Andre Bertolino

Andre Bertolino

  • Andre Bertolino
    Published 13 days ago
    Wanderings

    Wanderings

    At the border there is a checkpoint with 26 police cars. I told them I was from Georgia, and they waved me through with no further questions. Jacksonville was a ghost town, but the beaches were open. I pulled into dock “A,” of Lambs Marina and heated up a can of vegetable soup on my butane stove. In St. Augustine everything was open for mothers day and no one was wearing a mask, accept for me. I was wearing a Niosh certified respirator with P95 filters. Some people looked at me like I had made a fashion faux pas. Others as if I had made a bad joke. Some simply stared at me in a manner that would suggest in other situations, that I had a bug on my head. They thought the government was making me do this, but, in reality, I’m doing it because I care about other people. Social distancing was a foreign concept among these god fearing libertarian antivaxxers. Of course the beaches were open with the yellow plague flag flying. I stayed on the property of my step cousin, in a 3 man tent. When it started to rain at 7:00 AM I packed up and drove. At launch complex 41 in Cape Canaveral Nasa was preparing to Launch an unpiloted Air Force X-37B spaceplane on a secret mission. The secret mission is manifold. One objective is to monitor the effect that space has on seeds, and other materials. Another is to test technology that converts solar energy into microwave bursts. Its Russian built RD-130 engines were prepared to push the 20 story rocket with more than 860,000 pounds of thrust. This will be the 90th flight of the RD-180 engine. The goal of the flight is to place the X-37B into one of the Pentagons private orbits, governed by the Rapid Capabilities office of the U.S. Space Force.The X-37B looks like a space shuttle. It has Delta wings, heat shield tiles and a compact payload bay for a solar array that allows for extremely long flights. The last flight of the X-37B lasted 780 days before ending with a secret landing in Florida last October. The duration of the current mission is not known. I checked out the big white boner on the launch site with my binoculars. It looked like the flight was going to be postponed due to incessant rain. So I headed to Lake Okeechobee at 120 mph, because the roads were empty and the landscape was so flat that I could see a cop from 2 miles away. I was starting to feel dirty so I took a bath in lake Okeechobee, with Dr. Bronners soap. Afterwards I still felt dirty. The Towns on the circumference of Lake Okeechobee are somewhat impoverished farming communities who grow Sugar Cane, Papaya, Limes or raise Cows. I told Arnold Schwarzenegger, the voice actor of my GPS, to direct me to Miami and avoid all tolls. Initially I was excited to see Miami, the kind of city that makes you feel like you’re in a science fiction novel. The kind that will be under water by the year 2100, like most of Florida. Upon closer inspection I was disappointed to learn that Miami was closed to all but the homeless. Even the Beaches and state parks were closed. Human feces littered every street downtown. “This is what renaissance fairs should look like, I thought.” I didn’t feel safe camping again. Arnold directed me to a 4 star hotel, called the InterContinental. I rented their $500.00 sheets for $100.00. That night I applied to a few jobs in the keys, to get me around the road block. I had an interview scheduled in Key west by the morning. No continental breakfast. Rooftop Pool closed. I almost made it to Key Largo, but at Mile marker 120 the police turned me around. My e-mail from “Two Friends Patio,” didn’t cut it. So I refueled In Homestead and crossed the everglades. Only one Airboat company was open. I Harvested Epiphytes, and hunted alligators on the Seneca reservation. Giant orange grasshoppers communing on the Cedars. In Fort Meyers the beaches are open, and no one wears a mask. I mean NO ONE. Wearing a mask is considered a political statement akin to waving a flag with Barak Obama’s face on it.I wanted to see the Gulf Coast so, I headed for Cape Coral, then Matlacha, then Pine Island. Couldn’t find anywhere desolate enough to camp and the sun was going down, so I drove until midnight. Disney land Is Closed, though they are preparing to open in a week or two with blunt disclaimers posted pertaining to the inherent stupidity of visiting Disneyworld in the middle of a Pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. The cheapest hotel in the Magic Kingdom is $160.00, but there was a defunct bank with cones surrounding the drive thru adjacent. I just drove between the cones and parked in the shadows. Three exposed light bulbs shed light on my intended campsite, so I took out my Daisy Powerline Air pistol and shot them out, using 10 of my 14 pellets. Then I kicked my shoes off and relaxed for a bit. Less than 15 minutes later a state trooper was parked on the other side of the bank. He was hiding out in the shadows just like me, I’m pretty sure, because when I drove out of the drive through he was pretty surprised to see me. In Orlando and Deytona,(That’s central FL) people are being fined $500.00 for failure to put a mask on. As I drove through Deytona, I looked at my Odometer. It said 7,420. I had only driven one thousand miles during my time in Florida. It is a long and Narrow state. It has gotten a bad rap from all the steak fuckers and junk huffers, but it had a lot of beautiful places in it.
  • Andre Bertolino
    Published 13 days ago
    Archipelago