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Mark Brown: Q&A on the Republican National Convention — with a serial killer (sort of)

Workers continue constructimastage advance Republican National ConventiTampFla. Thursday August 23 2012. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

Workers continue the construction of the main stage in advance of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., Thursday, August 23, 2012. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

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Updated: September 27, 2012 11:28AM



This may be the only advance story on this week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa offering travel tips from a serial killer.

At least I hope so.

Serge A. Storms, you must understand, is no ordinary serial killer.

For one thing, he only kills people who really, truly deserve it — the sort of folks that you yourself might fantasize about wanting dead before your better self reminds you that we don’t do that.

Not similarly constrained, Serge’s vigilante-style street justice is always carried out with a certain panache. For instance, a child molester might be tied to a bed and force-fed handfuls of those little capsules that — when added to water — expand to become toy foam animals. Very messy.

Plus, with all the time he spends on the road as a fugitive with his slothful sidekick Coleman, Serge is able to pursue his thirst for the arcanities of Florida’s often bizarre history, as well as the best little places to eat and drink.

In the hands of the Tampa-based, best-selling author Tim Dorsey (you didn’t think I’d get travel tips from a real serial killer, did you?), Serge is the most likable fictional psychopath I’ve encountered, certainly the funniest and imbued with a certain biting insight into our social condition.

With the Republicans and a possible hurricane heading to Tampa (Note: Serge hates to miss a good hurricane), I couldn’t think of a better person to interview. Here’s my Q&A with Dorsey, which I will be asking Illinois delegation chairman Dan Rutherford to include in his welcome bags:

What are Serge’s can’t-miss Florida historical sites in and around Tampa?

Two musts are the old Tampa Bay Hotel, built by [railroad magnate] Henry Plant, which is now at the University of Tampa, and Ybor City. (Have to try the 1905 salad at the Columbia restaurant.)

More important, what drinking establishments would Serge and Coleman recommend?

Serge and Coleman’s favorite is Skipper’s Smokehouse: world-class blues, beer and smoked fish. It doesn’t get any better. The Tiny Tap, in the shadow of the Crosstown Expressway in south Tampa, is a legendary local bar. And it’s tiny.

Does Serge have a favorite strip club in the Bay area, or better yet, can he anticipate the one where I might find a congressman from Kansas begging the dancers to go skinny-dipping?

He digs taking photos of the flying saucer on the roof of 2001 Odyssey. You can go up there for lap dances, but they cost more because, after all, it’s in a UFO.

I’m confused. Serge’s strong environmental views suggest he might be a Democrat. But his Cuban heritage, appreciation for concealed carry and personal embrace of capital punishment shout Republican. Can you clarify?

Serge loves both parties and believes they’re natural allies, except there have just been a few misunderstandings in recent years, which he plans to clear up at the RNC with his one-man “positive protest” and unite them once and for all.

How might Serge deal with Missouri Senate nominee Todd Akin?

Elect him! The man’s a genius. Nobody could possibly be that dumb, so his remarks must be part of a brilliant strategy to raise awareness of women’s issues. And it’s working.

Can you think of anyone else at the convention who might have something to fear from a chance encounter with Serge, keeping in mind that neither of us would ever want to say anything to attract the attention of the Secret Service?

He actually plans to seek out the Secret Service to apply for a job. He saw this movie and believes the best approach would be to get a mohawk first.

Are readers of your books more likely to offer suggestions for new over-the-top methods of homicide or suggestions for underappreciated Florida landmarks? Likewise, are you a bigger hit with the American Society of Medical Examiners or the Florida Historical Society?

Again, two more groups that have had their misunderstandings over the years.

Serge believes that violence and landmarks are a natural fit, so he plans to print up his own brochures to stick in those slots at the tourist welcome centers.

Is it true that Serge has the hots for Sarah Palin, or do I have that backward?

Serge can’t speak highly enough of Sarah, except he’s concerned that she’s fallen on hard times because the last time he saw her was on a TV in a department store, and she apparently is now working behind the counter in a Chick-fil-A.

Columnist’s note: Dorsey’s latest is Pineapple Grenade, although I would recommend starting with his early stuff in paperback to see if you like it.



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