in the middle of strange nowhere - Martinville, Missouri

Being near halloween, I'll share this now...

I went out west in May. I took and Amtrak, got stranded, twice, and eventually made my way from Missoula, Montana via Greyhound (well, American Lines, which *became* Greyhound) back to St Louis, Missouri - home. The travel back was safe but lengthy.

Departing from *somewhere* (who knows what state/town) we entered into Missouri on the way to stop off at the Kansas City terminal, and while on that journey we went through Martinville, Missouri.

I have lived in MO my whole life, but on the opposite side of the state, so I had never heard of Martinville before. A small green road sign greeted us into the county/municipality, and then the Greyhound descended down a steep, dark hill onto a back road - trees on either side, and only a few brief peeks of the sky above when the treeline came lower in some spots.

It was, by all definition of the word, a ghost town. Dark everywhere, every couple miles there would be an odd cluster of small homes, and (creepily enough) there would always be ONE light on within the window of one of the homes. My phone read 2:30 AM, but I had no cell service whatsoever. Miles it went on - 3, 4, 5 miles of curb-less road and the treeline coming right up to the edge of the asphalt.

On a rare occasion, a field would open up, and off to the side, or in the middle of the field would be a rackety shed, with lightbulb lighting the doorway above. "What the *Hell* is in that shed?", I would think. My imagination ran wild.

All this time, a very polite younger gentleman described his Native American roots to another young guy who in turn described his afterlife beliefs, and then entire discussion for all to hear (as the bus was otherwise dead quiet) dealt with mortality, life after death, the cosmos, and the possible existence of an afterworld.

I listened to this narrative pierce through the aisle of the bus as trees would clear to another crop-less field of nowhere. When the sky did open enough to show the horizon, a long row of blinking red lights, like that of a utility company, flashed in unison across the skyline. Miles and miles of blinking red.

We reached a Hucks Gas Station at 3:45, and the police cars parked there and the random patrons gassing up made me feel like I had just come out of some Twilight Zone of desolate terror. I gathered myself and bought a Diet Pepsi and then came back to the Greyhound. Before long, we departed and Kansas City made its way into view, and I promised to never make my way back to Western Missouri ever again.


with love, TM