This past weekend the debauchery and mayhem of Key West reached its usual annual peak…Fantasy Fest. For those of you who don’t know of this insanity, let’s just say it tends to be a half naked Mardi Gras in the southern most city. Go to Youtube if you really want to know more. Key Weird is inundated by about 60,000 extra folks all bent on letting their freak flag fly for one weekend a year. That said, you can understand why many of the locals are a little edgy.
Balfour Aralia (Polyscias scutellaria) & Croton
So that preamble brings us to my little story. Camera in hand, I was walking down a tiny little lane between a couple larger streets. There are a bunch of these glorified alleyways and I’ve never had a problem on them, until now.
Chenille Acalypha (Acalypha hispida)
I came upon small Conch house, in a state of disrepair surrounded with lush tropical vegetation. A sort of hedge, untrimmed and rangy AcaIypha of varying cultivars combined with Crotons and Aralias made up barrier between the postage stamp yard and the lane. I was busy trying to focus the macro mode on a Black Aralia and as usual having little success, being as I forgot my cheater reading glasses in the truck.
In the back of my mind I heard the old man but it just didn’t register that he was talking to me.
“Hey you…Hey!...Hey YOU!! What are you doin.”
Finally I caught on and looked over to see and elderly man holding garden hose trained on a group of orchids I had photographed a few minutes earlier.
Emerald Acalypha (Acalypha wilkesania"Hoffmanii")
Opening my mouth to ask permission to photograph his plants I was interrupted by a pack of college age scooter riders, zipping down the lane, madly beeping their horns in accompaniment to much hooting and hollering. Why must they always do that?
Black Aralia (Polyscias guilfoylei"Blackie")
It was then that the sky opened up in a hurricane-like deluge of water. Wait sec, rain doesn’t come down in a stream. With catlike reflexes I looked back to the house. The old man had a gleeful snarl on his lips as he pointed the pistol grip of his hose, unleashing a torrent of killer water. My mind in overdrive, I instantly assessed the situation, and reacted…by saying “Huh?”
Copperleaf Acalypha (Acalypha wilkesania"Copperleaf")
My middleschool Ninja training took over when I made a few goofy skips backwards out of hose range directly into the path of the last straggler scooter terrorist. It was only his drunken wobbling of the scooter that saved us both, much to the cackling delight of the octogenarian aggressor.
Dripping and defeated I made my way back to my truck.
Sheesh, I only wanted a picture.