I’m roaring down M-57 in a head on snowstorm. My stocking cap is drying on the dashboard heater and it fills the cab with the acrid smell of warm wool soaked in sweat. There’s a Styrofoam cup in the console that sloshes a thick black liquid that the Sunoco passes off as coffee. It smells a little like diesel and that’s OK ‘cause it’s hot and it keeps me going.
I’m on my way to the middle of nowhere and I must be just about there ‘cause I passed Podunk road. The sign reads “Podunk Ave.”, but it’s nothing more than a gravel road. Somebody gave it the designation of avenue hoping that it might lend some credibility. As if three little letters, A-V-E, will make Podunk sound better. Anyone who knows Podunk can tell you it just runs north and south through cornfields and backwoods. It doesn’t lead really anywhere. The nearest town is Hicksville and that’s about ten miles north and east.
That stretch of land between Podunk and Hicksville is spotty with farmland and trailer houses that use old cars and home furniture as lawn decorations. There’s one trailer there that has a yard gnome sitting in an old Lay-Z-Boy in front of a console TV. Guess that passes as art for these folks.
Hicksville is a different story altogether. The residents are eager to tell you just how metropolitan their fair town is compared to the outskirts. Their buildings are made of brick, wood, and stone. No cheap aluminum here. They also have the privilege of a library. Though everyone knows that the ladies of the town use it mostly to keep up on Harlequin Romances. Yep, the folks of Hicksville don’t take too kindly to the notion that they are anything like those folks that live between here and Podunk road (Ave.).