Florida Ain’t Nothing by Melissa McEwen

When Uncle Pete drove up from Florida for Aunt Barb’s wedding in April, he stayed with Ma and me in our small gray house. His long car and Florida tag seemed so big in our small-town driveway. In this town, out-of-staters are like celebrities and the neighborhood kids stared at the tag, asked if they could get in, as if getting in the car would make them Floridians.

“You from Miami? Orlando?” they asked from the backseat, leaning out the window.

Uncle Pete, leaning against the car, said, “Naw, Pensacola,” and the kids frowned.

They all wanted to know if it was hotter there than up here and Uncle Pete said, “Much!” then he told them what he used to tell me, “Gets so hot I can fry fish on the sidewalk,” and they believed him – even Tony and he never believes anything anybody tells him.

It was the same way when I was younger and Miss Dixon’s son came to visit her from California. I was one of the kids asking if he was from L.A. or Hollywood. He was a movie star to us. He told us about beaches and good weather. That night, my dreams were Californiaful and in the morning I asked Ma if we could move, but she said “California ain’t nothing but gangs and earthquakes.”

And, that April, as I watched Ma (arms folded) watching Uncle Pete, I knew what she was thinking: “Florida ain’t nothing but hurricanes and rat sized roaches.”

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Florida Ain’t Nothing by Melissa McEwen

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Florida Ain’t Nothing by Melissa McEwen | 52|250 A Year of Flash -- Topsy.com

  2. I like the seeming reality of this piece- the visitor that brings such fresh perspective to those who are more sedentary. Nice details throughout, and that youthful voice that rings so true. The innocence of youth contrasted with the adults. Nicely drawn.

  3. Great! I love the way the mother sums up places: ““Florida ain’t nothing but hurricanes and rat sized roaches,” and how California is just gangs and earthquakes. Her summing-ups are like flash fiction,too.

  4. Missy

    Thanks Robert and Michelle!

  5. I liked everything about this story – the tone, the language (Californiaful dreams) and the different POVs in the end. Nice one.

  6. great playful story, with all the details of tone. enjoyed.

  7. Missy

    Thanks everybody!

  8. Good story with a lot of “local flavor”. Loved the kids all believing what kids like to believe, and the way this spun out.

  9. I wish I was a kid again, dreaming about far-off places that seem so exotic. Wonderful voice here, a bit wistful, the child already ‘hearing’ the adult’s version, jaded and glass-half-empty. Peace…

  10. Nicely done: the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the lawn!

  11. Alexandra Pereira

    Great story, great characters… Really enjoyed it! :-)

  12. Pingback: Week #38 – Long distance | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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