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  ...presents...                 Your Hometown
                                                         by Jason D. Corley

                      >>> a cDc publication.......1994 <<<
                        -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-
  ____       _     ____       _       ____       _     ____       _       ____
 |____digital_media____digital_culture____digital_media____digital_culture____|

     When you came back to your hometown for Christmas, he was still there,
sitting in the third table outside the cafe on the corner.  You didn't have
time to stop then, but after a week had passed in hours of eating, sleeping,
telling stories to nephews and nieces and parents, and after you finally said
your last goodbye and kissed your mother on the cheek, you stopped the car at
the general store to fill up on gas.  As the numbers clicked past, one by one,
you saw, by the dim, soft and distant-seeming red of your hometown's only
streetlight, that he was still there.

     You remember, as a child, climbing up into the seat across from him.  He
would order you an ice cream soda, and you would talk about school and what you
wanted to do when you grew up.  All the kids knew about him, but there was only
one other seat at his table, so only one kid at a time would go.

     One day, you asked him, "Why are you always sittin' out here, mister?"

     He said, "Well, I'm waiting for her to come back with the cigarettes.  She
said she wanted to run across and get some cigarettes before we left."  He
would fumble for the money in the pockets of his thick grey suit.

     You knew about leaving.  Ever since you can remember, you wanted to get
out of your hometown, but when you finally did, it didn't feel as good as you
thought it would.

     Inside the general store, the old woman asks you how things are in the
city.  "Just fine," you say, "Just fine."  She smiles toothlessly.  The general
store is old, its wooden walls glowing with age and wear.  On the wall, you
notice a photograph.  The old woman sees you looking at it.

     "That's a picture of what Central Street looked like, oh, 80 or 90 years
ago.  Found it in my attic."  She hands you your change.

     The photograph is hand-tinted, amateurishly.  The sky is too blue, the
dirt street too brown, the brick buildings too red.  It looks like a cartoon,
with the bar to one side, the general store itself up the road a ways (a horse
yard where the gas pumps are now), and across the street, the fire-engine-red-
bricked tobacconist's.  You pause, then look closely at the photograph.  You
have seen something very familiar, but at the same time, strangely disquieting.

     In front of the bar are several tables, out underneath the wide sky.  At
one of the tables is a figure in a grey suit, sitting with a woman in a white
dress.  Their faces are fuzzy and indistinct, but you know who it is.

     You return to your car, start it, and turn on the lights.  You are in no
mood to stop, no mood to remain here in this town, you have to go, you have to
get out of your hometown and get back to the city and the things you know.

     Suddenly, a white figure streaks directly in front of your car.  You slam
on the brakes, but the small-town pavement is crumbling, and you are thrown
from side to side as your car slews around.  There is a horrible thud.

     You unbuckle your seat belt and get out of the car, stomach churning.  The
road behind you is empty.  You look left and right, frantically searching for
who it was you hit.  Then you turn instinctively towards the cafe, thinking
that the man who waited there might have seen something.

     His bench is empty.  On the table is only a large, ceramic ashtray.  In it
are only two still-smoldering cigarettes.  Their wispy trails of smoke
intertwine in the glaring beams of your headlights.

     You get into your car.  It's going to be a long drive back to the city.
 _______  __________________________________________________________________
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  (' ')  |            Save yourself!  Go outside!  DO SOMETHING!            |
   (U)   |==================================================================|
  .ooM   |Copyright (c) 1994 cDc communications and Jason D. Corley.        |
\_______/|All Rights Reserved.                               12/01/1994-#292|