From the Fiction Issue: Miami, by A.L. Major – Photos by Nan Goldin
Morgan printed the photos and laid them flat on the table. The photos were of a topless white woman with red and curled hair. She was tan and oiled, and she wore a sparkly gold thong. She was sprawled on the sand, on all fours, on her back, on her side. She had sandy, fat nipples and a paw print on each breast.Must be an American, Morgan thought. Only Americans would do this. She stuffed the photos into an envelope labeled private, not caring if she bent them.
Morgan had been working for six months now at Mr. Rolle’s Photography Shop, located on the left side of the Colony Hotel, away from the 100-foot pool and cabanas and rooms, down the broken escalator, at the end of a long line of average souvenir stores. Morgan saw a lot of strange photos working at the shop—backward-capped frat boys mooning the camera, really, really close-up body parts—but these photos of the topless women were the strangest. Her co-worker, Mr. Wilson, had taken them. He was a white man with a gold molar. His face was beet red because he roamed the beach taking photos of tourists who would then come to the shop and pay for a copy, if they liked what they saw. In the window of Mr. Rolle’s Photography Shop, Mr. Wilson had taped photos of white girls with sunburnt faces and cornrows and captions like, “Only in Di Bahamas, Mon!”
Mr. Wilson wasn’t so bad. Morgan liked the way he looked at her—in the same way she liked when men in cars honked at her and when men outside the numbers shops ssk-ssk’d her. Mr. Wilson had a strong American accent and a charming way of addressing her that made her feel like a woman and not a 14-year-old girl. She liked the way he called her Sugar.
“If I were a few years younger, I could handle you.”
“What do you mean a few years younger?” Morgan asked him.
“You don’t think I’m too old for you?”
“No, Mr. Wilson.”
“Don’t call me Mr. Wilson then. My name is David.”
Morgan nodded and smiled. She would keep calling him Mr. Wilson.
Beloved food truck Mojo on the Go is the best of the best of “southern Florida cuisine”— a fusion of Creole-, Cuban-, and swamp-inspired food, including alligator, frog legs, and more. Located on the edge of the world famous Everglades National Park, the truck only offers swamp-caught food, so we follow Max and Eli as they hunt frogs in the Everglades for the truck’s daily catch.
The brothers then take Mojo on the Go to the hypersophisticated ladies and gentlemen of Coral Gables—the richest neighborhood in Miami—to see how they react to the truck’s swamp delicacies.
In the season finale of Fresh Off the Boat, Eddie follows Chef Creole to the heart of Little Haiti, where food is paramount to the neighborhood’s Creole roots. They stop at Creole’s kitchen and trade techniques before grilling up a 100-pound pig and serving it up at a Dolphins tailgate. Bookending Fresh Off the Boat’s season finale, Creole’s clan brings Eddie out on Biscayne Bay to barbecue steak and vibe out Haitian-style.
Eddie links up with 2 Live Crew rapper Uncle Luke at Club Rol-Lexx in Opa-locka to taste what Luke thinks is the best BBQ in town. Guys come more for the food than the girls. After eating sauced up St. Louis-style ribs and smoked chicken, Eddie and the “Mayor of Miami” take a stroll to another of Luke’s hood favorites, the conch truck.
We catch a ride on the Bangbus for a drive through Hialeah, Florida with porn star Jada Stevens. Eddie takes Jada to the restaurant Morro Castle for his favorite fritas before witnessing her make a few unsuspecting guys’ days—or lives? Whatever. After work, Eddie and Jada wine and dine over Argentinian in South Beach and get real about the misconceptions of her career.
This Week in Florida: A Violent Stripper, A Crazy Naked Man, 4000 Lbs. of Cocaine, & More
Please allow me to introduce Demetrio Perez Jr…
Perez first made national headlines as a City of Miami Commissioner in 1982, when he threatened to banScarface producer Martin Bregman and director Brian DePalma from shooting on city property unless they made changes to Oliver Stone’s screenplay. He claimed that he was concerned with the negative portrayal of Mariel refugees—thousands of whom were dangerous criminals who turned South Florida upside down and contributed violently to our skyrocketing crime rate—and suggested that the character of Tony Montana be rewritten as “a Communist agent, infiltrated into the United States by the Fidel Castro government.”
Interesting perspective: Flee the oppression of Cuba for the freedom of America so that you can censor people here? I guess he wasn’t as pissed about Fidel Castro ruling with an iron fist, as he was that he wasn’t the dictator imposing his dangerous will on the people.
South Florida voters gave him plenty of opportunities to do so, however, as he was later elected to the Miami-Dade County School Board, where uniforms were a typical part of his platform to transform Miami into his own dictatorial playground.
Most intriguingly, he owns a chain of for-profit private grade schools (a conflict that didn’t seem to concern his constituents when he served as a public school board member), where he actually wrote the textbook. The book is basically an insane ideological rant with chapters on dinner table etiquette and “civic morals” (written without irony) and a history lesson on America’s greatest president, Richard Nixon, and how he got a raw deal.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, who recently received $10,000 in campaign contributions from Perez, introduced a resolution that would issue $110 million in bonds to benefit Perez’s private and charter school business ventures. While there is no fiscal responsibility on the part of the taxpayers, Perez would be given the money to buy his private companies from himself and then be paid to run those businesses as non-profit entities, so he’ll no longer have to pay taxes on their revenue
According to Commissioner Barreiro’s chief of staff, “it’s for the children.” If you believe that, I have a baseball stadium I want you to finance.
Welcome to This Week in Florida.
- A Tampa mother-daughter porn duo—known “professionally” as The Sexxxtons—have started a website and released their first DVD (whatever that is). They say their goal is “to be filthy rich.” Well, they’ve certainly accomplished the first half of that mission.
- The University of Miami is already internationally renowned for its shameless inability to protect its studentsand campuses. Last week, after a laptop had been stolen on campus, their emergency alert system (developed following the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting) kicked into action, warning students simply that there was a “black male on campus.” Not an unusual occurrence, even in the upscale, predominantly white and Hispanic City of Coral Gables. Follow up messages contained either no information (see below left) or misinformation (that the suspect was armed).
Cat Marnell’s Amphetamine Logic: Graffiti, Crackheads, More Cocaine, and Miami (Bitch)
I’m sleeping alone in the backseat of a parked rental car at 5 AM in a terrible neighborhood in Miami when the door opposite me clicks open and a grizzly old black drunk man slides in next to me, shutting the car door behind him. His eyes and skin are the color of urine, and he smells equal parts like sour beer and sweet death.
“AH!” I cried out, half-snapping awake. “NO!”
“It’s ooooo-kay,” the strange old man mumbles, and I am about to scream again when all the car doors open at once, and Mint, Serf, and BC the Kid, a 17-year-old “graffiti intern,” hop in. And maybe Same.
I glare at BC the Kid as he smooshes the man into the middle of the backseat between us. We drive exactly two blocks through this ridiculous ghetto and screech to a halt in front of a liquor store.
Nobody says anything for about ten seconds.
“What the fuck is going on?” I practically scream. The bum and I are pressed up on each other.
Serf turns around in the passenger seat, suddenly very grave in the face.
“Marnell,” he half-whispers. “We need you to give us $2.”
“What?” I hiss. “What did you say? You need $2?”
“Yes,” Serf whispers. “Two. Dollars.”
“Why? For what?” I hiss again. “You know… I don’t care.” I rummage through my purse, hand Serf the money. “Here. Two dollars. Take it.”
BC and the man get out; Serf gets out; BC gets back in. I watch through the window as Serf talks to the man and gives him my two bucks. Then Serf gets back in the car.
Nobody says anything. They know me; they’re waiting for it.
“WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?” I screech. “WHO THE FUCK WAS THAT? DO YOU KNOW HOW SCARED I WAS? WHY DID YOU LET HIM IN THE CAR FIRST? WERE THE DOORS EVER EVEN LOCKED WHILE YOU GUYS WERE OUT THERE BOMBING?! DID YOU EVER THINK OF THAT?! I WOKE UP AND THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE!”
I take a second to breathe. CLANG CLANG CLANG go the spraypaint cans in the back of the car; the sound that has been giving me a headache the entire time I’ve been at Art Basel.
Vito Fun escaped the freezing, cloudy wasteland that has been New York for most of the winter and spent a few days in Miami with a bunch of hoodlums and old people. When he got back he said “There are more crazy people in Miami than in the entire Pacific Northwest combined.” We guess that’s a good thing? More…