Groveville’s Truth

If you drive through Groveville, the sign will say take a left to get to a gas station. But that isn’t correct. The sign leads to a place where a station used to be. The skeleton remains, baking in the desert sun. There are a few pedestrians, and, if they are inclined to speak to you, they may tell you to get something to eat at Big Mama’s Diner. It’s on Elm Street. But if you go to Elm Street, you won’t find a diner there. Not even a sign. There is a Subway, though. And a new Starbucks.

If you do manage to find one of the bars, patrons might say that Groveville is known for its local paper, the Groveville Groveler. They will assure you that it is available at just about every corner in the town, and that it even has countywide distribution. However, every corner is barren. Even the couple of old New York Times stands are empty and covered in dust, gum, and drawings. Don’t try to tell them that, though. They’ll say you’re crazy. They’ll say that they’ve got every issue back home. They’ll say they were just reading it the other day. You must be crazy.

In the center of town there is a large construction site. The locals will say it is a high rise. The workers will say it is a Rite Aid. The foreman doesn’t come around, so you can’t ask him. The only thing that it clearly is is a large site of silent machinery, all waiting to be told to go.

Leaving town, the sign will say take a right to merge onto highway 80. Of course, you would already know that isn’t true. You were just on highway 10. You got into town on that road. However, any direction you receive from someone in town will reference getting on I-80 to travel to the nearest town. Others think the people of Groveville can’t read. How could they, being so consistently wrong about the things in their neighborhood? But others contend that Groveville has constructed its own language, its own meaning, and any attempt to convince the people of Groveville that what they have accepted isn’t true is pointless. After all, no one ever travels out of Groveville. If you ask them why, they will say it is because the war already happened. They are afraid of all of the jackals out there in the night, waiting to tear them to pieces.

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