Homeless in Abdera

(The following is a work a fiction, part of an on-going series of vignettes about the made-up town of Abdera, Florida.) 005/???

To tell this story I must confess. I didn’t really pay for another week of rent. I couldn’t afford it. I was kicked out of my apartment.

OK, I’ve confessed. Now I can tell the story.

I had a run-in with a security robot last night.

I kinda’ve already been scoping out potential places to sleep even before I got booted. I always knew I only rented for two weeks. I don’t know why I lied about that. Embarrassed maybe?

Anyway, I’ve been identifying likely places to crash. I found a place near an underpass. It’s this weird concrete alcove in the middle of a multiple crossing streets and highway overpasses. It’s invisible from the roads, but hard to approach and isolated. It was kind of OK, but I was feeling pretty down about things.

Somehow I’d managed to fall asleep. I had a sleeping bag, and used some rolled up jeans for a pillow.

I have no idea what time it was when I heard a voice telling me to come out. I was confused and it took me a minute to remember I was sleeping outside. I moved to the light with my hands up.

I was busted.

That’s when I learned that Abdera has robot security guards. The security robots look like a 4-foot high white cone topped with a rotating blue light and four flashlights facing in four directions. Across the chest is lettered SURLY SECURITY.

When I came out the robot killed its light and said, “OK, kid, tell me your story.” I wasn’t sure if I should keep my hands up or not. What is the protocol when encountering a security robot?

I slowly lowered my hands, and told it my story. When I was through it told me how to find some help with temporary housing and food resources for the indigent. And then it left. I didn’t get arrested!

The next morning I followed its advice, got some food and a shower, got a super tiny apartment for a week and went to my first day of work.

I’ve been working for a week and have to go there now, but next post I’ll tell you about Val the dishwasher.

My First Job in Abdera

(The following is a work a fiction, part of an on-going series of vignettes about the made-up town of Abdera, Florida.) 004/???

I learned so much talking to Teresa. My first friend in Abdera!

First, she prefers Reza. Second, I’m a shitty tipper. And third, the diner is hiring. Dear blog, I got a job!!! I start tonight.

She also has a soft spot for stray dogs, she told me.

In other news I learned my rent is due every week, not every month as I believed. I thought I paid two months in advance, but I only paid two weeks. When my landlord courteously informed me I should pay the fuck up or get the fuck out I paid rent for the next week, but I’m going to run out of money soon. I wonder how long before I get paid at my new job.

No More Stories From the Menu

(The following is a work a fiction, part of an on-going series of vignettes about the made-up town of Abdera, Florida.) 003/???

I learned who writes the history bits for the menu! Her name is Teresa and she works at the diner. She’s been my waitress for breakfast and lunch and refilled my coffee cup a dozen times. Today she had a very nice conversation with me about “plagiarism” and “reproducing other people’s work without credit” and “stop copying my stuff for your stupid blog”.

I have so many questions about how she knows so much about my adopted city. Perhaps I’ll ask her tomorrow while she’s at work!

UPDATE: It turns out Teresa does not like to answer questions like mine at work. Through diligent perseverance, however, she has agreed to meet me after work to “explain some things” to me. Maybe I’ll see about getting a job as a reporter.

Dr. Bloodorange and the Independent Hotel

(The following is a work a fiction, part of an on-going series of vignettes about the made-up town of Abdera, Florida.) 002/???

You’re not going to believe this! There’s a new menu out today! Most people probably wouldn’t even notice, but I have really strong detective skills. (I’ve been thinking about becoming a detective. I don’t think I’m going to make it as an Uber driver.)

Here’s this week’s Menu Story:

The Rise and Fall and Rise of Dr. Bloodorange’s Independent Hotel

In addition to buying and selling real estate, William Bloodorange was one of Florida’s most successful optometrists, and an early innovator in franchising vision health stores. In the boom years after the second world war, Dr, Bloodorange built The Independent Hotel between the Tamiami Trail and the Gulf of Mexico. It was one of the grandest of its era, and notable for its Renaissance-era baroque architecture. Dr. Bloodorange meant for the hotel to spark the tourism trade in Abdera.

The structure was beset by problems almost from the very beginning. In 1958, only five years after the grand opening, the hotel burned to the ground. Bloodorange vowed to rebuild the Independent bigger and better. And he did. The gala opening of the new Independent Hotel in 1961 was one of most celebrated events in Abdera history.

The tourism trade never caught on in Abdera, and since Dr. Bloodorange’s death in 1971 the Independent Hotel has passed through numerous owners, and for a few years in the early 1990s sat empty. In the mid-1990s the city council nearly purchased the hotel to destroy it. A last-second intervention by New Moon Properties to buy the hotel and restore it gave the Independent a new lease on life. Currently the Independent Hotel is half permanent residents, half hotel, and the first floor has been renovated to allow for a dozen small shops to serve the Shoreside neighborhood.

Some claim they can still hear the ghostly screams of those who died in 1958 fire.

I was wondering what that building was! It’s amazing the things you can learn if you just keep your eyes open.

My New Town Has a Weird History

(The following is a work a fiction, part of an on-going series of vignettes about the made-up town of Abdera, Florida.) 001/???

I arrived in Abdera, Florida on January 3, 2019. I guess you could say I moved here and live here now. I needed a change of life and picked a town at random. The following story is printed on the back of the menu at the diner I’ve been frequenting. I’m copying it here so you can see some of the cool things about my city. I’ve decided that in addition to driving for Uber I’ll also set up a blog to make money that way.

Here it is:

Fun Facts About Abdera!

One of North America’s earliest robot-builders once lived off the coast of Abdera, Florida. Professor Stella Surly lived on a tiny barrier island, which she named Surly Island, between 1888 and 1921. Initially serving as her vacation home she moved there permanently after the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Surly exhibited a gift for technical design since childhood. She attended Vassar College after the Civil War and pursued a successful career in commercial art. She made a fortune, however, with various martial inventions. Surly remained ambivalent about her contributions to improving the tools of war, but made herself a millionaire several times.

While living at Surly Island Stella spent her time developing animal automatons. Her dream was to create a robot army that could take the place of human soldiers. Local citizens remember seeing her in town showing off her latest ‘bots (or auto-animals as she called them), a variety of automaton cats and dogs. Some even remember her guiding through the streets an automated alligator she controlled with a radio-control device!

Unfortunately, the 1921 hurricane not only destroyed Surly’s house, but the tremendous waves demolished the small barrier island on which she built her home and laboratories. None of Surly’s work remains today, but a few Abderites still remember watching the lady artist/scientist walking the streets of Abdera with her pet robot dog.