New Jersey Gothic
(I saw one of these and I wasn’t feeling it so having lived my whole life in NJ I’ll give it a shot)
- The new shopping center is already covered in dead seagulls. You enter one of the three Targets because you need a new notebook. The last one became dust in your hands. The checkout clerk communicates with you in only grunts. At least it’s not Walmart.
- You order pancakes at the diner. It is 6pm but the only thing on the menu is pancakes. The waitress is so nice but she never looks at you. When you look away you feel like you are being watched but when you glance over she is gone. Your pancakes taste like salt and ash. You pay at the front desk.
- It’s the weekend and you need to get to New York City. You knock three times at the door to the train station to gain entrance but all of the trains are gone. The man at the ticket window opens his mouth and flies spill out. The flies don’t know when the train will come either.
- At the beach the water is as black as the void. The surviving seagulls from the new shopping center build nests of human bones and french fries in the sand. The governor has promised to clean it up but they are too strong now.
- Your boyfriend visits but he doesn’t speak the language. You translate the moans of the clerk at CVS but he cannot understand. “Everyone is so rude here!” he says when he leaves. He never finds his way home.
- Yesterday you heard your neighbor practicing witchcraft. It is so loud and you can’t sleep. The next day, his house has grown three stories and is right against your fence. The siding is sticky like black tar. Your father hates these new McMansions.
- Your music teacher wants you to call him Vinnie T. The notes of your sheet of music keep moving but you know how to play the same funeral march as the other band members. Vinnie T conducts you with a dead sparrow impaled on a stick. The sparrow is also named Vinnie T.
- The Giants are playing at The Stadium. Its name is unspeakable and the surrounding swamps are buzzing. The only being watching the game is the New Jersey Devil. He chants with the music over the loudspeakers and the players drop dead on the field. But he’s really more of a Jets fan anyway.
- Everyone works in New York City. They live here but they are never here. You ask your father about work and he stares through you. Your mother cooks seagull for dinner. They shriek in unison through the night until the City calls them back.
- Your GPS leads you to the turnpike. You get off at your exit. Your GPS leads you to the turnpike. You get off at your exit. Your GPS leads you to the turnpike. You get off at your exit. You can still hear the screeching cars from your house.
- You know where Jimmy Hoffa is but you cannot say. People keep asking but your mouth fills with sawdust when you answer. He visits you each night and whispers dark secrets into your ears. Blood is still leaking from his eyes and in the morning you cannot remember what he said.
- No one ever leaves your town. The PTA has been the same people for the last 300 years. Your mother says you can never move away. There are tears in her eyes. No one ever leaves your town.
- To cross the dividers on the main street you must learn to use the jughandles. Every jughandle is guarded by a different demon and you must learn their rules to enter. If you break the rules you will be taken. Crosses and flowers litter the side of the road. We lose one every day.
- You go to Hoboken when you die. It’s not as bad as you thought.