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by Nevada Kerr

They kicked out Tat, the meth house madam. The chief of police took over the property. Now it's a teen cop trailer park. The governor's planning on using our national park as a prison complex for drug addicts, illegal alien detainees, the criminally insane, and violent sex offenders. The locals were told that this new "health care center" would bring in more jobs. There hasn't been this much excitement since they put in the call center between McDonalds and Walmart. I can see it now. Unpaid prison laborers in orange jump suits with all the dead end jobs in the county.

After a summer of heatwave weather, drought, water shortages and devastating grass fires, the floods finally arrived. It hasn't stopped raining for a month. The roof of the local gym collapsed under the strain of the monsoon rains, luckily none of the patrons were hurt. It happened on a day the gym was closed. But now the local villagers, the health conscious ones have nowhere to go.

It's hard to rebuild a ghost town when the local teens keep shooting out the store windows. Wealthy retirees want order and control, so they're finally shutting down the smelter. In a few months the mine company's smokestacks are coming down, making room for more art galleries. A friend of mine is losing her home because the mining company determined that her backyard's too toxic. They're buying her house, not at full price, to level it to the ground. This whole town is saturated in poisons so that doesn't make much sense. The air and water, sacrificed to generations of copper mining. The cancer rates are skyrocketing and half the old folks shopping at Walmart are wheeling around their portable oxygen tanks along with their grocery carts.

The local outdoor market is going corporate. An anal retentive throng of fruit-selling merchants decided that a local 60-year-old hippy singer was too loud to play there. So she'll be wandering the streets, stopping every now and then to play her guitar to scrounge up money for dog food. After all, the disability checks only go so far. She nearly burned to death in a commune fire in the sixties and despite a crippling case of childhood polio and a daily dose of painkillers which leave her in a drug-induced stupor, she keeps playing her guitar. She does a great blues rendition of "Image Coach For Bubba," and a macabre but folksy version of "Crow," reminiscent of Tom Waits or Marianne Faithful.

Dog rescue lady goes around town kidnapping dogs tied to fences without water. She brings them to the local pound, swerving the roadkill on the highways to complete her daily mission. She's taking us to a border town organic food farm where the proprietors practice colonic irrigation. They're a fervent cult couple who avidly attempt to avoid anything toxic in their diet and are willing to go to extremes by irrigating themselves three times a day. We can avoid the border patrol agents and the beefed up Bush security team of national guardsmen because we won't actually be crossing the border. So I'm glad about that.

One of the local town drunks supposedly set a woman on fire. A genius artist, he lives in his father's backyard in a beat up old trailer without water or electricity. Conversing with his multiple selves, he picks through garbage cans for food on his way downtown. He also goes door to door in the village begging for food and money. It's rumored that he talks to trees and eats acrylic paints.

Diamond Kate's still working at the episcopal church purloining items from their annual garage sales. She just redid her livingroom furniture in blood red velvet. Memories of her bygone days of gold digging linger still. Her latest dream is to sell her village retreat and move to a houseboat in Oregon.

Written by © Raven Drake
August 21, 2006.

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Created: January 2007 © Paul Kinder Last Updated: 11/1/07