In the suburbs of Hell

In the suburbs of Hell, the only fires are those in the barbecue pits of the Pleasant Valley Sunday people who fire them up at 4:30pm. The hissing of propane is covered by the inane chatter of people with no depth to their souls. Music without discernible tempo fills the air. No one moves to the music or against it, it is a separate thing, unliving.

Married couples quarrel behind closed doors. Their voices never raised, the cadences never change. It is a language of despair and desperation, tinged with personal neglect.  When they make up their differences, the surrender is only pretense.  The next battle is always close to the surface awaiting the next perceived slight.

Hidden in plain sight, lovers twiddle on smart phones. Making love in back channel communications on Twitter and Facebook, surrounded by ads for mythical vacations and home STD tests. They sit at dinner tables, or on couches next to spouses or offspring, texting their undying passion in fewer characters and less grammar than a Shakespearean sonnet.

In the suburbs of Hell, despairing children play without amusement on playgrounds of chopped tires, recycled for the purpose. The smell of rubber and vehicular death pervades the air around the swings and slides.  The structures are brightly painted with images of clowns with darkly deep-set eyes and slightly pointed teeth. Children are more likely to sit listlessly on the merry-go-round kicking at the shredded rubber.

These are the discomfited people, many of which who voted a certain way.  They want change, any change that will bring more change. They just want change. They are unhappy. Bored. Unchallenged. So they want change.

Unless the change doesn’t look or sound like them. Then they want it unchanged. They want retreat to a half-remembered time when things were better. Only things weren’t really better, it just that the unpleasant change wasn’t present.


Be nice. It won't hurt either of us.

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