Anarchy in the Valley.
Minus 22 in E-Town is as crippling as a 2×4 to the shin, but it doesn’t stop everyone. I’m cruising down Saskatchewan Drive on a frigid February eve, the moon is barking a prison song, the streetlamps are planning a white-light revolution, and the roads are corduroy rutted and bleached. On the side of the road I see a guy in a Mohawk and a sleeveless shirt. Looks like he’s trying to rip down a tree with his bare hands. He’s chewing up the shortbrush too. Must’ve been a hard night on the ‘ol pipe ‘cuz it’s nipple-ripping cold out here – prolly -28 with the wind chill. I gotta say the guy’s doing a good job despite the frost buildup on his shirt. He’s got six huge branches and a few bigger logs at his side and he’s plowing for more. I’m thinkin’ that this crazy shit is gonna build a fire, although, with that much wood, “blaze” might be a better prediction. A part of me thinks that I should stop this guy. I love this town, especially the River Valley. I don’t want to wake up to a headline that reads, “Stoned Pistols Fan Torches River Valley; Area Unlikely to Recover.” I let it go, thinking that a guy who’s bushwhacking in a tank top at minus 28 is likely fucked up enough to forget the matches. I drive on with the crunching of snow and the green glow of the dash as my sole company. The distant smokestacks belch plumes that partially block the stars. It is not yet midnight. In the distance, a police siren wails.