A trip to The Villages, a booming retiremement community outside Orlando, where the golf is free, casual sex is everywhere, and there is no cemetery.
A profile of Florida’s former (and perhaps future) governor.
A profile of Nora Sandigo, guardian to hundreds of kids born in America to illegal immigrants.
A man heads to Key West in a quest for sobriety.
"At the piano a black man in dark glasses set the tempo with hands the size of catcher’s gloves. He never looked down at the keys. Instead he seemed to be staring straight at Daniel. It was unnerving at first, but soon Daniel got used to it. Perhaps because he was sober, it seemed as if he could hear all the notes. He didn’t miss a moment. He smiled at the piano man. He nodded his head when the piano man did a whirling riff and clapped when he finished a mind-boggling solo."
A new counselor takes a job at a faltering Florida high school.
"The others at the table were talking about summer break, how it had gone too quickly, how the last thing they wanted was to be back at school, at this school. They complained about the heat, the giant mosquitos, the rain—the constant rain—and joked about how wrong it was to be so pissed off already when it was only the first day. Andrew, at the end of the table, nodded and smiled while he munched on a Cuban sandwich, trying to find an in, some common ground."
Jai Alai once packed Florida’s frontons with gamblers and glamor. Today, America is down to a single top-level pro who plays under the name Tevin in honor of Tevin Campbell.
The war between Major League Baseball and Alex Rodriguez, “fought with six-figure payoffs in the tanning salons and strip malls of South Florida.”
On the lonely life of a for-profit pageant queen.
He was a hedge-funder with a coke problem. She liked to drink and was thrice-divorced before they got married. When the police arrived, she was clutching his dead body in the shallow end of their pool. She would soon be accused of murder—not by the cops, but her Internet psychic.
“At the gym, he’s not Garrett Holeve, the guy with Down syndrome. He’s G-Money, an up-and-coming fighter with big ambitions.”
The story of John Laroche, which led to Orleans’ The Orchid Thief, and tangentially, the film Adaptation.
Teaching Emily Dickinson at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida.
Inside carpenter brothers Ryan and Dylan, and their stripper sister Lee-Grace Dougherty’s eight-day, fifteen-state, AK-47-wielding crime spree.
On the backyard wrestling clubs of South Florida.
The first thing I did at Walt Disney World was to take an oath not to make any smart-aleck remarks. A Disney public-relations man had told me that attitude was everything. So I placed my left hand on a seven-Adventure book of tickets to the Magic Kingdom and raised my right hand and promised that there would be no sarcasm on my lips or in my heart.
The call to the sheriff's office came on Nov. 18, 2010, just before noon. The townhouse, deputies learned, had belonged to a woman named Kathryn Norris, and the 1987 silver Chevy Nova was registered to her, too. She had used a normal amount of electricity in July 2009 and much less in August and none after that. She had paid her mortgage in August and then stopped. Her head was on the floor and her feet were on the seat. The corpse, deputies wrote in their report, was wearing a dress.
A profile of Florida legend—and pardoned killer—Charlie Driver.
Inside Gibsonton, Florida, the carny capital of the nation.
How slot machines snuck into the mall, along with money laundering, bribery, shootouts, and billions in profits.
You’re not supposed to just vanish at Vortex Spring. Dive too deep and you might not make it back to the surface, but a search party will eventually find your body. Nobody has found Ben McDaniel yet.
The author joins his father’s work crew, gutting out foreclosed houses in Florida and interviewing their former residents.