This got started in my head, I'll get back to it eventually. There's a bigger chunk on my tumblr
I lived and worked in a town where ‘horse sense’ was still a commonly used and understood phrase. People still sat out in front of a store that was still called Nelson’s Mercantile, “ayup” was an accepted answer, and most discussion about town residents involved a short geneaology report along with the news.
It suited me fine. After the ugly and well publicized divorce (You’ve not truly felt like a slug until you’ve heard Nancy Grace sneer your name…), the fiasco that was the Jonsenberg case, and the equally publicized drunken soiree though Macy’s, I wanted nothing to do with cities, or anything remotely resembling them. So I’d sold off everything, packed my bags, and relocated (eventually) to Monville, KY. While it was named after the founder of the nearby mill, one Williem Mondski, I liked to spell it “MONville” in my head, for Middle Of Nowhere-ville. Monville sported the aforementioned mercantile, an honest-to-God one room schoolhouse, a joint doctor and dentist office, three churches of indeterminate denomination, a small beauty parlour (“Marleen’s Hair n’ Nails”) attached to Lenny’s Auto Body, and the town newspaper, where I held sway.
Like I said, it suited me. I’d stumbled across the for sale advertisement while driving aimlessly cross country trying to escape. I’d pulled over at the next pay phone (having tossed my cel into the Hudson), and bought it on the spot. Now I lived in the apartments upstairs, and printed out a small weekly newspaper on the ancient printing press in the back room. Nothing too fancy; birth and deaths and weddings as they happened, news from the few other towns in the area, a smattering of sporting events, and the ever popular gossip and advice column, written by the mysterious ‘Ms. X’.
Mostly Ms. X’s bits were gleaned from the latest chatter from outside Nelson’s, or from a cordial discussion with Marleen while her husband Lenny was occupied fixing some beater. The usual small town gossip; ‘so-and-so had been seen talking with that person’, ‘unnamed someone had bought fancy French perfume’, ‘young man & girl spotted holding hands’. Nothing shocking, although I occasionally had the urge to inflict NYC style society page drivel on my readers.
My usual routine involved walking out in the afternoon, making a slow circuit around town, down one of the dusty lanes a ways, then back into town where I’d filter through the chatter for next Sunday’s column over a bottle of soda. Same old, but comforting. I’d developed the routine of making up little stories about the scenery I passed- that gnarled old oak by the Henson place was really a portal to the underworld, and that’s why Mr. Henson was such a cranky bastard…The boarded up Jones’ place was a secret mob hideout. .. That big brown stallion over off of Main wanted to eat me (I could tell by the way he looked at me.)…
I’d been out for my usual walk, pondering the mystery of ‘shoes hanging on the power line’ (Why is there always some hanging off the wires, no matter where you go?), when it came to me that there was a lot more noise in town than usual. Coming out of my budding novelist fog, I hurried over to Nelson’s, where a respectable sized crowd had gathered around a breathlessly hysterical Maureen.