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Claremont, North Carolina (Don't Go There) Part 1

One can discover the genuine roots of a town by walking its streets at night.

But in the morning, the sun shines. A light breeze that doesn't smell like death blows through the parking lot of Wilma's Barbecue Restaurant. It smells like nothing. Although it's early in the morning, the lot is full. Citizens will break their fast only at Wilma's. A cartoon pig on a sign benevolently looks down at the lot. This pig is gleaming happy and does not hold the knife and fork displayed by the Cannibalistic Barbecue Sign Pigs across the Southeast. This pig was drawn just before they told him the True Meaning of a Pig's Life.

Eggs and sausage and bacon and pancakes and delicious pan fried potatoes are eaten while laughter strikes around the dining room like vitamin C lightning. Nobody vomits. Laughter encouraged by coffee, but not addicted to it.

If the owner sees the scarecrow hanging from the ceiling fan, he should start playing poker.

Citizens walk in and citizens walk out. What a beautiful day. What a beautiful restaurant. What a beautiful town. Breakfast may be over at 9, but different parts of the surprised pig are served well after the horizon digests the sun.

But the night in Claremont treats the day like a favored but mentally-handicapped child. When it's bedtime, it's off to slumber for day in the dark folds of night to slobber in a pillow and dream about raindrops on the stove.

Wilma's is closed. Interstate 40 roars like the rush of blood in the ear.

In the darkness, it's time to walk.

Writing Assignment

ENG 101
Fall 3051

The genetic scientists sat around the conference table watching the vid displaying images from the colonized planet of Yartopia. Their eyes reflected the horrors that flashed by, and their mouths sagged open, struck witless by what the Banana Constable of Space and Some Drive-Ins had brought to them. They watched a native of Yartopia being beaten to death on a basketball court by three fishermen. The weapon, a frozen leg of lamb signed by Roald Dahl. An albino Duckman gleefully dropping cannonballs from the roof of the Ossified Bone Tower on unsuspecting civilians below. A woman, crying hysterically, strapped down to a table while three bald men dressed in Barberstripes shaved her head. A little boy with violet eyes holding up a Heroin Snack Bar with his magic pea-shooter, screeching, "Gimme smack, gimme smack, smack, smack, smack." A city exploding into nothing. All very bad things. The vid ended, and the Banana Constable stepped up onto the table wearing a very grave expression underneath his rainbow kerchief.
"You see, gentlemen and women, Yartopia is in chaos. It will soon be devoured in its own muck, unless you create the ultimate cyborg to send as an emissary and leader to assuage the sin of Yartopia. I cannot go, because I haven't had lunch, but you must put your minds together and come up with ten characteristics, four of which are super, with which to program the cyborg to save Yartopia. Good luck!" The Banana Constable danced the teapot dance and disappeared for lunch. The scientists are you. Get to it.