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Floridian Pneuma

By Justin Labrie All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Mystery

Blurb

The Orange Summer, as Maxie likes to call it, was a summer of trials and tribulations; a test and an evaluation of the psyche and what it can handle. Speaking years after the events, a sort of analysis can be seen through the words of the protagonist. Orange juice is now prohibited in the household.

Chapter 1

"Florida man punches swan" "Florida man called the police because his order was wrong" "Florida man gets run over by his own truck." You've seen all the headlines. They're popular. Especially the latest one as I write at this moment: "Florida man sues Apple for $10 million for stealing his iPhone invention." All of them seem perfectly coincidental. Obviously. They're all different men, of different races and ethnicities-heck, some are even women-and the only thing they have in common is that they live in Florida.

Now, before I begin my story to debunk the myth that these aren't related at all, I must confess that before the Orange Summer-as I like to call it-I had never set foot in Florida. I haven't set foot there after that time either; for the fear of what might find me is too great.

I wasn't so much sent there as I was forced. I work for a company that investigates certain matters for clients of... influential status. A sort of private investigation service, though I never wore the stereotypical attire. The job I was assigned was fairly usual for our company: a girl disappeared, the cops won't do anything, and the parents have looked to other means of finding her. The police have a lot on their mind, you know? What, with all the fake bomb threats and constant S.W.A.T. calls on people who disagree with you on the internet.

I was, in all honesty, still new to the P.I. scene. I had some experience, sure, but nothing grand or newsworthy. At least, not until now. But I'll get to that later on. Right now, just imagine: someone who has recently joined a certain group now has to go hundreds of miles away for a few days for something that is usually referred to as "less than a day's worth of it." 'It' referring to the amount of work. Since I was not on good terms-well, no terms really-with any of my superiors, it was obvious that I would be the one to go. I mean, could you imagine what would have happened if I declined? Bam!, instant fire. Goodbye shitty apartment, hello streets of 'Tonio.

Now that you have the context, let's go own with the 'when' and 'for how long.' The 'when' is simple; I was to leave three days after having been assigned the job. The 'how long?' Now that was uncertain. They had said-and I quote, with emphasis, they said-to "take the time you need." We all understood what that meant (in this case, "come back by the end of the week"), but the fact they didn't clarify meant trouble for me later on. It was gonna take a little longer than "the time I need."

I packed for a week's trip. I, thank god, had the fortune of a hotel with a simple laundry system and enough clothes to last so far that I wouldn't be wasting water with, say, one load every other day. If I had had the foresight, I would have packed more-well, I really wouldn't have gone at all-but, as they say, "what's done is done, get over it." Or something along those lines.

I didn't live with anyone, but if I had, my trip would have been much shorter. I might not have even gone at all, if they were good for me. My current roommate has a sort of sixth sense for danger-something I wish I had back then. He says that he can see what happened, in a sense, through marks on my pneuma (that's a fancy term for 'spirit' that I picked up during my trip-it sorta stuck), and he would have been able to stop the whole ordeal, since the marks would have had a resounding effect through... well, let me stop right there before I complicate things too much. Basically, I didn't have anyone who could have stopped the Orange Summer.

The plane ride was boring, especially compared to the events afterward. But, during my time in the Sunshine State, I would find myself wishing that plane ride had lasted longer.

Am I annoying you with all my talk of my regret of that summer? I apologize. I'll get to the exciting parts soon, please be patient.

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