After School Special (archives)

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After School Special (archives)

Post by Tominax »

OK, I know the story is well over a decade old, and I know the author will never read this, and I know there's really nothing to be done, but I feel like this needs to be pointed out. Mild spoiler warning: I'm about to paste a passage from the actual story.

[i]Mason held up a copy of the local newspaper. A subhead read in bold type HIGH SCHOOL MOURNS AS LOCAL GUIDANCE COUNSELOR DIES IN AUTO ACCIDENT. Glen started to cry as he blurrily made out the text: Glen Simmons, 20 years old of Bentson, Florida was killed Wednesday morning at 11 pm PM when his Pontiac Firebird slammed into a restraining wall on Coast Highway 14 and plunged into the ocean two hundred feet below. No body has been recovered, but two witnesses, Mr. and Dr. Mason of Solitude Lane reported that there was no question Simmons was killed in the accident. Richard Mason, a prominent local attorney, testified to police seeing the car swerve erratically, then driving off the road. His wife, Dr. Lesley Mason with the Private West Palm Beach Clinic was reported as telling police there was no way the driver could have survived the fall and subsequent explosion. The police have ruled out any foul play and closed the file. No immediate relations were known at press time."[/i]

Agh! My mind wants to throttle someone!

There's no "Coast Highway" system in Florida, but that can be forgiven. There's US-1, and then you've got I-95 and the Turnpike, and on the West coast you've got I-75, and that's pretty much it for highways. But let's say we're in some alternate reality where there *is* a Coast Highway in Florida, which is legitimate.

There is, absolutely, by no means whatsoever, such a thing as a two hundred-foot drop *anywhere* in Florida, outside of Montu over at Busch Gardens, let alone along the coast. Can't happen. Florida is flatter than Kansas. I grew up in Florida, and as part of an elemetary school project, I had to find an elevation map for the state. I could not find one. Every single one I found had the entire state as a solid color: there are no changes in elevation. As a kid, whenever we used to drive up the turnpike, I'd marvel at the "huge mountain" that we saw, which I later found out was actually a landfill, and the highest elevation in the county. There are simply not enough words to express how wrong the phrase "the ocean two hundred feet below" is. You can walk the entire length of the coast, aside from areas in the Everglades where you're going to have to climb through the mangrove trees that actually grow some ways into the salt water. No cliffs. I doubt if there are even any large rocks. You know how hurricanes don't like interaction with land? That's why a hurricane always weakens when it goes over Haiti or Cuba, and why a city that's as little as 30 miles inland usually doesn't even get half the damage that the first five miles got. Florida is so flat, that it sometimes doesn't even count as land: Hurricane Katrina and more recently Tropical Storm Fay actually *gained* strength after landfall. That's how flat Florida is.

Even in an alternate reality where Florida has a Coast Highway, you're not going to have some magical location with a 200-foot cliff. Flatness is an irremoveable part of what Florida *is.* If there's a cliff, it's not Florida. There are just no two ways about it.

But like I said, there's no way the author's going to read this. That's not the purpose of this post. I mean no offense to the author either, incidentally. Aside from that passage, the story is solid. I just want to clarify for people out there on the interwebs who may not know about the topography of Florida.

It's flat. That is all.

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