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Wilburn, Rosamilia, and Buda vs the Skunk Apes

by Jay Wilburn

When I set out in the stolen car with New Jersey plates toward the frozen tundra of Northern Florida, I did not expect an adventure. What happened next will surprise you more than any clickbait you have read today.

First, Chuck Buda brought my family New Jersey bagels. These are easily distinguished from ordinary bagels simply by comparing them to the size of a child’s head.

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Chuck Buda was a relatively competent driver for someone from New Jersey. There was a minimal amount of cursing and threats spewed at other drivers in comparison to when Armand Rosamilia drives. There was a minimum of Black Metal played in the car. Buda played a lot of eighties pop and Rush and asked me not to tell Armand.

Chuck does like to turn around in his seat to see what is happening across the highway and behind us as we are driving. If we had not run off the road into that marsh the third time, we would not have caught our first shadowy glimpses of the free range skunk ape troop watching us fight the crocodiles from the tree line.

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This is author Chuck Buda in a rare moment of looking forward while driving.

As you are fighting alligators for your life as a stolen car sinks into the swamp, you have a lot of time to think about your life. Maybe you saw skunk apes in the trees and maybe you didn’t. Best to steal another car and to get back on the road. Jacksonville is a big city and there is a lot of ground to cover.

Then, at the Rosamilia’s house before we went to Subculture for Christmas shopping, I saw more skunk ape art.

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We went to set up for the convention on Jekyll Island just across the border from Jacksonville back in America. There were plenty of meals eaten and you can see the pictures of all the food on Armand Rosamilia’s social media where he posts everything he has ever eaten. Do not comment on it. He is very sensitive about it. I will just say I had shrimp tacos twice and skunk ape tacos once. The shrimp was delicious. Skunk ape does not prepare well at all.

The convention went well. It was organized and had good traffic. They spoke over the PA system often, so I didn’t have to talk to customers. I just threw books at them and nodded.

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While preparing the tables, we thought we caught a glimpse of a skunk ape tracking us in the distance.

We ate meat at a Brazilian Steak House at a corporate holiday party for a business Chuck and I had no connection to. The only thing better than free food is stolen food. They had every kind of meat from steak to lamb to sausage to meat bananas to chicken. They even had garlic cooked skunk ape wrapped in bacon. Skunk ape is a disgusting meat, but it was wrapped in bacon, so I only had three helpings.

Even after all the skunk ape I had eaten that weekend, I assumed it was just a gimmick to get people to visit Florida despite all the Investigation Discovery shows about Florida murders and the well documented practice of drug induced Florida face eating.

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When this picture was taken, I distinctly smelled a skunk ape, but I still had my doubts. We were close to Florida. It could have been the water.

On our way back from the convention, we saw something rise out of the marsh. Chuck Buda was hoping it was ducks, but soon we saw the creatures angling in on us from both sides through the water. Their backs were striped in black and silver. Their skulls were large and sloped forward. Their hulking frames should not have been able to carry them that quickly, but before we knew it, the skunk apes hit the vehicle from both sides.

Windows shattered and quarter panels ripped away. Armand was still checking Facebook because someone had liked a picture and Frank Edler had commented on seven threads.

The skunk apes were enraged. They could smell the cooked flesh of their brothers on our breath. I knew the only chance was to somehow sacrifice Chuck Buda for the good of the group. I knew if he wasn’t screaming, he would have agreed with me.

Our driver, Shelly Rosamilia, had been through defensive skunk ape drivers’ training just like everyone in Florida. She swerved from side to side and ran a family from Georgia on their way to brunch right off the road. Most of the skunk apes started eating the Georgians and we were able to shake the rest without sacrificing Chuck.

All my pictures were blurry, but I did get a T shirt afterward.

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Overall, it was a good convention and I would do it again.

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My only notes would be that there should be fewer PA announcements and some skunk ape control on the island. Other than that, only a functioning kidney would have made the convention more enjoyable for me. I’ll work on that before next year. Jekyll Island shrimp tacos are awesome. You can’t do anything with skunk ape though.

Be on the lookout for Mando Method and Armcast Podcast episodes with us recorded during the convention for more non skunk ape battle related commentary on the convention and our adventures together.

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Jay Wilburn
Jay Wilburn has a Masters Degree in Education that goes mostly unused since he quit teaching to write about zombies. Jay writes horror because he tends to find the light by facing down the darkness. He finds the journey through life easier by having you join him. Jay is the author of 2 series: The Dead Song Legend and The Great Interruption. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. You can also find Jay's work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5 and Dark Moon Digest. Each year Jay has the pleasure of featuring many great authors in the genre through the Summer and Winter of Zombie blog tours on his website.

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