California-Gothic

But guys what about California gothic that actually exists.

Salton Sea. First, the beach is made of bones. Motherfucking BONES.

There are creepier looking pictures than this, I just thought I’d spare you. Second, much of the area around it is a ghost town, due to a plan to turn the area into a thriving tourist destination that fell through as the Salton Sea started coughing up dead fish left, right and centre.

It has exactly the feel you’d expect from a promising hotspot gone bust: that abandoned-amusement-park atmosphere, also helped by Salvation Mountain being several miles down the road.

The Central Valley. Not quite up to Midwest standards of Vast and Empty, but it sure is miles an’ miles a’ nothin’. A drive along the 5 from one end to the other, which will take you several hours, can get to be quite a surreal experience after a while.

Zzyzx. It’s just… it’s called Zzyzx, and there’s somethin’ ain’t terribly right about that. Plus it’s in the middle of fuckin’ nowhere.

Until the 70s it was the domain of quack doctor and radio evangelist Curtis H. Springer, who built a health resort - complete with church, hotel, private airstrip, and even a castle - on the site until he was evicted for, uh, not actually owning the land. Apparently, now it’s just full of scorpions.

Mulholland Drive. David Lynch made a movie about it; that should tip you off. Home of the stars, but also the site of numerous murders, including the Black Dahlia case and potentially some of the Charles Manson killings. There are cursed plots of land on it too (cw: rape), according to Jack Nicholson.

Oh, and countless people have died or been injured attempting to take the infamous Carl’s Curve, pictured above, at speed.

The Church of Scientology. There’s not much to say about this one. And honestly, I’m worried that if I do say anything, I’ll be sued out of existence.

gothic locations around the world: california 

it is summer. the sun is shining. it is winter. the sun is shining. you aren’t certain, upon reflection, when the last time was that the sun was not shining. when the rain starts, everyone around you panics. what do they know that you don’t? (insp)

NorCal Gothic

Cowritten with coloredink

  • You wake up to the sound of rain.  Excellent, you think.  You roll over and go back to sleep with the sound of water pattering against the window echoing in your ears.  In the morning, you step outside to sunny blue skies.  The pavement is dry.  Did you dream it?  Did it happen? 
  • You walk past an apartment with a FOR RENT sign advertising $1800 a month.  When you walk past it going the other direction, 20 minutes later, the sign reads $2000.  When you go back the next day, it’s gone.
  • You pass a vacant lot with a sign advertising a high-rise, mixed office use and luxury condos.  You can’t remember what used to be there before.  If anything used to be there before.
  • “I thought I was visiting California,” says the tourist, shivering, his pink knees exposed to the wind.  "I didn’t think I’d need a jacket.“  You pity him.  He doesn’t know about the fog.  He doesn’t know to stay away from the fog.  What lies in it.
  • Their speech is patterned with strange words.  Everything is "hella chill.”  You think that might be the case when hell freezes over.  Then, one day, you start saying it too.
  • The bus announcements are in a language you don’t understand.  To clarify meaning, the bus repeats its announcements in several more languages you don’t understand. 
  • The bulk bins are all filled with quinoa.  Pearl quinoa, black quinoa, red quinoa, tri-color quinoa.  "I love quinoa,“ says the glassy-eyed white woman in the aisle beside you.  "It’s so good for you.”  She scoops herself two pounds.  Everything in your shopping basket has turned into quinoa. 
  • Diversity Day is held at the local high school.  Every act is from Asia.  You are not sure what diversity means.  You clap anyway. 
  • You are waiting for the bus.  Google arrives.  Google leaves.  You are still waiting for your bus. 
  • Apple makes an announcement: they are selling the iThing.  Your coworker makes an announcement: they are selling their stock options. 
  • BART is, in fact, not a person. 
  • You are circling.  You are looking for parking.  You are circling.  You are looking for parking.  You are circling. 
  • “We’re just coming up on the Maze here,” the news helicopter says.  "It looks like there’s been an accident over on the right shoulder.” You don’t know where to look.  There are so many shoulders.
  • You buy pesto from Trader Giotto’s and ma po tofu sauce from Trader Ming’s and frozen tamales from Trader Jose’s.  Boy, that Trader Joe guy sure gets around.  You wonder where he’ll go next.
  • The Prius in front of you slams on its brakes, and you slam on yours.  The Prius behind you barely stops in time.  A Prius rolls up on your right.  A Prius rolls up on your left.  Their windows are all tinted.  They all have COEXIST stickers.  You hold your breath and wait for the light to change.
  • You go to the supermarket.  The fish stare at you.  You stare back.  In the background, you hear the sound of heavy knives chopping.
  • The Giants are victorious.  There is a parade.  Tall people do not feature in abundance.  The city goes up in flames that night.
  • “I don’t know how I ended up here,” he says.  He clutches his $4.50 fair trade organic artisan coffee.  "I swore I’d never live in the Mission.  But now my jeans are skinny, I own a collection of vintage records, and I’m hosting a bread-baking party next Saturday.“  He leans forward.  His eyes are desperate, and his beard is magnificent.  "You have to help me.”
  • The tea contains mostly milk, sugar, honey, and little round brown things.  You are assured that the little round things are boba, not something else.
California Gothic

You’re supposed to visit relatives in the next state over. They were expecting you three days ago. You’ve been driving for weeks, your rations all but gone. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to get out. 

Someone on the television mentions something called “rain.” They say it’s water that falls from the sky. You laugh. Everyone knows there’s no such thing.

You’re craving a burger, so you drive to the nearest fast food place. It’s In-N-Out. It’s always In-N-Out. You had a friend that once went to McDonalds instead… she was never seen again. 

You feel a familiar urge to make your way to Aneheim, and you know right then and there that it’s time. Disneyland calls to you, and you fear what will happen if you don’t go. You’ve heard of people that never made the pilgrimage… you don’t want to end up like them. You shudder just to think about it.

Cars upon cars upon cars block the roadways. There must be hundreds of them at least, still and lifeless. “It’s traffic,” you hear someone whisper. You try to fight back tears.

“Have you ever seen a celebrity?” They ask you. It’s like a broken record, stuck on repeat. You clap your hands over your ears, but you can’t drown out the voices. “Have you ever seen a celebrity? Have you ever seen a celebrity? Have you ever seen a celebrity? Have you ever seen a celebrity?“

silicon valley gothic tho?

  • the office park you pass on your commute has a new startup. its logo is polished, expensive, hideous. it will be replaced next week, they always are.
  • caltrain stations full of commuters at 5am, their faces blurring, featureless. you step on someone’s foot and you both remove identical white earbuds, mutter an apology and hurry away.
  • theres a new pita pit on the corner. theres one on every block.  the pita pit opens up beneath you, swallows you whole.
  • your mother tells you about her coworker’s daughter who went to stanford. no one’s seen her since but theyre proud. so proud.
  • salt marshes. levys and artificial wetlands holding the bay back but you still wake up at night with the taste of pickleweed in your mouth.
  • you dream of living in san francisco. your cousin sold his website three years ago and has a one bedroom apartment. youve never seen it but you tell this to everyone you know, and they tell you about the person they know who lives there. you wonder if there are any permanent residents at all or just thousands of tourists in shorts spilling out into the fog every morning.
  • all your friends drive pale green priuses, and ask you to carpool with them. they say its for the environment, to skip traffic but youve been in those cars. you know what they hear in the blank spaces where the engine switches to electric.
  • you hear whispers of so-cal but you’ve never been. your best friend leaves for UCLA the next year and you fear you will never see her again.
  • you spend the whole summer planning a trip to the beach. in august you drive over 17 and feel the air getting colder, the sunlight turning pale grey. you lie fully clothed on the sand and listen to the roar of the giant dipper as you scroll through twitter.
  • all the billboards lining 880 belong to apple permanently at this point. they’re pasted over and over and over with ads for iphones in more colors than the human eye can see.
  • you decide to do something different for lunch, and you end up getting pho. you do this every week and always end up getting pho.
  • the woman sitting across from you on BART is wearing google glass, and you’re afraid to meet her eyes.
SoCal Gothic
  • The air is brown. They say when it clears up you can see the mountains. It only gets darker.
  • Your beach day is over. You walk across the sand. You see your car.  You walk across the sand. You see your car. The walk gets longer and longer.  You walk across the sand.
  • You’re in the water and something’s grabbed your foot. “It’s only seaweed” you tell yourself. But you know. The breakwater’s failed.
  • Everyone knows you can’t cross the wetlands at night. Everyone but the tourists. You warn them, desperately shouting for them to turn the car around. But they’re gone, car lights already fading in the distance. They belong to the marsh now. You can only hope it’ll be merciful.
  • There’s a storm coming. No one pays it any mind, it’ll never cross the valley. You can’t cross the valley. But you, unlike the storm, have never felt the need to try.
  • The fault rumbles, a reminder that It is awakening. You hope it’s in a good mood when it does. You’ve heard stories of the last time it wasn’t.
  • The sports shops are always full of discounted winter gear. You ask the sales rep why. “For the snow.” she says. You ask again. “For the snow.” Once more, you ask. “For the snow.” She’s urging you now, fear clear in her eyes. She scurries off before you can ask again.
  • That coyote is in your trash again. It looks at you, all eight eyes glowing. You let it continue its meal undisturbed.
7

Unveiling the Dark Romanticism Scenes of @iamthegatekeeper

To see more of Lucille’s dualistic photography, follow @iamthegatekeeper on Instagram.

“In my real life, I like to live in ‘spring,’ but through my art, I live in ‘winter,’” explains Lucille Lares-Kiwan (@iamthegatekeeper), referring to her ongoing photo project that she started after experiencing several personal tragedies. “I created Gatekeeper as sort of a personal outlet for me to channel the melancholy I felt,” says the Oakland, California-based technical designer. Despite the fact that Lucille’s alternate realities may seem dark, they have a cathartic effect, making Lucille feel lighter and lifted. “This ‘safe space’ I create in the dark atmosphere of my photos allows me to release those negative emotions. By letting go of the melancholy and sadness through my work, I’m able to move on,” Lucille says, hoping to set a positive example. “If my story can help anyone feel hopeful about their path, that would mean the world to me.”

white trash gothic indicators
  • the kids you went to high school with, their faces scabby with meth sores, their clothes all a few sizes too big. they always look like they’re running from something, looking over their shoulders. there’s nothing behind them.
  • pit bulls. pit bulls everywhere. one to every other house on the block. their eyes following you through the chain-link fence, growling at barely-noticeable frequencies until you’ve walked past. sometimes they keep growling.
  • preteen girls in cheap strawberry lip gloss and playboy bunny tank tops, walking down the sidewalk three abreast, daring you to impatiently pass them or burst through their ranks. 
  • the otherworldly blue-green light emanating from back room of the trailer next door: alien activity or grow lights?
  • a rusted-out push lawnmower abandoned next to the sofa in the front yard. nobody’s mowed this lawn for years. the weeds and foxtails have just about claimed it for its own.
  • gaudy plywood fireworks stands popping up like mushrooms from the end of june to the fourth of july, all standing like gravestones for a week after the fourth
  • the quadraplegic veteran named flipper who hangs around the 11-C supermarket panhandling, who up and disappears and one day you find out he got popped for child molestation, and all anybody can say is “how’dya think he swung that?!”
  • a confederate flag for every truck, regardless of whether or not your state was ever actually a part of the confederacy
  • grocery shopping at the 99-cent store seems like a good idea until you see your TV dinner is advertising “100% MEAT”
california gothic

because i haven’t seen this done yet

• its 80 degrees. it’s hot. it’s 90 degrees. it’s hot. it’s 100 degrees. it’s hot. it’s the middle of winter. it’s so hot

• your friends tell you to meet them at in-n-out. you didn’t ask which one. there’s an in-n-out every 10 miles and they all look the same

• there are 17 lifeguard towers at the beach and every lifeguard is the same surfer kid with the shaggy blonde hair. he always wears sunglasses and hasn’t saved anyone yet. you’ve never seen his eyes

• you don’t go on the jetty anymore after what happened a few years ago. they never found those kids did they

• those palm trees that line the streets have always been there and always been the exact same size. no one has ever questioned where they came from.

• it’s summer again. you’re getting tan. you haven’t been outside in weeks. you’re still getting tan. your skin burns

• the ocean is terrifying but it draws you to its depths at the exact same time every month. there’s something out there. it touched your feet and it wasn’t seaweed.

• there’s a new highway being built. they never finished the last one. your town is full of abandoned highways. there’s always a new highway being built. no one ever says where they’re supposed to lead to.

• you have nightmares sometimes. you’re in the ocean. it’s black and deep and violent and you can’t see anything. something keeps pulling on you. you’re drowning. you suddenly can’t swim. you’re drowning. what keeps brushing your feet like that? you wake up in a cold sweat. something smells like salt water.

California Gothic (Bay Area edition)
  • mysterious figures appear in the fog in the morning. they are gone by midday, but you know they are still there, watching you. they waft in through your window with the evening breeze and tuck you into blankets the color of mist.
  • yet another pacific fusion place opens up by lake merritt. you swear up and down that just last week it was an authentic taco shop, but nobody has ever heard of it and you can’t remember it’s name.
  • AC transit bus lines that never seem to stop at any corners. you see the same people on the bus every day, in the same clothes, trapped on busses that are going nowhere and everywhere
  • a mysterious plague wipes out the entirety of marin county because nobody got their vaccines. within a few weeks, another set of wealthy homeowners moves in, and the cycle begins anew, as it has every year.
  • college kids with backpacks that weigh more than they do pour into a library in berkeley that only appears during finals season. some never come back out, but it’s probably for the best. the ones that do return tell tales of answers to every study question, but at what cost?
  • bumper stickers on priuses that change with the election cycle - first this democrat, now that one. once in a while a republican appears, trapped in an expanse of vinyl the wrong color
  • activists on every corner, telling you about the next big cause, and asking you to donate. as you sign the slip, you wonder how many times you’ve sold your soul for a little peace of mind
  • you hear about the drought restrictions from your friends, and wade a little deeper into the ocean. you wonder if it’s better to have too much water, or too little.
California Gothic
  • there are many languages. for each you speak, there are three more you don’t.  occasionally, you are thankful you do not understand the one spoken only in hushed, garbled voices.  you are more thankful when you do not remember that one at all.
  • sorry i was late. traffic, you explain.  there is no need to explain further.  they understand.  you have all lost so very much to traffic. 
  • fusion food, they call it.  it has no other name.
  • housing prices are up.  they keep rising.  this is the deal of a lifetime, you think.  the broker agrees, with an easy smile and a nod.  “what would you do with all that blood, anyway?” the ink dries brown, and only now do you realize that you did not speak aloud.
  • 70 degrees is considered ideal temperature for humans.  all around you, you see others in jackets, sweaters.  so what, then, does that make them?  even now, you are starting to shiver.
  • do not touch unattended parcels and packages.  do not look at unattended parcels and packages.  and lastly, do not, under any circumstances, listen to unattended parcels and packages.  this is what they want.  this is what they have been waiting for. 
  • the mystery spot.  the winchester mystery house.  those, even the tourists know.  you have enough pity left for them that you do not speak of the rest.
  • you think the man on his cellphone outside the restaurant is in trouble.  you only catch snatches of conversation, quotas, sulfur prices, falling employee morale.  loss of faith in management.  new procedures for soul processing.  his skin is badly sunburned. you decide to walk a little faster.
  • there is graffiti layered in angry red on the overpass columns, raised thirty feet into the air.  who wrote them there?  what do they say?  why is it, that though you can’t read them, you know the words you are saying are not the lyrics to the songs on the radio?  the car horns beat in rhythm.
  • your headache is so very bad, some days.  you hope it is only caffeine withdrawals, and not due to the sigils starbucks employees drizzle in syrup on the bottom of your cup at the drive-through.  is this the price you pay for not supporting independent?
  • they say there are more cars than people, here.  how many more? soon they will not need you at all.
san diego county gothic
  • people talk about the “green flash” that comes at sunset on the beach when everything is just right. you saw it once, two years ago, the green light on the horizon at sunset. you still see it even when it’s not sunset, when you’re nowhere near the beach, no matter where you look. always the green light in the corners of your eyes.
  • you can’t see the stars at night, the land is too bright. it glows from tijuana to oceanside. the land glows orange. you can’t see the stars at night, the smoke is too heavy. you may have never seen them anyway.
  • the air rumbles. you tell yourself that it’s just a plane from the marine corps base. the idea of a 19-year-old piloting an f-15 is more comforting than what you think it may be.
  • there are adopt-a-highway signs all along the road. this one has been adopted by a mexican restaurant. this one by an insurance group. this one by a church. this one by something unpronounceable, whose letters you cannot directly look at. you try to avoid that stretch of highway.
  • the fog comes in in the night. the marine layer, everyone says. it’ll burn off by noon. when it does, everyone pretends not to notice what went with it, and what was left.
  • everyone went to the midway when they were in elementary school. nobody has ever talked about what they saw in the narrow hallway two decks down.
  • microbreweries are everywhere, their beers named after beaches and fishes and things in the depths. you probably haven’t heard of this beer, your friend tells you, but you have heard the sound made in the interval between its opening and its drinking.
  • in the night, you hear a high whooping sound. a coyote, you tell yourself, or a kid. either way, someone’s pet will be missing come morning.
  • southbound traffic on the i-5 will be slow today. northbound traffic on the i-5 will be slow today. the necessary sacrifices have not been made. traffic both directions on the 56 will be slow today. traffic both directions on the 805 will be slow today. the necessary sacrifices have not been made. the i-8 and the i-15 will carry the necessary sacrifices. the i-8 and i-15 will be slow in both directions today, and please take blood into account as you drive.
  • when it rains, everyone stares at the sky, everyone begins to panic. they know what will be exacted from them once the rain is over.
  • canyons reach from the suburbs all the way into the city center, full of dry grass, dry eucalyptus. some of them were made by now-dry streams. some of them were not. the coyotes don’t go into those ones, though you think you hear howls.
  • it’s beautiful here, you tell your out-of-state friends. it’s beautiful. sunny. there’s in-n-out. seaworld. palm trees. you should come, you tell them, as the thermometer breaks 110 and the sun turns the asphalt into something soft and grasping, the heat shimmer slowly advancing down the street from both ways and devouring the houses. you should come. you should come. it’s beautiful. please.
  • to the north: roads and roads and roads, tangling in on each other in knots of endless asphalt. to the south: another border, another fence. to the east: dry mountains, dry desert, tumbleweeds, states that you’re not sure exist. to the west: the beckoning, calling ocean, reaching out with seaweed hands. four ways to die. no ways to leave.
California Gothic
  • There is a cloud today, just one. You look at it with a faint flare of hope; It is pure white and holds no hope of rain. You get out your umbrella to encourage it. It’s an airplane trail.
  • It rained last night, and the entire town is hungover. Streetlights blink red, confusing every driver who dares to approach. Half your city is without power. Auto wrecks litter the sides of streets, but each only involves one car. “We really got soaked last night!” They say, smiling behind their sunglasses. There was less than an inch of precipitation.
  • You go into the Valley. You don’t know why you’re here. The road stretches on for miles in front of you, and everything is flat and dead as far as the eye can see. The speed limit is 55, but the truck you are behind is going 30. You pass a sign that tells you there will be a passing lane in 18 miles. The regret grows in your stomach like the piles of tumbleweeds crowding the fences. Free them. Free yourself.
  • You have been in traffic for two hours. None of the signs look familiar anymore, but you haven’t moved. Where are you? Where is the city? All the houses look the same, but there are no more exit ramps. You realize you don’t know what your Freeway number is, and you know true fear.
  • “Let’s go to the beach!” They say. “The beach is great!” It is March, and the water is too cold. “We’ll have so much fun at the beach!” You are already at the beach. The beach never ends. The beach is eternal.
  • You have been driving for nine hours without stopping. You are still in California. There is no escape.
california gothic
  • There’s a music festival in the next town over, someone tells you.  You drive for hours trying to find it and pass dozens of music festivals but it’s never the right one.  You can’t remember who told you about it.  You’re not sure if anyone did.
  • Tourists come to the coast looking for the sunny beaches and great surfing.  You ask where they expected to find a sunny beach.  No one has ever seen one.  You tell the tourists, “It mostly rains.”  Next you explain why there’s a ban on campfires.  “But it mostly rains,” you say as the wind blows sand into your eyes.  “What’s a sunny beach?”
  • The phone rings.  Hours later, after the tone, a voice tells you that your house has been determined eligible for solar power.  You can’t tell if the voice belongs to a human or a robot.  It leaves the same message every week.  The messages dissolve into the earth and leave you wondering if you’re truly as eco-friendly as your nonexistent idols would want you to be.
  • If you watch long enough, all the cars on the highway start to look like Priuses.  Nobody knows what you’re talking about but there are thousands of people in parking lots trying to remember which cars belong to them.  A mom stands outside a thrift store with her kids and her kids’ friends, wondering where her minivan is.  She knows she can’t fit six kids in a Prius, but she can’t remember ever driving anything other than a hybrid.
  • There’s gum under every desk in every classroom, but everyone you know shakes their head disapprovingly when they see trash on the side of the road.  The gum keeps appearing, but you don’t think anyone is putting it there.
  • Your neighbors argue over which water bottle design saves the most plastic.  You sit on the swing to wait for the recycling truck to come by.  It never comes, and as you swing you try to figure out where this playground came from.  Nobody has lived in this house for years.  You have no neighbors.  The recycling bin is empty.
  • You’re not sure what the ocean sounds like until you hear it, late at night, raising monsters from its depths.  You are afraid.  You wake up the next morning and go for a swim.
  • The cashier asks you if you want a paper bag for ten cents.  You can’t remember what you’re here to buy.  You entered this store six days ago and you keep hoping an employee will offer you help to your car so you can find the way out, but you’ve gone through this line so many times you lost count days ago and you think maybe the cashiers are mannequins.  Their smooth faces don’t seem to recognize you and they won’t look away from their endless kale smoothies.  The reusable bag full of reusable bags in your hand keeps you from asking if they’re allowed to have those at the register.
Bay Area Gothic

The sky is gray. It’s always gray. That is thecolor of the sky. Rain? What is rain? What are seasons? There is only a gray sky. There is no sun in “Sunny California”. Just the gray sky.

Seagulls are everywhere. There is no escape. They conquered the last school your daughter went to. It’s only a matter of time until her current one is taken over as well. They dive-bombed her last best friend, she might be harder to replace.

Anti-vaxxers. You warned them, but it’s too late. Too late for everyone.

You live on what used to be an orchard. It isn’t anymore, or so they tell you. The trees are still there. You can see them. No one else has ever mentioned the trees. You are the only one.

“Hella.” Everyone says it. It’s hella great, or so you’ve convinced yourself.

The apartments are always full in San Francisco. Tenants disappear, but their sacrifice is necessary. The waiting list keeps the buildings happy. You’re afraid of what would happen if they didn’t.

The fog brings in smells, rotting fish and salt. They aren’t what worry you. That’s left for the screams. You run from the fog. Most taken are never seen again. Those returned do not last long and smell of fish. You’re late for a meeting and do not want to smell of fish. So you run.

One weekend, you visit the city. It has no name. It is the city. When tourists talk of Frisco you are confused. Frisco does not exist, not anymore. The best way to annoy locals is to mention their lost city. You learned that the hard way when you moved here.

Everything north of the city is farmland. There are no people, only ghost towns and gas stations. And cows. Mostly cows.

A commercial plays on the radio for a program to give away your car. You would never give away your car, you think as you pull onto the freeway, the commercial echoing in your ears. That wouldn’t make any sense, you think as you call the number. That was a good commercial, you think as you sign away your car. You walk away from the center with an army of other ex-drivers. You don’t know what the charity does with the cars, just that it helps kids. But you do know the phone number. You can never forget it. No one can.

California Gothic


On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air
Up ahead in the distance, I saw a shimmering light
My head grew heavy and my sight grew dim
I had to stop for the night
There she stood in the doorway;
I heard the mission bell
And I was thinking to myself,
“This could be Heaven or this could be Hell”
Then she lit up a candle and she showed me the way
There were voices down the corridor,
I thought I heard them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
Plenty of room at the Hotel California
Any time of year (Any time of year)
You can find it here

Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends
She got a lot of pretty, pretty boys she calls friends
How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat.
Some dance to remember, some dance to forget

So I called up the Captain,
“Please bring me my wine”
He said, “We haven’t had that spirit here since nineteen sixty nine”
And still those voices are calling from far away,
Wake you up in the middle of the night
Just to hear them say…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place (Such a lovely place)
Such a lovely face
They livin’ it up at the Hotel California
What a nice surprise (what a nice surprise)
Bring your alibis

Mirrors on the ceiling,
The pink champagne on ice
And she said “We are all just prisoners here, of our own device”
And in the master’s chambers,
They gathered for the feast
They stab it with their steely knives,
But they just can’t kill the beast

Last thing I remember, I was
Running for the door
I had to find the passage back
To the place I was before
“Relax, ” said the night man,
“We are programmed to receive.
You can check-out any time you like,
But you can never leave! ”

central valley gothic
  • in the summer, there are no clouds. you don’t leave the house during the day because every sunbeam makes you feel like something is watching you. the nights are a calm relief, and you bide your time until the overcast days of winter block the sky’s view of you.
  • everywhere you look is dirt or weeds. long ago, something very big went to sleep under the ground and ever since then, only certain things are allowed to grow here and only the farmers are allowed to grow them. everything else withers away and dies.
  • you pass a hundred empty fields and cow farms while driving to the next town. they stretch out around you on every side. is this all there is?
  • there are only four stations on the radio: one of them is pop music, one of them is country music, one of them is mexican music, and one of them is non-stop talk radio. the only relief from any of these is the commercials, yet they only play the same group of commercials over and over. at night, all stations are silent.
  • small planes buzz through the sky above you. you look up and see dots that look like no plane you’ve ever seen before. you look down and try to forget what you just saw.
  • at night, you can hear the howls of coyotes and the chirping of crickets. they are a welcome distraction from the sounds of what lurks in the orchards down the street.
  • there is a shop in your town. it is the only one of its kind in the entire valley. people come from miles around to visit that shop. the people who own it have owned it since before you were born, and you can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a part of your life.
  • there is no horizon. instead, no matter where you go, there will only be mountains in the distance. sometimes, the smog gets thick enough to hide them. on those days, you feel safe.
  • sometimes, for seemingly no reason, you drive into the mountains. up here, all you can see is brown weeds on brown rocks and the sprinkling of towns so small they have no name and no mayor. but no matter how far you drive, the feeling that you can’t escape the valley only gets worse as you wind your way further into the mountains. finally, it becomes too much and you turn around and drive back into the valley once more.

misc. san diego county gothic stuff:

  • the long grass at the side of the road is making the metallic whining sound again and you really, really hope it’s just annual cicadas
  • you decide to drive up to julian this saturday. as you go up the mountain, you notice that there are a lot more burned trees than last time. funny, you didn’t hear there was a fire. the mule deer watch you from between them, unblinking
  • every day, you look north. every day, los angeles has moved that much closer
  • dude, you say to your friend. dude, your friend says back. dude, you say to your friend. dude, everyone around you says back. dude, says a seagull flying overhead. dude
  • the seagulls and crows that used to always fight over discarded bits of food in the parks and playgrounds and school quads and busy streets and your bedroom seem to have banded together. seem to be watching
  • you go to the children’s pool to look at the seals. you stare down at the heaving, writhing, bellowing mass of flesh on the sand. eh. it’s more interesting in pup season (but then you need protective gear)
  • you’re sure winter happened but you can’t remember the last time it was below 80 degrees
  • of course it’s possible to leave this suburb without a car. there’s a bus stop. the mta isn’t that negligent. you’ll have to find the stop first, though, and they cover their tracks well. sometimes in the night you hear their call of one sweet ride, one sweet ride, but the last time you followed that sound you woke up in chula vista, covered in what seemed to be (strangely warm and gooey) old bus tokens if you didn’t look closely
  • you know, with this many gated communities around, you’re sure you’d see more people around too, but all you see are shadows clustering in the corners of your vision. you hear one of the shadows got into stanford, but the number only increases