I don’t choose my stories. My stories choose me. Every time I went online or looked at the news there was another bizarre headline that began, “FLORIDA MAN…” If you want to know what these headlines are, go to floridaman.com. There are too many to list. There are too many to read. It occurred to me that FLORIDA MAN was the stuff of novels, so I created Gary Duba, a roofer, a redneck living in a trailer in the swamp, easy to anger, likes to get high, likes to get stoned, always looking for the next get-rich-quick scheme, but a decent guy at heart, someone who would give you the shirt off his back. The challenge was to make Gary inappropriate, hilarious, and sympathetic. I drew on some real FM stories as well as the history of Florida. FLORIDA MAN LEADS POLICE ON 2 ½ HOUR CHASE THROUGH WALMART ATTIC is in the third novel, CATFISH CALLING. And Florida’s rich, sordid history of drug dealing and invasive species play a part. Invasive species are Gary’s bane. In the first graphic novel, he grapples with gators, feral hogs, Canadian geese (honestly, who likes them?) and snakes.
In the second graphic novel, Hogzilla…well you know. It’s right there on the cover. And let’s not forget the iguana, monitor lizards, and howler monkeys that shriek from treetops. Gary’s girl Krystal’s a lot like Gary. She likes to get high and have a good time too. But when the cops come for her man, Krystal’s actions turn her into an overnight sensation and open the door to the world of women’s wrestling.
The first novel says “vile and profane” right on the cover. There are several one-star reviews: “If this is what writing is about a child could do better. It’s as if the writer had nothing better to do than write dribble. No proper story, no theme just garbage.” I think the word the reviewer was looking for is drivel. It’s my most popular novel so far, and it snuck up on me like a Florida panther! I just turned in the third Florida Man novel, Catfish Calling. Now I’m thinking about the fourth.