I live in a mythical city where almost no one wants to be. People appear guilty. A plantation once sat on a hill in the middle of town and slaves once slaved in the cotton fields on the nearby muddy bottoms of the river. People feel ashamed.
Many stay inside as much as possible. The streets are full of tinted window cars, yet the stores are often empty. If you bump into someone in the city they say, This town, it’s got the movies and the mall and that’s all, that’s all.
You hear, I’m leaving town on a business trip. You hear, we’ll be over in the capital city for the weekend. You hear, we’ll be down on the beach on the coast, and may be doing some birding. You hear, we’re driving down to the big city to see an opera or Bob Dylan.
Late at night you hear the dead plantation slaves singing from unmarked graves. I get up from my bed and go to the window to hear better, but never can fully grasp what words are being sung.
Of course the city has its blusterers. Having been a part of the South that lost the civil war, the people love their guns and are filled with patriotic piss and vinegar. Young men pretend they’re military and to keep in shape form columns that march the twelve miles west to the river and back, singing songs about how they will save America. Then they do their praying.
What seems to actually save the city is drugs and alcohol. Many I know whose hearts are broken live at home in cups and dope, or spend their nights in a multitude of bars.
A week ago a downtown crowd lynched the poet laureate off the abandoned theatre’s movie marquee. An alligator was caught slinking down the main street.
Years earlier a distraught man torched the library. Hunks of petrified wood surround the graves of confederate officers. The newspaper says who is smiling today, and carries tales of bizarre murders.
Nothing gets aborted.