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The Kids in the Scene

a novel

[opening chapter]

Dear Reader,


Before this story concludes, you will discover several uncomfortable truths surrounding certain events that occurred in the college town of Gainesville, Florida many years ago. Depending on your personal sensitivities, you may find more than one of these truths to be downright harrowing, which explains why history has tried to keep much of this story hidden in the shadows of time. 


Should you choose to delve into this account, know that I am going to introduce many persons who played a pivotal role in the events that took place in two distinct time periods: the late 1960s leading up to 1970 when Gainesville was integrating by order of law and then some twenty years later in the late 1980s leading up to 1990 when the Gainesville Punk scene was blossoming and more than one of the aforementioned distressing events occurred.


Some of the people you will meet were black, others white. Some were old at the time. Others were in the prime of their lives. Some were musicians. Those who weren’t lived lives that were directly related to the Gainesville music scene, which you’ll soon learn was something of a cultural force in both 1970 and 1990 in the southeastern United States. 

I, too, play a decisive role in this story, an unwitting linchpin that you’ll soon understand makes me the only credible voice who can give this tale the personal attention and detached perspective it deserves. But I promise to keep my distance as a narrator and let history and legend be your primary narrators. My goal is for you, Dear Reader, to forget I’m here just as much of the world has.  The victims in this story deserve as much.       


More than thirty years have passed since the fall of 1990 when the last of these events took place. I write these words having had the benefit of a short lifetime for research, analysis and reflection to ensure the account you experience is as accurate as it can be given the clandestine nature so many who lived this story maintained for reasons you’ll come to understand. 


Some would say, as the cliche goes, our story takes place in simpler times. But as I’m sure you’ll agree if and when you reach the end of this story...there was nothing simple about 1970 or 1990 in Gainesville, Florida. 

Fred Smith

Fred Smith is an author and screenwriter. His first novel, The Coolest Labelshas been optioned and is currently being considered as a limited series with a major network. 

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