The Florida Shuffle: Excerpt

The Florida Shuffle: Excerpt

James McAdams | 08-18-2020

What I learned working at Deathray was that addicts tend to have massive black holes of knowledge and common sense we assume for most people by the age of say 30. Some of these are funny, some poignant, some tragic. Here are the ones I remember best:

  • Artie, a stand-up comedian from Newark, 38, who didn’t know you could remove the pillowcase from the pillow, and thus had never washed his pillowcase (or sheets) because he thought it would weigh too much for what we called the “washer-dryer-washer machine.”
  • Jason, an Emimem-looking dude from Memphis, who walked ten miles each day, who never realized the sun set in the west and rose in the east. “But you mean always, James?” He was aghast.
  • Amanda, 28, a gymnastics teacher from Asheville, who informed me: “I used to have a Tercel, this cute blue guy I called Charlie. He blew up in the parking lot of a Blockbusters. Apparently he had no oil…I don’t know where it went. The police officer gave me all this shit about why I didn’t put oil in it. He’s an obvious incel.” 
  • Klissa (41, Alabama) told Abdaliz she never knew you could just push the mute button when the smoke detector did a battery chirp thing. She’d always ripped the entire smoke detector out of the wall and stacked them in the closet for years until the last worst fire burned her daughter before she came down here.
  • Bobby didn’t believe Abdaliz when she told him cigarettes were stimulants and that was one reason why smoking a half a pack before bed kept him up. “They relax me, how can they be a stimulant, girl?” 
  • There was a dude named Juanito, he lasted only a week, who didn’t use light bulbs because he swore his dad had been electrocuted installing one.
  • Bodey, who’d never been out of Baltimore, just learned that radio stations change based on location.
  • O.C. thought that he had never loved because nobody had ever loved him, whereas in fact it was because he never loved anyone (I was to learn this too: stay tuned).
  • Malloree “watered” her plants, the “recovery plants” we made everyone cultivate to show how all organisms are primed to recover, with Dr. Pepper.
  • Finally, we, meaning Abdaliz, Freaky Fred, myself, other staff, and our nebulous bosses, were soon to learn that we were under investigation, and, further, that one of our clients, Sadonna, my Sadonna, had been reporting on us since her arrival the weekend of July 4. 

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