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Rated: 13+ · Sample · Community · #1397791
A small scene from a small town on my way across the continent.
Frank is sitting in an old cafe under a water color sky, opaque moon hanging out between silver lined clouds. The steam rising from his mug is blown west by the cold bite of an autumn breeze. Earlier in the day he was painting grotesque shadows on the walls of alleys behind truck stops giving company to those sweaty hogs of the road. At the moment, he is waiting for his man to arrive and drop three small bags in his dirty palm, rivers of black and brown moist against dry and cracked flesh. He puffs a cigarette impatiently and kicks up a fast beat with his fingertips on the wood table.

Across the deserted street Veronica stands before a full length mirror in a room with flaking wall paper and dim yellowish green lighting. She stares with vacant eyes at her body in the reflection, stomach pouch protruding and distracting from once perky breasts now beginning to drop with age. She runs her fingers through her hair slowly and gravely. With a drink from the bottle on the table beside her she begins pulling on panties, stockings, garter and bra. Her high heels sit under the chair behind her and she puts them on with the manliness of a lumberjack strapping up work boots. She mashes her cigarette out in an ashtray and releases the smoke slowly with an exaggerated sigh. Her slender fingers push through a red velvet curtain out into a dimly lit hall whose walls dance and jiggle to the pounding bass of a cheap speaker system.

The streets are empty as I saunter underneath a blanket of stars. Occasional street lights line the narrow sidewalk but I walk in the middle of the road for lack of traffic. The blistering and warped wood of the buildings reaches out with old man fingers and a low bestial growl inviting me into strip clubs and peep shows, dirty neon houses with missing letters. An occasional shadow darts across the street in front of me dashing from alley to alley. Ghosts through a ghost town in which I have become one myself. Just another gray face floating through haunted streets, blue light from TV's raining down from motel windows above my head where no one bothers to draw curtains in a town with no shame.

From around a corner I catch the alternating red and white lights of an ambulance, but no sirens, not a sound for miles. I head in the direction of the only lights with even a sign of salvation from this purgatory, this waiting ground of the dead to be returned to the creator. These are the people that the American Dream has left behind.. Their town served no purpose except as a whistle stop for freight on its way between the two prosperous coasts, so its women became whores and its men became junkies, bottom feeders, sucking algae from the boots of rich Texas oil barons passing through town. Hopelessly struggling, forever emptying water from a dingy with a hole in the bottom watching yachts and cruise ships sail effortlessly by.

They pull Frank out of the club on a stretcher, men in dark overalls and tombstone faces and slide him into the back of the ambulance which pulls away as slowly and silently as it arrived. My eyes follow a path from the sidewalk into the grimy bathroom next to the stage where Veronica gyrates slowly under black light. Empty faces gaze darkly upon her naked flesh, all unaware that another silent ghost has slipped from this world to the next. Life continues for them the way it always has, and I continue sauntering through empty streets in search of the next town on the road across this great vast beast of a continent.
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