Bella Goth has disappeared. Her face is on the milk carton, on the newspaper, trapped in an old oil painting, everywhere. She is the town’s greatest mystery and posthumous celebrity. You cannot, however, remember having ever heard of her before she vanished.
There must have been a point when people lived in the empty condos on Main street, the ones with white empty walls and blank empty windows.
The town is filled with wandering, disaffected teenagers, yet almost empty of children.
From the trailer park on Woodland drive, you can see the towering emptiness of the mansions on Wright way, shining white and Hollywood-perfect in the sun. No one has ever been inside, but you can feel the weight of them in the afternoons, looking down, watching you. They’re the life on TV that you’re supposed to aspire to have… that you can never have. They want to be filled.
The dog days of late summer have gone on since time immemorial. The teenagers are growing restless. There is no breeze; the air is too lazy to move. The sun is beating down on the hot blacktop and it smells like death and taxes.
Max knows he has milk on his face and he has been (subtly but deep inside frantically) looking for a napkin or anything to wipe his face with. Max gave up after minutes of fumbling and he still found nothing. “Excuse me, do you have a handkerchief or a napkin?” Trying to hide his embarrassment he quickly added, “You know in the old days, giving someone their handkerchief meant they fancy the other.”