But the sad bastard died, it seems, by his own hand--a hand that apparently was touching something it shouldn't.

I hope he enjoys the fine food and fellowship that Lee County Jail offers.


Christian Tingler, Journalist

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