Beware the ghost of the monkeynaut!
You should also beware and perhaps fear the The Skunk Ape, Storm Devils and the Mermaid Vampire of Weeki Wachee Springs, all fearsome creatures that haunt the Florida landscape.
Or, at least, they do in the mind of John Henry Fleming, author (“The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman”) and shaper of young minds as a creative writing professor at the University of South Florida, the latter of which in itself is quite terrifying. Just kidding, John. I think.
Pocol Press has just released his new novel, Fearsome Creatures of Florida, which documents 18 nighmarish Florida creatures. Or, rather, 18 nightmarish Florida creatures that Fleming made up. They include the sort-of famliar (El Chupacabra) and the what-did-you-say (Gilda, The Elephant Who Makes Boys Disappear).
The book is hilarious and strange and a funny satire of, well, many things. Books about wildlife. Contemporary books and television shows about the paranormal and the inexplicable. The cherry on top of this literary sundae is a funny bit of advance praise from author Peter Straub, who heretofore had only disturbed me, particularly in Ghost Story.
Read closely and you’ll see that Fleming addresses various issues affecting Florida—environmental degradation, poor conditions for grove workers—through his satiric shorts. I’m not a genius to notice this; he actually told me about it when I did a story on him back in ‘07.