Victims of Circumstance

Thirty miles from here is a modest ranch house in the suburbs of Naples. Its walls glow pastel pinks and greens even after sundown; in stuccoed hues it nestles shyly behind hedges of hibiscus flowers and elephant ears. A picture-perfect home. Our picture-perfect home.

In the night air a tire swing breezes gently under an oak tree in the front yard. Illuminated by a streetlamp, our hand-made dolphin mailbox leaps from carved waves as though it were more than a flea market oddity.

Stars gleam upon the crickets and mosquitoes through a sky that’s never known clouds. A distant neighbor plays oldies in his garage as his shadow tinkers on the stately silhouette of a ‘69 Cadillac Calais. Not glamorous, but it’s Florida.

Beth and I know paradise. Our old lawn chairs, frayed from nightly use, sit on the porch and wonder where we are tonight.

We’re cuffed to a metal bench in the Fort Myers police department, thanks to that dead tourist and Beth’s bloodstained hands. A fluorescent light flickers condescendingly.

View this story's 4 comments.