There is a country beyond that which is known to humankind. A stray country. A country that exists west of October. Whose borders are somewhere between midnight train whistles and the distant howl of a dog. A country that lies somewhere in the stitched and jittering static between radio stations. A country that drifts through America like a travelling salesman, but every now and then stops to nest on a small town. A small church. A single street.
And maybe, just maybe, some kinda delayed radio broadcast you've stuffed in your ears . . .
STRAY COUNTRY is a fiction podcast. Original novels. Delivered chapter by chapter.
Find out more at www.straycountry.com
Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 22
There is a slaughterhouse not far from your home. Chances are you‘ve never thought much of it. Chances are it makes you feel safe.
Go for a nighttime stroll. Wait for the month of rain. Let the cold into your bones. And tell me whether or not you feel some kind of ancestral hearthstonian warmth swimming through the cone-sized glow of a street light.
They were originally put in for safety.
Because no matter how old we get, no matter how many atoms we split, no matter how much money we print, no matter how many steel birds we put in the sky, no matter how much we reign mother nature we‘re still afraid of the dark.
But on this nightly walk stop, if you will, beneath the warm soup of light and look up. Chances are you‘ll find a slaughterhouse. You see there is a horror story in the insect world. A machine that culls bugs by the millions. Located on every corner of every street in every city in every country. Something mother bugs warn their young about. Something father bugs feel calling to them. Something children bugs baste themselves in night sweats over.
Just how many insects were slaughtered to keep you safe at night? This is a cone-sized corner of Stray Country. A pint-sized lens by which to see perhaps the modern world is not as safe and clean and carcass free as it pretends to be.
Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 21
Once upon a time folks looked at breeding money the way Americans look at breeding siblings. Something that shouldn‘t be done. A perversion. An act that takes a thing that‘s supposed to be barren and makes for bad offspring.
The janitor‘s about to review something I told you back in Chapter 9 -
Breeding money‘s how we got to plastic sacks
Although truth be told the janitor should have used the term ‘inbreeding‘. Because once humankind had wrangled a couple dollar bills they took to mating them like dogs. But don‘t forget. The first two dollars they started with were family.
We‘re twenty generations deep in a bog of inbred genes.
If you‘ve ever seen a white plastic grocery sack blowing across your tidy suburban street and found the sight ugly, grotesque, malformed, revolting or offensive to your senses . . .
if you‘ve ever stumbled upon a white plastic sack stuck in the muck of a gutter and thought of all the disagreeable aspects of the frustrated, frightened century in which you live, this jangled century of trash and heavy industry and total waste . . .
Consider its pedigree. Consider the family tree.
Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 20
An evolutionary biologist would tell you humankind lost their tails twenty-five million years ago. The janitor of Bonneville Junior High would tell you it was lost sometime after Thomas Edison started flicking on lightbulbs across the country.
One of them is more correct than the other.
He may wander. He may ramble a bit. His voice may be cattle-branded by Phillip Morris. But there‘s a story in there. A tale about how humankind only lost their tails 100 years ago. And consider, if you will, what a tail was originally for - to keep from tipping over.
It‘s 1987. The world is feeling a little topsy-turvy.
. . . and we‘ve reached for something else to steady the wobble in the carousel.
Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 19
Consider the following calculus. Two boys. Going into a junior high school after hours. To count the number of condoms in a dead boy‘s locker. In order to determine whether the boy smothered himself with a white plastic sack or was murdered by the ghost of a dead smoker looking for their very last Marlboro Red.
If this kind of arithmetic makes sense . . .
Welcome, to Stray Country.
Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 18
Portrait of a junior high school. Deep autumn. A carpet of red leaves rolled out on the walk. The sun sliding away into the trees. But the glitz of Hollywood is far away. This is a cheap sun. A nickel and dime sun. With a cheapness that goes past half-hearted rays and clocking out early. This is a sun that sang its loudest songs somewhere on a stage last July. Last August. An aging lounge singer. A faded star. No longer part of the sky. Eclipsed by movement of earth and time. A tawdry little shine soon to flame out west. Forgotten. A sun that doesn‘t give a shit that it‘s leaving two boys alone, with a junior high school.
Stray Country - Season 1 - A Carousel For Pigs - Chapter 17
Two boys who are now being followed by a white plastic grocery sack.
If Phillip Marlowe wrote a horror novel that was edited by Christopher Hitchens.
I love this!! Very Stephen King. Love looking forward to my new chapter each week 😍
Has a Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark vibe
Reminds me of Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark for grown ups and English majors. Love it!