Serge A. Storms
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|Serge A. Storms|
|First appearance||Florida Roadkill|
|Created by||Tim Dorsey|
|Occupation||serial killer, amateur Florida historian|
|Family||Pablo "Testaronda" Storms (father, deceased)
Gloria Gonzales (mother, deceased)
Sergio Gonzales (maternal grandfather, deceased)
Ford Oelman (half-brother)
veneration of Don Shula
his own which is to question them all
In most of Dorsey's books, Storms is in his mid-forties in age. He is described as tall and thin, but muscular, with dark hair shot through with gray.
Serge has been diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses, and has been prescribed a "cocktail" of drugs to keep him stable. These are effective, but he often refuses to take them, since he dislikes their effects. Free from the drugs' influence, he quickly becomes manic and obsessive about trivial things; he frequently acts as an extremely eccentric tour guide for whoever happens to be handy. Despite his psychological disorders, Serge is for the most part a charismatic, likeable person (he can be viewed as a somewhat more liberal version of Joseph Heller's Yossarian). When an event or person offends his extremely strong (and subjective) sense of justice, however, he can quickly fly into a homicidal rage; he has committed a string of murders for which the police pursue him as a serial killer. Serge acts as an independent vigilante who dispenses rough, creative and immediate death penalties for low-life criminals, somewhat in the style of Death Wish (film) (and its sequels) starring Charles Bronson.
All aspects of the history of Florida, whether political, ecological, or sociological, are of intense interest to Serge. He is often seized with a sudden urge to visit landmarks, although their significance is frequently personal or related to popular culture, rather than historical. Serge usually documents such visits with copious amounts of photographs and keeps a box full of Florida-related memorabilia. Serge also has a varied taste in music, ranging from modern urban to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, all of which can be described as very tasteful and fitting to his personality.
Serge was born during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He might age in real time. In Triggerfish Twist, Serge has turned 35. Nine books later, in Hurricane Punch, he's 44. Being 44 causes him to go through a midlife crisis, causing him to have a religious awakening, and to go on a come back killing spree.
Storms' great-great-grandfather came to the US in the 1880s from Cuba. He worked as a reader in a cigar factory in Ybor City, but left after his boss disproved of the material he was reading to the other workers. He then ran a bolita lottery for a local gang. The game was supposed to be fixed, and the gang killed him when he made a mistake in the scheme.
Serge was named after his grandfather Sergio, a con artist who shared some of his grandson's passion for historical trivia. Sergio also seemed to share Serge's sense of ethics, as one of his last major cons involved swindling money from investor who themselves swindled the residents of a farming community in Alabama. Sergio was thought to have committed suicide when Serge was a child, but during the novel Cadillac Beach it's discovered that he is still alive. The elder Storms had a heart attack not long after his grandson's 44th birthday, and died after a short stay in hospital.
Storms' father Pablo was a Cuban American jai alai player who was more popular for his unpredictability than his skill at the sport; he died when he hurled a pelota that rebounded and struck him forcefully in the head. This occurred when Serge was very young, and left his mother a widowed single mother. She had an affair with another jai alai player from Spain, which resulted in pregnancy. Since she could barely cope with one child, and had no support from the father (he went back to Spain), she gave up her second son for adoption.
Ford Oelman is Serge's half-brother, the child given up for adoption by his mother. Oelman was raised in Alabama, and did not find out about the adoption until he was an adult. He was reunited with Sergio when the older man was in Alabama, but did not meet with Serge until after their grandfather had died. Ford moved to California with his friend Mark to fulfill his ambition of becoming a screen writer.
In the books Florida Roadkill and Triggerfish Twist, Serge's companions are a cold-hearted stripper named Sharon Rhodes and an idiotic drug addict named Seymore "Coleman" Bunsen. Both of these characters appear to die in Florida Roadkill; they both return for the later novel Triggerfish Twist which takes place sometime before the events of Florida Roadkill. Coleman returns permanently in Torpedo Juice, and has been Serge's sidekick in most of the novels since.
While Coleman is presumed dead, Serge travels with Lenny Lipowicz, whom he meets in Hammerhead Ranch Motel. Lipowicz is a Don Johnson lookalike who is a stoner much like Coleman but slightly (and only slightly) more intelligent. Lenny lives with his mother and her dog, though he frequently leaves the house for days without notifying or contacting her. Aside from Hammerhead Ranch Motel, Lenny has been in Cadillac Beach, and The Stingray Shuffle. He also appeared in "Atomic Lobster", in which he and Coleman meet and indulge in their shared pathological fondness for marijuana. It's unknown if he will ever return as a character.
Serge's methods of killing people are frequently quite inventive, and often provide a highly improbable— but technically possible— escape route. As an example, in Triggerfish Twist Storms ties up a man in a garden shed so that he can stand but not walk. Placing a hula hoop around the man's waist, Serge soaks the surrounding ground with gasoline and connects a floodlight (with the glass removed) to a motion sensor. Thus, the trap is set: if the man stops twirling the hoop, the motion sensor will activate the floodlight, igniting the gasoline. If the man can maintain the hula hoop's motion for several hours, the gasoline will evaporate, and he will eventually be rescued. (Needless to say, the victim fails to display the necessary endurance and perishes in the ensuing fire.) Other methods include putting the tube from a can of Fix-A-Flat down a would-be killer's trachea and pushing the trigger; and kidnapping a man spying on him and killing him through alcohol poisoning: he inserts a funnel in the man's rectum, pours a liberal amount of rum into the funnel and into the man's colon, then corking up his victim with a bar of soap. He then releases the victim who runs screaming for help down the street. Because the alcohol is absorbed rapidly through the colon walls, the man quickly becomes increasingly intoxicated, and pedestrians laugh at him as merely being drunk. eventually he is unable to speak or stand, and collapses in an alcohol-induced coma, and dies shortly thereafter. His BAC goes from 0.0 to 0.3 in a matter of minutes.
As the series progresses, however, Serge seems to begin to abandon these overly intricate methods. In Torpedo Juice, he kills a petty mugger by forcing him to swallow a handful of bullets, then subjecting him to a MRI (leaving police to marvel at a corpse featuring numerous exit wounds but no visible entry wounds). Later in the same novel, however, Serge kills a boorish drunk via the relatively mundane method of kicking him to death. Still later, he fills an obnoxious man's scuba tank with nitrous oxide, leading to his death during Serge's underwater wedding (fittingly enough, to the strains of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb).
In Atomic Lobster Serge and Coleman are kept very busy in and around Tampa and on a cruise ship as Serge continues to clean up Florida by dispatching many members of the criminal element. Serge employs many innovative methods of terminating Florida low-life using common household items available at neighborhood hardware or sporting goods stores. Serge's methods reflect attention to physics, chemistry and news stories of true crime and popular science.
In Gator-a-go-go Serge once again utilizes some creative methodology in his killings. In one instance, he removes the lap bar from an enormous bungee swing ride and places a gangster whom he has bound and gagged in the seat. When the ride activates, the man is hurled hundreds of feet in the air and eventually lands on top of a building.