this is an excerpt of a story i've had in my head for a million years. it's titled "the road through utopia" but somehow that title has become worn and wimpy. teen angst writer, that's me. ------------------------------------
Murder tonight in the trailer park. It's only the words to a song in my head and hard as I try, I can't get them out. It wasn't murder at all, but to hear everyone else around here tell it, you'd think I ran around wielding an ax and mumbling to myself all day long. It wasn't anything like that, I can tell you. It certainly wasn't murder. And it certainly wasn't my fault. Not at all.
The only road through Utopia was a once paved road that was now pocked with huge potholes and strewn with gravel. When it rained the water would fill up the holes and it wouldn't dry for at least a week. The underdeveloped lawns of the park were more dirt and sand than grass and on windy days you would have to keep your hand to your eyes or spend the rest of the day rubbing grit deeper into your eyeballs. The lack of decent landscaping meant that the cars were constantly dirty and all the trailers had a thick crust of bronze Southern crud on them. The kids wandering in and out of the trailer park have christened the trailers by writing the standard graffiti phrases of "Wash me", "Fuck You", or the initials of their first true love "4-ever". This place killed me. A trailer park called "Utopia". The sign was only a piece of plywood with the word "Utopia" scrawled in black spray paint. I guess that Utopia is everything you make it to be. I made it out to be a run of the mill trailer park. My trailer was white with a wide, powder blue stripe on each side. A ridged, plastic awning was my porch. It had square, port hole-sized windows that didn't let air in or out. That's why doors were always flung open in the summer. I bought a couch and a chair, second-hand, of course, since anything new seemed like it would wilt and turn old in a day anyway. There was a big picture window at the far end of the trailer, which was a pretty funny description for a window considering it looked out onto the dirt road and not some goddamn gorgeous lake with trout jumping everywhere.
I moved in here on my 27th birthday and that was ten years ago. Before, I had been living in the upstairs apartment of the garage I was working in. It burned down leaving me homeless and jobless. I discovered this place when I drove through it one night after leaving some bar. I figured I would get along fine here. For a while, when I first moved in, I rented out a room in the trailer to this kid from the college. It would help me pay rent and maybe spruce up my social life, something I vaguely cared about then and care even less about now. I guess he was a nice guy, a little stupid though, since he didn't question the three hundred dollars rent I charged him. For that price he could have the whole damn trailer to himself. It didn't matter; it wasn't his money anyway, apparent by the "Mr. and Mrs. So and So" return address on the envelopes the rent check was in. Things were fine between us for about six months. I stayed out of his way and he out of mine. He had classes during the day and was out in the evenings. I just figured that sooner or later he'd move in with friends and I wasn't clamoring for him to stay. The most peculiar thing about him was that he had this thing for Chinese food. Every Friday night he'd be home cooking stir-fry. It wasn't the real stuff, though; it was one of those bags of veggies already chopped up and you just add chicken. But he'd cook it all up in this wok like he was just off the boat or something. Around this time I was getting a little pissed. Dirty clothes were here and there, old food left out and when he did clean, he seemed to make a bigger mess. The final straw came when he spilled honey teriyaki chicken all over my record collection. He gave me a half-apologetic grin, shrugged and said "Dude, nobody listens to records anymore" and got up for some more rice. At that point I went to the kitchen, grabbed his wok and flung it out the door like a frisbee. It didn't go very far. It kinda clattered to the ground and spun around it in the dirt. A few dogs scurried up to lick the inside of the dirty wok. This made what's-his-name laugh pretty hard which pissed me off even more. He went outside to retrieve his wok and moved out the next day. I didn't get anymore roommates after that.