"It will rain." they say. They say that every day. And every day, you wait. How long have you waited? You don't know anymore.
You stop at a dusty intersection. At all corners, there are people with fruit stands. The cherries are 2 dollars a pound. You see the sign saying no stands. You look to the police. They have one too. The strawberries are a dollar a basket.
You're walking in LA along Hollywood Boulevard. You walk along the stars. It feels like forever. So many and yet so many still. You eventually find your own name on one for film. You have never been in a movie. Or so you think.
"Let's go to In-N-Out," says your friend. Which one? There are no other burger places around. There is only In-N-Out. There is always only In-N-Out.
You walk past a person in a Dodgers hat. Not uncommon. Everyone owns one. Everyone you walk past wears one. You reach up onto your head. You are one of them.
You go to a restaurant with a friend. Everything is gluten free. You don't mind. Everything is. What even is gluten? You don't know, but you are horrified by it.
The beach is nice in the summer. The beach is nice in spring. The beach is nice. The beach is your friend, your overlord. You must respect it. Bow to it before stepping on its sandy shores.
You get onto the 405. Siri says you only go 5 miles before getting off on the exit ramp. It has been decades since she said that last. Your hands are old and wrinkled as they grip the wheel. Siri says you have 4 miles to go. It's faster than usual.
You park your car on the side of the road and get out. The beach. You look at the top of your car to find a surfboard. You don't own a surfboard. You do now and have accepted it as your new way of life. You go to put on your wetsuit.
Your friend says she has tickets to the next concert. You ask where. She laughs. It is everywhere. The Bowl. The Forum. Staples Center. It is everywhere at once. All concerts are.
You debate on where to go for summer vacation. The fight ensues. Magic Mountain, Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and Disneyland. They fight for your affection and your money for when summer comes. This happens every year.
The palm tree outside your window waves at you in the wind. The palm trees are your ever present, looming protector. They are always watching.
You hear the chiming of the elotero's cart. You grab your money and run out the door. There is no elotero. The bell still rings. It always rings.
“Its a beautiful day” someone tells you. You look up at the blinding sky. You can feel yourself melting. Sweat pours off you both. If it stays this hot you might die. “Yes,” you echo “A beautiful day”
You’ve lived in the south for a few years now. One day without warning it possesses you. The “y’all” grabs your tongue and doesn’t let go. You are one of Them now.
You and your friends go to the beach. You take pictures for Instagram. “I love the beach” the caption reads. Your eyes are hollow. You do not love the beach. You have no feelings towards the beach.
You attend a Mardi Gras Parade. Everyone reaches their hands to the sky, trying to catch something that will complete them. A man in a hoodie comes out of nowhere and snatches something from right in front of you. You feel anger towards this man. You have no idea he was trying to protect you.
Every year like a bizarre ritual people begin cutting thick boards to fit their windows. There hasn’t been a hurricane in years. Why do they do this? No one can remember.
Your neighbor waves. You take notice that his lack of shirt signifies the plague has affected him. Every overweight man over the age of 60 catches this plague which seems to rid men of their ability to put on a shirt. You smile uncomfortably and wave back but say nothing. No one mentions the plague.
“Its not the same since the oil spill.” says your uncle. You’ve scrubbed your kitchen floor until your hands bled but he won’t let your forget that time you dropped a bottle of vegetable oil. “Never again will I let a family member put in a floor for me no matter how little they charge” you think. Your brother hollers from where he’s fixing the roof. Better bring him some more water.
You go over a bridge. “Look to see if there’s any dolphins!” the driver tells you. There are never any dolphins. You look anyway.
It is blackberry season again. You have your secret spot to find them, and your family wades through the brambles to find as many as possible. Thorns tear at your clothes and skin. You don’t feel the pain, just taste those sweet, sweet blackberries. Later you will make a pie.
As someone who grew up in East TN from ages 4 to 21, I never
picked up an accent either and therefore Keith probably has just surpassed Lance in the
character I relate to most thus far in the show:
Has no accent. None. Probably lost it after his dad left.
Maybe watched a little too much TV in his childhood. Or hung out with his
mother more than his dad before she vanished. Who knows. But he never really picked it up.
Nobody believes he’s from the South, or even the same state. All the kids he went to
school with stared at him with suspicion every time he spoke as if the Civil War
is still happening and he’s a possible Yankee agent pretending to be on the
side of Ol’ Dixie.
The accent does come out sometimes. Certain words. Especially in really bad
forms of English. Like really bad. “Tooken” is apparently not a word, whoops.
Fuck all’yall. “Y’all’d’ve” is absolutely a word.
He actually can’t imitate a Southern drawl very well. Nope.
It’s gotta come out natural, when he least expects it. Like if he’s tired. Or
drunk. Or both. When he’s upset or very excited, everything
he says kinda melds together to form one very long word. He’s not speaking fast, he’s just not pausing for breath. Or language stress.
Sometimes, it’s just out of nowhere. Boom. That one word or phrase that screams he’s from the South. Most likely in casual terms of endearment. He might call a tiny alien kid who needs his help “sweetie”. Or get so furious at Lance that “child” slips out as an insult.
It’s Coke. It’s all Coke. Even the non-Coke. If it’s
carbonated, it’s a fucking Coke.
You took a sip from your drink as your (E/C) eyes
swept across the room once more.
The restaurant was one of your favorites. It was
surprising to find a place that served good ol’ Southern cooking in a city like
Gotham. You missed your home down South, so any forms of comfort you took full
advantage of. You’d originally moved to Gotham for school. After graduation,
you’d been offered a job at Wayne Enterprises and took it without hesitation.
The pay was good and you were actually using your mechanical engineering
degree. Which is how you found yourself in the current situation.
You had been good friends with Barbara Gordon since
freshmen year of college. She had tried her hardest to get you out on the
Gotham dating scene multiple times over the years to no avail. It’s not that
you weren’t interested in dating, but you didn’t exactly make an effort to put
yourself out there either. Babs had finally worn you down and got you to agree
to let her set you up. She assured you that you’d like the mystery guy and that
the two of you had a lot in common. You wanted to believe, but past experiences
had taught you not believe everything you were told.
“Excuse me,” a voice asked cutting into your thoughts.
“Are you (Y/N)?”
You glanced at the stranger. He was an attractive man,
more than likely in his early twenties. He had gorgeous black hair that was
slightly spiked. His blue eyes gleamed with curiosity as he stared at you. You
let your eyes soak in his lean and muscular form. It was obvious he worked out
in some capacity. He wore a plain grey t-shirt with some band name you had
never heard of on it along with blue jeans and a belt. His hands were in his
pockets and he stood slightly leaning to one side.
Realizing he had asked you a question and that you had
been staring, your cleared your throat.
“Yeah, that’s me. You must be Tim. Nice to meet you.”
You stuck out your hand to him. He stared at it for a
moment before reaching out and giving it a small shake. With that done. He slid
into the booth across from you. You pushed the menu towards him. Tim nodded his
thanks then opened it. He was still looking over the menu when your waiter came
to take his drink order. Once the waiter had walked off, the dark-haired man
looked up at you curiously.
“So, Barbara tells me you’re from the South. Which
“The Volunteer State.” Seeing that he didn’t quite get
your joke, you smiled sheepishly. “Uh…Tennessee.”
“Ah, I’ve never been there. Is it nice?”
This rest of your conversation took a similar route.
You would ask him a question, he’d answer. He would ask you a question, you’d
answer. You were pleasantly surprised to find out that your college friend was
right, you and Tim did have a lot in
common. Of course, you two did have some different tastes: he loved coffee while your preferred tea,
he wasn’t big on country music while you loved it. The differences weren’t
enough to chase you away though. Soon the two of you were laughing and having a
“I can’t believe I almost said no to this blind date.
Barbara has been trying to set me up for years.”
You laughed. “Same here! I honestly didn’t think I’d
have this much fun.”
“Me too! I’ll never tell her that though.”
“She can get kind of full of herself at times, huh?”
“You can say that again!” Tim smiled at you. “So, do
you want to do anything after dinner?”
You spent the next three hours walking around Gotham
with Tim. He was very knowledgeable of the city, even more so than you. Of
course, you had been somewhat of a hermit while in college. He pointed out good
places to visit and areas to avoid at all costs. All in all, it was an
You had just stepped into your apartment after saying
goodnight with Tim when your phone rang. You knew who it was without even
looking at the caller ID. Sighing in annoyance, you begrudgingly answered the
“What is it Barbara? It’s been a long night and I’m
“So…” She hesitated to speak. “The date didn’t go
“I didn’t say that.”
“Oh! Then it did
“I didn’t say that either.” You replied with a bored
“C’mon (Y/N)! Give me something here! At least admit
you had fun!”
You smirked at her childish behavior. “I admit
nothing. Night Babs!”
As a bonafide Southern Belle, I usually take offense when someone takes an unjust poke at the South. But these “Southerner’s Rules for Living” could only have been written by someone born and raised in the Southland. See if you find them funny….or insulting. And, don’t shoot the messenger if its the latter!
SOUTHERN RULES FOR PERFECT LIVING
1. Never take a beer to a job interview.
2. Always identify people in your yard before shooting at them.
3. It’s considered tacky to take a cooler to church.
4. If you have to vacuum the bed, it is time to change the sheets.
5. Even if you’re certain that you are included in the will, it is still rude to drive the U-Haul to the funeral home.
1. When decanting wine, make sure that you tilt the paper cup and pour slowly so as not to “bruise” the fruit of the vine.
2. If drinking directly from the bottle, always hold it with your hands.
ENTERTAINING IN YOUR HOME:
1. A centerpiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.
2. Do not allow the dog to eat at the table, no matter how good his manners are.
1. While ears need to be cleaned regularly, this is a job that should be done in private using one’s OWN truck keys.
2. Even if you live alone, deodorant is not a waste of good money.
3. Use of proper toiletries can only delay bathing for a few days.
4. Dirt and grease under the fingernails is a social no-no, as they tend to detract from a woman’s jewelry and alter the taste of finger foods.
DATING (Outside the Family):
1. Always offer to bait your date’s hook, especially on the first date.
2. Be assertive. Let her know you’re interested: “I’ve been wanting to go out with you since I read that stuff on the bathroom wall two years ago.”
3. Establish with her parents what time she is expected back. Some will say 10:00 PM. Others might say “Monday.” If the latter is the answer, it is the man’s responsibility to get her to school on time.
1. Crying babies should be taken to the lobby and picked up immediately after the movie has ended.
2. Refrain from talking to characters on the screen. Tests have proven they can’t hear you.
1. Livestock is usually a poor choice for a wedding gift.
2. Kissing the bride for more than 5 seconds may get you shot.
3. For the groom, at least, rent a tux. A leisure suit with a cummerbund and a clean bowling shirt can create a tacky appearance.
4. Though uncomfortable, say “yes” to socks and shoes for this special occasion.
1. Dim your headlights for approaching vehicles, even if the gun is loaded and the deer is in sight.
2. When approaching a four-way stop, the vehicle with the largest tires does not always have the right of way.
3. Never tow another car using panty hose and duct tape.
4. When sending your wife down the road with a gas can, it is impolite to ask her to bring back beer too.
5. Do not lay rubber while traveling in a funeral procession.
- The drought has lasted as long as you’ve been alive. Surrounded by thick lawns and ocean breezes, you can usually forget. But when when you travel the open spaces between the towns, you feel a sympathetic ache with the earth, as if this land wasn’t made for you. You dream of rain, and wake with your skin cracked and your mouth dry.
- The invisible machinery of your world - the food picked, the shelves stocked, the houses cleaned, the cement poured, - is maintained by people who never forget that men that may come in the night to take them away, who see a police car and think of the family that they may never see again. You can taste the fear in every bite of food. You can feel it in the shine of the freshly-mopped floor, drifting on currents of warm air and sunshine.
- The seasons never change. Every day is bright and cloudless. It’s pleasant at first, but as the years wear on the relentless sameness begins to worry at you, an itch somewhere in your mind. The days feel too long, and the very perfection of the weather has become oppressive somehow. Time slows around you, congealing like amber, imprisoning you in light and warmth.
- This land has a history stretching back thousands of years, but no one knows it; no one cares. No one can tell you the names of the people who used to live here, before the land was covered in concrete and asphalt. But beneath the paved roads and aging malls lie memories of brutal conquest, of slaughter.
- The suburbs stretch on, quiet and endless. The streets are empty; no one is ever outside. When you go for a walk at night, your neighbors watch you from their windows as the automatic garage lights flick on one by one, lighting your path.
- The loneliness of desert towns that only exist because it’s where cars run low on gas - a small cluster of gas stations, chain restaurants, and motels surrounded by barren ground and distant mountains. Driving at night, you see them calling to you from across the vast silence of the desert, oases of light.
- For hours you can have inescapable sense that something is wrong, that some forgotten animal part of your brain wants you to flee. Only when you step outside do you recognize the orange haze of the sky, the smell of smoke, and all at once you realize that the fires have come again.