NR Digital

City Desk

Trailer Park

by Richard Brookhiser

A black bounded space. Longer than wide, wider than tall. Tilted. Distant red lights: possible ways out. A colorless shine, paler, marks a stepped, uphill pathway. Side trails lead off it into the darkness, but they are narrow, almost booby-trapped: You bark your shins, catch your toes as you sidle along. Sometimes your shoe sticks to something underfoot. If you have come with a companion, you grab her hand. When you stop finally, you fall onto a scratchy, angled surface that rocks a little. Now your hands feel hard, cold, ring-like holes; if you brought something to moisten your lips, you can store it there. From the darkness come the voices of other wayfarers, audible but incomprehensible. Although it was hot before, it is chilly now; did you dress for the occasion?

The downhill wall suddenly blazes with commands or questions. QUIET PLEASE. Or SCARLETT O’HARA’S MAID WAS PLAYED BY: 1) BUTTERFLY MCQUEEN 2) HATTIE MCDANIEL 3) LENA HORNE. For this is not Poe or Plato, but the neighborhood multiplex, and you have come to see a movie: Harry Potter, Part 3 of Volume 12, or The Tree of Dinosaurs, or This Conan Will Not Run for Governor. But after the exhortations and the timewasters and before the show come the trailers.

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