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Thursday, May 12, 2016

The People of My Town II

I am a reasonable man, but of course I would say that, as a relative absolutist I would say that.  I’m sitting at my desk (an ergonomic desk but an uncomfortable chair) when the cat stretches up with one clawed paw to prod my leg. He reminds me that there is an eternal something here, an indefinable quality about this town and its residents. We are passed by, left at the door, left in the dust, left in the lurch, fascinated by the lights near death, and the blood spattered on the wall. But all best people, all the greatest humans live here, in my town.

There’s Simon the Worm Farmer: he knows the wonder of worms tunneling beneath the surface of the earth in hidden realms, but the worms – the worms know the secret.  They found the answers to all the unasked questions, hermaphroditic harbingers. Night Crawling enchanters, Megadrile magicians performing alchemical transformations in the soil, transmuting dead earth to living grain.

Simon the Worm Farmer lives across the street from Joseph Abbot Carter, our favorite Civil War reenactor. He wears his steel Brodie combat helmet and khaki uniform with pride as he marches out with his ArmaLite AR-15 rifle out onto the field for mock battle. We love him too much to tell him that his reenactments are filled with gross historical anachronisms.

Marcy has forgotten everything. Everything except where she buried her treasure. (Don’t tell anyone; her treasure is a box filled with her children’s baby teeth.)

Chris is a bored and lonely cartographer who can’t find her way out of town. Every road she takes leads her right back to her front door.

Samuel Clemens lives here too. Yes. Is it so strange that Mark Twain is living here? He’s still writing, of course and his recent work is every bit as good as the classics for which he is remembered. And the High Priest of Utopian Socialism, Barthölemy Prosper Enfantin, is here as well, preaching his idiosyncratic gospel. He still wears that badge on his chest that says “Père Suprême” and he’s still waiting for his emissaries to return from their quest to find the new feminine messiah. You should see the two of them go at it, Clemens the agnostic sparring with Enfantin, who still thinks of himself as “the chosen of God.” They can cause quite a row, let me tell you. About the only thing the two of them can agree on is the Suez Canal- that is to say, they both agree that it exists.

Down the road, down past the bridge you’ll find Hannibal – who is equally tired of cannibal and A-Team jokes. He longs for the time when people hectored him about his elephants and his failed attempt to conquer Rome.

There’s Stan the Center. The center is the center and there is only one center; that is Stan. Stan meets Miss Prision for coffee on alternating Tuesdays. Miss Prision knows more than she reveals. This could get her in trouble one day.

The rumors are true: all the best people live here. I’ve been saying it for the past several thousand years. I’m always surprised by how little people listen.

The People of My Town I

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Jeff Carter's books on Goodreads
Muted Hosannas Muted Hosannas
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