When I would travel alone, upon occasion I came across towns in the process of dying.
The houses were empty, the stores were empty nothing was really locked or boarded up…except for the Churches, sometimes the schools. I always wondered about that.
One Summer my motorcycle died in the middle of a town with no name. I’m not kidding about that. There was a sign that said ” Welcome ” and that was it. There were no street signs or stop signs or billboards. The houses and buildings didn’t have numbers on them.
The roads weren’t lined and the parking lots weren’t lined either.
This town out in the middle of nowhere was, I thought wryly a ” John Doe.”
” You know who gets called John Doe ” a little voice whispered in my ear ” unidentified dead people, corpses that get stacked in the back of a morgue somewhere until the county foots the bill to bury them. That’s who get’s called, ” John Doe ” .
I tried to start my bike and it clicked and did nothing, right out in the middle of a town I had just named ” John Doe.”
” Start! ” I screamed because I had tried everything else, ” start or I’m leaving you here. I mean it! Turn over you son of a bitch or I’m leaving you here!”
I took a breath. I tried to not panic. And then my bike roared to life.
And then I roared out of town and I didn’t stop until I came to a logging town where the Diner served breakfast all day long and the waitress- a large round lady with a head of red, red hair piled high up on her head called me ” Punkin “.
Sometimes I think about John Doe- dead and anonymous on the side of a highway that is, as I write this probably being taken back by the hills and I wonder about it.
I wonder when and if I should go back.
Because I’m sure it’s still there.