It’s quiet in my neighborhood.
Almost too quiet.
The wind is steady and strong, blowing through the trees and drowning out even the toads and cicadas in the fields. An American flag flies over my neighbor’s driveway, and it snaps and pops in the breeze while the orange streetlamp shines through its stars and bars. After that it’s just the sound of the living room stereo streaming tunes through the window behind me.
“Hey now, hey now now, sing this corrosion to me…”
I’m sitting under this year’s Supermoon with a Davidoff cigar. It’s a half hour before the first car comes down the street, a dark blue, late model Mustang with a throaty growl from under the hood. It pulls over three doors down and seconds later a pickup backs out of the drive. They roll off up the street together.
The kid in me says there are no drivers; they’re two Transformers heading out to kick some ass. Are they Autobots? Decepticons? Either way, it’s gonna be epic.
The crime/horror writer in me says they’ve got devious work planned. Someone, somewhere, is about to have a very bad night.
The displaced, suburb-raised dad that I am? He knows better. Local teens off to waste gas because there ain’t shit else to do around here.
Five minutes later the county deputy drives by. Someone wearing red riding shotgun. A ride-along, maybe. Neither of them so much as glances in my direction. Hope the ride-along is prepared for all the quiet and nothing.
That’s not to say this place doesn’t have its share of secrets. The paper may be full of small-town politics and fluff pieces about what’s happening at the school or the nursing home, but there’s still a crime blotter. Most of it is elsewhere in the county, but there’s the occasional local possession charge. Or warrant served. Or domestic battery arrest. The divorce listings tend to be longer than the marriage listings.
All signs of secrets bubbling and festering beneath the veneer. They’re not the dark secrets Writer Mike may conjure, but there are secrets nonetheless. From time to time one will break out into the open and make the shift from secret to scandal, something to be whispered about in watering holes and at water coolers. Then it will fade away, and things will be quiet again.
Almost too quiet.
Not that it stops me from writing about places like this. What am I writing, you ask? Well. That would be telling.