A preview of the story I will be reading for the “Hometowns” show in June. Submit now?

To hear him talk, the afterlife was nothing more than a collection of po-dunk towns scattered throughout the Southern and Middle-Western regions of the United States. Heaven was unincorporated, the semi-righteous college town of his adolescence where he had his first non-debatable sexual experiences and the single avenue of neon signs where he stole his first few sips of alcohol on a night God had gone to bed early. By contrast, the town we had found ourselves schlepping desperately towards was Charlie’s living manifestation of Hell– a town little more than a roadside rest area fittingly called Last Chance, Oklahoma, where the views were so old-fashioned real life was shot in sepiatone and where for lack of anything else to drink, the townspeople hydrated themselves entirely by way of their children’s tears, which were plentiful. Charlie swore up and down that miserable highway that we’d be lucky to find an armadillo to ride once we got there, let alone a proper replacement for his clutch. Plus or minus a few repressed fetishists, we may as well go looking for help in a Todd Solondz film.

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