Category Archives: Altered States Of America
On the road to Deadtown there used to be a hand-carved sign that read: “Frank and Chachi’s Place: Visitors Get Dead.” Outsiders rarely thought twice about the warning, assuming it was just some adolescent prank. That’s until they witnessed Chachi’s square fists pummeling a camera-draped tourist into a loose sack of guts and bone while Frank robbed his wife and kids; or they caught sight of the blood-soaked clothing strung up like party decorations in the town square. Then they started to believe.
In all his years with the department, Detective Suggs had never used the term “festive” in a police report. But that morning, when he arrived at the crime scene in Edison Heights, the chalk outlines looked like they were dancing.
The seminar was not nearly as professional as Francis had hoped. Sure, there were cold cuts and a selection of soft drinks, but it was the appearances of the other men in attendance that troubled him the most. One had a hook where his hand should have been, while another sat sharpening knives, an organ grinder monkey dancing back and forth on his shoulder. Each man had a Xeroxed brochure in hand titled “How to Become a Black Market Salesman,” and an old bed sheet nailed to the wall said the same in spraypaint.
The news reports made it sound like we had planned to send our children to a day camp run by the nation’s most notorious militia. But the brochure for States’ Rights Adventure Camp said nothing about marksmanship classes or survivalist training.
When the heatwave struck it came down hard in the Borough of Beards. Not since The Great Perspiration of 1898 had temperatures reached such sweltering heights. Men of all shapes and sizes immediately took note of a dramatic physiological shift: Their faces were hot, and worse yet, itchy.