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  • The design, impeccable, the perfect city. Down to the little tufts of shrubbery.

    The model builders left no detail undone. None.

    Do you see the little figurines walking along the river side, hand in hand? You can even pick out the picnic basket im the young woman's hands, and if stretch your imagination, you might see those bundles of ham and cheese on Wonder Bread with French's golden mustard. If you looked closely at her mobile phone, you can see a text message form her other lover.

    And the bank building is every bit as stately as the real one. Wow, look at Mabel's cafe! Is that steam rising from the little coffee cups? If you peek in the back alley window into the kitchen that the afternoon prep staff is smoking in the kitchen and hocking boogers into the sandwiches.

    Look at all the cars parked neatly on Main Street, not one store boarded up or lacking for customers. Do you see the little children gathered around the clown with the balloons? They do not know of the the titles of the books he keep hidden in the secret drawer and only reads at night.

    Look at how neat the mayor's house is, with the shiny brick facade and the rows of roses down the path. Out in the shed is a table with a note and a rope tossed over the rafters.

    The Simpsons are out on the town lake, Nancy paddling while Noel plays love songs on the Ukelele. Too bad the Hauser sisters have broken into their townhouse. Dixie Hauser is slipping Nancy's grandmother's diamond necklace into a pouch and Trixie stumbled into Noel's hidden collection of counterfeit passports and stolen credit cards.

    Around the corner is the white church. Look at Pastor Combs admiring the generous pile on the collection plate from this morning's service. It must be the sunshine that makes people give so much. He beams as he slips the larger bills in his inner pocket, in a few weeks he will have enough for that power cruiser he found for sale in Naples, Florida. Soon, soon, soon he mutters.

    Over on High Street, Hank is sitting alone at the bar lost in thought. He has been here since 10:00am staring into his mug, not a dollar in his wallet, and figures he can use his gun to settle the bar bill. After he has one more Bud Lite.

    On the other side of Rafferty Park is the new high school, with the new theater and swimming pool; inside the computer lab, Phyllis has hacked into the firewalled records server (she cannot believe her principal would have a password of his birthday, loooooser) and making sure her grades are adjusted up, but not too far up to cause notice, so that she can gain entrance to the University. And while she is at it, she thinks Timmy needs to have his Physics grade tweaked a tad lower.

    Yep, it is a model little town, with all the model little people living their model little lives.

    I am using Cowbird to share the story of a 15,000 mile road odyssey I took in 2011, which started with me quitting my job in March and setting out in June for a loop around the US and Canada. It's less of a day by day narrative and more of an attempt to tell a story of the story, with some amounts of imagined bits that emerge on looking at the media from the trip, including the more than 1400 images, videos, and audio files collected in my digital time capsule, the Storybox.
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