Key Largo is a place where you can remain anonymous. There is opioid addiction and many of the horrors of street life. I rented a shack with a boat dock to swim by with my children, naked, they swam in between pontoon boats and anchors, metal shards shot out of the water, fish swam amongst us in the diesel run-off. There were fish that I could not tell them their name because I was ignorant, but then again, who cares out here? We went for a canoe ride with broken yellow kayak paddles. Nothing was matching, but everything lined up here in total synchronicity. Police on every highway, the radio played, “Son of a bitch, One more night, This can’t be me, Son of a bitch, If I can’t get clean, I’m gonna drink myself to death.” At the end of the line, 90 miles from Cuba, this didn’t feel like Amsterdam. You can get a line on the water any way to access it, live in your house boat. People from Connecticut take this drive every week, meeting the local croaker, coming back on 95 with a zip lock freezer bag of “blues” to distribute in my back yard, what a vacation.
The place is not void of culture, Salt Life, the last resort. I picked up a piece of metal that was stabbing into my foot, it was a dime from 1956, it was paper thin. I ate some raw meat, Dolphin, something dense, in a taco. I was asked if it should be blackened, seared, or fried, being from home I thought fried, it would taste best, but it was actually chicken, a rooster outside of where Ernest Hemingway wrote Farewell to Arms before someone convinced him to go to the Mayo Clinic in Idaho for Electro-Convulsive Therapy two weeks before his birthday when he offed himself with a shotgun. They killed that soul. I read about 20 pages whilst beer-shitting in Key Largo.
The kids were outside screaming near the pool table on the porch. Once I got out there I looked at all the license plates that were nailed to the walls, about 20 of them from Pennsylvania, none from Connecticut. Whatever, Hemmingway, from Cuba to Idaho, what a transition. I ate the chicken tacos dry.
The children romped and played in the filth. What a country. I never knew this madness was going on in the middle of winter while I was up there in Connecticut shoveling snow. My shit was red as opposed to its usual brown. I suppose it is all the fried food and those best Bloody Mary’s.